SAFETY TIPS

SAFETY AND SECURITY

POLITICAL SITUATION AND CIVIL UNREST

Although the situation has been calm since UN peacekeepers departed in 2012, political tensions remain. Violent episodes could occur with little notice, especially during significant political events, such as presidential or parliamentary elections. Be vigilant in the periods leading up to, during and following these types of events.

Military operations may take place at any time throughout the country. If you encounter a military operation:

  • leave the area immediately
  • follow the instructions of local authorities
  • remain vigilant at all times

DEMONSTRATIONS

Demonstrations take place from time to time and are likely to occur in the vicinity of government buildings, institutions or residences as well as in the vicinity of Dili’s Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • follow the instructions of local authorities
  • monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)

CRIME

Gang-related violence, arson, robbery and vandalism occur, especially in Dili. Gangs in Dili have attacked cars with stones and darts fired from slingshots, particularly during the early evening hours and at night.

Violence between martial arts groups occurs, despite the government banning most of their activities. Avoid armed non-government groups, including martial arts groups, throughout the country. Exercise extreme caution at bars and nightclubs, where altercations between groups may take place.

Petty crime such as mugging, car theft, pickpocketing and purse snatching also occurs. Foreigners are frequently targeted by thieves. Do not show signs of affluence and be aware of your surroundings. Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.

WOMEN’S SAFETY

Women travelling alone may be subject to forms of harassment, violence and verbal abuse. Sexual harassment and groping of women is reported regularly.

Safe-travel guide for women

ROAD SAFETY

Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Roads in mountain areas can be narrow and winding. Driving conditions can be hazardous during the rainy season due to flash floods. Roads are poorly maintained and lack adequate lighting, and those outside of Dili are often unpaved. Serious accidents are frequent and travelling at night should be avoided. Frequent roadblocks occur.

Avoid driving or riding motorcycles in Timor-Leste, even if you are an experienced motorcyclist, as motorcycle accidents are common.

Do not travel alone, especially after dark or in secluded areas. Avoid unnecessary local travel. Public transportation services are poor and using them is not advised.

AIR TRAVEL

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

GENERAL SAFETY INFORMATION

Facilities and services such as hotels, restaurants and public transportation are available in Dili but are very limited or non-existent elsewhere on the island. Government services are also limited.

Locals regularly find unexploded ordnance in open areas outside Dili. Be careful when trekking in rural areas and stay on well-used paths and roads.

There have been crocodile sightings on beaches in Dili and other popular destinations. Crocodile attacks have also occurred in areas across the country. Check with locals for the latest on the situation.

PIRACY

Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occurs in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report – International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre