East Timor


Transportation - Get In

By plane

Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport'(IATA: DIL), formerly known as Comoro Airport, is the main international airport of Dili.

Major international airlines that serve Dili directly include:

  • Airnorth from Darwin, Australia
  • Air Timor from Singapore. Chartered 'Silkair: Singapore' flights.
  • Sriwijaya Air from Jakarta and Bali(Denpasar), Indonesia - Starting 10th May 2013

Currently International flight details in and out of Dili are as follows:

  • Airnorth - 6 flights per week. Flight Time - approx 1 hour in Embraer 170 Jet, at the following times:

Morning Services (Mon,Wed,Thu,Fri,Sat): Depart Darwin 0630, arrive in Dili 0715. Depart Dili 0800, arrive Darwin 0945. Afternoon Service (Mon): Depart Darwin 1500, arrive in Dili 1615. Depart Dili 1700, arrive Darwin 1845.

  • Air Timor from Singapore. Three times a week full service chartered 'SilkAir' flights every Tue, Thur and Sat as follows:

Depart Singapore 0920, Arrive Dili 1400. Depart Dili 1515, Arrive Singapore 1800.

  • Sriwijaya Air from Jakarta and Bali (Denpasar), Indonesia. Daily return flights from Jakarta with stop-off in Bali.

Flying out of Dili, you are subject to the airport departure tax of US$10 which must be paid in cash at the airport counter beside passport control.

By land

The main land border crossing with Indonesia is at Mota'ain (or Motain), 115 km west of Dili. The nearest East Timorese town is Batugade, 3km to 4km away. The nearest Indonesian town of consequence is the West Timorese town of Atambua. There are also land border crossings at Salele (near Suai) on the south coast, and into Oecussi at Bobometo (Napan on the Indonesian side) and Wini on the north-east coast of Oecussi.

As of July 2016 it is not possible for most passport holders to cross the border at Wini: when visited in July 2016 it appeared that only Indonesian and East Timorese passport holders could cross the border at this location.

As mentioned above, visa on arrival is not available at the land border for most visitors apart from Indonesian and Portuguese Citizens. UPDATE August 2015: the new visa waiver rule for passport holders of countries in the Schengen Agreement means that those travelers can enter Timor-Leste without a visa at any entry point - travelers have reported no problems at the Batugade border point. See the Immigration Department's Tourist Visa link [www] for details on how to apply for a "visa application authorisation" (which may be obtained via email before travel) or how to apply for a visa at an Embassy or Consulate should you want to enter at a land border crossing.

There is an East Timorese Consulate in both Bali and Kupang where you should be able to purchase visas.

  • Consulate General Denpasar,  +62 8133 855 8950, Mr. Manuel Serrano, Consul General,  +62 812 831 9741, ([[email protected]]), Mr. Paulo Ximenes, Second Secretary
  • Consulate Kupang, Office Address: Jl. Eltari II,  Kupang, NTT, Indonesia, + 62 8133 9367 558, +62 8133 9137 755, Mr. Caetano Guterres, Consul General, ([[email protected]])   Mobile:+62 813 392 434 13, Mr. Manuel Matos, Staff of Consulate, +62 813 539 435 34

The same problem exists in the other direction. Even though people of many nationalities can get Indonesian visas-on-arrival when flying into Bali or other Indonesian airports, they cannot get them when traveling from East Timor to West Timor by land, and are required to have visas in advance.

However, for those going the other direction, Indonesian visas must be obtained beforehand as there is no VoA facility (Visa on Arrival) facility at the border. Getting a visa at the Indonesian Embassy in Dili is possible; it takes 3 working days to issue a 30 day tourist visa and it costs US$45. Standard Index B-211 60 day tourist visas seem to be issued on a case by case basis and obtaining one is not guaranteed.

Indonesian VoAs and Visa Waiver entries are available at El Tari Airport, and Tenau harbour in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia for nationals of eligible countries. There are no scheduled flights currently operating between Dili and Kupung.

By bus

  • Cross-border buses

There is a direct bus service daily between Dili and Kupang in West Timor, Indonesia. Journey takes 12 hours. There are many land travel minibus services to cater for individuals or groups travel from Dili to Kupang (West Timor) and return. Timor Travel, Paradise Travel, Leste Oeste Travel are few of the minibus companies that provide travel services to several different destinations along the Dili-Kupang route at a very affordable prices.

  • Non-direct buses

From Dili, catch a bus to the border (US$3, three hours). Once you get off the bus, go through East Timorese customs and immigration, walk across the border into Indonesia, go through Indonesian immigration and catch another bus for your onward journey to Atambua or Kupang.

From Atambua, regular mikrolets (vans) or ojeks (motorcycle taxis) run to the border at Mota'ain.

By boat

There are no regular international passenger ferries servicing East Timor.

There are regular barge services for vehicles and goods from Darwin in Australia, Surabaya and Bali in Indonesia.

Recreational vessels often visit Dili harbour.

Transportation - Get Around

By bus

Buses, mostly of the small variety found on remote Indonesian islands, run to most parts of the country and main cities like Dili, Baucau, Maliana, Los Palos and Suai are quite well linked. Indonesian-style bemos (vans) and mikrolets (minibuses) - legacies from its 24-year rule - run from these cities to nearby villages.

Most departures take place very early in the morning and drivers have a tendency of doing keliling (Indonesian for "going round") where they spend considerable time combing the streets and scouting for passengers before actually departing.

Fares are about US$2 or US$3 for journeys over 100 km. For example, Dili-Baucau (123 km) costs US$2 while Dili-Mota'ain (115 km) costs US$3.

By car

Taxis are one of the best means of transport in and around Dili. Fares are not very steep ($1-3) and there are lots of them.

You can hire a vehicle (4WD) in Dili for around $85 a day. However, do be prepared for adventure - besides the tricky roads there is the lack of road signs to contend with. It is possible that you will get so caught up with driving that you miss out the great scenery around you. Most reputable car rental companies offer 24/7 roadside assistance anywhere in the country. But be mindful that if you are out in a remote district, your help, dispatched from Dili, will take a while to arrive.

While in Dili you will need to confine yourself to a speed limit of 40 kph. On open roads you may rev up and touch 50-60 kph. Tourists from the west might find the going slow but that is the maximum speed that can be achieved on Dili roads.

Ensure that you are carrying a valid driving license or permit with you. This can be either from your country or you can have it issued in East Timor. Your licence should specify the kind of vehicle you are allowed to drive. Do drive carefully and remember that there is no provision here for third-party motor insurance.

By boat

The Oekusi (Oecussi) Enclave, Ataúru (Ataúro) Island and Dili are well connected by ferry. A boat ride to Jaku (Jaco) Island will prove to be a memorable experience. An added attraction here is that the fishermen also cook fish for you on request.

By plane

Although there are airports in Baucau, Suai and Oecussi, there is not a regular domestic air service yet within East Timor. There are small MAF planes that can be chartered to fly to these destinations, which are normally utilised for medical evacuations.

By motorcycle

Tiger Fuel in Dili, rents motorcycles for $25-35 per day. Motorcycles/scooters are a good way to see the country: you'll be able to travel wherever you want at any time, and will have a rather small responsibility in terms of a bike to park over night. Bungee cords may be purchased from Star Moto in Baucau to fasten your luggage to the bike.

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East Timor - Travel guide