We are not going to get into the whole what is an enclave or exhale debate. You can read about that here! But at YPT, we like off the grid, and East Timor is the least visited country in Asia, and one of the newest countries in the world.
And guess what? They have an even less-visited part of the country. A weird exclave called Oecusse (yes, we are going there).
Here’s the Oecusse Guide
Oecusse is a coastal exclave of East Timor/Timor Leste, you can read about the whole name here. The capital city is Panta Macassar, and despite being in “West Timor”, it was part of Portuguese Timor, and indeed its huge fight for independence from Indonesia.
History of Oeucusse
The reason it is Portuguese is that it was the first place those benevolent Portuguese colonialists landed. They duly set about spreading Catholicism, which is why Timor is such good chums with the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea, the only predominantly Christian nations in Asia.
The Dutch and the Portuguese kept fighting over stuff before reaching a deal where West Timor became dutch, and East Timor Portuguese, although Oecusse stayed an exclave of the Portuguese.
In 1975 it was the first part of East Timor to be invaded by Indonesia, and even after the Indonesian invasion of East Timor remained part of East Timor (province) for administrative purposes.
Before the 1999 referendum, the area faced extreme violence from the Indonesians, with up to 90% of the infrastructure being destroyed. From full independence in 2002 to now has been a long slog for the people of Oecusse.
Nowadays, it is classed as the catchy ZEESM TL (Special Zones of Social Market Economy of Timor-Leste), which we genuinely have zero ideas what it means to be honest…..
Nowadays, almost everyone is Catholic, although, in the last census, there was one solitary Buddhist, sadly not a single Jedi though.
And why the YPT fascination with Oecusse? Firstly we love Timor, a lot, both West and East, and it genuinely is very off the beaten track, with almost no tourists visiting. There’s good food, beaches, and really friendly people.
Come see it for yourself! Get in touch with today..