To Maliana

maliana_015.jpgErmera to Maliana

The road between Ermera and Maliana is rugged and beautiful.

It is not heavily traveled because the road is in poor condition.

Most buses and trucks take the long way around from Dili through Atabae and Balibo even though it takes around 4 hours.

maliana_011.jpg This short cut takes even longer. The road is almost impassible in some parts.

There are no gasoline vendors or repair shops if you take the back way and very little traffic to rely on if you break down.

ThereĀ  bridges over the rivers are very well built.

The riverbeds are very wide and during the rainy season the rivers can really rage after a heavy rain.

maliana_033.jpg The scenery is magnificent but you can not take your eyes off the road very long because there are really big potholes and places where the road simply disappears for 100 meters or so.

It is a great feeling to just be in your own little world and take the trail one k at a time.

If you are in a hurry this is not the way to go.

maliana_020.jpg When you arrive in Maliana it is rather strange because the streets are wide and smooth.

There is a nice market with a great restaurant across the street. The prices are around the same as in Indonesia which is nice if you are arriving from Dili.

For one reason or another the town has been without electricity for the last 2 weeks.

maliana_044.jpg A big meal of babi (pig) or sape (cow) with rice and potatoes and vegetables is around 2 dollars.

The water in the pitchers at the restaurants has never been a problem for me but if you want a small bottled water it is 25 cents.

You will want to top off your tank there if on a bike.

The gasoline (also called benzine) was 5 liters for 5 dollars. They only have 5 liter bottles so if your tank fills and there is still some gasoline left be sure to have a 1.5 liter water bottle that you can put the extra in.

maliana_050.jpg I usually travel with a small bottle of motor oil just to be safe.

I am told that there are a few places to stay in Maliana for around 5 dollars a night but you have to ask around.

My style is strange in that I just drive till it gets close to dark and ask around about a place to stay. You can get in awkward situations with this plan and it is not the way to go for most travelers. I am comfortable camping outside but you need shelter from the rain especially high up in the mountains where it gets cold.

maliana_046.jpg Some people are nervous about outsiders but in others they will invite you into their homes. Another option is to ask at the police stations where they might figure out what you can do for the night.

One captain invited me to his house for the night and it was a great experience. He had a bunch of refugees staying at his place up there in the hills. We had to park our bikes at his friends house near the road while we hiked up the mountain in the dark to his house.

maliana_001.jpgThe Timorese are in general a very kind and helpful people but it is good to keep in mind that there were some traumatic experiences for some of them where they lost their whole family.

Therefore sometimes some of the people you meet are very reserved and not really sure what to make of outsiders.

I have not had any bad experience with the Timorese but there is a deep underlying tension there between some of local groups that is good to be aware of.

In general the foreigner has no problems or animosity directed their way with the exception of petty theft but it is always best to be aware of what is going on around you.

Maliana would be a great backpacker destination because of it’s low cost (Indonesia prices – It’s near the border), pleasant climate, mellow people, good food, easy access to public transport and a number of interesting foreigners that stay there that you could meet up with.

Ermita – East Timor

Aug 3, 2006

4 responses to “To Maliana”

  1. yes,,,,,,maliana is a sub-distric of bobonaro.from dili to maliana,it takes about 3-4 hours depend on the vehicle of the if u go by bus you just pay $5-7 depends on the bus that you choose.

  2. I stayed in Maliana from 2009 to 2010, i rented a room in a residential village of La Homea just a hundred meters from the market. Maliana(national flower of Timor) is like paradise. Food and water is bountiful and cheap in all villages. Internet service is good, electrict power supply from 6pm to 6am(good enough). I will never forget my experiences on a cold morning mist, the non-stop chirping of birds, the rare close-up look at the gigantic “dutchpickle lizard” and listening its loud Toke sound and much more the most astounding grandeur of Mt. Atudara (Razorback mountain)that will give you a heart-pounding awe of beauty. I would suggest you guys to travel there, you will never regret, i was there…..


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