3 warnings about Timor-Leste you have to know about before going
If you have ever travelled to destinations out of your comfort zone you will know about that feeling of the "unknown" as fear and doubts creep into your mind based on unfamiliarity. It's a natural human protective function that keeps us alert and conscious of potential dangers that may come our way, and we should be thankful for that. Unfamiliar currencies, knowledge of a recent history filled with instability, cultures that seem worlds apart from ours back home. These all play a part in an element of anxiousness prior to arrival in the foreign place you are diving into. Timor-Leste has a torrent history of oppression and tragedy which is rather confronting when you delve into what has actually happened. Mix that with high levels poverty and a population where embracing English is still in its infancy, Timor-Leste may have some features that may scare you off from checking out this relatively new nation. We will list 3 warnings that you should know about before deciding to jump on the plane to Dili.
If you are looking to get 5 star hospitality in a tropical island setting you may be surprised to know this. The Timorese are only at the beginning of their journey in terms of catering for tourists - it's only a fairly new concept and they haven't had many tourists to practice on to date. But what they lack in sophistication they make up for in the warm, most genuine care and attention for you and anyone else who wants to experience the incredibly vibrant food and experiences in emerging hotels that Timor-Leste has to offer. The chef's may not have nailed Western cuisine to perfection, but isn't the reason we travel to excite the tastebuds through tantalising local feasts? Where else can you pick up a freshly caught fish on the beachfront from a local fisherman before throwing it on a chargrill in the seabreeze? Now that's service!
2. The Timorese
Any reservations about the local people in Timor-Leste will likely be dismissed within the first hour of your arrival. The "Gen Y population" are everywhere as this is a very young nation and their willingness to communicate with visitors has spurred on a new wave of youth taking up English as their third or fourth language. Be warned, they may come up to you and practice "How are you today sir?" or "Hello, where are you from?". If you engage with them, you may be surprised into what local insights open up for you. Timorese are generally very respectful, quietly spoken and genuinely curious without any pushiness you may experience in tourist hotspots.
3. The landscape
If you are looking for a destination where the terrain is predictable and so easy to navigate around that you won't even have to think - you've probably made a huge error and need to go back home. Yes, the roads are far from perfect and the hills are incredibly windy and full of gnarly hairpins but the real adventure is in getting around in this tiny nation. From the energetic, but tranquil waterfront of Dili, up into the luscious, dense coffee growing highlands, any car sickness is overcome by the sheer beauty of this incredible and unique location. Jaw-dropping views as you drive past bamboo banana stalls, families perched on the mountainside and traditional thatched bungalows. The landscape is truly spectacular.
So if you have an eye for adventure and haven't thought about Timor-Leste as being a place you will visit, I recommend you consider the 3 warnings listed and get this place on your radar now! You won't regret it.