Dili, East Timor Report of what it's like to live there - 02/23/10

Personal Experiences from Dili, East Timor

Dili, East Timor 02/23/10

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, I have lived in Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines.

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

We got here in June of 2009.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

military/government.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Because of our job, our housing is very nice and secure. I have see some other home not quite as nice and the kitchens are not really kitchens but more like a hot plate with a frig. I would say if you are willing to pay the rent you can find nice houseing.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

There are several grociery stores in Dili and you can get anything you really NEED if you want to pay the price. Most goods are from Indonesia or Australia. Very few American brands.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There is no fast food in Dili but we do have lots of restaurants in town. There is Thai, Indian, Italian, Pizza, Western, Vietnamess, Lebanese just to name a few. $4.00 to $20 a dish

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

There are lots of insects and malaria and dengue fever are a problem.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Mail in Dili is not reliable.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Domestic help is used and afordable. If you hire local help the cost is around $100 a month Other domestic help is much more expensive. About $300 to $400 a month.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There are no real gyms or fitness facilities in Dili.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

This is a cash only country. No credit cards are used here. There are about 3 ATM's around town.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

As far as I know there are no services in English. Catholic.

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Indo Vision. About $50.00 a month.

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Most people in Dili do not speak English so it is helpful to know some Indonesian or Tetun.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

This is not a place for people with disabilities. There is very little infrastructure and the city is not disabled friendly.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Local transportation is not recomended.

View All Answers


2. 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?

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.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Internet is not reliable here in Dili and very expensive.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Buy one when you get here. They are cheap.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

There is one Vet in Dili. He was trained in Australia.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Conservitive.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

At this time security is not an issue. Things are pretty peacful.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care in not very good here in Dili. Most cases are medivacted to Singaporeor Darwin.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

The quality of air is pretty good right now but car, trucks and motorbikes are not up to standard and put off a lot of fumes and at times black smoke......

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

There are two seasons here in Dili. The rainy season (6 months) and the dry season (6 months)It is a tropical climate and warm to hot year round.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are two international schools here in Dili. QSI (preschool through high school) and DIS (preschool through middle school homestudy high school)Both schools are adequate but very expensive for what you get. Both schools are expanding their classrooms. QSI is also upgrading it's playground.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

There are no accommodations for special-needs children.

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Both schools offer preschool for 3 and 4 year olds. There is no daycare in Dili. Most people hire a nanny if daycare is needed.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

No sports programs for kids. We do have a swimming teacher in town for now but you never know when people will transfer out.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Large.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

Very high.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

We have all three in our communtiy and most seem to be very happy. There is really nothing to do in Dili outside of making your own fun. There is no movie theater, mall, shopping, bowling ect. We go to the beach, diving, swimming at the pools, each others homes ect.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I would not say this is a great city for gays as Timor-Leste is a conservative catholic country. However, I have not noticed any outward feelings one way or the other by locals living here.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

I think due to the large international community, UN, UNMITT, and other NGO's, this is a very mixed communtiy and I have not seen or heard of any issues.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Making good friends with lots of people from other countries.

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Diving, hiking, going to the beach

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Dili is small town and everyone knows everyone. There is not much to do in town so we spend a lot of time making our own fun by having get togethers, sports at the embassy, swimming and BBQ's at the pool,Movie nights at each others homes, ect. The diving here is also very good.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, my family is very happy here in Dili.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


Subscribe to our newsletter


New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More