A very popular spot for nature enthusiasts and thrill seekers, East Timor has the beaches with the best wildlife diversity for diving and the rugged terrain and parks for biking and camping. Get a diving suit and go to the vast white sand beaches then dive into clear blue waters filled with amazing sea creatures, from colorful fishes to corals to turtles to dolphins and sharks. The mountainous areas provide the best landscape for bikers, hikers, and campers to enjoy the rewards of nature in the form of amazing scenery. Lastly, get to relax and enjoy the peacefulness of the simplicity of life of the locals living in this country.
Important and Interesting Facts about Timor-Leste
- East Timor or Timor-Leste is a country in Maritime Southeast Asia.It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor.
- Much of the country is mountainous, and its highest is Tatamailau (also known as Mount Ramelau) at 2,963 metres (9,721 ft)
- The easternmost area of East Timor consists of the Paitchau Range and the Lake Ira Lalaro area, which contains the county’s first conservation area, the Nino Konis Santana National Park. It contains the last remaining tropical dry forested area within the country. It hosts a number of unique plant and animal species and is sparsely populated.
- East Timor has a market economy that used to depend upon exports of a few commodities such as coffee, marble, oil, and sandalwood.
- It is one of only two predominantly Christian nations in Southeast Asia,the other being the Philippines.
- Tatamailau, or Tata Mailau, sometimes referred as Mount Ramelau, is the highest mountain in East Timor and also of Timor island at 2,986 m. The mountain is located approximately 70 km south of the capital Dili in the district of Ainaro.
- Cristo Rei of Dili is an 88.6‑foot‑high statue of Jesus located atop a globe in Dili, East Timor. The statue was designed by Mochamad Syailillah, who is better known as Bolil.
- Atauro Island is a small island situated 25km north of Dili, East Timor, on the extinct Wetar segment of the volcanic Inner Banda Arc, between the Indonesian islands of Alor and Wetar.
- The Nino Konis Santana National Park is East Timor’s first national park. The park, established on 3 August 2007, covers 1,236 square kilometres. It links important bird areas such as Lore, Mount Paitchau, Lake Ira Lalaro, and Jaco Island.
- Areia Branca beach and hinterland is a 2994 ha Important Bird Area in East Timor, a country occupying the eastern end of the island of Timor at the eastern end of the Lesser Sunda Islands group of Wallacea.
- The Ombai Strait is the strait which separates the Alor Archipelago from the islands of Wetar, Atauro, and Timor in the Lesser Sunda Islands
Cool and Funny Facts about Timor-Leste
- It is said that the island of Timor has a shape much similar to that of a crocodile.
- In 1996, a Nobel Peace Prize was shared by two East Timorese activists named Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and José Ramos-Horta, for their struggle to achieve freedom peacefully.
- According to the ancient Austronesian (the natives of Timor) legends, Timor was formed after an ageing crocodile transformed into an island as compensation to a boy who helped the crocodile while it was unwell. The boy’s descendants are supposedly the natives of Timor.
- To look at a map of Timor-Leste, it is easy to think that the people of Timor-Leste might have descended from the Indonesians, because of its proximity. This would be incorrect; they are descended from the aboriginal people of Australia.
- Timor-Leste is the nation’s newest name. Before that it was East Timor. What makes that peculiar is that the word ‘Timor’, a word of both Indonesian and Portuguese origins, means east. That means the country was called ‘East-East.’
- The largest cave on the island, called Lena Hara, was found by scientists in the 1960s. Exploration revealed fishhooks and beads made from shells that have been radiocarbon dated to around 30,000 years ago. This is considered evidence of a wave of migration in the area. Carved faces high up on the walls have been dated back 10,000 years, and there are also paintings that are thought to be between 2,000 and 6,000 years old.
- Did you know that there is no West Timor, and the farther west you travel, the more East Timor you get?
- Did you know, that East Timor has entered a bid to host the Olympic Games every year since 1980, and was offered to host the Olympics in 1996 but forgot to build any stadiums, so it went to America?
- Did you know, all of the Wu-Tang Clan have summer homes in East Timor and Raekwon’s home was named ‘Lovely Home of the Month’ in February by East Timor Homes and Gardens Magazine? Also, his song Ice Cream, is the East Timor national song?
- Did you know, that although East Timor has no newspapers, its Fish and Chips are best in the world?
