Motorcycle Touring in East Timor

touring-east-timor-sMotorcycling tours in Timor Leste -something different!


Motorcycle Tours in Timor Leste

Think guided motorcycle tours and you may think of Europe or perhaps India. Recently we received some press regarding tours closer to home, but perhaps much more “off the beaten track”.

East Timor, or Timor Leste as they prefer to be known, is the eastern half of the island of Timor, about 650 kms north-west of Darwin. The capital, Dili, is perhaps better known here as a result of unrest in years gone by.

Motoaus hasn’t been there, but we can tell you it was colonized by the Portugeuse in the 16th century, is one of only two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in all of Asia, and its one million inhabitants enjoy tropical and generally hot and humid weather characterised by distinct rainy and dry seasons. We know this because of Wikipedia.

Dave Carlos on the other hand, knows that because he is the owner of, and will be happy to guide you on a 14 day motorcycle riding tour around Timor Leste, in September and then October this year. Dave has extensive touring experience in Timor Leste, and the group maximum of 6 riders will also be provided with a support vehicle. Spots are available in the vehicle too I believe.

You can get more information from Timor Adventures website. Certainly sounds like once in a lifetime opportunity, and a chance to do something not many do.


Based in Melbourne, Dave sent us a short commentary on the tours:

“1400 km in 14 days – doesn’t sound like much right? Wrong! Let’s rewind a bit.”

I’m talking 14 days to traverse Timor Leste, that’s East Timor a gorgeous little half island just one hour by plane off the coast of Darwin.

There’s a lot to slow you down in Timor Leste, and I’m not just talking about the road conditions. Did I mention the fact that the only bikes available that can work their way across the country are small bore 160cc bikes, so we’re talking a ‘cruising’ speed of 40 km an hour – ok once or twice you can really let the throttle out and hit 60k.


Imagine sweeping mountains passes, rice paddies on your left, waterfall cascading down the cliff face on your right. A dog enjoying its siesta in its favourite pothole – yes you got it, right in the middle of the road. And don’t be fooled by that mother goat as she skits across the dust in front of you, she’ll be serving back looking for her kids so you best throttle back!

Did I mention the road signs? No, well that’s because there aren’t any – well not of the conventional kind that is, I was told by my East Timorese mate that there is one that’s been there so long its started to shoot.


Seriously, Timor Leste is a beautiful place and there is a lot to slow you down. You’ll want to get to know some of its incredibly friendly people explore its fading Portuguese relics, take time off the bike to dive or snorkel its pristine marine environment, hang out with a dazzling mix of international UN and aide workers in the waterfront bars in Dili the capital.

While this all sounds fantastic as I discovered there’s a lot involved in getting started, not the least being how to get a bike and where to sleep outside the capital city. Well persistence has paid off and with the help of some terrific East Timorese buddies Timor Adventures has managed to create a fully guided tour for other intrepid riders.

Is this a tour for adventures riders? Yes, no, maybe. My bike of choice on the highways and off road in Australia is the F650 GS, but when in Timor Leste I just love my little 160cc Honda Mega Pro – its horses for courses.

Is this a tour for riders interested in finding out about other cultures, the history of Timor Leste, supporting the country and connecting with the natural beauty around them? Oh yes.

Interested? Have a look at:



all images copyright timoradventures pty ltd

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