If you are arriving today you will be meet at the airport and transferred to the group hotel. After you have had time to settle in and freshen up we start our tour of Dili, visiting historic sites and landmark monuments such as the statue of Jesus and Pope John Paul II lookout. Our introduction to Dili also includes visits to Santa Cruz Cemetery (site of the student’s massacre by the Indonesian army in 1991) and the Resistance Museum, which showcases the 24 year struggle against the Indonesians with interesting displays and a timeline of events. Our next stop is the Chenga exhibition, a fascinating and must see display at the former Indonesian prison where you can learn about the struggles of the East Timorese people.
Today we start our journey south through the mountains as we head towards Maubisse first passing through Dare, a place of rare natural beauty. Our journey takes us through coffee plantations, white eucalypts, and fertile valleys as we drop down into the town of Aileu. On the way we pass by local monuments and rice fields before arriving in Maubisse in time to check into our accommodation then enjoy lunch. Maubisse is surrounded by rugged mountains and stunning scenery and fresh mountain air. After lunch wel visit some traditional villages in the area, you might also see the locals riding Timor ponies.
After breakfast we start the day with a trip to the local market where you will be able to buy provisions for your lunch and we can collect supplies for our camping trip. Once we have our supplies we will be picked up from the markets and commence our drive to Hatubuiliko. The road to Hatubuiliko is quite rough and the final 18km journey can up to an hour. On arrival we enjoy our picnic lunch at the base of the mountain before commencing our trek. The trek to the top is a steady 2 and a half hours and you will be rewarded with spectacular views. We set up our camp and enjoy the sunset. At 2964 meters, this is the country's highest mountain and home to the Mambai people. A statue of Our Lady was built at the summit in October 1997 and with it, Mt Ramelau reaches approximately 3000 meters and on a clear day, both the south and north coast can be seen. The temperature at the top drops to freezing overnight so thermal clothing is necessary!
Optional: If you do not want to trek up the mountain you can stay at the guesthouse in Hatubuiliko and meet up with the group the following day.
It is an early start for the sunrise (approximately 6:00am) before heading back to camp for breakfast. Following breakfast we start our decent down the south side of Mt. Ramelau to the main Ainaro Road (approx 6.5 hours walking). We then meet the vehicle and transfer by road to Ainaro. The drive is stunning and you will appreciate the amazing views of the valleys and mountains.
This morning you will have time to organize your take away lunch before we depart for the market town of Bobonaro. We follow the road to Zumalai, then continue north to Bobonaro through picturesque mountain ranges. We will break mid morning next to the village of Lepo, where we enjoy lunch surrounded by rolling hills where you'll see traditional conical thatched huts and children who will be as curious about you as you are about them. From here we continue to our final destination for the day, Bobonaro.
This morning we will again need to organize lunch before we depart for our day's activities. We transfer to Ilatlaun past coffee plantations and visit traditional village and weavers. From here we continue to the hot springs for a relaxing dip (optional) before driving into Balibo via Maliana. Maliana is the capital of the Bobonaro district and set on the edge of a fertile floodplain and rice growing district. Continue on to the historic Town of Balibo where we check in for the overnight at Balibo Fort Hotel, the Portuguese fort that sprawls along the hillside opposite.
We head back to Dili today taking in many sights along the way. Our first stop is Balibo, the infamous setting for the murder of five Australian journalists by Indonesian troops in 1975. We have time to wander through the Community Centre which houses a display of its history. Continuing on to Dili, time permitting, we also stop at Batugade - the border town with West Timor, Maubara - with its impressive 17th century fort and colourful basketry for sale by the sea, and the towns of Liquica and Tacitolu - the site of 20 May 2002 independence ceremony and celebrations.
Departing Dili by boat we travel to the tropical island of Atauro, passing through areas well known for dolphin and whale activity. We disembark at Beloi Beach (the main jetty on the island) and make our way to our guesthouse for check in. There is a great opportunity to take a local tuktuk into the village before lunch, then the afternoon is yours to relax and enjoy amazing snorkeling, swimming, beach combing, or fishing.
After enjoying the pristine island of Atauro we transfer by water taxi back to Dili, arriving by approximately 11:00 am (subject to weather conditions). The remainder of the day you are free to explore. One of the fastest growing cities in Asia, Dili is set along the waterfront so you may like to explore the central area or head east to lovely beaches where you are sure to receive a warm welcome from the locals.
Your trip concludes after breakfast. If you are departing today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.