- Did you know, that in East Timor, rattlesnakes are turned into makeshift baseball bats by our eager children, using the resin and the varnish left around by Manny Ramirez, when he spends time in the country on his fishing expeditions?
- Did you know, Bruce Springsteen wrote an album called Born in East Timor entirely on the Qanbus Lute, but it was turned down by his label so he angrily recorded a stupid album called Nebraska on the guitar and blues harp instead?
Historical and Cultural Facts about Timor-Leste
- Homo sapiens arrived in Timor around 42,000 years ago. The first inhabitants lived mostly from the abundant fish and shellfish, as well as plants and the few mammals on the island (mostly bats and a now-extinct species of large rat). The archaeological record also points to early contact with New Guinea, with animals like the cuscus (Phalanger orientalis) and some plants originating there, suggesting people at that time were island-hopping back and forth.
- The Portuguese reached the coast of Timor around 1515. They settled at Lifau, now the enclave of Oecussi in the western half of Timor.
- When World War II started, the Australians, aware of Timor’s importance as a buffer zone, landed in Dili, despite Portuguese protests. The Japanese then used the presence of the Australians as a pretext for an invasion in February 1942, staying until September 1945.
- On November 28, 1975, Fretilin declared the República Democrática de Timor-Leste (RDTL). The RDTL was recognized just by a few countries, mainly former Portuguese colonies in Africa, and was short-lived. Ten days later, on December 7, 1975, Indonesian troops invaded. Some 60,000 people lost their lives in the early years of Indonesian annexation, contributing to a death toll of about 200,000 for the whole period of its administration. The seizure was condemned by Portugal and the United Nations.
- On August 30, 2001, Timor-Leste had its first free elections for representatives who were charged with writing a new constitution and on May 20, Timor-Leste became the world’s first new country of this millennium.
- The traditional textile of Timor Leste is known as Tais and they are being made in two styles which are called mane and feto. Mane Tais is the piece of Timor Leste clothing which is worn following the style of sarong around the waist of a person. Feto Tais is another piece of Timor Leste Clothing which is sewn int o a long tube and the women steps inside it and wears it like a dress.
- The staple East Timor Food consists of Rice. Besides, the other food crops grown here include Maize, sweet potatoes, cassava, and Taro. The vegetables that form a part of the East Timor Food consist of cabbage, spinach, beans, cowpeas and onions. In fact in many houses poultry, pigs and goats are domesticated and they also serve as a source of meat. Besides, East Timor Food also includes fish as a part of it. Also, the Timorese people cultivate bananas, watermelons, mangoes, papaya and coconuts.
- Timor Leste Religion had a huge influence of the Roman Catholic faith when the country was occupied by the Indonesians during the years of 1975 to 1999.The number of people who believed in the Catholic faith found in the Timor Leste religion greatly increased during the tenure of the Portuguese. Timor Leste is one of the few Catholic oriented countries in East Asia along with the Philippines and more then 90 percent of the people follow the Roman Catholic Religion.
- East Timor tradition consists of ethno cultural diversities and this is reflected in the languages, literature, arts, music and dance of the country. East Timor Traditions also have a deep rooted connection with mythology and the oral tongue of the people have spread it from one generation to the other. The different ways of evolution of the various kingdoms has a significant role in the development of the East Timor Traditions.
- Timor Leste had been under Portugal and Indonesia for quite some time. As a result East Timor Music reflects the influence in its music of these countries. The most popular form of East Timor Music is Likurai. This danced was performed by women when they welcomed men back to their homes after the war. This dance made use of the drum and sometime even the head of enemies was used. Such a dance also took place in the form of processions through villages. In fact in present times a modified form of the dance continues to be used by the women during courtship.
- Timor Leste in South East Asia observes a number of holidays that are meant both for the purpose of marking historic events as well as religious celebration. East Timor Holidays include those that are observed in memory of the Freedom struggle. Besides, East Timor Holidays also consists of certain days that are not exactly considered as holidays but such days can be taken off from work.Some of the East Timor Holidays are as follows:1st January New Year’s Day,1st May Labor Day,15th August Assumption Day,30th August Constitution Day,All Saints Day 1st November,Santa Cruz Day 12th November,Independence Day 28th November,Feast of the Immaculate Conception 8th December,Christmas 25th December.