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East Timor

Introduction

East Timor has battled through a long and complicated past to emerge as an adventurous destination for the curious traveller. Uncrowded, it has little infrastructure, meaning that you'll need a spirit of adventure to get about but the rewards will be worth it.

Faded Portuguese buildings, especially in the capital Dili, hint at the country's colonial past. Pristine beaches and reefs provide good opportunities for diving and snorkelling close to shore; Atauro Island is an idyllic getaway just off the northern coast where you can dive with turtles, dugongs and reef fish.

Cape Fatucama is an attractive crescent of forest pocked with beaches and grottos. Climb above Areia Beach to the giant statue of Christ that overlooks it and get panoramic views of the bay.

More than 50 miles west, completely surrounded by Indonesian West Timor is Oecussi province. Cut off from the rest of the country it was badly damaged by the fighting. The regional centre, Pantemakassar, was the first Portuguese colony and the crumbling garrison still makes fascinating viewing.

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