Young Pioneer Tours

East Timor Tours 2024 – 2025

Young Pioneer Tours have been running East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste, Tours since 2016, both group and independent. We are now happy to announce our programs for both 2024 and 2025 to the hidden gem that is Timor-Leste.

This is a place YPT know and love so much, we are even on first name terms with the President!

To read YPT’s interview with the Timor president click here

East Timor Tours

YPT have ran group tours annually to East Timor since 2016, Covid notwithstanding. These tours have included short trips to East Timor, travel around the whole country, going overland from Indonesian West Timor, and even combo’s with West Papua. 

East Timor and West Papua Tour – May 14th – May 29th 2024 – $4195

This is our Timor-Leste Overland Tour combined with us exploring untouched West Papua and its tribes via the party capital of Bali, Indonesia.

Explore East Timor Tour – October 7th-14th 2024 – $1995

Our standalone East Timor tour has us checking out the capital city, as well traveling to other lesser seen parts of the country such Baucau and Lospalos.

East Timor and Palawan Combo Tour September 27th – October 16th 2024 – $2995

Our standard East Timor Tour, but combined with traveling around and island hopping on some of the least seen parts of Palawan, Philippines.

Our group tours can currently be combined with tours to West Papua, as well as other parts of Indonesia. You can check out our West Papua Tours here

Independent East Timor Tours

Should our group tour dates to East Timor not fit schedule then we can arrange bespoke East Timor tours to fit you seeing everything you want within the country.

Timor-Leste is relatively small, meaning that we can easily see the whole country, particularly since they now have fixed their roads. This also includes the exclave of Oeucusse – by land, or chopper!

Example Independent Tour Itinerary to East Timor

Day 1

  • We transfer to the airport to board the 09.15 flight to Dili, capital of East Timor Arrival at 12.00 arrange our visas on arrival before transferring to our very centrally placed accommodation
  • Lunch in town
  • Optional Scuba dive (at own cost) or free time for some rest
  • We take a walk down to the pristine beachfront in Dili where we will grab dinner at one of the restaurants overlooking the sea. At dinner we will be joined by a leading politician, former prisoner, and veteran of the independence war with Indonesia, to hear about his experiences in fighting for Timorese independence
  • Overnight in Dili

Day 2

  • We go for a city tour of Dili including the parliament, presidential palace and old Portuguese architecture
  • Visit to the Timor genocide museum, not only a very moving place but essential in understanding the recent history of the nation.
  • Lunch in a traditional Timorese restaurant
  • TRIP HIGHLIGHT  We head to the HQ of FRETELIN, the former ruling party of Timor-Leste to buy t-shirts, and probably have our photos taken for their propaganda! Expect lots of raised fists, and to be called comrade a lot. All very YPT.
  • Our local guide continues our driving tour of the city with a visit to the former prison building of the Indonesian army and other sites related to the war of independence.
  • Back to the hostel for shower and change before we transfer to the beachside barbecue restaurants to sample how the locals get together for drinks and food. This is street food at its best!
  • Walk down the seafront for nighttime beers overlooking the sea
  • Overnight in Dilil

Day 3

We get up nice and early to board our private bus to drive to the second largest and most important city in the country – Baucau

The journey takes around 3 hours with us stopping on the way for pictures opportunities and lunch.

On arrival in Baucau, we check into our bungalows on our very own private beach. This is simple, but also extremely serene.

City tour of Baucau including the old colonial building and government house.

Baucau has a very famous outdoor saltwater swimming pool frequented by the locals so we head here for a morning swim and a relax

In the evening, we enjoy a home cooked meal with our hosts before grabbing some beers and heading down to our very own private beach for a kickback. The sea has bio phosphorescence, with the water lighting up on your every move.

Overnight in beachside bungalows

Day 4

We then head to what is quite a surprising highlight of the trip by visiting the local market.

