Dili's heritage has given the city a distinct Portuguese flavor, and with Macau is the furthest east where you can savor genuine Portuguese food and wine. its street still bear Portuguese names and architecture leftover from the colonial era makes Dili one of the most unique cities in Southeast Asia.
History of Dili
Dili is the capital and largest city of Timor Leste, commonly called East Timor. The city lies on the northern coast of Timor island, and is the primary commercial and economic hub for East Timor.
The city has had a colorful past. In 1520, the Portuguese colonized East Timor and made the Dili the capital of Portuguese Timor in 1969. In 1975, however, the country declared independence from Portugal. This freedom was short lived. Just nice days later, Indonesian forces invaded Dili, pronouncing East Timor the 27th province of Indonesia. From then till 1999, the country was embattled in a guerrilla war between Indonesian and pro-independence Timorese forces.
It was not till 1999 that the international community began to take notice of Each Timor and global support for the independence movement was revived. In 1999, the country was placed under UN supervision and eventually achieved long awaited independence in 2002 by becoming the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
Today however, relics of Eash Timor's past still abound. Portuguese street names remain unchanged, even though they may bear Indonesian prefixes. The former Portuguese governor's office is the office of the Prime Minister. Legacies of Jakarta's occupation are the Church of Immaculate Conception, purportedly the largest cathedral in Southeast Asia, and the Integration Monument, which commemorates the Indonesian annexation of East Timor.
These days, however, the world's newest nation is slowly etching out an identity and future of its won. Its economy has been on the slow rise since 2005, and the goal is for growth to reach seven percent by the year 2010. Most of East Timor's hopes rest on its off-shore oil reserves, agricultural industries, and the growing tourism industry.
A 30-day travel permit is available to foreign nationals for US$30 on arrival. The permit can be extended after arrival, allowing a total stay of 90 days.
From/To The Airport
Taxi rides are at least US$1 (takes a little bargaining and indicating you’ve been here before) into Dili.
Taxi's shuttle passengers around the city for US$1. Trips further out will cost more.
The US Dollar is widely accepted.
Where To Stay
- Venture Hotel, Rua Filomena de Camara, Bidau Lecidere, +670 331-3276, US$28 a night.
- Hotel Esplanada, Avenida de Portugal, +670 331-3088, contact hotel for rates.