Destination Guides

East Timor

General   Money   Entry Requirements   Health & safety   Weather   Embassies   Etiquette   Public Holidays   Attractions   Map  


East Timor ©Nick Hobgood

Charming, beautiful and full of smiles, East Timor may not be top of everyone's dream destination list, but it is certainly off the beaten track, offering visitors a taste of something completely different. With beautiful beaches, exotic forests and exciting mountain trekking, the coral reefs and colonial towns are drawing an increasing number of adventurous travellers each year.

Colonised by Portugal in the 16th century, East Timor declared independence in 1975, only to be invaded and occupied by Indonesia nine days later; it has been a bumpy ride on East Timor's road to independence. The tourism infrastructure is not highly developed but it seems East Timor is slowly getting there, and visitors are now able to enjoy a spot of snorkelling, diving, hiking and exploration round the exotic countryside.

One of East Timor's more famous landmarks is the Cristo Rei, a 100-foot (30m) statue of Jesus, believed to be the second tallest statue of its kind in the world, rivalled only by Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer. Beyond the capital of Dili lies a mysterious and intensely beautiful land where empty beaches lead into dense tropical forest and mountains reach down to the water's edge.

The best time to visit East Timor and experience its warm, clear seas dotted with tropical fish, manta rays, turtles and sharks is just after the wet season, from late April to July when the weather is warm and the diving is at its exquisite best.

Languages Spoken

The two official languages of East Timor are Portuguese and Tetum.


Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Plugs are generally of the twin round-pin or twin flat-prong variety.

Climate Info

East Timor has a tropical climate and is hot and humid year-round, with distinct wet and dry seasons. The wet season, between December and April, experiences average temperatures between 84°F (29°C) and 95°F (35°C); and the dry season, between May and November, experiences average temperatures between 68°F (20°C) and 91°F (33°C). The best time to visit East Timor is between May and July, when the weather is at its most pleasant and the conditions are excellent for scuba diving.


All visitors to East Timor require a passport valid for six months beyond the date of entry, and a visa. Tourist visas may be obtained on arrival at the airport provided that visitors can show proof of the following: (i) a return or onward ticket, and the required travel documentation for the next destination; (ii) accommodation arrangements in East Timor; and (iii) sufficient means of support while in East Timor (about USD 100, plus USD 50 per day of stay). Single-entry tourist visas, valid for 30 days, cost about USD 30 (only payable in US dollars), and require an unused passport page for a visa sticker. Travellers arriving by land rather than one of the main airports or seaports will need to arrange a visa prior to arrival; for instance, visas cannot be issued on arrival for those arriving via Indonesia. Visitors in possession of a 30-day tourist visa can extend their stay to a cumulative total of 90 days, by submitting their application to the Immigration Department.

Entry Requirements

Canadian citizens must have a passport valid for six months beyond the date of their arrival in East Timor, and must obtain a tourist visa on arrival (if not arriving at the airport visas must be arranged in advance).

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Visitors to this exotic country should arm themselves with mosquito prophylaxis and plenty of mosquito repellent, no matter which region they are visiting, as malaria is a problem. Vaccinations are recommended for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid. A yellow fever vaccination is required for all travellers arriving from yellow-fever-infected areas.


Most visits to East Timor are trouble-free. However, travellers should note that crime remains a problem in the country, with gang-related violence and robbery common. Foreigners have been the victims of crime in the capital, Dili. East Timor also has a poor road safety record and travellers should be cautious on the roads, which tend to be poorly maintained. There is no particular threat from terrorism and the country is currently fairly politically stable, but large demonstrations and protests should still be avoided.

* For current safety alerts, please visit Foreign travel advice - GOV.UK or Travel.State.Gov


The US Dollar (USD) is the official currency of East Timor. Banks and ATMs can be found in the capital, Dili.

Exchange Rate

Not available.

Embassies of East Timor

Foreign Embassies in East Timor

Public Holidays in East Timor

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