History and Culture
Timor-Leste has huge potential for bird watching. It has been estimated that there are more than 240 bird species, including 23 found nowhere else in the world. Potential bird watching sites include the Nino Konis Santana National Park, Protected Areas of Manu Koko (Atauro Island), etc.

For further information or research please visit the Birdlife International website.




Diving and snorkelling sites are very accessible in Timor-Leste. The island of Timor has world class diving due to its perfect combination of cool, deep water, unspoiled reefs, and great diversity of marine life. Timor-Leste is located in the Coral Triangle. The popular sites for diving and snorkelling are in Maubara (Liquiça), Cristo Rei and Dili Rock (Dili), Behau (Manatuto), Wata Bou (Baucau), Com and Jaco (Lautem), etc.

For more information on diving and snorkelling please contact:,,




One of the main tourist attractions in Timor-Leste are the magnificent, white sand beaches. There are a number of stunning – and uncrowded - beaches for individual or family recreation, including Cristo Rei, Areia Branca, “One Dollar” Beach (Dili), Maubara (Liquiça), Watu Bou (Baucau), Com, Walu, Jaco (Lautem), Behau (Manatuto), etc.




Timor-Leste is blessed with very diverse culture and heritage. The people of Timor-Leste are themselves an important asset for attracting visitors due to their strongly-developed sense of hospitality, which makes for a very warm welcome. Ancient cultural practices are also of great interest to visitors, with attractions such as traditional spirit houses, historical sites (Ili-kerekere rock wall paintings in Tutuala), numerous ritual sites in Maubisse (Ainaro), Baucau, Lautem, etc.


There are a lot of local festivals that you can experience during your stay in Timor-Leste. Each municipality generally has its own traditional local event, some of which are based on animist rituals. Some examples are given here (contact a local tour operator to find out the exact dates and activities):

  • → Mechi Me – Lautem Municipality
  • → Be Male Fishe Collection Festival – Maliana Municipality
  • → Ataúro Areca Nut  Climbing Festival – Dili Municipality




Traditional market days offer interesting insights into the local way of life. Many visitors enjoy a market visit, to see what’s on offer and to buy products from local communities, particularly delicious, fresh, organic fruit and vegetables.  In Timor-Leste, there are different traditional market days in each municipality, but usually the busiest market days are on Saturday.

Traditional market days on Ataúro Island:
→ Bikeli, Tuesday 7am – 12am
→ Makadade, Wednesday 7am – 12am
→ Makili, Thursday 7am – 12am
→ Vila Maumeta, Friday 7am – 12am
→ Beloi (largest traditional market day on Ataúro), Saturday 7am – 4pm
→ Municipality of Lautem, On every Saturday from  6am – 12am



There are many types of handicrafts which can be purchased for souvenirs to take back home. The main handicrafts are commonly made from local materials including, local hand-woven textiles, known as “tais” in the local language. Baskets, wood carvings, silver jewellery, soap and coconut oil products are also popular purchases.



Ministry of Tourism is keen to organize and facilitate those who want to get involved and/or organise volunteer tours and activities in support of CBET initiatives. Please feel free to contact us directly for more information: National Directorate of Tourism Marketing and International Relations and/or Haburas Foundation ([email protected]).



For those of you fancy whale and dolphin watching, Timor-Leste is one of the best places in the world to observe marine mammals. The season for spotting migratory whales is usually from October to December. Types of marine mammals which can be seen including the Baleen Whales visible in the region are Blue Whale, Sperm Whale, Humpback Whale, Cuvier’s Beaked Whale, Killer Whale, Short-finned Pilot Whale, False Killer Whale, Melon-headed whale. The main sites for whale and dolphin watching are Ataúro Island, Com, Jaco Island, and Maubara.



With its majestic mountain scenery, word is already getting out that Timor-Leste has much to offer for trekking and hiking enthusiasts. There are several exciting routes, such as in the Mt Ramelau (Ainaro), Mt Kablake (Same), Mt Matebian Baucau), Mt Mundo Perdido (Viqueque), Mt Manukoko (Ataúro), and Mt Pai Cau (Lautem). We would recommend you to use a local guide to enjoy your experience to the full whilst observing cultural sensitivities, which also helps local communities to derive some benefit from your visit.