Exploring

With beautiful scenery, a rich culture and extremely welcoming locals – Timor-Leste is perfect for exploring independently or as part of a small group tour. The country is compact with lots of diversity. There is always something new and unexpected to encounter. With a local driver/ guide you’ll definitely see and learn more, especially out in the districts.

Renting a 4WD is a great way to go. The scenery is sensational with ranges and ranges of blue-green mountains, terracotta hills, lush river valleys and beaches and rocky headlands lapped by a turquoise ocean.

At times the roads are flat and smooth and at other stages you will find yourself veering around tight bends high a top cliffs and steep mountain sides. Ruts and potholes when encountered on rougher district roads provide the opportunity to slow down and better glimpse the lives of local people and to acknowledge the frequent smiles and waves you’ll encounter.

Popular trips include out east to Jaco Island for sublime snorkelling, south to Hato Builico to ascend Mt Ramelau and west to Bobonaro for a soak in the Marobo hot springs.

Timor-Leste tourism operators offer itineraries ranging from single day to multi-day excursions and involve travel by 2 / 4-wheel drive vehicles, motorcycle and boat.

In addition to scheduled departures, tour operators are happy to customise arrangements to meet specific individual needs. There are many options depending on availability of time, places of interest and desired experiences e.g. history and culture, wildlife viewing and adventure activities such as trekking and diving.

If you are a traveler who is excited by the opportunity to explore ‘the road less travelled’, Timor-Leste is for you.

