Timor-Leste's population of over 1 million is one of the fastest growing in the world at around 4% per annum.
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste achieved formal independence on 20 May 2002, following a UN sponsored referendum in August 1999 in which over 78% of the population voted for independence. Timor-Leste is one of the poorest countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The UN continues to maintain a significant presence in Timor-Leste, particularly in the capital of Dili.
Timor-Leste has an abundance of natural beauty including rugged mountains and a spectacular coastline. Major centres along the coastline include Manatuto, Baucau and Com in Lospalos. Timor-Leste has kilometre after kilometre of pristine coral reefs, offering some of the best diving in the world. There are several diving companies running scuba safaris to sites in Dili, Ataśro Island, Manatuto District, Tutuala and Jaco Island in Lospalos. Timor-Leste's reefs are home to a vast diversity of marine creatures, from turtles to whales sharks and dazzling shoals of colourful tropical fish.
* US Dollars are the official currency, with local small denomination coins (necessary in markets).
* Portuguese is the official language along with Tetum, the local dialect, although Bahasa Indonesia is still widely spoken amongst the general population. Some English is spoken, particularly in Dili.
* Catholicism is the predominant religion although most religions are represented
* International Dialing code +670
* Visas on Arrival cost USD30 for a thirty (30) day stay. Visa extension applications must be submitted directly to the Immigration Department in Dili, Timor-Leste. Extensions cost USD35 for each extension of 30 days, or USD75 for extension of 60 days. A departure tax of USD10 also applies.
All foreigners seeking to enter Timor-Leste on a temporary visa are required to have a valid national passport with an expiry date not less than 6 months from the date of entry into Timor-Leste.
* Dress standards are neat and conservative
* The visitor will experience many local customs and cultures and respect should be shown
* Food and Beverages. Drink bottled water only. Avoid ice and pay attention to non-cooked food. Salads should also be avoided if washed with tap water. Fruit should be peeled. Prevent dehydration by drinking a lot of water, using high factor protection sunscreen and wearing a hat.
* Animals and Insects. Avoid contact with animals as they are generally not vaccinated and can transmit diseases. Use insect repellent, especially at dawn and dusk and sleep with a mosquito net. Malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases are widespread.
* For specific information on health matters go to www.mdtravelhealth.com/destinations/asia/east_timor.php or www.traveldoctor.com.au/
* Security is improving although caution is still recommended refer to the most current travel advice for Timor-Leste from www.dfat.gov.au or from your national embassy.
Much of the information on this page is sourced from Timor-Leste's official tourism website. For more information, please go to www.turismotimorleste.com