Traveling to East Timor

Despite its recent struggles, writer Charmaine Chew is convinced that East Timor has the potential to be a great place for vacationing. Her article East Timor: The Next Big Thing certainly makes it seem like a traveler’s dream.

“Our collective imagination of East Timor’s recent history is one littered with images of burnt out churches and widespread devastation. Four years after its people voted overwhelmingly for independence, the newest nation on earth is now opening its doors to the world. It is a unique opportunity for visitors to explore a beautiful island paradise while gaining an insight into the challenging task of rebuilding a country.

East Timor is an Asian country with the laid back feeling of small island nations and a dash of Latino spirit. It is a land of daily siestas, beaches lined with coconut trees and remnants of Portuguese culture. It is also a place where the time of day is marked not by clocks, but by the position of the sun in the sky. For a country less than a third of the size of Tasmania, it is a travel destination full of surprises and rewarding experiences, best suited to visitors with a sense of discovery and a penchant for the unexpected.

The ultimate beachside escape can be found on the island of Atauro. The island is visible from Dili and is approximately 2 hours by ferry, longer if you travel on the community fishing boat (and undoubtedly more exciting). Atauro was once used as a prison and resettlement camp. The island is now renowned for its flourishing community based eco-tourism venture. The eco-tourism site is designed to minimize the environmental impact of tourism through the use of compost toilets, solar power, local and natural materials for construction. The site contains six beautifully constructed bamboo huts, offering simple but pleasant accommodation.”