East Timor

You won't find a whole lot of tourism to the teensy-tiny nation of East Timor, which barely measure some 14,000 square kilometers. This is a hidden Asian gem; and surprisingly not too many have heard about it. Really shocking considering its been occupied by a whole bunch of foregin invaders over the course of some five centuries.

This is a predominately Catholic country, whose captial city is Dili; the city where you'll find a good bit of nightlife along its beachfront. Dili even has its own castle, the Portuguese Castle that was built in 1627.

Portuguese invaders left a mark on the city of Baucau, the country's second largest city. It's full of colonial architecture, and caves for the truly adventurous.

Where is this slice of little-known Heaven? Right next to Indonesia. You won't be thinking of anyplace else once you've seen the white sandy beaches of Areia Branca (which means white sand). The snorkeling is great in the beach resort town of Com.

Getting around East Timor can be a struggle. Many of its roads are bad, to say the least, but you can always hire a local driver who knows the ins & outs. Biking around is another good idea; and taxis are cheap--so use them if you can.

The only thing difficult about eating is deciding on what to eat. All sorts of fish and curry dishes await you, as does beer and really (really) strong coffee.

Please remember to make sure you drink either boiled or bottled water, avoid dairy (powdered milk is ok), cook your veg & peel fruit before eating, and take out medical insurance before arriving. Make sure you've gotten your vaccinations in order, too.

Dengue Fever and Japanese encephalitis are also possible, so do your best to avoid mosquito bites.

East Timor's weather doesn't vary too much. It gets really hot (but dry) from July to November, while the monsoons drench the area with rain from December to March. The mountains offer some relief against the heat, but its still pretty humid up here.

Hot is hot in any language, but you'll most likely hear it in the 32 languages spoken in East Timor, English and Portuguese being two of them.

What you'll find in East Timor is wonderful--and maybe it isn't too bad that not everyone knows about it. This way you get to keep it to yourself.