The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor, certainly earned its nationhood. After being released from hundreds of years of colonial rule only in the 1970s, it endured 24 more years of oppressive occupation by Indonesia. After the country finally achieved independence, pro-Indonesian militias swept through the celebrations, slaughtering citizens. The result of this struggle is the world's first new nation of the century—but one left with little more than the shirt on its proud back.
Nevertheless, East Timor forges ahead with the business of running a country and that includes attracting tourists. It has good beaches, coral reefs and high mountains. Of course, so do other destinations in the region. Some other destinations also have enough infrastructure to make visiting them a relatively relaxing experience. East Timor does not. It's also more expensive than you might expect.
That being said, for those with a yen for adventure, East Timor provides excellent trekking and pristine diving opportunities. Fine north coastal roadways provide unrestricted access to communities with historical colonial structures, deserted beaches and national parks.
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