Get help planning your exploring

Liquica
Ai Pelo Prison was built during the Portuguese colonial era to house exiled political prisoners and features stone prison ruins and information displays. Open daily.
Dili
Shop at Alola Foundation has a good selection of high quality tais and other woven items for sale. Shop is open 8.30am-5.30pm Monday-Friday.
Dili
Aquatica Dive Resort offers PADI accredited dive courses from introductory to dive instructor level and daily guided diving and snorkelling trips from Dili. Their main dive sites are the coastline around Dili from Maubara in the west to Manatuto in the east and boat dives to Atauro Island. Aquatica Dive Resort in Dili includes a dive centre and beachside accommodation.
Beloi
Based on Atauro Island beside Beloi beach, Atauro Dive Resort offers PADI accredited dive courses and guided diving trips around Atauro utilising their dive boat. Both day and night dives can be arranged. Atauro Dive Resort has comfortable eco-friendly thatched bungalows and a small dive centre.
Balibo
Balibo House commemorates the many Timorese and “ Balibo Five” (2 Australians, 1 New Zealander and 2 British) and Roger East who were murdered in Balibo during the Indonesian invasion. It also operates as a community centre. Across the road is the Balibo Fort Hotel and Museum built within the stone walls of a 17th century fort. The small museum in the stone ramparts displays a photographic collection.
Beloi
Modern motor-launches provide transport across Wetar Strait between Dili and Beloi, Atauro for hotel guests and other travellers on a demand basis. Depart Dili waterfront just to the east of Palacio do Governo and Atauro Island near the Beloi pier. Boat charters for snorkelling, fishing and general sightseeing around Atauro also can be arranged.
Vila
Wide range of intricate jewellery and other gifts made from natural materials by the hearing impaired members of this co-operative. Shop open 8.30am-5pm Monday to Saturday and Sunday by arrangement.
Dili
Operate extended one month conservation expeditions on Atauro Island that have a strong scuba diving and marine surveying focus.
Vila
Co-operative produces embroidered dolls, bags, education toys and other beautifully sewn items. Shop on Atauro open from 9am to 5pm Monday-Saturday and Sunday by arrangement. Shop in Dili open from 9am to 6pm
Dili
The Chega Exhibition, set in an old Portuguese-era prison, gives a glimpse of the harsh realities when hundreds of Timorese resistance individuals were incarcerated by the Indonesian military during the occupation. Hours: Tuesday 10AM–12PM, 2–5PM Wednesday 10AM–12PM, 2–5PM Thursday 10AM–12PM, 2–5PM Friday 10AM–12PM, 2–5PM Saturday Closed Sunday Closed Monday 10AM–12PM, 2–5PM
Dili
Compass Diving is a 5-Star PADI Dive Resort, offering PADI-accredited dive courses, snorkel & dive day trips, and all-inclusive overnight dive holiday itineraries to various destinations across the country, including Atauro Island, the coasts around Dili, right up to Jaco Island. Atauro Island transfers and beachfront resort accommodation are also options for those wanting a beach getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. With 5 boats in operation, private charters and group transfers can also be arranged by the company. Compass Dili Office – Bayleaf Restaurant Building, Avenida de Portugal, Dili Atauro Island resort – 600m south of the main jetty, Beloi, Atauro Island
Dili
The 27m high statue of Christ standing on a world globe a top Cap Fatucama is a striking Dili landmark. Fourteen ‘Stations of the Cross’ line the steep walk up to the statue’s base. From the top enjoy wonderful views - looking back to Dili, out to Atauro Island in the distance and down to beautiful Back Beach.
Dare
The Dare Memorial Museum and Café is in the hills above Dili and overlooks the city. It commemorates the Australian soldiers and the Timorese kriados who fought against the Japanese during WWII. Open from 8:30 am to 18:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Dili
Dive Timor Lorasae offers PADI accredited dive courses from introductory to dive instructor level and daily guided diving and snorkelling trips. Their main dive sites are the coastline around Dili from Maubara in the west to Manatuto in the east and Atauro Island. They offer both shore and boat based diving options. In Dili they have a dive centre and guest house and apartment accommodation available.
Dili
Specialise in customised tours from day to multi-day. Also book scenic flights, 4WD vehicles, scuba diving, water taxi services and jetski safaris plus organise special events.
Dili
Dragon Star Fast Boat is by far one of the most reliable, affordable and runs most often from Dili port to Beloi beach, Atauro island. The trip will take you one hour and 15 minutes and it leaves at 8:00 AM at the Dili Port (location is shown below) and from Beloi beach back to Dili at 3:30 PM
Dili
Dreamers Dive Academy Timor offers day trips by shore or by boat for snorkeling, whale watching, scuba diving and technical diving from Maubara to Manatuto and Atauro Island. The Dive Centre is based in Dili where they provide full range of dive training from SDI (Scuba Diving International) and TDI (Technical Diving International), from beginners to advance technical diving or marine research internships.
Dili
A wide range of vehicles including cars and 4WD vehicles available for rent. Experienced drivers can be arranged.
Dili
Eco Discovery specialises in small group tours and adventures utilising 4WD vehicles with quality guides. In addition to explore Dii, Jaco Island and Mt Ramelau trips, options include special interest trekking, fishing, traditional culture, resistance history and Australian WWII Sparrow Force tours.
Dili
A wide range of vehicles including cars, 4WDs and a bus available for rent. Experienced included with hires.
Dili
Fly Bus runs an on demand airport shuttle service (must be pre-booked). Buses with luggage trailers also available for charter.
Adara
Gembel cooperative is a community arts initiative. Local artist members display and sell their artwork including paintings, screen prints and curvy decorated mango roots at their workshop on the Dili waterfront. It is also a popular weekend afternoon location for musician jam sessions.
