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Suai is in East Timor. Near the coast, the sleepy town of 10,000 people (2015) boasts beaches and traditional fishing villages dating back to Portuguese colonial times.

A traditional house in Suai Loro, photographed in 2006


From its cracky mountains to its sea, Timor-Leste's Covalima district is a favourite place to explore and relax. The new road over a 1500-meter pass looks like something out of New Zealand, you might even find a few rugged houses. Highlanders in this part of Timor are still very traditional, and are always happy to meet newcomers. Do mind the crocs though. In Suai you can pump oil straight out of the earth and people look forward to big change with the development of the Sunrise oil ad gas field.

Get in[edit]

About 4 hours from Maliana. There are 2 roads that lead there from the ridge south of Maliana. One goes via Lolotoe and is a rough road with unmarked turns. The road through Zumalai is better, except for 2 spots that are prone to landslides that may close the road. If coming from Dili, the road through Maubisse may be faster.

  • 1 Suai Airport (UAI IATA, Commander in Chief of FALINTIL Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão International Airport) (4 km (2.5 mi) east of Suai, in Cova Lima Municipality). This airport, opened in 2017, does not appear to have any scheduled flight service yet. Suai Airport (Q3534803) on Wikidata Suai Airport on Wikipedia

Get around[edit]


  • 1 Ave Maria Church (near the market). Just about completed, this is the most striking building in Suai and replaces the one that was destroyed in the 1999 massacre by pro-Indonesian militiamen.



Oil speculation has made Suai the most expensive place in Timor-Leste. The market has the usual household goods but prices of basics can be up to 50% higher than elsewhere.


  • Eastern Dragon (in the hotel complex). Bland Chinese food plus a pool table and a herd of bug-eating cats. $6.
  • 1 Several basic warungs are in the market. $2.
  • 2 Restaurante (opposite Hotel Suai, west of the roundabout). Only warung in this part of town and offers an alternative to Eastern Dragon. Good chicken and beef but limited veges, although you can get a basic soup to go with it. English-speaking staff. $2.



  • 1 Eastern Dragon (on the road heading east to Zumalai, just east of the roundabout with the statue). This is the best hotel in Suai. Rooms have AC, satellite TV and bathrooms with warm showers and sit-down toilets. Complex includes a supermarket (closes about 20:00) and Chinese restaurant. $52 single, $65 double, $90 vip.
  • 2 Hotel Suai (100 m west of Eastern Dragon on the other side of the road - new sign is easy to spot). Longstanding basic hotel. Most rooms now have aircon. $25 single, $35 double.


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