The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, otherwise known as East Timor, is located in Southeast Asia.
It is positioned northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago.
East Timor also stretches over the eastern half of the island of Timor, the Oecussi region located on the northwest portion of Timor, and the small islands of Atauro and Jaco.
Tourists are a very rare occurrence in East Timor, so if you do visit it, you can count on spending a couple of days simply enjoying the feeling of being a very interesting and a very welcome stranger.
The locals will probably try to start up a conversation with you since it’s not that common that they get to see a tourist.
East Timor’s location at the end of the Indonesian archipelago, and at the base of the Coral Triangle, enables those rare tourists to enjoy the highest diversity of coral and reef fish species on earth.
This country also offers a rich cultural heritage way back from the Portuguese and Indonesian colonial periods, and if you’re a more adventurous kind, you can immerse yourself in East Timor’s world-class trekking.
Warnings & Dangers in Timor-Leste
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
If you go and visit East Timor, you might have no negative experiences or incidents. However, it is a country where you should be vigilant and take all possible precaution measures in order to minimize the risk of something going wrong.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Public transportation is not the safest or the most convenient option: you are highly advised to call your reliable taxi driver instead of hailing one on the streets and be aware that public transport is where the pickpockets and thieves operate.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
There is an extreme threat of petty crime in East Timor. As in any developing country, you should be extremely careful when handling your valuables and never carry your money in a purse or a pocket. Never carry all your money in the same place, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
There are plenty of natural disaster risks in East Timor. This country is susceptible to floods, landslides and prolonged dry spells causing insect infestations, diseases, and food insecurity. Apart from that, East Timor is located in a high-risk area for earthquakes and tsunamis.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
As far as muggings go, it is relatively common, as well as armed robberies. Cases of intruders breaking into homes inhabited by foreigners have been known to happen. It is best to be cautious at all times.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Even though there haven't been any terrorist attacks in East Timor's recent history, they shouldn't be ruled out. Tourists are advised to remain aware of their surroundings at all times.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
Again, as in other developing countries, you should be aware that people will probably try to scam you. Be wary of anyone using tactics in order to distract you. Double-check your change and negotiate everything in advance.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : HIGH
Women should be particularly cautious if traveling alone to East Timor. Harassment and violence against women have been reported, even in areas near the Christo Rei (the statue of Jesus which overlooks the capital). Stay out of the streets at night and be vigilant for any possible dangers at all times.
So... How Safe Is Timor-Leste Really?
East Timor is a developing country and visiting it has its dangers since it is a country where crime and poverty are widespread.
Any tourist should bear in mind that robberies and muggings do occur, oftentimes at gunpoint.
Tourists have also reported their bags being snatched and having been assaulted.
Bear in mind that crime-related incidents are most common in Dili and around the beaches surrounding the capital.
All types of petty or violent crime are a common occurrence in this country.
‘Smash and grab’ thefts from vehicles can happen, so never leave your things unattended even if your vehicles are locked with windows rolled up, especially since there were occurrences of rocks having been thrown at vehicles, particularly during the early evening and at night.
This is also the reason why you should avoid traveling on foot or by car after dark, altogether.
There have also been reports of intruders breaking into homes where foreigners reside.
Gang-related violence is also not rare in East Timor, and with it cases of violence, robbery, arson and vandalism in major towns such as Dili, Maliana, Suai, and Same.
Apart from gangs, avoid armed groups of people, roaming around both Dili and the surrounding districts.
When it comes to women, they should be particularly cautious, since harassment and violence against women have been reported, included the area near the Christo Rei (the statue of Jesus overlooking the capital).
Be particularly wary around the border regions since security forces are particularly concerned about criminal activities around these areas.
Criminals are also known to operate in the vicinity of Dili’s Comoro airport and at food storage warehouses.
How Does Timor-Leste Compare?
