As promised here is the beginning of my updates. While I am currently living in Sri Lanka I want to share with you a road trip myself and 3 friends went on to East Timor’s tallest mountain, Mt. Ramalou. Located in the middle of the country it is not the easiest of places to reach. I don’t remember the exact distance (maybe about 160 km from Dili), but the first 140 km took about 4 hours and the last 20 kilometers another 3 hours!!

It was great to get out of the “city” and see a little more of the country side. East Timor has an abundance of natural beauty and while the mountainous areas are some of the poorest and least accessible in the country, they also hold some of the most spectacular vistas, and kindest people there are.

Enjoy the trip!!

Climbing the winding roads above Dili, we were given one final glimpse of the Capital before rounding a bend and plunging into the mountains for good

We were fortunate to have a 4 wheel drive car to ourselves. The rest of the country is not so fortunate and packed trucks and buses (with people sleeping on the top even) is a common sight on the ‘main’ roads.

Even when you do reach a sizable town, the traffic signs can be a bit confusing. As this little town’s sole stop sign the town council might have been a bit confused about where it would be most effective…

After 4 hours on paved road (but averaging only about 30 km and hour or so) we made the last 20 kilometers on a very rough, lonely path

The road brought us through a beautiful mountian landscape with traditional huts scattered throughout, adding to both the beauty of the area but also the sense of loneliness and remoteness

Children often ran out of their homes at the sound of any car, hoping to catch a glimpse of anything new

We passed some friends on their way back from climbing. With no pubic transportation in the area these women welcomed a free ride.

Group photo attempt number 1

Our Posada (inn) for the night. The lonely planet lists a Posada that was actually closed. We were lucky that this one had been opened. It was very basic but the people were very friendly and we shared the food we brought and shared a meal with the caretakers and the guests (all Timorese).

Our room for the night. The Posada was full due to a teachers training going on in the town. However, 4 woman moved out and in with their coworkers and were kind enough to allow us to stay for the night. We started hiking in the middle of the night (around 2 am).

The common room of the Posada had creepy stuffed animals as decoration…

I reached the top just in time for sunrise and was greeted by a statue of Mary along with a stunning sunrise.

Sunrise, Mount Ramalou

As the sun rose higher the blue in the mountains came out

Group picture number 2. Much more successful…especially if you tilt your head to the left while viewing.

Sea of Clouds

Sorry for the self portrait but I am sure at least my Mom will be happy…

On the way down, the lonely landscape we hiked during the night became visible for the first time.

Heading back home we encountered our first signs of civilization as the locals walked towards the Sunday market.

Thankfully we got a flat tire off of the mountain. It seems it takes 2 internationals and 5 Timorese to fix a tire if anyone ever asks…

I hope you all enjoyed the trip up to Mount Ramalou and back. Feel free to post comments or ask questions.


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2 Responses to “Road Trip to Mount Ramalou, East Timor”

  1. Looks like a fun road trip! Those stuffed animals *are* a little creepy though… It almost looks like they’re watching you – and not in a good way!


  2. I sponsor a child in Timor Leste. As I started to write my next letter to this ten-year-old boy I decided to see if Timor Leste was volcanic. I’d sent pictures to him of Stromboli Island, and of its lighthouse in my last letter. Happening on your Road Trip to Mount Ramalou was a blessing. He will have a mountain to compare with Mt. Rainier – but without snow. Thank you for telling your story.

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