Did you know there’s a hidden country in South-East Asia that is ringed by arguably the best coral reefs in the world? We are talking about Timor-Leste (East Timor), a remote country that most people ignore while planning a trip to South-East Asia, probably because they haven’t even heard of it.
This is a country that attracts explorers and nature enthusiasts, because of its untouched nature and off-the-beaten-track vibe. Once you arrive here, chances are you will get the place entirely for yourself to explore. Go hiking to jungle caves, climb mountains, or dive the pristine coral reefs. There are excellent dive sites just a few minutes from Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste. While you are in Dili, don’t forget to check out the 27m high statue of Jesus – Cristo Rei of Dili, reached after climbing over 550 steps and Dili’s museums, which will take you back to a time when the country was struggling to get independence – first from Portugal then Indonesia.
Around 25km away from the capital lies Ataúro, a small island with the most biodiverse waters in the world. Presenting itself as a great eco-tourism destination, it also offers some of the best diving sites in the country.
Timor-Leste was a Portuguese colony until 1975 and Portuguese is one of the major languages that people speak here, apart from the local Tetum language – majority of people don’t speak or understand English.
If you’re making an itinerary for your South-East Asia trip, give this gem of a country a chance and you will be rewarded with some of the best offbeat experiences for life.
There are excellent dive sites just a few minutes from Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste.