Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste

Use High Level of Caution

Located in southeast Asia, northwest of Australia, Timor-Leste forms the eastern tip of the Indonesian archipelago. The island was first colonized by the Portuguese in the mid-16th century. In 1975, the island became an independent nation, but only 9 days later, it was invaded by Indonesia. The island officially became part of the nation of Indonesia as the province of Timor Timur (East Timor). Over the next 20 years, East Timor sought both peace and independence, suffering greatly through the turmoil. In August 1999, during a United Nations-supervised popular referendum, the people of East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia. This vote led to much political unrest in the country, with anti-independence forces and Indonesian forces leading violent campaigns with approximately 1,400 deaths, thousands of displaced people and extreme damage to the country’s infrastructure. Despite the turmoil, the nation began to recover, and in May 2002, Timor-Leste was officially recognized as an independent nation.

Nevertheless, political instability continued. In 2006, a military strike occurred, and Australia, as well as the United Nations security council, deployed teams to Timor-Leste. These missions were successful and allowed for peaceful elections in 2007. In 2012, the United Nations security council and Australian peacekeeping forces concluded their missions in Timor-Leste.

Timor-Leste is a semi-presidential republic; the president is the chief of state and the prime minister is the head of government.

Timor-Leste offers magnificent beaches, rugged mountains and a tropical climate, beckoning the adventurous traveller to come explore.

Currency USD: US dollar
Language Tetun and Portuguese
Capital Dili
Recent Alerts 2
Latest Alert April 12, 2021 - COVID-19 Precautionary Measures in Timor-Leste (12 April Update)

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Timor-Leste. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of exposure to hepatitis A virus in this country through contaminated food or water.

Hepatitis B

There is a risk for acquiring hepatitis B in this country.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Timor-Leste, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where water and food may not be safe.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis occurs in this country with presumed year-round transmission. All travellers should take measures to avoid mosquito bites particularly between dusk and dawn.

Tuberculosis

Travellers to this country are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in this country. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever can occur in Timor-Leste

Malaria

All areas of Timor-Leste are at risk for malaria.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever can occur in this country.

Yellow Fever

There is no risk of yellow fever transmission in this country. However, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers 1 year of age and older arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Timor-Leste.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a risk for hepatitis A virus exposure through contaminated food or water.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities, rural areas, or staying with friends and family.

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine

Long-term travellers (i.e., trips lasting a month or more) are generally considered to be at higher risk during Japanese encephalitis virus transmission season, especially if travel will include rural areas with rice fields and marshland where exposure to mosquitoes may increase. Short term (less than 1 month) travellers are generally considered to be at low risk, unless they spend time in areas where the mosquito breeds, such as rice fields or marshlands, or pig-farming areas. Vaccination should be considered for travellers whose itineraries or activities will increase their risk (e.g. spending substantial time outdoors in rural or agricultural areas; staying in accommodations without air conditioning, screens, or bed nets). Travellers who are going to an area with an ongoing outbreak of Japanese encephalitis or who are uncertain about their specific activities or duration of travel should consider obtaining the vaccination.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

There is no risk of yellow fever transmission in this country. However, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers 1 year of age and older arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Timor-Leste.

Anti-malarial Drugs

The recommended anti-malarial medications are Atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. There is chloroquine resistance.

Safety and Security in Timor-Leste

Emergency Numbers

115
115
112

Responsiveness of emergency services varies. Services are very limited, especially outside of Dili. In emergency situations, evacuation may be the only option.

Personal Safety

Tourist facilities are limited in Timor-Leste, and crime against foreigners is common. Take necessary precautions to stay safe and to avoid theft, violence, and crime. Always be alert in your surroundings. Keep valuables secured and out of sight. Safeguard your important documents, such as your passport. Keep your passport and identification documents with you when travelling in Timor-Leste as identification checkpoints are common. To avoid being a target, do not display wealth. Do not travel alone, especially at night. Harassment and violence towards local and foreign women are common. Do not accept drinks or food from strangers, and never leave your drinks out of your sight.

Road travel outside of urban areas can be unsafe due to poor road conditions, unpredictable weather, roadblocks and lack of driver caution. Accidents are frequent. Drive on the left side of the road. Do not stray from the main roads as explosives may remain from World War II and the Indonesian occupation of Timor-Leste. Avoid these unfrequented areas. Avoid using taxis or trucks as public transportation as the road conditions, driver caution and safety standards may be poor. Also, exercise caution when travelling by boat as safety standards may be poor.

Due to Timor-Leste’s location in an active seismic zone, earthquakes are not uncommon. Tsunamis may also occur. Monsoon season is from December to March and can result in large-scale flooding, landslides, damage to infrastructure, injury and death. Be cautious on beaches as crocodiles have been reported on beaches near Dili.

LGBTI travelers are advised that although same-sex relations are not illegal in Timor-Leste, the conservative nature of the country may result in a lack of tolerance towards gay behaviour.

All travellers are advised to dress and behave conservatively and to avoid all public displays of affection in respect for local sensitivities. The primary religion in Timor-Leste is Catholicism. Travellers should be aware of and respectfully observe religious days and should be sensitive when visiting and photographing landmarks and sites of religious and cultural significance. Permission may be needed to enter these sites.

Political Unrest

Despite the political stability of recent years, the security situation of Timor-Leste is unpredictable and may change rapidly. Avoid large public gatherings.

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