East Timor
– Solar Eclipse 2023

East Timor – Solar Eclipse 2023 – a 14 day Small Group Tour from £2995 per person.


East Timor is a proud nation now at peace after many years of an independence struggle, a land of amazing variety with many fine examples of its Portuguese colonial past awaiting discovery by the intrepid traveller.

Still a lesser-visited part of South East Asia, East Timor maintains an authenticity elsewhere eroded by commercialism, a place that allows thoughtful travellers to appreciate its uniqueness without overpackaging its essence. Go now.

On this 14 day special interest tour,  we take in the East Timor Solar Eclipse , starting in the relaxed capital Dili, a lovely place to wander around and soak up the East Timorese atmosphere.

We head to a strategic observation point for an exciting opportunity to observe the solar eclipse (local conditions permitting). Then, we explore delightful old colonial towns and spend time on idyllic Jaco Island.

Heading inland, we climb up the imposing Mt Ramelau, with its superb views over the surrounding area, before heading back to Dili. This trip shows the curious and intrepid traveller the very best that this enchanting and mysterious nation has to offer.

 

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour Pace

Busy

Tour style

Traveller

Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.

Itinerary.

Arrive in Dili, one of the world’s newest capital cities, and transfer to your hotel. After freshening up, embark on a short tour of the capital city. Dili still sports a few Portuguese reminders like the villa-lined beach roads, the former colonial garrison built in 1627 and the church built on the waterfront. However, new shops, restaurants and bars are opening all the time, bringing a new energy and style to this once sleepy city.

On this guided tour, we will also visit the excellent Resistance Museum, the Statue of Cristo Rei and walk through the Santa Cruz Cemetery. Overnight Hotel Timor or similar. No meals are included today.

(Overall driving time today is approx. 2.5 hours)

After breakfast we start our journey north, driving along the stunning coastal road. Enjoy magnificent views of the ocean, coral reefs, white sand beaches and marble rock beaches, while stopping on the way at several fishing villages and the town of Manatuto. We reach the splendid coast town of Baucau around lunchtime and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the town. Overnight Pousada de Baucau, or similar. (B)

(Overall driving time today is approx. 2.5 hours)

This morning we head inland through wonderful mountain scenery, passing rice paddies on terraced hillsides before reaching Venilale. The town is known for its Portuguese architecture, particularly the ‘Escola do Reino de Venilale’ that we visit.

We then continue to Loihuno, stopping on the way to observe several Japanese bunkers left during the WWII in the area. On arrival, depart for a short hike to the historic resistance hideout in Wasadiga and Labalou Observation Post and continue with a visit of the refreshing Leki Raka caves. Overnight in a traditional hut in Loihuno. (BD)

(Overall driving time today is approx. 3 hours)

After breakfast, drive to Beaco where you will have the best chance to observe the East Timor solar eclipse, with forecasted timings (all local times) scheduled as follow:

11:44:22: Partial Eclipse begins

13:19:03: Full Eclipse begins

13:19:41: Maximum Eclipse

13:20:19: Full Eclipse Ends

14:54:50: Partial Eclipse Ends

Once the natural show is over, transfer back to Loihuno and the rest of the afternoon is left at leisure. Overnight in a traditional hut in Loihuno. (BLD)

(Overall driving time today is approx. 5 – 6 hours)

Return this morning back to the coastal town of Baucau. The rest of the day is at leisure, for you to either relax or explore this pleasant city further. Overnight at the historic colonial Pousada de Baucau, or similar. (B)

(Overall driving time today approx. 7 hours)

Morning departure to Com, driving by the Crystalized Salt Lake and the Monkey’s Lagoon, where if you are lucky, you can spot monkeys playing together and find fossils of giant clams and other marine life. Continue past traditional graveyards, Pitileti Rocky village, Mehara and Italalaro Lake to finally reach Tutuala. Overnight at the Pousada de Tutuala, or similar. (BD)

(Overall driving time today approx. 1 hour)

After breakfast we travel to Tutuala, and the IIi Kere Kere caves, East Timor’s most important archaeological site. The walk from the road to the caves can be hot and difficult but it is worthwhile to see the fascinating cave paintings, which have been dated at more than 13,000 years.

