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East Timor

Independent since 2002, East Timor is actually the Demoratic Republic of East Timor, located in Southeast Asia. This former Portuguese colony annexed by Indonesia in 1975, is made up of the Atauro and Jaco islands; half of eastern Timor island; and Oecussi-Ambeno, an enclaved area in the western part of Timor island. Security in Dili is uncertain and conflict between armed groups is rife, so tourists who wish to travel to East Timor's Dili and its surrounding areas should be extremely cautious.
  • East Timor
    © iStockphoto.com / Urf
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination East Timor
East Timor: the key figures

Surface area : 15410.0 km2

Population : 1176000 inhabitants

  • Wonderful beaches.
  • Rich traditions.
  • Difficult political situation.
  • It is currently inadvisable to travel to East Timor.

East Timor: what to visit?

Coasts

Arts and culture

East Timor: what to buy?

The local specialty is "ikat", a fabric dyed with several colours before it is woven. Different motifs, patterns and embroideries decorate the fabric and it originates from a strong animistic tradition which endows it with sacred and magical powers; it is generally very expensive.
Basket making is equally common in the Sunda Islands, you will find a choice of baskets, mats, hats, fans, carpets and small boxes, as well as ancient silver jewels.
The people particularly enjoy working with pearls and shells.
Shops generally open from 8:00 am to 7:00 am nonstop from Monday to Saturday.

East Timor: what to eat?

Indonesian cuisine, a mixture of Indian, European and Chinese cuisine, is specially flavoured and spicy according to the region. Rice is the staple food and the 'longtong' is vapour-cooked rice served in banana leaves. The people eat a lot of fish and shellfish, with the fish being mostly dried, smoked, or grilled ("L'ikan bakar"). There are also dishes like 'soto' (stew-like soup), 'bakso' (meat soup) and 'mie-goreng' (noodles fried with vegetables). 'Babi guling' is spit-roasted sucking pig and 'Rijsttafel' or 'rice table' is of Dutch origin and consists of sauce cooked with vegetables, meat, fish, egs and chicken served with a large quantity of rice and banana fritters ('krupuk'), peppers, marinated peanuts or cucumbers. Lastly, the Portuguese cuisine in East Timor mostly consists of beef (steak), stews and olive oil salads.

East Timor: main cities

East Timor: travel tips

For further information on this destination, which is almost inaccessible at the moment, read the first Timorese book translated from Portuguese into English: it traces the path of a child faced with the political reality of his country, from the colonial era to the Indonesian invasion. The author played a role in the student resistance during the war against Indonesia and he is currently in exile in Lisbon.

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East Timor : Holidays
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