The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Timor-Leste. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Travellers should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
Visitors to Timor Leste should note that it is no longer possible to obtain an entry permit on arrival at the land border with West Timor. If you wish to enter Timor Leste at the land border with Indonesia, you can find out information about obtaining an entry permit in advance from the Immigration Department of Timor Leste, at website http://migracao.gov.tl/?page_id=32
Visitors who arrive to Timor Leste by air can obtain an entry permit on arrival at Dili Airport, as before. An entry permit is normally issued for visits of up to 30 days. Fees for these permits can change regularly. It is advisable to check the above website for up-to-date information about applying for entry permit.
It is also advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.
Safety and Security
We advise you to exercise caution when travelling to Timor-Leste due to the fragile security situation and the potential for politically motivated violence. You should avoid demonstrations and large crowds and if you become aware of any disturbances leave the area immediately.
Crime continues to be a problem in Timor-Leste, including gang-related violence, robbery (in some cases armed), assault and attacks on vehicles. You should exercise caution if going outside after dark.
Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor local media for information about potential safety and security risks. You are advised to regularly monitor all available information on the local situation, and follow local guidance. Responsibility for law and order was transferred from the United Nations Police (UNPOL) to the local police (PNTL) in March 2011.
Intending visitors are advised to ensure that your travel documents are up to date in case you need to leave at short notice.
You should also be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be carried out against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Local Laws and Customs
Timor Leste is nominally predominantly Catholic but there are Protestant communities in some areas of Timor, such as the island of Autaro. West Timor is also Protestant – a legacy of Dutch colonialism. There is also small number of Muslims living here. Along-side the main-stream religions, animism and ancestor worship are also strong and prevailing beliefs among the population.
The official languages are Tetum and Portuguese – English and Bahasa are also considered working languages. In addition there are about 12 local languages spoken around the country. All Timorese are poly-lingual, normally knowing three languages and more, to varying degrees of proficiency.
Tetum is the lingua franca of the country and the most useful single language to know. It is and Austronesian language with many Portuguese loan words and is spoken by about 80% of the population, though only about 19% use it as a first language. It is a relatively easy language to pick up at first, but tends to be vague and imprecise. It is almost impossible to write a contract in Tetum for example.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Dili has a tropical climate with a dry season from April to November with day time temperatures of 25-35C. July and August are the coolest months with October/November being the hottest time before the start of the rainy season December to March.
During the dry season there may be no rain at all at sea level. The rainy season is categorised by monsoon downpours in the afternoon one to three times a week and occasionally longer periods of rain. It tends to be cooler (low-mid twenties) in the evenings. In the mountain region, it can get really cold at night.
Additional Country Info
Medical services in Timor Leste are severely limited. You should ensure that you have consulted your doctor before travelling to Timor Leste and have all the relevant vaccinations and are in good health. You are also advised to ensure you have comprehensive medical insurance before travelling to Timor Leste.
AH1N1 Swine Flu - there have been two confirmed cases of swine flu.
Dengue Fever - there have been cases of Dengue Fever in Timor Leste even during the dry season (May to October) and the risk is higher during the rainy season. Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. You are advised to take adequate precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes. Further information and advice about dengue fever is available on the WHO website
Avian Flu - there have been no reported cases of Avian Influenza in Timor Leste. You are advised to consult the WHO website for details on the level of alert in the region.
DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR MISSIONS
The Embassy of Ireland in Singapore is accredited to Timor Leste. For contact details, please click here.Top