Work and Travel in East Timor

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Timor-Leste is one of the least visited countries in Southeast Asia/Oceania. It’s a poor country that often gets forgotten by people. But there are plenty of volunteering opportunities in Timor-Leste for those who want to get off the beaten track.

If you want to travel in Timor-Leste, you need to be prepared for a big culture shock. Infrastructure is poor and it’s not always easy to get around. That’s why our travel guide to Timor-Leste is going to show you everything you need to know about surviving here.

1. Teach English in Timor-Leste

A lot of volunteering work in Timor-Leste revolves around English teaching. When you teach English in Timor-Leste you get the chance to make connections with locals and visit parts of the country ordinary tourists never get to see.

There are English teaching opportunities all over the country. Whether you want to work in the capital of Dili or work in rural areas, you’ll find plenty of projects looking for volunteers.

With so few people deciding to work and travel in Timor-Leste there’s little competition for places here.

2. Protect Marine Life in Timor-Leste

One of the biggest reasons why tourists decide to visit the country is because of the diving opportunities on the coastline. Timor-Leste is home to a variety of unique marine life.

The problem is that it’s under threat, and the government has few resources to put a stop to it. But there are plenty of private organizations dedicated to protecting marine life. You’ll be working with professionals to both track and study these animals.

It’s a great way to acquire new skills and enjoy unique experiences.

3. Offer IT Skills in Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste is a country that’s trying to develop. One of the big trends in IT. People of all ages are learning the IT skills they need to diversify their economy and give them more opportunities.

If you know how to use a computer, you can offer IT skills to the local people. These programs involve working with local businesses and school children. You will be showing them the basics of how they can bring computing into their lives.

These are vital skills that will be highly beneficial for them in the future.


To travel in Timor-Leste the chances are you need a visa. The Schengen Area countries recently signed an agreement with the country to allow their citizens to enter for 90 days without a visa.

Everyone else must get a visa first. You can get a visa-on-arrival at the airport in Dili or at any seaport. However, the problem with this is that it’s only valid for 30 days, so if you plan to work and travel in Timor-Leste for a significant period of time you’ll need to get a conventional visa.

An alternative is to cross the border with Indonesia. The land border post allows you to get a 90-day visa-on-arrival.

Take note that although the authorities state you must have proof that you have $150 per day of your stay, this is not enforced. Nobody from a Western country has to worry about this, so don’t let it put you off your trip.



The spring takes up the dry season and is one of the ideal times to work in Timor-Leste. It’s just after the rainy season, so you shouldn’t have too many problems getting around.

One of the projects you can join is infrastructure rebuilding. This essentially involves building new roles and helping local people clear the roads that were washed out during the wet season. It involves a lot of hard work, but you’ll immediately see the difference you can make.


The summer season is a continuation of the dry season. Again, this is an ideal time of year to take up volunteering opportunities in Timor-Leste.

You can enjoy working with marine life, as you join up with conservation agencies. You can also join inland conservation organizations, which focus on preserving the natural wonders of the country.

Another option could involve a cultural exchange on a farm. You’ll receive free food and accommodation in exchange for working on a farm. It’s an excellent way to get to know the locals and the culture of Timor-Leste.


Autumn is a special time because this is the whale watching season. Tourists flock from all over the world to see the whales as they migrate by Timor-Leste and through the Wetar Strait.

If you love whales, this is the time to be in the country. Join conservation organisations as they research the different whale species and protect them from harm. It’s one of the prime whale hotspots in the region, so there are lots of chances to work with whales here.


The wintertime is the wet season in the country; which lasts all the way until the start of April. It can be difficult to move around during the wet season because many of the roads are washed out.

This is why it’s best to look into volunteering opportunities in Timor-Leste that keep you in the capital of Dili. Here you’ll be able to teach English and join IT skills programs.

Both of these options will keep you away from the worst of the weather and still allow you to help the people of this poor country.


Timor-Leste is a country that’s rarely visited by tourists. The result of this is that the locals aren’t used to seeing foreigners. But all reports from the country state that the locals are extremely accommodating and love nothing more than to meet outsiders.

You’ll have no problems volunteering in Timor-Leste. The only issue is that you need to be able to contend with the inconveniences of living and working in an underdeveloped country.

If you have what it takes, why not work and travel in Timor-Leste this year?

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