Dili
Sports fishing charters available from Liquica to Manatuto and Dili to Atauro on board motor launches. Fishing gear provided.
Dili
This large car ferry departs Dili for Oecusse at 2.45pm Tuesday and Friday and departs Oecussi for Dili on Wednesday and Saturday at 2.45pm (8-12 hours). Goes to Atauro on Thursday mornings at 8am, heading back to Dili at 3pm.
Dare
Laletek Nanis Domin is a park with incredible views over Dili, in the village of Dare (Fila Bebatua), less than an hour's drive from the capital, perfect for a quick excursion to a cool and peaceful spot. If you're traveling on to the mountains, it is well worth a stop there to have a rest and take a selfie from one of the of purpose-built photo platforms, with a backdrop of stunning scenery. Entry tickets to the park cost $1 per person. Open from 8am to 10pm.
Adara
Local boats such as outriggers can be organised on Atauro for transport between Beloi and other villages, including Adara on the Island’s west coast. These boats also are used for sightseeing trips to beautiful beaches such as Akrema and accessing reefs when snorkelling. On occasion very intrepid travellers cross Wetar strait on these outriggers, organising the trip directly with owners/crew. Local boats usually leave very early when Wetar Strait is smoother. (Note: often no radios, life jackets or other safety equipment on board and passengers are exposed to the elements).
Lospalos
On arrival at Valu, located below Tutuala, boat transport across the narrow channel to Jaco Island can be easily organised with the local fishermen or via your accommodation.
Maliana
Natural geo-thermal hot water springs which have been developed into a series of bathing pools in a beautiful valley below Marobo village. They were originally developed during the Portuguese colonial era and have recently been rebuilt. Open daily.
Maubara
Constructed by the Dutch during the 17th century, the old fort still has its original stone walls and canons. Within the fort grounds is a restaurant and small gift shop selling local handi-crafts.
Maubara
Very good range of woven cane baskets, hanging mobiles and other items produced onsite by co-operative women members. Vendors located on waterfront across from Maubara Fort.
Adara
Motor-cruiser service departs Dili waterfront 7.30am (Friday or Saturday) for Atauro and Beloi Beach (Barry’s Place), Atauro 6.30am (Monday). Leisurely crossing takes 2.5-3 hours and often dolphins are sighted. Other daily departures, trips between Beloi and Adara and charters also can be arranged.
Dili
Air-conditioned mini-bus daily service between Kupang and Dili (around 12 hours travel) via the land border crossing near Batugade.
Baucau
Baucau has a large spring fed public swimming pool – Piscina de Baucau which is perfect for a refreshing dip. Its attractive garden setting also includes tennis courts.
Dili
Large range of 4WD vehicles, cars and buses available for hire. Experienced drivers can be arranged.
Dili
Reverse Freediving school offers AIDA freedive courses for beginners to advanced level. Find us at Moby's Hotel.
Dili
Santa Cruz Cemetery is an important commemoration site for the Timorese due to the massacre that happened there during the Indonesian occupation. The atrocities were caught on camera and aired to the world bringing international attention to the Timorese struggle for independence.
Beloi
Excellent selection of Atauro crafts including wood carvings, weaving, metal items and clay pots. Shop open 1-5pm Sunday to Friday and Saturday 9am-12noon and 1-5pm.
Dili
Tais market vendors sell high quality tais and other woven items, wooden carvings, silver jewellery, rosary beads and other souvenir items. Open daily.
Dili
Taltabi Motor Rentals has motorcycles available for hire.
Dili
Things and Stories is a social enterprise bringing together a carefully curated range of crafts from all over Timor, representing more than 800 artisans. Its main shop is located in Hotel Timor, with 3 other outlets at Timor Plaza (5th Floor), Museum of Resistance and Dili International Airport.
Dili
Timor Adventures has been operating tours and guiding visitors around every bit of Timor-Leste for over 10 years. Our experienced local guides can not only show you the country but also explain the history and culture. We run regular ½ day tours around Dili and day tours to into the mountains and along the coast. We also conduct overnight tours from 2 days to major expeditions covering the whole country. We can design an itinerary to suit your needs.
Dili
Tours range from short break to specialist options (e.g. coffee, culture, history, hiking, food etc) and multiday itineraries around Timor-Leste.
Adara
Air-conditioned mini-bus daily service between Kupang and Dili (around 12 hours travel) via the land border crossing near Batugade.
Dili
Timor Unearthed is a registered Timorese company and licensed tour operator in Timor-Leste. Our team is dedicated to providing high-quality travel experiences that are educational, safe and sustainable. We facilitate annual travel programs for many international school programs, university programs, and private family and friend groups. As a social enterprise, we operate to grow a sustainable tourism industry in Timor-Leste. We aim to educate our travellers, safeguard the ecosystems we explore and empower local communities. Check out our social media links below, or head to our website for more information. Get in touch with our team and arrange your next trip to Timor-Leste!
Dili
The Timorese Resistance Archive and Museum provides an overview of the resistance struggle of the Timorese people during the Indonesian occupation. It has interesting audio-visual exhibitions evoking key moments and figures. Opening hours 9.30am-4.30pm Tuesday to Saturday.
Dili
This small museum and gallery housed in an old Portuguese building displays art, photos and information about Xanana Gusmao, the former resistance leader and president of Timor-Leste. Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm and Saturday, 9am-3pm. The complex also includes a small library.