The turbulent history of East Timor has made it something less than an optimum travel destination, but that doesn't mean that the determined traveler can't get in and around the country relatively easily and efficiently.

East Timor declared its independence from Portugal in 1975 and was invaded nine days later by Indonesia. None of the international powers stepped in to stop the take over, so from 1976 to 1999, East Timor was the provence Timor Timur. A genocide killed about a quarter of the population in that time and the country of East Timor has only been a democracy as we know it today since 2002, so things aren't quite perfectly stable for independent travelers yet.

What to do

East Timor is not the tourist hub with ancient ruins and artifacts like you'll find around other cities in South East Asia. The Portuguese castle in the capital city of Dili is one of the only cities that have any ancient structures left. Nearly all the buildings were destroyed by the civil war in 1999.

Luckily, East Timor's beautiful attraction was not destroyed. Travelers and tourists can enjoy the white sand beaches that line the country's coastline. The beaches outside of Dili are especially popular.

Getting there

Flights to East Timor's Dili International Airport, (DLL) go through Bali and Darwin Australia. The flights are not regular and fill up weeks ahead of time, so plan your trip well in advance.

Buses run between Kupang, West Timor, Indonesia and Dili, East Timor or various other buses from Dili that take you to the Indonesian border and then let you catch buses to a variety of destinations throughout West Timor.

Where to stay

Hotels in Dili are part of the local infrastructure and rooms are readily available. The rest of the country has far fewer accommodations for travelers. Fortunately for American visitors, US money is the common currency in East Timor and is accepted for all transactions.