JA2VWG will be active from Timor Leste 22 - 29 September 2014 as 4W6DD.
He will be active on 40 - 6m SSB, RTTY.
QSL via home call.
The Tiny, Timor – Leste
The tiny island of Timor-Leste or East Timor is in Maritime Southeast Asia. It only comprises the eastern half of Timor. The countries size is only 5, 400 square miles.
Originally colonized by Portugal in the 16th century, the Island was initially known as Portugal Timor. This lasted until the decolonization in 1975. Later that year Indonesia invaded and occupied East Timor, and declared it their 27th province of Indonesia. In 1999, Indonesia relinquished control over East Timor at which time East Timor joined the United Nations and became the first new sovereign state in the 21st century.
Much of East Timor is a mountainous area. Characterized by the distinct rainy and dry season, though for the most part the weather is hot and humid. The largest city and primary port is Dili.
Once depending on exports such as coffee, marble, oil and sandalwood, it now depends on oil revenues from offshore gas reserves. With this, half the population still lives poverty. This country was declared by the oil monetary fund East Timor as one of the most oil dependent nations in the world. The country is dependent on government spending and to a lesser extent on International donations.
The agriculture sector employs 80% of the population. The petroleum fund pays for nearly all the government’s bills.
The population of East Timor stands in the vicinity of 1,144,000. The concentration of this population is in the city of Dili. The Portuguese used the term Maubere, which is a derogatory term for illiterate or uneducated.
There are 2 primary languages of East Timor, Portuguese and the native language spoken throughout Southeast Asia, Tetum.
A 2010 census revealed that 36% of households spoke the mother tongue of Tetum Prasa.
The predominate influences on the East Timor’s are:
- Roman Catholic
East Timorese culture is heavily influenced by legends of the Austronesian and Melanesians cultures.
Overall the transportation system is quite poor. However, the roads connecting Dili with other regions are quite decent. The rainy season does indeed make the roads too risky to drive on.
When using a taxi, bicycle, microlets and trucks, caution is advised as the vehicles are in bad conditions and the roads again are quite bad. There is also a problem with reckless drivers.
Travel to East Timor Dili Airport can be achieved from nearly every airport internationally. Dili Airport is the only international airport located in East Timor.
What to do:
From diving to museums to Markets, there are plenty of things to find to do on this lush island.
- Aquatica Dive Resort – Offers some of the best diving on the Island. Located in Dili, you can dive right off the shore. Included as well is spear fishing.
- Cristo Rei – Which is a statue of Christ that includes a beautiful beach view. There is no public transportation to this site; however, one reviewer stated they were able to compromise with the cab driver that waited for them. There are also 520 steps to climb to get to the top of the statue.
- Autoro Island – This is the highest peak in East Timor. The sunrises from this location are spectacular.
- Xanana Cultural Center – Find the library and free Internet in this complex that houses memorabilia from Xanana Gusmao. Become amazed by the artwork on display.
- Eco Tour – Travel with a small group of adventurers like you and see what is around the Capital of Dili. You will be going by 4 wheel drive and by boat.
The bulk of the hotels are located in Dili. You can though find more than hotels. There are campgrounds and Villas as well as the hotels.
- The Gardens Residence – A 5 star residency hotel. Located in the heart of Dili and within walking distance to the Dili Plaza. The customer service is superb and the kitchens are quite practical.
- Timor Plaza Hotel and Apartments – Located in the center of Dili. An excellent hotel for business travellers. Comfortable for long term stays.
- Plaza Inn – With a renovated wing, the new wing is up to date and comfortable. The old wing is in need of updating but provides a decent nights sleep for a few days.
- The Discovery Inn – Ranked number 1 of 19 hotels in the Dili area, this home away from home offers free canapés and alcohol after arriving back from a long day. Even the greeting at the airport is special in as much as they offer towels infused with lemon.
East Timor is a hidden and unsung tourist destination. Not as popular with the tourist trade as other areas in the region. One of the reasons for this may be the political unrest and the poverty image. There are many tourist attractions in the Dili area, which is the capital of Timor-Leste.
Attractions in the lush humid environment include diving, beautiful beach that are so sparse with people you can call your own. If you should get hungry or tired of lying around there is always fish and beer along the beach. Stay away from the South Shore because that is where the crocodiles live.
Bicycling is another wonderful activity to enjoy. The rainy season will make the roads treacherous and there is the care you must exert regarding the other drivers.
The night- life in East Timor is very slow. This region does indeed set meaning to the words “laid back”.
The indigenous coffee, does give you the $1cup of coffee. Coffee can be found cheaper. The coffee is not roasted on the island and there are still inconsistencies in the coffee bean.
All in all, you can find an extremely good stay in East Timor. While some hotel pricing may appear to be a bit pricey given the location.
East Timor has a long history and long cultural tradition stemming from Indonesian, Southeast Asian and Portuguese influences. While the tourist infrastructure is not strong, there is enough to do and see while staying in a luxury hotel.