Surfing in East Timor
East Timor is one of the most recently founded countries in the world and is located, as indicated by its name, on the eastern part of the island Timor. It gained its independence in 2002. Due to years of civil war, Timor was, for a long time, considered as very unsafe which led to the fact that the island was off limits for travellers.
In the recent times the political situation has stabilized which now means it’s accessible for tourism. So now more and more tourists come and discover one of the most beautiful diving areas in the world and its spectacular mountains which are excellent for hiking. The lush vegetation that covers the whole island is another good reason to travel to East Timor. You can find wonderful sandy beaches which are great for relaxed sunbathing and lovely for long walks.
The diverse culture and not to forget the helpful and hospitable locals make a stay in East Timor very worthwhile. As the infrastructure can still be described as undeveloped the country is more suitable for the individual tourist and backpackers.
When it comes to surfing this country offers some world class spots, comparable to Indonesia. The wave conditions are consistent and the warm water allows surfing without a wetsuit.
The climate in East Timor is generally hot and sticky and has two dominant seasons. One is the rainy season from November till April, which brings strong rain, wildly flowing rivers and even floods.
The dry season is from May till November. During this period it’s arid throughout the island and almost no rain reaches the coast. In the mountain areas a small amount of occasional rain falls, so the vegetation remains green.
With annual temperatures of 30-35 degrees, East Timor is one of the hottest places on earth.
East Timor is an undiscovered surfing area, also due to the long lasting civil wars where you couldn’t travel the country. Today you can good travel to East Timor but the line-ups are still mainly empty and this even though the waves are of comparable quality to Indonesia. This is due to the fact that the same swells roll on to the riffs, which are also responsible for the waves in Indonesia. The waves are however due to a different ankle slightly weaker. East Timor offers therefore reef spots that are suitable for all levels of expertise.
Thanks to the tropical temperatures you can easily surf all year long without wetsuit. The water temperatures hardly fall below 26 degrees. Also the air temperatures hardly drop below 23 degrees. The freedom to move is therefore guaranteed.
Best season for beginner: October – May
Best season for advanced surfer: May – October
The only international airport “Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport“ is located close to the Capital Dili. It is regularly connected to by a few international airlines. There are almost daily connections from Darwin (Australia) or Denpasar on Bali (Indonesia) to Dili.
The airport is not suitable for larger planes and is therefore not connected to by direct flights from Europe or the US. The Cakung airport is the only airport, which is suitable for larger planes but commercial flights in, do not currently exist. An alternative is a flight to Kupang in the Indonesian West Timor, and then you need to proceed by land.
It’s worth mentioning that the public transport system outside of Dili is hardly developed and very unreliable. There is also no regular ferry connection between East Timor and its neighbouring countries.