I was in Timor Leste from the 10th to the 20th of April 2023. The currency in Timor Leste is the US Dollar and prices are generally cheap. However, a little surprisingly, Timor Leste is a bit more expensive than Indonesia and other Southeast Asian nations. For a backpacker’s budget for Timor Leste, you need between 25 and 50 USD per day.

Accommodation

There are very few hostels in Timor Leste. Actually, there are just a handful of them in Dili and one on Atauro Island. A bed costs around 15$.

Hotels of varying quality and price can be found in Dili. A single room costs between 25 and 80 USD.

Outside of Dili, there are small hotels and family-run guesthouses which can accommodate you for 10-35 USD per night in a single room. Breakfast is usually included in this price.

I spent 4 of my 11 nights Couchsurfing in Dili and this saved me a lot of money. But more importantly, I met an incredible person who provided me with invaluable insights into Timorese history, culture, and lifestyle.

My total accommodation cost came to 105 USD (95 euro) making the average 8.64 euro per night in total or 13.6 EUR per night for the nights I actually paid for.


Food and Drinks

Food is generally cheap in Timor Leste. There is a variety of warungs and small restaurants that serve local food for as little as 1$. Most meals cost between 1-3$.

If you opt to eat in fancier restaurants in Dili, you’d be looking at 7-25$ for a meal.

There are also street food options, mostly Sate (meat skewers) which are very cheap – as cheap as 0.25$ per piece.

Menu with prices of simple food in Dili
The menu in a simple warung in Dili

In total, I paid 50$ (45.5 euro) for food and drinks, which makes the average 4.14 eur per day. Of this, 15.15 euro was for drinks like water, ice tea, and coffee.

Full disclaimer: I had some meals prepared by my host in Dili so that average is a bit deflated. Still, food is generally cheap in Timor Leste.

Transport

Timor Leste transport is microlets and minibuses. There are minibuses from Dili to any other city in the country with a price tag between 3 and 10 USD.

I opted to hitchhike around Timor Leste to be able to meet more people. Oh, what a great decision that was! I had a blast of a time! That also meant my transport costs were very low.

In total, I spent 6$ (5.4 euro) for transport. That’s 4 microlet rides in Dili (0.25$ each) and 5$ for a minibus from Venilale to Viqueque (as basically, nobody else was driving on that road if you can even call it a road, so I couldn’t hitchhike). The average comes to 0.5 eur per day. If you don’t hitchhike, you’re looking more at a price like 5-10$ per day if using public transport or 40-100$ if renting a car.

Minibus from Venilale to Viqueque, driver changing flat tire
That’s the minibus I took from Venilale to Viqueque and the driver changing the flat tire

Culture and Activities

There aren’t many museums in Timor Leste. There are a handful in Dili and most of them don’t have an entrance fee anyway. I paid just 1$ for the Resistance Museum.

I’m not much of a scuba diving guy and I didn’t do any paid activities in Timor Leste. These will add a lot of costs to your budget, keep that in mind.

In total, I paid 1$ (0.9 euro) for culture, making the average 0.08 euro/day.


Visa

As a citizen of the European Union, I am visa-exempt. Unless you’re from the EU, Schengen, Indonesia or Cabo Verde, you need a visa for Timor Leste, which costs 30$ on arrival.


Other

I bought unlimited mobile internet for a week for 6$. Since I stayed 11 days, I had to add a bit more credit (2 USD more). I also paid 5$ ATM access fee to withdraw some cash (and I’m so mad about it because the ATM didn’t show a warning before charging me extra!)

In total, I paid 13 USD (11.9 euro) for ‘other’ expenses, making the average 1.08 euro/day.


A Backpacker’s Budget for Timor Leste

Accommodation95 euro
Food and drinks45.5 euro
Transport5.5 euro
Culture and Activities1 euro
Other12 euro
TOTAL159 euro
Expenses for 11 days in Timor Leste

In total, I spent 159 euro for 11 days, which makes the average 14.45 euro per day.