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About East Timor
Tenuously riding the wave of independence since 1975, East Timor has shaken off the grip of Indonesia’s General Suharto and Portuguese colonialism to emerge a standalone country of the modern age. Unfortunately, things got ugly here, with genocide and upheavals and assassinations all marring the past decades. That doesn’t mean that East Timor is a write-off for travelers though, because today things are starting to settle down, the UN have departed and a fragile peace is in play. Still, things aren’t perfect, and anyone heading to this easternmost tip of the beautiful Lesser Sunda should be sure to keep their wits about them.
There are plenty of things to do once on the ground. Just take the gorgeous backcountry, rising to the black and green peak of Tatamailau at nearly 3,000 meters above sea level, or the dagger-like Paitchau ranges, where cuckoos and honeyeaters are just two of the curious birds flitting through the air. Ecotourism is usually the name of the game for any who do arrive (and those who do should be prepared to be stared at!). Along the south coast, reefs burst in colourful spots under the Timor Sea, while East Timor tour guides lead bobbing boats and Scuba crews out to Jaco Island. Expect some awesome trekking up Mount Ramelau too, and unforgettable encounters with harpoon-wielding fishermen too!