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Dili - Baucau

View South East Asia Grand Tour 2023 on Grete Howard's travel map.


Meal with a view

While enjoying our eggs on toast at the roadside café attached to the Beachside Hotel this morning, I am treated to a little eye candy: lots of very buff men, apparently part of a military platoon, come jogging past. No photos, sorry, I am way too busy tripping over my tongue.

I do, however, take pictures of people on the beach, fishing, picking crabs, just enjoying the sunshine and the cool water, and having breakfast in the shade.


Today we are heading out of Dili, and one of the first things we see as we leave the capital city behind is a Common Long Tailed Macaque in a tree.


Monkey in a tree

For a long time, we follow the coastline, before climbing up into the hills.


One Dollar Beach

Once a thriving hotspot for tourists and locals alike, with several restaurants and a $1 charge for entry (hence the name), the beach is now closed. All that is left is faded glory, abandoned beach pavilions, and empty pools. It’s sad to see. The government has put out a call for tenders, but no-one seems to want – or have the money to – take on a lease for this once-famous beach.


David is still feeling very poorly and spends most of the journey today sleeping in the car.


Vemassa Church

Restaurant Amalia
We reach Baucau, our destination for the night, by lunchtime, and head to a popular restaurant dating from the Portuguese time. Reached via some steep steps down from the main road, the terrace area is full of rustic pots and old colonial charm.


We sit outside on the shaded terrace rather than inside the dimly lit building.


Still feeling unsettled, I order a Spanish omelette, thinking it will be small and light. How wrong I am. It’s massive and comes with a substantial side salad.


David’s spaghetti bolognaise is even bigger, with enough pasta to feed a whole family, plus extra sauce on the side.


It seems such as waste as neither of us are feeling well, so we barely touch the food. I do have a very welcome sweet black tea, however.


Pousada Baucau

From here it’s a short drive to our hotel for the night. Said to be the best hotel in Timor Leste, the pousada is set in undulating leafy grounds.


The large cage with monkeys rather ruins it for me though.


The room is on the small side, with a balcony overlooking the car park, but the bathroom is modern and snazzy.


With both of us feeling unwell today, we opt for a snooze rather than sightseeing. We are reliably informed that the town suffers from warring gangs, and that it is not safe, especially after dark, with fighting, throwing of stones and knife crime. Danny, who is staying in a guest house in the centre of town, vows to stay in his room with a pot of noodles this evening rather than going out.


With David still feeling rough, I go to the hotel restaurant alone. There is one other diner there, a lone female, and it appears that there are no staff either.


Eventually, while brining out the food for the other girl, a somewhat disinterested waitress notices me and brings me a menu and a glass of wine.

I order a beef steak with coffee sauce, which doesn’t come with a steak knife, and all I can do is to try and tear the meat apart with the provided ordinary knife. The steak is tough, with a vein of gristle running through the middle.


As I go to leave, I am presented with a bill. I try to explain that dinner has been pre-paid by the agent, but she either doesn’t or chooses not to, understand. I am too tired and too ill to try and argue, so I just pay it. At $12 for the steak, it is not exactly going to break the bank, but equally, it is barely worth $2. So much for this being the country's best hotel!

I struggle to walk back to the room as I feel surprisingly fatigued this evening, considering I had a nice nap earlier and we haven’t done much today.

Thank you to Undiscovered Destinations for arranging this fabulous adventure.


Posted by Grete Howard 10:39 Archived in East Timor Tagged road_trip beach views church monkey coastline macaque south_east_asia dili east_timor undiscovered_destinations grand_tour_of_south_east_asia timor_leste beachside_hotel lomg_tasiled_macaque one_dollar_beach vemassa vemassa_church baucau restaurant_amelia pousada_baucau

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So sad to read you guys where not up to it! Hope you feel better soon!

by Ils1976

Oh dear, neither of you feeling well? Such a shame when the scenery looks so great, although being off your food is no great loss if it's all as poor as that steak!

by ToonSarah

Thanks both, with hindsight we think it was probably Covid, as we had all the symptoms. It didn't even occur to us at the time.

by Grete Howard

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