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Southeast Asias Newest Nation East Timor

The Democratic Republic of Timor Leste, commonly known as East Timor, is an island nation in Southeast Asia, consisting of the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecussi Ambeno.

A political exclave of East Timor situated on the western side of the island, surrounded by West Timor. Formerly controlled by neighbouring Indonesia, which annexed it as a province in 1975, East Timor broke away in 1999 and achieved full independence on May 20 2002. When East Timor joined the United Nations in 2002, it decided to be officially referred to by its Portuguese name, Timor Leste, as opposed to its English name.

It is one of only two majority Roman Catholic countries in Asia, the other being the Philippines.

The security situation in East Timor remains uncertain. Violent protests have taken place in Dili and UN troops are patrolling the streets. Travellers should exercise extreme caution, avoid any protests or demonstrations and heed any local advice regarding safety. The border with West Timor has been temporarily shut travellers should check news services before attempting to enter East Timor.

Southeast Asias newest nation East Timor. Independence has brought mixed fortunes to this recovering conflict zone and it remains a country in transition. But it has fine beaches, colonial towns, rugged mountains and a lush interior, with Dili a taste of Portugal in the tropics.

The countryside is magnificent. Houses made from bamboo and wood, with thatched palm rooves, dot the whole of East Timor. It is mountainous, surprisingly so, yet the toughness of the mountains give way to some of the most serene and picture perfect beaches you are ever likely to see. The water so clean and clear, show the pristine reefs available divers should be visiting in droves.

Go when the weather is best. East Timor doesnt yet have a tourist season, so theres no time of year when youre going to be overrun by crowds. So go during the May to November dry season when theres little rainfall and youre assured of good weather. By the end of the dry season, it can be rather dry and dusty. The December to April wet season can be very wet indeed, making travel difficult, particularly if you get off the main routes where unsealed roads can become impassable and unabridged rivers uncross able. The end of the wet season, however, is the time for festivals.

If you are used to constant electricity, plenty of accommodation and eating options, air conditioned coaches, having access to a can of coke when you need forget it. This to me is the appeal of this place, it is so untouched, so raw, if this appeals to you than be sure to visit soon.

Douglas Scott works for The Rental Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for The East Timor Rental Site