From the cliff top position of Tutuala we have superb views of the uninhabited Jaco Island. Local fisherman will take us the short distance across to the island. Overnight at Pousada de Tutuala, or similar. (BLD)

(Overall driving time today approx. 7 hours)

Today we drive back to Dili, stopping en route in Laleia, home town of the renowned Timorese Resistance leader Kairala Xanana Gusmao, and then in the coastal town of Manatuto. Hotel Timor, or similar. (B)

(Overall driving time today approx. 5 hours)

Drive southwards to Dare and Aileu. We continue to Maubisse, where we will stroll through the local market and reach Hato Builico in the afternoon. We then take an easy hike in the mountainous alpine area of the city. Overnight Alecrim Guesthouse, or similar. (BD)

(Overall driving time today approx. 6 hours)

Our climb (an approx. moderate 2.5-hour trek) starts at 3:30am to ensure we reach the summit, weather permitting, for the most spectacular of sunrises. We spend time enjoying the magnificent views at the summit before starting our journey back down. Upon return to Hata Builico, we take breakfast and then head south to the traditional village of Suai, alongside scenic mountain ranges.

On the way, we stop to visit the Supply Base of Timor Leste Oil Industry. On arrival, take a tour of the historic sites including the well-preserved cathedral. Overnight Fronteira Guesthouse, or similar. (B)

Note if you do not wish to hike to the summit of Mt Ramelau you can just stay in the surrounds of the historic Portuguese style guesthouse to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Considering this is the highest point on Timor-Lester this hike to the summit is classified as moderate.

There is no technical climbing. Anyone of a reasonable fitness can do it. Just take your time! It is highly recommended.

(Overall driving time today approx. 7 hours)

After breakfast we drive a scenic road all the way up to Bobonaro. After lunch we stop at the Marobo Hot Springs where you have time at leisure to enjoy the hot waters flowing out from the mountain. Continue to Balibo where we stay for the night. Overnight Balibo Fort Hotel, or similar. (BL)

(Overall driving time today approx. 4 hours)

Spend today exploring the town and embarking on one of the many guided trails nearby Balibo. Overnight Balibo Fort Hotel, or similar. (B)

We continue our tour, first stopping along the largest flowing river of Timor Leste, the Loes River. We then continue to Maubara where we stop for lunch and visit the old Fort. We expect to arrive back to Dili in the late afternoon. Overnight Hotel Timor, or similar. (B)

We hope you have enjoyed the East Timor Solar Eclipse tour! It is now time at leisure until your transfer to the airport for your onward flight. End of services (B)

Dates & Price.

This special interest solar eclipse tour of East Timor is scheduled to commence 17th April 2023. Depending on flight schedules this date is flexible by one or two days and will be finalised in Spring 2022.

The group size will be a maximum of 6 and the price is £2995 per person.

AT PRESENT THE TOUR IS NOW FULL.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN JOINING THIS TOUR PLEASE GET IN CONTACT IN ORDER THAT WE CAN ADD YOUR NAME TO A RESERVE LIST. IN THE EVENT THAT WE RECEIVE ANY CANCELLATIONS YOU WILL BE ADVISED.

Tour Notes

This special interest tour will operate with only a maximum of 6 travellers.

Single Supplement £495.

Flights possibilities to Dili will be advised in due course but from London possible routes are either via Singapore, Bali or Darwin. When the flight routes become clear, we will be happy to provide a quotation.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • All accommodation
  • Services of an English speaking guide
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Transport throughout the tour
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips
  • Visas
  • Drinks
  • Items of a personal nature

I loved Cambodia! Thank you to all involed in making this such a special trip. The group were all great and we are all keeping in touch.

 

Linda Heart, UK