Considering this is the second biggest city the market is surprisingly primitive with foreigners rarely venturing here. This offers a lot of opportunities to observe contemporary life as well as interact and speak with the locals

Lunch at a locally famous restaurant to try the regional specialty Kulu, or for the less adventurous Portuguese cuisine.

If you have your very own private beach, then you should use said very own private beach, so we do what any sensible group would do and have a big BBQ!

Overnight in beachside bungalows

Day 5

TRIP HIGHLIGHT  We head to a weird but very worth it highlight, where we head to Baucau Airport, a place that looks abandoned but is in fact very much in use, where we will be able to drive around the runway via our vehicle, or for the adventurous by motorbike

We avoid the legendary Timorese roads by boarding our own chartered aircraft for the very quick prop-plane flight from Baucau to Dili. Dual heaven for flight geeks.

On arrival in Dili, we transfer directly to our hotel for a freshen up and lunch before our vehicle arrives back from Baucau to meet us.

In the afternoon we head to the iconic statue of Jesus for a hike and to see the sunset. For those inclined, it is possible to either rent a motorbike to do this, with, or without a driver, or to simply take our regular vehicle.

We sit by the sea to witness the stunning sunset next to a beautiful beach, where we will also have dinner, drinks and a general goodbye for our last night in Timor-Leste

Day 6

  • Free morning in Dili to either do some last-minute shopping (yes we will get you fridge magnets), or simply relax by the beach before we head to Dili Airport for our Ongoing flight to next destination 
  • End of the tour with YPT able to arrange all sorts of further transportation, accommodation and excursions all throughout South East Asia.

This example itinerary market our short trip to Timor, and can be expanded on, shortened, combined with other things, or done on a bespoke basis. Simply get in touch to let us plan your Timor-Leste adventure. 

East Timor Tour Guides

East Timor has next to no tourist infrasturure and while the country is trying to expand the industry, things are moving slowly. You cannot just show up and find a guide! YPT work with the best and few tour guides in Timor-Leste.

East-Timor Travel Agencies

YPT are the only East Timor travel agency that focuses on seeing the real Timor. Other agencies are mainly Australian and focus on diving. 

We are an East Timor Travel agency that works closely with the government, as well as the local populace to provide opportunities to Timorese people to show off their culture. 

Independent East-Timor Tours – Top things to see

Traveling to East-Timor has a lot to offer, which will cover in a later article, but for now we will cover some of the cool things we have in the sample itinerary.

Tais Market

Tais is a Tenun weaving tradition. An authentically rich feel about the market, which is based in the capital. Larger covers for the couch and bed cost about $25, while tablecloths cost about $10 and little covers cost about $2. The “Barlak” dowry transaction, which was one of the first dowry exchanges, shows that male and female tais have played a vital role in the cultural history of the people and cultures of East Timor.

The Archives & Museum of East Timorese Resistance

Entrance free priced at $1 to experience the stories told and artifacts from the time of fighting for freedom. This would set the pace of your journey in the country. Learning about the struggle of independence from Portugal and more recently Indonesia back in 2002.

Cristo Rei

At Cape Fatucama in Dili, there is a gigantic monument of Jesus Christ that is 27.0 meters high and perched atop a globe. This is a great opportunity to grab a photo with the statue in the background with the beautiful blue waters.


The political position of ‘Centre-left’ is ingrained into the party of ‘Fretelin’. The HQ is situated in the capital – Dili. In May 2022, the leader of the party- Francisco Guterres- was president until José Ramos-Horta from another ‘Centre-left’ party named CNRT took 62% of the vote and took over.

Piscina de Baucau

In the second city of Baucau, there is a swimming pool where most locals come to in the mornings to relax. Once a week, the natural spring water that is in it is replaced. This place hosts a strong sense of existential authenticity from the locals relaxing to the vegetation surrounding the premises.

Getting into Timor-Leste

Flying to East Timor

Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport is the main international airport of Dili.

