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Dili, East Timor

Dili lie charming neighborhoods where frangipani trees shed colorful flowers onto the streets, chickens and goats run free and dignified colonial buildings serve as a reminder of the past. The people are kind, the waterfront is serene, and a brief walk from any point in the city will take you to golden beaches. Familiarize yourself with the history of East Timor, or Timor-Leste as it is called by the locals, at the Resistance Museum. Housed in an impressive new building, the museum chronicles the country's 24-year long struggle for independence from Indonesia. A good timeline details the most important events in English, and the collection of gear used by the Falintil as they sought refuge in the hills is fascinating.

Outdoor enthusiasts have longed flocked to the country to experience its pristine and untouched nature, and few world capitals offer as many opportunities for adventure as Dili. Diving is an enormously popular activity, and the waters off the coast of the city are rich in exotic marine life. Snorkelers and scuba divers can swim with schools of barracuda, huge pelagics, and many species of turtles and sharks in the city's harbor and explore the unspoilt beauty of coral reefs not far from the shore.

As the sun starts to set, join the faithful locals in their nightly pilgrimage to the massive statue of Jesus that tops the headlands to the east of the capital. You will find yourself surrounded by both sporty expats and local fisherman as you make the trek past several representations of the stations of the cross on the way up the hill. When you reach the statue, look out across the bay to enjoy one of the most spectacular views of Dili against the setting sun. Finish the evening with a giant margarita on the beach, and don't forget to look up; the stars are incredible above the city.

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