Watabo’o Beach, the Quiet Corner of Timor-Leste

Should a stone be pushed hard enough from the bus terminal at the centre of Baucau, it will eventually follow a path that corkscrews downward ‘neath a copy of trees before coming to rest on a pristine, untouched stretch of coastline.

Those who elect to head east of Dili will eventually reach Baucau. There they can expect to find Watabo’o, one of Timor-Leste‘s prime beaches whereupon rest miles and miles of golden sand ripe for exploration, set against a backdrop of rolling hills and groves of palm trees that offer a peaceful shield to those looking for a touch of solitude or a quiet few beers at a seaside tiki bar.

Travellers should prepare to soak up the perfect sunrise; Watabo’o allows for some of the continent’s most gloriously pure daybreaks. Try schlepping along the beach from Baucau Beach Bungalows and head up the slight incline to encounter a glorious panoramic swell encompassing the rainforest, the ocean and the coastline mapping the country’s shores to the east.

Watabo'o beach, Timor-Leste
Slightly removed from Watabo’o

Read more: The birth pangs of Timor-Leste were more painful than most. What path will independence follow?

Things to know

How to get there: Several buses to and from Dili, Los Palos, Viqueque and other small villages around Baucau leave from the market. A bus to Dili costs about $3 and takes three hours. Watabo’o is at the base of a winding dirt road about 7km away. It’s best to charter transport at the bus station; watch out for aggressive hagglers and rip-off prices.

Where to stay: Baucau Beach Bungalows, a stone’s throw from the beach. $20 a night, with the choice of either a small bungalow or cottage.

What to speak: You could try some Tetun. See our guide here. Try deploying ‘Hau gosta o ita nius’ and see where it gets you.