Coast of Dili, Timor Leste
Timor Leste, formally known as East Timor, is the youngest nation in South East Asia. It is located next to Indonesia, on the eastern side of the island Timor (West Timor belongs to Indonesia), flight time on Air Timor (which charters flights from Silk Air) from Singapore to Dili, capital of Timor Leste, is 3hrs 45mins.
Timor Leste was colonised by Portugal in the 16th century until 1975. Between 1975 and 2002, it was occupied by Indonesia, marking a period of violent conflict between Timorese separatist groups fighting for independence and the Indonesia military. On 20 May 2002, Timor Leste was declared as the first new sovereign state of the 21st century.
Timor Leste is divided into 13 municipalities with Dili as the capital. Its current population stands at 1.2million, with Roman Catholicism as the main religion. Timor Leste's two official languages are Portuguese and local language Tetum. English is not widely used but the younger generation has a keen learning appetite for the language, understanding the versatility it can bring.
Its mountainous landscape brings with it fertile soil great for agriculture in certain districts such as Emera. Coffee, is one of the main agriculture produce from this young nation. Not widely known, Timor Leste actually produces high quality specialty coffee that is currently exported to countries such as Japan, America and Australia. Our Really Good Coffee comes from the high altitudes of Letefoho sub-district in the Emera district.
Timor is also a diver's paradise with relative untouched reefs and quiet numbers of divers. Divers are encouraged to explore the waters of this quiet nation before crowds start to throng the diving sites as the nation develops.
We will be introducing more about Timor Leste from the perspective of a Singaporean based in the country. Watch this space for more stories!