Dili - Post Report Question and Answers

What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Toyota or Honda, sedan or small SUV. Motorbikes also useful. Don't bring a vehicle that requires specialized parts or mechanics. - Aug 2021

Cars are fine in Dili but you'll want an SUV or sturdy truck of some kind if you plan to drive out into the districts any because of deplorable road conditions throughout the country. In the rainy seasons, already-bad roads become impassable, and this is true from one end of East Timor to the other. Don't bring a sports car or any vehicle that you don't want getting banged up by passing motorcycles. You won't be able to drive fast enough in town to enjoy a high speed car and the roads out of town are too bad to drive them on. I know some people who try to get away with not bringing a car to post, but I really caution against this. Dili may be a small post, but it is not easy to get where you want to go from one side of town to the other on your own. None of the residential areas are really close enough to the good shops and restaurants to walk to, and you will need to be able to get out of town sometimes for a break from Dili's monotony. - Sep 2017

It depends on how adventurous you are. If you want to seriously go into the mountains then get or buy locally a good SUV. If you are just going to do light traveling then a light SUV, car or van will be fine. This is a right-hand drive country. There are usually a good selection of vehicles available. I bought my Nissan X-Trail from a Japanese website called Cardeal and have been very pleased. You may want to bring an extra set of tires and parts. There are some decent mechanics but parts can be hard to come by. - May 2017

If you want to get out of Dili, would recommend a 4WD or at least front wheel. Most people have Toyotas, given ease of repairs, spare parts, etc. - Sep 2016

SUV. - Nov 2013

You definitely need a 4-wheel-drive with good clearance as there are not too many paved roads, and even those are usually in questionable shape. Driving anywhere outside of Dili requires patience and a sturdy vehicle with good clearance. Bring extra tires-you will need them. There is usually a good supply of used vehicles for sale here from departing expats. - Apr 2013

You have to have a four-wheel-drive vehicle. I would highly suggest either buying your car from whomever you are replacing or shipping one in from Japan. They have pretty strict rules about what cars you can import. What is hilarious is if you try to buy locally the prices are basically set at 15K. You will be staring at a total piecer and they will straight face tell you it is 15K. Supply and demand I guess. - Mar 2010

4x4 is a must here!! We have one Toyota dealer ship/repair shop here in Dili and a few small repair shops around town. Parts are hard to get and very expensive. - Feb 2010

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