Tetum and Portuguese are the two most common languages in East Timor, reflecting significant Portuguese influence. Variations of the Tetum dialect have developed throughout the years, with Tetun-Dili being the favored tongue. English and Indonesian are the main working languages as defined by the constitution, but more than 35 indigenous languages are spoken in many places around the country. About 90 percent of the population uses Tetum as their daily language.
East Timor uses the US dollar as its legal tender. US coins are widely accepted. Banks are predominantly found in Dili, along with ATMs. It is advised to bring cash and don’t depend on plastic, as credit cards are only accepted in some hotels and a handful of restaurants in the capital city. ANZ bank has a branch which allows for overseas money transfers. If you are looking for a cheaper way to transfer money, try the Western Union in Dili. Bank Mandiri, a major bank in Indonesia, also has a branch in Dili near the Government Building. A Portuguese bank called Caixa Gera de Depositos has several locations within the country.
The power supply throughout East Timor can be erratic. Three-pronged plugs are standard, with electricity at 220V and 50Hz. US travelers using appliances from home will need to bring a transformer and plug adaptor.
The country code for East Timor is +670 despite the switch from Australian to its own network. The internet was only made accessible to the public in 2002, and is only available in the main city, Baucau, a few smaller cities. Timor Telecom has a monopoly on all telecommunications in the country, from landlines to mobile phone and internet.
Visitors can bring up to 200 cigarettes and 2.25 liters of alcohol into the country without paying duty.
Turismo de Timor-Leste (East Timor Government Tourism Office), Ministry of Development, Apartado 194, Dili, East Timor: +3-310-371 or +3-339-178, or www.turismotimorleste.com
Consulates in East Timor
United States Consulate, Dili: +670-390-324-684 Australia Consulate, Dili: +670-390-322-111 Great Britain Consulate, Dili: +670-390-723-1606 Canadian Consulate (c/o Canadian Embassy, Jakarta): +62-021-2550-7800 Brazilian Consulate, Dili: +670-332-1728 Ireland Consulate: +670-332-4880
SOS Emergency Medivac: +61-2-9372-2468 UNPOL Emergency (Police): 112