Let me at once admit that I have not done neither on my stays in Timor Leste. But on a recent field trip travelling with car through some of the towns on the south-coast I can report a couple of prospectively very nice places for both climbing and hiking.
In this article I will go through some of the places and suggest activities for a stay Timor Leste road trip. The article will be particularly useful if you are into rock climbing, bouldering, hiking or caving.
In November last year (2012) I returned from a work related trip where we drove around parts of Timor Leste. We started in Dili and drove to Maubisse the first day. Possada de Maubisse is an excellent place to spend a night, or even two nights. The food might not be the best, but the place and the view is magnificent. I wrote a review of the place during an earlier trip well over a year ago on Tripadvisor. On this trip I noted that they were placing a ridiculous GSM antenna 5 meters away from the main house. We first thought they were planting trees, but the manager told us it was for an antenna. Incredible!
The next day we drove to Suai where we also spent a night. Suai is a nice place with a lot of history to tell. The road there from Maubisse is not much to talk about though… It is a horrible piece of road leaving you in awe about the nice view and cold sweating due to the narrow roads in between. Arriving Suai in the evening in the middle of November could be a bit hot for for most Europeans. 42 degrees centigrades at around five in the afternoon was a little over the top for me.
Next night one was spent in Same. Same has a good bed and breakfast, and will in not too long also open a Possada (governmentaly owned guesthouse) on the top of the hill. All nice places to stay.
Next up was a drive to Viqueque. We had lunch there and also drove down to the coast. The beaches stretch out for miles – but no facilitation for tourists. There is an old customs house down by the sea near Beaco. It is well worth a visit.
We had planned on staying the night in Loihuno at Hotel Vailacurini. The hotel is around 500 meters away from the main road. It has a spacious parking lot and lies nicely placed along a river.
Activities available at the hotel include guided hiking, caving (exploring caves) and training in local food culture. You will find information about this in their main hall. Apart from this the river is just 100 meters away. In the dry season the river still has a lot of ponds where it is possible to swim. The rocks in the rivers are perfect for bouldering.
The hotel sports both main house rooms as well as a couple of separate houses. I had the pleasure of staying in one of those.
Leaving the lodge we drove through a very nice landscape with great promise of both hiking and climbing.
The road goes through a fantastic landscape on the road to Baucau. One of the sights on the road are caves built by the japanese under the 2nd world war in Veninale. The below picture however is from the roadside slightly north of Ossy.
The picture is not detailed enough, but from the observer point of view those mountains look like they might have some potential for climbing.
Driving from Baucau only takes a few hours taking you back to Dili again.
Going back to Timor Leste with a weekend to spare my next trip will again be to Hotel Vailacurini. The road to that hotel is so far the nicest and most scenic I have experienced in Timor Leste. I will plan some detours en route – in particular to the mountainous areas in the above picture.
Bring your camera – plan a couple of detours off the beaten track if possible. Timor Leste has a lot to give to its tourists!