Adventure to Suai, Timor-Leste

Off the beaten track: join me in Suai, Timor-Leste – a trip I took with three Timorese people to the south of their country.

Together, we went to the south of Timor-Leste, aka East Timor to visit the beautiful town of Suai.

It was a long and tough ride since the roads were not repaired after the war. Due to the potholes, I bumped my head quite a few times on the roof of the vehicle! However, upon seeing Suai, I can definitely say that it was WORTH IT! Besides, I was in good company so braving the rough roads and a vehicle breakdown was bearable…and even fun 🙂

East Timor

Youth in Timor-Leste often need to walk great distances to collect food and water. As we passed them on the roads we suggested they hitchhike a ride with us.

My crazy travel companion.


It takes a village…

Unspoiled Culture

Dancing in Timor

Just look at those dance moves!

I was privileged to witness and experience the local and way of life. For one, we prepared our amazing meal without any help of modern stovetops. We used a good ol’ fire while enjoying the scenic view of the beach. And banana leaves as plates.

Oil and Suai’s Future

Suai is oil-rich and I was taken to a site where you can actually pump oil from earth. This natutal resource might be bringing massive changes to the lives of the locals, as discussions are underway about building a supply base. But this idea also scares the people from Suai. I talked to few of them and they are concerned on how the oil industry can affect their land, culture, and their livelihood.

Suai and its crocodiles

Suai waters is known as a homeland to crocodiles. And yes, there have been attacks and people disappearing. But despite all of these, the locals have high respect for this creature and actually believe that these are their ancestors.  They think that crocodiles will attack only when you did something bad – it’s sort of ‘crocodile karma’.

The teenagers, on the other hand, love to play ‘pranks’ with the crocodiles. They mimic the sound of dogs since dogs are the next best thing to humans (as a crocodile lunch – that is).


Quick facts about Suai

  • It’s a city in East Timor
  • It has a population of around 9,900
  • It is the location of the infamous Suai Church Massacre
  • It’s where the “purest” form of Tetum is spoken on the island.

It would be awesome if you take time to visit similar places like Suai. You won’t see any tourists there and you’ll get to meet wonderful Timorese locals.

Dalia Lourenco

If you are wondering how I get to visit interesting places like Suai, the secret is having an international career that allows you the opportunities, freedom and salary to go abroad. You can join us in our free Facebook group, International Career Seekers, where we share tips on how you can kickstart a career that lets you experience somewhere else on this planet.

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