Charming, beautiful and off the beaten track, East Timor is the perfect setting for unforgettable adventures. Its beaches, forests, coral reefs and colonial towns are beyond enchanting.

Colonised by Portugal in the 18th century, East Timor declared independence in 1975, only to be invaded and occupied by Indonesia nine days later. The country's road to sovereignty has indeed been a bumpy ride.

Today, its tourism infrastructure is not highly developed, though East Timor is maturing as a destination. Visitors can look forward to hiking through jungles, diving hardly touched reefs, and exploring misty mountain villages.

The Cristo Rei is one of East Timor's more famous landmarks and, standing at 89-feet (27m), one of the world's tallest statues of Christ. Beyond the capital, Dili, visitors will find a mysterious and intensely beautiful land, where empty beaches become tropical forests, and mountains reach down to the water's edge. East Timor is at its best just after the wet season from late April to July.

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