East Timor — Attractions
Most of the attractions in East Timor involve the sea and the coast, but the capital city and surround area also offer a picturesque vacation backdrop. The colonial times have left traces of history, from gutted buildings to remarkable structures, especially in the capital of Dili, which also serves as the country’s main economic hub. The best way to explore the country is on a guided tour, but if you are feeling adventurous, rent a car and go at it on your own. You can also explore Dili by taxi and mikrolet or take a bus between towns.
Established early in 2012, this young museum commemorates East Timor’s 24-year resistance against the Indonesian reign. It opened in the wake of the country’s 10th anniversary of independence and features exhibitions, photographs, equipment, and other items related to the revolution.
Address: Rua Formosa Central Dili, behind the National Parliament and next to the university
Standing tall over Cape Fatucama is a 27-meter statue of Jesus, one of the most iconic monuments in East Timor. While here, be sure to make the scenic trip along the inspiring coastal road. Taxis can take you from town to the coast for next to nothing, but you have to pay extra if you want the driver to wait while you explore.
Address: Cape Fatucama
Arte Moris is an art institution and museum set in an Indonesian-era building. It features interesting works from the whimsical to the wonderful. Art lovers will appreciate the funky and hip sculpture garden and many impressive masterpieces in the gallery.
Address: Rua Martires da Patria Comoro
Santa Cruz Cemetery
A monument commemorating the turning point in the Timorese independence struggle, Santa Cruz Cemetery is a historic site where more than 200 innocent civilians died when Indonesian troops turned violent during what was supposed to be a peaceful memorial procession. The historic event was filmed and photographed by two US journalists who themselves were beaten and bludgeoned during the massacre. The event set in motion the resistance against the Indonesian occupation.
Address: Caicoli, Dili
Xanana Gusmao Reading Room
A library, museum and cultural center all rolled into one, the Xanana Gusmao Reading Room is an excellent place to discover the history of East Timor. The old colonial structure is an attraction itself and picture worthy.
Address: Rua Belarmino Lobo City Centre
Tais is a piece of native cloth weaving which is indigent to East Timor that is produced in almost every region in the country. The Tais Market in the heart of Dili sells a variety of the products along with a wide range of pottery, old coins and other curios.
Address: Rua Sebastiao da Costa, Caicoli
The main starting point of almost every excursion in East Timor, the Dili Wharf is another must-see attraction not only known for its stunning views of ship wrecks and breathtaking sunsets, but for its proximity to other sites in town, such as the Motael Church (which is the oldest in the country) and the Integration Monument. Colorful markets are also only a short walk away.
Address: Dili Waterfront