East Timor Trip (Timor Leste) Report Part 2 This is the second part of my journey to Dili. I apologise in advance for the lack of cabin shots but after being awake for the whole day before this flight, then taking the red eye at 1:45AM and transiting for 4 hours at Darwin airport, I think I have been awake for more than 24 hours so my mind was not working properly.
Darwin to Dili, East Timor The second leg of the journey would be on Airnorth, a Darwin-based airline that services the top end of Australia.
I was booked on TL514 departing at 09:45AM, which arrives into Dili at 10:30AM.
Darwin has a very small airport, if Usain Bolt ran from start to finish, it would take him maybe 10 seconds to cover the length of the terminal. So a 4 hour layover is not ideal since there is no lounge for international departures. Also there are not enough seats because the airport was undergoing renovations, which means most of the shops are closed. As a result, there were travellers sleeping at the baggage claim area, under small crane lifts, or anywhere else they can find a small piece of empty floor to sleep. However, after the renovations are finished, there will be more shops and restaurants.
At the time of my visit, however I didn't have much choice. I was hungry and I went to a cafe near the baggage claim area and bought one egg and bacon muffin for $9.50.
Air North's check in does not open until 2 hours prior to the flight departure, so I had to sit in baggage carousel area until 07:45AM.
Since the Dili flight is the first international flights that morning, customs and immigration would not open until 09:00AM - 45 minutes before departure.
I wait by the gate for the customs officers to arrive and open the doors. Shortly after they opened the passport and immigration control, I passed the security and walk straight into the duty free shop area, which also just opened.
I walk straight through the duty free shop, to the international departure terminal, which is separated from the domestic terminal by a glass wall.
The flight Air North TL514 Darwin 09:45AM - 10:30AM Dili Embraer E170 Seat 13F
The flight only had 20 passengers out of 76 seats, so it was a light load.
Departure was on time!
The seat The E170 jet is a single aisle plane and the seat is layout is 2x2. The seat pitch is approximately 31-33 inches. For a 70 minute flight, it was fine.
The cabin service There are two cabin crew members on this flight. Because it is a very short flight and only two dozen passengers or so, the service was very quick and the crew quickly disappeared into the galley. There was no entertainment, except the inflight magazine.
The catering The catering is basic, a 110ML juice box and two pastries, one with Danish peach and another filled with chocolate. There was a round of coffee and tea offered.
Overall impression The flight was uneventful, I was tired so I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. About 20 minutes before landing, I woke up to enjoy the view flying over the mountains and descending into Dili.
My favourite part about approaching Dili Nicolau Lobato Airport is the manoeuvres that the captain performs.
It is very cool. Because we were cruising at 40,000 feet, and East Timor is all mountain, the captain has to descend to almost sea level, so he descends in a swirl manoeuvre, flying past the city and continuing north, and then turns the plane on an angle and you can see the ocean if you are on the right side (which I wasn't), and it keeps going round and round. Then he lines up in preparation for landing.
Landing was smooth and quick, since the runway is very short and if you don't stop in time, you go into the ocean.
Arrivals terminal & hall
That concludes my journey to Dili, I will post my return flight in the near future.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it.
I have also included some pictures of Dili. Chaotic roads in capital city.
Unfortunately, accommodation in Dili is very expensive, with rooms around $280 USD a night if you want a good hotel. So it is not very inviting for tourists because they can go to Bali or Phuket for a lot less! I stayed at JL Villa which was nice and clean.
However Timor Leste is a beautiful place, and right now it is unspoilt. There are remote villages with colonial Portuguese architecture still standing.
There are some eco resorts, where you take a small boat to an island and accommodation, cost $40 USD a night. You are basically shut off from the rest of the world and just enjoy the environment. They also have scuba diving.
But if the beach is not your thing, they have beautiful mountains and forests and I think there are trekking tours. The best time of the year is during coffee harvesting season. I hope one day you can see for yourself, because it is hard to describe the beauty in words.
If you want to visit the mountains, its best to come during the dry season because during the raining season, all the roads are washed away and you will end up being stuck in the mountains and missing your flight back home. Otherwise plan to stay longer. On this trip, I couldn't go to mountains because the roads were in bad shape, and there were reports of trucks and buses falling off the mountain cliff because the roads were collapsing, so it was unsafe to go.
Darwin - DRW
Dili - DIL
Airnorth's short flight is hard to review because at around 1 hour or less, there is not much you can do, except go up, reach cruising altitude for a few minutes and begin descend again.
Feel free to ask me anything you want to know about Timor Leste.
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