Transportation in Timor Leste
Timor-Leste's tourist traffic is severely hampered by the lack of accessibility. Merpati, Air North and Austasia operate flights to Timor-Leste. Tourists can fly to Dili with Merpati daily from Bali. If you plan to fly to Timor-Leste from Darwin, Australia, you have more options.
There are 11 flights a week from Darwin to Timor-Leste, operated by Air North. Austasia airlines is now operating two times a week (Tuesday and Saturday) from Singapore direct to Dili. Hoping to improve accessibility, the local authorities are holding talks with other airlines like Timor Air.
Once in Timor-Leste it would be a good idea to rent a car or a motorbike and discover the country at your own pace, especially if you venture outside Dili.
Our Timor-Leste transportation guide below lists information about travelling to and getting around Timor-Leste; as well as providing contact details for various transport providers servicing Timor-Leste. A safe and easy way to get around Timor-Leste, and make the most of your Timor-Leste holiday, is by booking onto one of the great Timor-Leste tours.
Timor-Leste Transportation Guide
Getting to Timor-Leste
You will land at Dili's Comoro Airport when you fly into Timor-Leste. Flights operated between Dili and Darwin by Air North everyday except Tuesday and Sunday. It take only one hour ten to fly you to your destination. The other approach to Timor-Leste is from Bali. Reach Bali from wherever you are and then board one of the Denpasar-Dili flights operated by Merpati. These flights operate daily. Austasia also operate two time a week on a Tuesday and Saturday direct from Singapore to Dili and return on the same days.
Visa on arrival is currenty USD $30.00 for a 30 day tourist visa. Must be paid in USD
All flights to Dili generally run full so plan in advance and book your seats. When you leave East Timor you are required to pay an international departure tax of US$10.00.
For transport from the airport to the city (or from the city to the airport), we recommend Green Path Transfers, who offer eco-friendly airport transfers in hundreds of destinations around the world.
Visit our partner Air Valid for Airline Reviews and Information about Timor Leste.
Timor-Leste crosses borders with Indonesia at Mota'ain (or Motain), which lies 115km west of Dili. About 3-4 km from Motain is the East Timorese town of Batugade. You must fill in the documents from the following web site to obtain visa before entering Timor-Leste from Indonesia. The Timor Leste immigration web site is
Those leaving Timor-Leste from Motain must possess Indonesian visas. These visas are NOT issued at the border and have to be obtained from the Indonesian Embassy before the trip.
The distance between Dili and Kupang can be covered in 12 hours by bus. There is a daily bus service between these two cities run by Leste Oeste Travel and Timor Travels.
By spending three hours and US$3 you can take a bus ride from Dili to the border. Once at the border, you will need to complete formalities at the Timor-Leste customs and immigration and walk into Indonesia. Then you go though Indonesian immigration and hop on to a bus that will take you to Atambua or Kupang. From Atambua catch a mikrolet (a van) or a motorcycle taxi ride to get back to the border at Mota'ain.
If it is sea travel that you are looking for, you can get a ride on a barge. Once a week, barges carrying both cargo and passengers shuttle between Dili and Oecussi.
Getting Around Timor-Leste
You can get around in Timor-Leste using public transport like buses, taxis and mikrolets (vans). Taxi fares being reasonable, it is the most comfortable way to explore Dili. However, if you have your heart set on a mikrolet or bus ride make it a point to start early so that you can catch a ride. One other option is renting motorcycles. These are supplied by the Timor-Leste Backpackers hostel. Mountain bikes or cars can also be hired and there is always the option of taking a walking tour.
Baucau and Suai do have airports; however, no domestic flights are operated in Timor-Leste. The Oecussi airstrip is open only for flights operated during medical evacuations.
The Oekusi (Oecussi) Enclave, Ataúru (Ataúro) Island and Dili are well connected by ferry. A boat ride to Jaku (Jaco) Island will prove to be a memorable experience. An added attraction here is that the fishermen also cook fish for you on request!
Small buses connect several of the main cities like Baucau, Suai, Dili, Maliana and Los Palos. The buses are generally overcrowded and poorly maintained.
Mini vans adapted for passenger travel are used extensively for getting around Timor-Leste. These vans are called Mikrolets and charge very reasonable rates.
Mikrolet drivers scout for passengers - keliling ('going round' in Indonesian) and start on the journey only when the van is reasonably full. Most Mikrolet rides leave early in the morning.
Taxis are one of the best means of transport in Timor-Leste. Fares are not very steep and taxis are the best option for visiting a few out of the way places.
Please nogotiate the fare before getting into taxi as they will know you are a tourist and they have the tendancy to not understand english to get a better fare.
From anywhere to anywhere within Dili the cost is max USD $3
You can hire a car in Dili for around $80 a day. However, do be prepared for adventure - besides the tricky roads there is the lack of road signs to contend with. It is possible that you will get so caught up with driving that you miss out the great scenery around you!
While in Dili you will need to confine yourself to a speed limit of 40 kph. On open roads you may rev up and touch 50-60 kph. Tourists from the west might find the going slow but that is the maximum speed that can be achieved on Dili roads.
Ensure that you are carrying a valid driving licence or permit with you. This can be either from your country or you can have it issued in Timor-Leste. Your licence should specify the kind of vehicle you are allowed to drive. Do drive carefully and remember that there is no provision here for third-party motor insurance.
Pres. Nicolau Lobato, Colmera, Dili
Website: http://www.merpti.co.id Air North
Timor Aviation Airport, Dili
Rua Pelabuhan, Dili
Tel: 670 7353217
Nicalo Lobarto Airport