As East Timor’s capital, Dili is usually the first port of call for those venturing to this oft-forgotten corner of Southeast Asia.
It is the archetypal city on the rise; after suffering extensive damage in the post-1999-referendum violence Dili has since gathered serious momentum as the country looks to put its troubled past behind it.
For any adventurous visitors the appeal is obvious. Its colonial past has left it with a distinctly Portuguese feel – expect a friendly ‘bon dia’ or ‘boa tarde’ as you go about your business – and thanks to its off-the-beaten-track nature the clean beaches can feel pleasantly remote and isolated.
Travellers can really earn their stripes as they traipse around the streets and soak up the welcoming, if slightly hectic, atmosphere.
A 27-metre tall statue of Jesus brings a divine air to proceedings – and fantastic views across the bay – as Dili welcomes all with open arms.
Visitors will most likely arrive in by air at Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport with the most popular route being from Denpasar (Bali). Return flights with Nam Air/Sriwijaya Air cost around $200. Air North fly daily from Darwin, Australia and there are also twice weekly flights from Singapore.
A taxi ride into Dili from the airport costs between $5 and $10.