Dili International Airport
Journey from the rugged coastline into the rolling coffee highlands and discover a new way of travelling across the land of the sleeping crocodile.* Sip on expertly crafted coffee…lots of coffee, and uncover more about the humble green bean, forge connections with local farmers, become inspired by young Timorese entrepreneurs and witness the growth of a flourishing industry.
Our Silva Coffee Origin Tour is brought to you by Maddog Adventures working in partnership with Silva Coffee Roasters, two family owned businesses based in the lush Warburton valley. The genesis of the idea has its roots in a shared love of coffee, adventure and a desire to see Timor prosper as a sustainable coffee and tourism industry.
*The tale of the boy and his cold-blooded friend is told often in Timor to explain the island’s crocodile-like shape and why the Timorese have a special affinity with the large reptile.
Located within South-East Asia, Timor-Leste lies 400km north of Australia across the Timor Sea, a short 90 minute flight from Darwin. It is little known to both caffeine enthusiasts and travellers alike, but the history of coffee dates way back to the 1800s, when it was introduced by the Portuguese.
Coffee quickly became responsible for half of the country’s exports, until Indonesia gained control of Timor in the 1970s. During this tumultuous period coffee was largely abandoned by farmers until the nation gained full independence in 2002. Over the past few decades Timor has gotten to work securing its status as a coveted coffee destination.
Coffee is Timor’s most historic and important crop and has been the country’s largest non-oil export for the past 150 years. It is grown by around one-third of households in Timor and 37% of households rely on the crop for cash income. Although Timor’s coffee exports make up less than 1% of the worlds coffee, it still accounts for about 80% of the nation’s overall exports.
The Timor Hybrid (Hibrido de Timor) began growing on the island in the 1920s as a hybrid of arabica and robusta coffee, it is extremely disease resistant and high yielding and serves as the backbone of much of the coffee we drink today. The Timorese people are long-time coffee drinkers and genuinely appreciate the beverage. This strong coffee culture has worked as a bridge for younger generations to advance 150-year-old farming practices and join modern specialty markets.
Come and journey with us as we delve into the world of coffee on a uniquely curated tour of Timor-Leste.
Arrive in Dili and settle into Hotel Timor before heading out for a sunset walk to the summit of Cristo Rei, accessible by a 590-step staircase, with 360 degree panoramic views. Take in the sights and sounds of the city over dinner.
Kick start your morning with a coffee cupping experience at Cafe Atsabe with Ameta who produces ‘Mota Bandeira’ coffee. Afterwards we’ll head to Cafe Ahi Matan to explore traditional foods through preparing and cooking your own lunch. This afternoon we’ll head out of Dili and make our way to the 300-year old Balibo Fort and spend the evening relaxing on the veranda, enjoying the cool mountain breeze and a dip in the hotel pool.
Spend your morning exploring the Cultural & Heritage Centre at the Balibo Fort and visit the ‘Australian House’. A memorial to the Five Australian journalists killed in Balibo by the Indonesian army in 1975. Today we’ll head down the mountain to explore the village markets in Maliana before continuing our journey to the coffee region of Atsabe.
Explore the village of Atsabe and the regions coffee plantations, learn about the difference between natural and washed processes and how it impacts consistency and flavour. Stay in the local guesthouse or experience homestay accommodation, offering an authentic Timorese cultural experience. Visit the village weaving center and enjoy a walk to Mota Bandiera waterfall.
Leave the misty mountains behind and journey to Letefoho. Tour Timor Global, a coffee processing plant that is bringing industry stakeholders together. Spend your evening relaxing at Lauhata Beach Escape, a beautiful beachfront resort. Walk on the beach, watch the sunset and enjoy a dinner of delicious fresh local fish.
Journey to the coffee region of Aileu, a 2 hour drive from Lauhata. Visit Project Montanha a vocational training centre for artists and Projecto Quinta Portugal an agroforestry centre. Drive 1 – 1.5 hours’ back to Dili for your flight to Atauro Island.
Bring on the chill island vibes and spend the day resting and relaxing at Barry’s Place. The snorkelling here is world class. If you feel like venturing further afield take a tuk tuk ride into town and visit the handicraft centre.
Head out for an early morning swim or snorkel. After lunch we’ll catch the Dragon boat back to Dili and head out for our farewell dinner.
On your final morning visit the Tais Market, a small daily market which sells mainly traditional cloth and souvenirs. After lunch we’ll head to the Dili International Airport for your return flight home.
“I invite you to come and learn about coffee in Timor.”
Limited credit card and ATM facilities are avilable in Dili. Outside of Dili you will need to carry small value cash and coins (maximum USD $20 notes). Please note only Visa debit and credit cards are accepted. No Mastercards are accept at this stage in Timor-Leste.
Yes, you will need to purchase a 30-day visa on arrival. Visa’s cost USD $30 per person. This must be paid in cash.
Yes, all participants will require travel insurance. It is highly recommended that this cover is taken out at the time of booking. A copy of your travel insurance policy will need to be supplied to Maddog Adventures prior to your trip.
We do not recommend drinking tap water in Timor-Leste, so avoid it and stick to sealed bottled water which is readily available. This includes steering clear of ice in drinks and brushing your teeth with tap water.
All our lead staff are Wilderness First Aid trained and we carry a comprehensive First Aid Kit with us at all times and can offer first response care. For more serious ailgments we will take you to Stamford Medical, which is an international standard private healthcare provider based in Dili. We also use Doctors On Call, telehealth services and Care Flight Darwin in case of an evac emergency.**Please note as per our T&Cs any medical care or evacuation organised by Maddog Adventures is at the personal cost of the participant or their travel insurance.
To travel to Timor-Leste you will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid 19 (proof of minimum 2 doses) and make sure all your routine vaccinations are up to date. We recommend visiting your doctor prior to travel to discuss any additional vaccines or medications you may need.
We use a variety of in-country transportation methods depending on which district we are traveling too. We use 4 Wheel Drives for in-land travel and a combination of Dragon boat, catamaran, and local charter boats for sea travel. Sometimes, we even take a MAF charter flight.
USD is the main currency in Timor-Leste. Limited ATMs (Visa only) are available in Dili, but it’s always advisiable to bring cash with you. Smaller notes (maximum USD $20) and coins should be carried for travel outside of Dili, as is can be difficult to get change for larger notes.
Timor-Leste has a hot tropical climate, with a dry season from May – November and a wet season from December – April. Coastal temperatures range from 25 – 35 C. It’s cooler in the mountains and can be damp and misty, a perfect retreat from the heat.
We take participant health and wellbeing very seriously. Risk is an inherent part of all tours, but we do our best to mitigate, manage and reduce the risk of these hazards causing harm. We work with our staff and suppliers to ensure that all of our products and experiences meet our high standards.
We work closely with Lisa Malnar from Travel Managers and highly recommend contacting her to book domestic transfers and international connections to Dili, Timor-Leste. Lisa is based in Darwin and is an all round Timor-Leste travel expert. She can assist with transiting accommodation in Darwin, group bookings, travel insurance and most importantly she will ensure your international connections fit our travel itineraries.