Bemvindo ba Timor Leste

Experience the bustling capital of Dili and the tranquil mountains of Balibo as you are guided through remnants of Portuguese colonisation, sites of resistance against Indonesian invasion, and dedicated organisations working to combat challenges following independence.

Throughout your journey, you will visit Palms Australia’s local partners and see the work they are doing in their communities. You will have the opportunity to learn about the role Australians can play in reducing global poverty by supporting local initiatives.

$3,500 per person | What’s included?*

  • Expert guide
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • All internal transport
  • Tourist visa (issued on arrival)
  • Entry to museums and activities

At the end of each day, guided activities will help you gain a deeper understanding of the new sights, smells, sounds, tastes, textures and experiences you’ll encounter, and perhaps challenge some of your own ideas.

Your itinerary is subject to change depending on transport, weather and the needs of our host organisations.


Atauro Island

Arrive in bustling Dili and spend the evening getting to know your group, before travelling to the idyllic island of Atauro, home to the Boneca doll factory and Barry’s Eco-lodge.

Travellers enjoying a tuk tuk ride from Barry’s Eco-lodge to the main street of Atauro.

Conservation International identified the reef surrounding Atauro as the most bio-diverse in the world. These waters are home to a total of 642 reef fish species making this destination an incredibly special place for marine conservation.

On your taxi ride you’ll likely be greeted by some more familiar marine creatures as dolphins love to entertain boats travelling between Atauro and the mainland.


A town of immense historical significance to both the Timorese and Australians, Balibo sits in the mountains near the Indonesian border and is renowned for the murder of five foreign correspondents by Indonesian forces during the early days of the Timorese fight for independence.

Palms English Teacher Mentor Gabby Rankin with students at Balibo Community Learning Centre.

This mountain town is now a focus of regional development activity, with a four-star hotel now occupying the old Portuguese fort and a dental clinic which hosts Australian dentists. Balibo Community Learning Centre has been a longstanding partner of Palms Australia and guests will be able to enjoy walking tours to the area’s stunning natural landmarks with Balibo Trails, an organisation whose guides have been mentored in English by Palms participants.

Atabae Home Stay

Our incredible hosts in Atabae.

Every guest on Palms’ Encounter to Timor Leste has raved about their homestay with families in Atabae. Between Dili and the Indonesian border, Atabae is a small community which welcomes travellers to experience Timorese hospitality during an overnight stay with a local family. Each guest will be staying with a different family and be treated to traditional Timorese food.

Sights of Dili

In your last full day in Timor-Leste, experience more of Dili’s cultural heritage. Visit some of Dili’s important memorials like the Chega! Exhibition and the Santa Cruz Cemetery.

Santa Cruz Cemetery.

Find a good book in the Xanana Reading Room, shop for traditional textiles at the Tais Market and grab some souvenirs and a bite to eat at the bustling Timor Plaza.

Exchange stories and celebrate your last night in Timor-Leste with a final dinner with your group and Palms Australia participants before flying home the next morning.

* Bookings made by credit card incur a 1.5% fee to cover transaction charges. Travellers will be required to complete the following at their own expense:

  • Medical approval for travel to Timor Leste, including to remote areas
  • Police Check
  • Working with Children Check

Our Timor Leste Encounter begins and ends in Dili. Return flights to Timor Leste are not included in your tour. We can offer advice on booking flights through Darwin where you will meet up with fellow travellers and your guide before arriving in Dili. For those joining us from flights through Bali, let us know your flight details and we can connect you with fellow travellers when you arrive.

Read our complete Terms and Conditions for more information and get in touch with Palms if you have any questions.