- Visas - Most nationals including the USA, Canadian, Australian, and British nationals do need a visa to enter East Timor. There is no need to obtain a visa in advance if you're arriving by air or sea: a single-entry visa valid for 30 days is issued upon arrival at East Timor's airport. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need a visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - There are three valid currencies in East Timor: United States Dollar, East Timor centavo coins and Indonesian rupiah. Keep in mind that there are only a couple of ATMs outside Dili. As far as credit cards go, only some expensive hotels sometimes accept them.
- Weather - East Timor has a tropical climate characterized by generally hot and humid weather, accompanied by distinct rainy and dry seasons.
- Airports - Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport, once known as Comoro International Airport, is the busiest and biggest airport in East Timor, located in Dili, the capital of this country.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Timor Leste, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Timor-Leste Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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10 Reviews on Timor-Leste
I like this information. Thank You.
Timor Leste is Safe country
Timor is safest country compare to some country. It’s unfair statement that saying Timor Leste not a safe country.
Michael Francis,Global Industries Group AU!
No place on Planet Earth including at home,is Safe,if you are not prepared to be Alert to the Environment & people around your at all Times! I have spent months on Business trips since 2013 & the people of Timor Leste, are not only kind, but friendly in their outlook on life,which for many is a Hard task, given JOBS & growth across the Nation, has not been the focus of the Political Elite! Times are changing but nothing can or should stop any person Male or Female, from Visiting this wonderful Country, which is a Place, that “GOD “calls his own Backyard!! Life is to LIVE not Wonder,why you have Missed out On by NOT GOING & TIMOR LESTE/EAST TIMOR!Its on the BUCKET LIST,& of many and once connected to the Timorese people & their Country, you will Return,Time & Time again!! By the way,Being a “Tourist” you have a GREAT WAY to be an” Individual Investor” in Timor’s Economic Growth for the Future, of its Young Vibrant,Positive Thinking Population! SO BOOK NOW & see the the Coral & Tropical Fish,yes even NEMO!!Do not let life Pass you in 2021!!!
Timor Leste (East Timor) is safe now
This info seems like it is what the writer imagines east Timor to be like, opposed to what it really is like, Muggings often at gun point?! When and where? Some supporting evidence would be great. I have l lived here since 2002 and have never heard of a tourist or expat being mugged at gun point. In my personal experience the crime rates here are much lower than countries in similar economic brackets, where the majority live below the poverty line. Perhaps this info is out of date, with the exception of traffic related incidents and politically motivated/related crime (ie The civil unrest 2006-2009, safe since 2009) I find it pretty safe here. I am raising my currently 8 year old daughter here as many expats are raising their children here.
This review bears no relation to the safety of Timor Leste. There is virtually no pickpockets, muggings or scams in the country. Young women do need to be careful, as they are targets of harassment, and young Timorese women are victims of worse. However, while there are some areas that are not safe – particularly at Dili is a safe place to walk around during the day. It is mot wise to show obvious wealth, but that is as much about good manners as safety. I highly recommend visiting Timor from a safety point of view. I lived there for 18 months so zi have some experience.
I am a Timorese and all I can say is this information is not 100% right. Timor is safe to compare with Indonesia or Papua New Guinea.
I agree with you the one made this information is again tourist
And the country is bulshit
Timor is one of safest country on earth
All are bullshit. What you write about Timor is totally bullshit. There have never been any intruders breaking into foreigners’ homes. There are no armed robberies. You are just trying to write bad things about Timor just to portray your bad imaginations. You were probably thinking about some other countries when you wrote this. For your information, Timor is the safest country on earth. Timor is a small country where its people have a big heart.
This information is false east timor is sefe country for the tour especially for white and black and Chinese we are so respected..
Appalling baseless review! Timor is the safest place on Earth!
This is a baseless review of Timor-Leste, fabricated in the authors imagination. I have lived here for 8 years, started a company here and now have my toddler children here. I am more fearful of my safety walking the streets of any city in the USA, than anywhere in Timor.
Unlike the US, Aust, or Europe, there are no muggings in Timor; civilians do not have, or can access guns. It is one of the friendliest places on earth.
Reviews like this are damaging to the economic prosperity of one the worlds youngest nations, who has great plans for sustainable tourism development.