Welcome to the mountain town of Baguia. In this quite town, tucked away in the green hills in the east of Timor Leste, you will find not only the comfortable accommodation in an old Portuguese fort, but the ever friendly people of Baguia will make you feel at home. At only an 8-10 hour drive from Dili, you get the chance to experience a combination of comfort, relaxation and exiting activities, in the back-to-basics town.
Baguia is a part of the Baucau district in the east of Timor Leste. It is the centre of a rural area with many villages around the small town. The main languages the people speak here are Tetun, Makassae and Bahasa Indonesia. Tetun is the official language in Timor Leste and is a combination of Bahasa Indonesia en Portuguese. The inhabitants of Baguia are Makassae people with their own traditions, culture and language. We are a community of subsistence farming, which means we provide our own food. We eat what we can grow and what we find. In Baguia there is a tight relationship among us. Some things are challenging for us, so we always help each other whenever we can. We accept the things we have in our daily lives, and we live a happy life. So life may be simple, but our culture is rich.
In and around the town there are several activities that you can do. We are always available to arrange a guide for any activity you would like to do. Come trekking and enjoy the different farms and isolated villages, or follow the history of the Indonesian-Timorese war. Choose any of the following activities and we will be happy to help you.
Climb the Matebian Mane mountain. A challenging one day trekking to the second highest peak of of Timor Leste with a peak of 2900 meter above sea level. However, more days is more relaxed! Be aware that it may be too slippery and dangerous in rainy season (Jan-Jul). Not possible during January until March.
Climb the Matebian Feto mountain. In local myth, she is the wife of the Matebian Mane. Somewhat easier and always available. Reach the top at more than 1700m for some astonishing views over the valleys below.
Trekking around the area. We are ready to adjust any trekking to your preferences. There is so much to do around Baguia that we are happy to help you to make a trekking through the forest, villages and farms that you will never forget. If you choose a trekking with one or more nights, you will stay the night at one of the local families. Some of the possibilities include coffee plantations, the Naueti traditional village, or any of the other interesting places listed below.
Teach class in school. If you would like to help the Baguia community, you could share your knowledge with us. Bahasa Indonesia or Purtuguese are more useful than your English. If you rather just visit and observe the class, feel free to ask! We are flexible and happy to invite you to our school.
Tenun workshop. If you are into traditional weavings, you could visit one of the local tenun workshops.
Air terjun Liubere Liumata. This waterfall (air terjun) is a sacred and beautiful place which you can visit for a lazy afternoon. Bring your camera and your swimming pants. However, if you can’t ask for permission to the locals, you won’t be able to enter the waterfall. It could cause some serious bad luck. Also not available during rainy season (Feb-Jul).
The caves where the resistance movement during the Indonesian occupation was based, are also open for visit. These historical sites tell the story of the hard life of the Baguia people during the occupation. The struggle for independence was violent and lasted for 24 bloody years.
There are multiple traditional villages around the Baguia area. Be welcome to visit the local people and experience their way of life.
Tired of all the activities? Feel free to ask for a traditional, Baguia style massage.
The room you will stay in is located in the old Portuguese Baguia fort named Fort Posada Baguia. The fort was built during a period of Timorese rebel sentiment against the Portuguese in the region. It was the resident to the governor, and Jose Celestino da Silva took resident in the fort in 1904, once the fort was finished. During the Indonesian occupation of Timor Leste (1975-1999), the Indonesian army was based in the fort as well. Since the independence in 2002, the mayor of the Baguia sub-district lived in the fort, but it was in very bad condition. In 2016, a grand restoration gave the fort it’s old allure back. A devastating storm in February 2018 luckily caused only minor damage, in contrast to the Baguia village. During the restorations, the purpose of the fort was changed from residence to tourist accommodation. Today, the four rooms in this historical place are waiting to be used.
Baguia is reachable by public transport. Take the bus from Dili to Baucau (4-5 hours) and change to a bus in Baucau the next moring (4-5 hours). Unfortunately the road conditions are quite bad, so although it’s not very far, it takes a lot of time. So don’t bring a good deal of patience! The bus from Baucau only departs in the morning so it is advised to stay the night in Baucau. It is also possible to rent a car in Dili to get here. I advise you to use a four wheel drive. There are no ATM’s in Bagiua and only two local banks in Baucau. Try to go to the ATM before you get in the bus. The basic needs are provided in the room but for special needs like medicine and a simcard you need to be in Baucau or in Dili. There is no WiFi so if you need to use internet on your phone, buy a Timor Telekom simcard in one of the cities, but credit is available in one of the kiosks in Baguia.
As told before, Baguia is a simple village which provides only the most basic needs. There are no restaurants and warungs. We can provide three meals per day, water and coffee/tea for a cost of $10 pp/pd. The electricity usually works but don’t be surprised if it fails. Don’t forget to bring your towel.
Apart from this, we are very flexible and we will be happy to help! See you soon in Baguia.
Baguia, Baucau, Oost-Timor