A Timor-Leste Encounter will provide you with hard-to-come-by experiences that tourists often miss out on. Throughout your journey, you will visit Palms Australia’s volunteers in placement and will meet their local counterparts. You will have the opportunity to learn about their work and will see the role Australians can play in reducing global poverty.
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.
The exact number of days spent in each location may vary depending on transport, weather and other considerations. Participants will receive a more detailed itinerary closer to the date of departure. Below is a sample itinerary outlining the places you are likely to visit and experiences you are likely to have on a Timor-Leste Encounter.
Arrive in bustling Dili and spend the evening getting to know your group, being briefed for the trip and reflecting on your arrival in a new culture.
Travel by water taxi from Dili to serene Atauro Island. Walk, swim, snorkel and explore the natural wonders of the island and retire at Barry’s Eco-Lodge, opened and run by a Palms Australia volunteer.
Get acquainted with the people and environment of Atauro with a geographic and cultural orientation. Visit a mountain village where you’ll encounter community enterprises creating opportunities for locals. Enjoy a relaxed, locally sourced dinner back at Barry’s Eco-Lodge.
Gain an insight into Timor-Leste’s tumultuous history back in Dili. Visit iconic historical sites like the Resistance Museum, which commemorates Timor-Leste’s 24-year struggle against Indonesian occupation.
Travel to the remote city of Maliana to visit Palms Australia volunteers working to reduce poverty and improve quality of life. Browse the local markets and explore the town centre before an evening of reflection and discussion.
Meet with Mana Rince, the Director and Founder of local NGO Organisasaun Haburas Moras (OHM). Visit local farms and learn about local sustainable agriculture initiatives and their impact on the community.
Depart Maliana for Balibo, a peaceful town heavily damaged during the militia violence that occurred during Timorese independence. Meet with Palms Australia volunteers working at the Balibo Community Learning Centre and visit the Balibo 5 memorial. Gain insight into Timorese life and make some new friends with a homestay in nearby Atabae.
Experience authentic Timorese culture with a trip to mass with your host family in Atabae. Travel back to Dili for an afternoon of relaxation and reflection.
Experience colonial Portuguese architecture and take in the refreshing coastal air in Baucau, Timor-Leste’s second biggest city.
Visit Palms Australia volunteers working in education and medicine in the remote town of Venilale. Travel back to Dili for the evening.
Travel to the outer-Dili suburb of Bedois, where Palms Australia volunteers are working to improve education outcomes for children and young adults. Meet with Father Adriano of Ahisaun Foundation, a social enterprise that builds the capacity of young people with disability.
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. 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 volunteers before flying home the next morning.