East Timor Travel Guide, Gap Year Volunteering and Tours
Timor Leste (East Timor) is a small and relatively undiscovered destination. This country is definately for the adventure traveller, think of it as a hidden paradise which is far less touristy than Bali in Indonesia for example.
East Timor Travel Ideas
East Timor Travel Guide
East Timor has had a turbulent past and you will need to check latest safety information before departing. This might surprise you but another draw for tourists is that East Timor has some of the best scuba diving site in the world with spectacular coral reefs, marine life and also beautiful beaches.
- Capital: Dili
- Country Size: 15,007 km2
- Population: 1,066,000 (estimate)
- Language: Tetum + Portuguese (official)
- Country Dailing Code: 670
- Currency: US dollar (USD)
Weather & Best Time to Visit
East Timor is a warm country to visit, there is a hot and humid tropical climate and you can expect the temperatures to be around 30ºC throughout the year. The country is mainly dry and warm from June to October. There is no best time to visit although during the wet season travel can be more complicated due to poor roads. The wet season can damage the roads in East Timor, making travel difficult to remote district areas during this time.
Why the Need for Volunteers
Large international volunteer organisations like the UN have been working for many years trying to improve safety and living conditions on the ground for local people and you play a small role in helping too. There are short and long term placements available to join all year round.
This country is a very popular volunteer destination with Australian citizens due to the close proximity of the countries but people from all around the world apply. This is a tiny country most people couldn't even locate on a map, but if you would like to volunteer in Asia or abroad - your efforts will be put to good use East Timor
Below you can read more information about going to work in East Timor in a humanitarian capacity joining a relief and charity effort.
Why the Need for Assistance
- Around 43% of the population live below the poverty line
- Life expectancy is only 66 years of age well below other worldwide countries
- Infant mortality rate is high - 44.46 deaths/1,000 live births
- Adult illiteracy stands at 58%
- During the 24 year occupation around 1/3 people are thought to have died or killed leaving a very young population
- After the 1999 vote for independence there was terrible violence which left over 50% of the population displaced and infrastructure devestated
Types of Volunteering Programs in East Timor
There are programs for both skilled professionals and also general workers where you can help imrpove lives for people on the ground. Most projects are run in Dili but there are outreach programs operated throughout the country, this is a very poor country and assistance is needed all year round. NGO's in East Timor hire international staff to help with educational and medical awareness with the aim of preventing the spread of Aids and HIV or working with disadvantaged communities helping with therapy, rehabilitation, child development and nutrition. You could teach, coach sports, help building and construction efforts or help community based initiatives. There are also environmental and conservation based projects with organisations like Blue Ventures which are helping to preserve nature and wildlife. If you would like to work for a humanitarian organisation like the Red Cross or Oxfam - you will need to apply direct with them.
How to Apply
On our website you can search local volunteering organisations including charities, NGO's and international companies offering placements. You will need to secure a place before arriving as just turning up and trying to find a placement can be extremely difficult and unsafe. Most organisations offer structured and safe placements where you will need to pay a fee to join:
What is Included
- Pre-departure training and placement information
- Airport Transfers
- Food and accommodation for the duration of your stay
- Orientation and training costs
- 24-hour emergency support
What is Not Included