Timor-Leste is one of the newest countries on Earth which gained independence after many years of violence and fighting. It a country located in the eastern Lesser Sunda Islands, an Indonesian archipelago located between the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. If you’re looking for a tropical adventure destination that’s well off the heavily treaded tourist trail, then East Timor is perfect for you. Here are 8 facts about the country!
1. Timor-Leste’s people come from Australia. Because of the country’s proximity to Indonesia, many suspect that the people of Timor-Leste come from this territory. However, they are descended from the aboriginal people of Australia.
2. After 455 of colonization, in 1975, the Portuguese left East Timor abruptly, leaving the island vulnerable. On July 16, 1976, the island was declared an independent nation and named the Democratic Republic of East Timor. However, nine days later, Indonesia invaded it and annexed it. This caused the United States and other western countries to sanction Indonesia.
3. The first time that democratic elections were ever held in East Timor was in 2001.
4. The country gained its independence on May 20, 2002 when it became the first new sovereign state of the twenty-first century.
5. There is a large cave on the island of Timor-Leste called Lena Hara. There, scientists found beads and fishhooks that were dated to 30,000 years ago using radiocarbon tests. In addition, there are carved faces on the walls that are dated back 10,000 years and paintings that are believed to be up to 6,000 years old.
6. Timor Leste has one of the highest proportions of women parliamentarians in the world. With 38% of parliamentarians currently women, Timor-Leste is surpassing the 30% quota it embedded in its constitution to ensure women are getting closer to having equal say at a national level.
7. The first and only national park in Timor-Leste is Nino Konis Santana National Park. It was established on August 3, 2007, and it covers an area of 1,236 square kilometers or 477 square miles. This park includes 556 square kilometers of the Coral Triangle and important bird areas as well.
8. Poverty levels in Timor-Leste are very high, according to the World Bank. However, progress is constantly being done to improve the population’s living standards. In 2014, the proportion of East Timorese living in poverty declined from 50% in 2007 to 42%.
How to reach?
The country’s main airport Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport, formerly known as Comoro Airport is located in Dili. There are no direct flights between Timor Leste and India. Indian can reach Timor Leste via Singapore, Indonesia or Australia as these are the only countries with direct flight to Timor.
Atauro Island: A great destination to escape the hustle bustle for a few days. The island is an undiscovered gem with stunning mountains, beautiful beaches and fun water activities!
Mount Ramelau: There are numerous hills and places to trek your way. Also, the hiking options are great. Mount Ramelau is one such place to hike and have fun. The hike begins at the mountain village of Hato Builico and is marked by a large gate. Guides can be hired here or you can follow the reasonably well-marked path to the top.
Lospalos: Lospalos is a tiny city in the eastern part of the island is famous for its traditional ‘totem’ houses, owned by the local Fataluku people and considered a holy link between their past and their present. It’s a town of strong traditions and some of its people speak PortugueseJaco Island: Located on the easternmost trip of the country, the island is a place of spectacular beauty. The island is mainly covered in forest and breathtakingly beautiful white sand beaches. It is illegal to stay on the island as the local Autochthonous people consider it sacred, so a day trip is the perfect option.