East Timor (Portuguese: Timor-Leste) is a country in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, just north of the continent of Australia.
Timor-Leste was colonised by Portugal from the 16th century to 1975, when Timor-Leste declared its independence. Soon after the declaration of independence, Indonesia invaded and then occupied the country until 1999 when the Timorese people voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence in a UN-sponsored referendum. Timor-Leste officially became the first new nation of the 21st century on 20 May 2002.
Timor-Leste has one of the world’s lowest rates of personal income tax. For foreigners, the personal income tax rate is a flat 10%.
The climate in Timor-Leste is tropical, with warm days all year round, and distinct wet and dry seasons. Average daytime temperatures vary little throughout the year, rising from about 25 degrees celsius during the dry season to about 30 degrees during the wet season. You can find an excellent summary of Dili’s climate on weather-and-climate.com.
Things to do
Timor-Leste is a developing country, and the pace of development is rapid. Although its status as a developing nation presents some daily challenges, it also means that much of its natural beauty remains unspoiled.
Timor is a great destination for those who enjoy outdoor activity. It is popular with mountain bikers and scuba divers.
The small island of Jaco at the eastern end of the island is considered one of the world’s top diving locations. If you haven’t yet learned to dive, there are excellent diving schools in Dili where you can obtain your internationally-recognised PADI certification.
The annual Tour de Timor is a popular mountain bike tour which attracts adventure tourists, expatriates and locals alike.
Easy connections to Asia
If you love to travel, and want to experience more of what Southeast Asia has to offer, East Timor is a great base. Dili has an international airport which directly connects the nation to three regional destinations:
- Darwin, Australia: a daily service on Airnorth. Flight time: 1 hour, 20 minutes.
- Bali, Indonesia: daily services on Sriwijaya Air and Nam Air. Flight time: 1 hour, 45 minutes.
- Singapore: services on Tuesdays and Saturdays on Air Timor (operated by SilkAir, the regional subsidiary of Singapore Airlines). Flight time: 3 hours, 45 minutes.
There are excellent connections from Singapore and Bali to many of the most popular and exotic destinations in Asia. From Darwin, you can easily access Australia’s World Heritage Listed Kakadu National Park.
Check out these links for a sample of what Timor-Leste has to offer:
- Official Timor-Leste tourism website: http://www.timorleste.tl
- Lonely Planet: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/east-timor
- Dive Timor Lorosae: http://divetimor.com
- Compass Adventure Tours (dive operator): http://www.compassadventuretours.com
- Aquatica Dive Resort: http://www.aquaticadiveresort.com
- Tour de Timor – annual mountain bike event: http://www.tourdetimorlorosae.com
- TripAdvisor – Top things to do in Dili: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g297517-Activities-Dili_Dili_District.html
- East Timor on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Timor
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