Major international airlines that serve Dili directly include:

  • Air Timor from Singapore.
  • Sriwijaya Air and its sister company NAM Air from Bali (Denpasar), Indonesia.
  • Citilink from from Bali (Denpasar), Indonesia.
  • There are currently rumours of a direct route from KL to Dili being launched

Entering East Timor by land

At Mota’ain (or Motain), 115 km west of Dili, there is a major land border crossing with Indonesia. A 3–4 km away town in Timor-Leste is called Batugade. The West Timorese town of Atambua is the closest significant Indonesian town. Additionally, there are land border crossings into Oecussi at Bobometo (north of Kefamenanu on the Indonesian side), Salele (near Suai) on the south coast, and Wini (on the north-east coast of Oecussi).

Aside from Indonesian nationals, visa on arrival is not accessible at the land border. A Visa Application Authorization must be requested in advance for anyone planning to cross the land border, and this authorization must be shown to an immigration officer at the border. For a price of $30, a single or multiple entry visa usable for up to 90 days is issued if all other requirements are satisfied. Schengen members from the European Union no longer need a visa application authorization letter to cross the land border. Timor-Leste and EU Agreement.

Entering Timor-Leste By sea

A few cruise lines include Timor Leste in their itineraries, including P&O Cruises, Holland America Line, Noble Caledonia, and Paul Gauguin Cruises. However, East Timor is not served by any regular international passenger boats.

The various islands of Timor-Leste are accesible by boat

How to get an East Timor Visa

Visa-free travel to Timor-Leste is permitted for up to 90 days in a 180-day period for citizens of all Schengen Agreement nations. At any border crossing, including land border crossings, Dili International Airport, and Dili Sea Port, Indonesian nationals may apply upon arrival.

All other nationals may receive a visa upon arrival if they enter the country through the Dili Sea Port or Airport. For a price of $30 USD, a single-entry visa valid for up to 30 days is issued. For a price of $20, transit permits are available for stays of under three days. It is advisable for visitors to arrive with US dollar currency. Both inside the airport and at border crossings are ATM and credit card machines.

All visitors must fulfill these requirements in addition to having a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of entrance to enter East Timor.

Show that you have a sincere desire to come (as tourist or business trip).

A return or onward ticket must be presented together with proof of your lodging arrangements.

Provide evidence of sufficient funds: **US$150 per day for tourist or business visas. **US$100 plus US$50 per day for transit visas.

The immigration officers won’t ask for any of this information, though, if you have a passport from a wealthy nation and appear respectable. Instead, they will take your $30 and hand you a visa sticker. You then wait in line at passport control, where someone will insert the sticker.

FAQ About East Timor Tours

The United States Dollar is the legal tender in Timor-Leste and there are ATM’s where you can get dollars. Locally produced centavo circulate in lieu of US coins and while they make good souvenirs cannot be exchanged outside of the country.
Due to the time as a Portuguese colony the language is widely spoken. Peoples proficiency in English is decent among young people, although less so in the countryside. While there are numerous minority languages the lingua-franca is Tetum.
Despite going through a bitter war for independence, as we a civil war things have gotten largely back to normal. Generally speaking he country is very safe, although as with anywhere you should be vigilant, particularly against petit theft. Of course we also suggest checking with external sources such as the FCDO before you decide on travel.
With occupation still being a recent memory people hold strong opinions about the period. Therefore tact is always suggested when broaching such subjects. The people of East Timor re though extremely friendly and will not shy away from questions if phrased politely.
Yes, there are options in the capital – Dili. Most menus are seasonal and always include vegetarian and vegan options. A high percentage of the food is bought locally from small-scale farmers and farmers’ markets.
As of 2017, only 27% of the population were connected to the Internet. However telecom providers such as ‘Telemor’ offer a deal priced at $25 for unlimited data for 30 days. Most hotels, hostels and high-end bars and restaurants also have Wi-Fi.