A photo of the central development plan for Dili, East Timor. Photo taken by AIRINC surveyor Eugene Kobiako.
Development and Housing in Dili, East Timor
East Timor, or Timor-Leste as it is known in one of its official languages, Portuguese, is a small country in Southeast Asia just north of Australia across the Timor Sea.
It is one of the world’s youngest nations and still feels relatively undeveloped. The main expatriate population comes from embassies, NGOs, aid organizations, and banks.
Due to security and infrastructure issues, the real estate sources I met with reiterated that almost all expatriates live in gated compounds and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Overall, the best compounds are the ones that are nearby the American and Australian embassies. They are usually all inclusive and have swimming pools, tennis courts, satellite television, and often have a restaurant on-site. Many expatriates leave their compounds for recreational options like dining out and outdoor activities, including hiking, scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming.
Expatriate Recreation and a budding Tourist Industry
East Timor is building a reputation as a world class scuba diving destination as the government has recently focused more on developing the tourist sector. Some locals and expatriates that I spoke with commented that the country is modeling itself to be the next Bali, and they’re making progress. A Hilton Hotel is currently being constructed and other hotels and resorts are now taking an interest. My other surveys took me across the Timor Sea to Australia, where the housing sources all confirmed that East Timor is starting to be marketed to Australians as a vacation destination.
Dili currently has very low availability of brand name goods and services, including chain restaurants. One big exception is Burger King, which was one of the first big chains to enter the market. Clothing, electronics, furniture, and good quality auto parts are all difficult to find in the city. A lot of local people shop at Tais Market, but expatriates would not find an international selection there.
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On-site Insight and AIRLinc
This post is taken from On-site Insight, AIRINC’s in-house global mobility blog. On-site Insight provides AIRLinc subscribers with an exclusive “behind-the-surveys” insight into new and existing expatriate locations based on commentary and photos from our global research team. Included is information on general living conditions as well as changing costs for both goods and services and housing and utilities, along with much, much more! To find out more, click here.
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