If you are moving to East Timor, I’m sure the most important question you’ve got is:
What shoes should you take?That was a joke :)…..I’m not even a shoe person, but, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the perfect shoe list for East Timor. Why? Because I wasted valuable luggage space packing shoes that I didn’t need which could have been replaced with more important things like books.So this is my:

“Ultimate Shoe List for Timor Leste”
1.     Thongs or sandals
Okay this one is pretty obvious. The weather in the capital of East Timor, Dili, averages 28 degrees a day and the last thing you’ll want to be wearing in this heat is a pair of socks. It’s also probably one of the few places in the world where you can get away with wearing thongs to work every single day. I did and that’s how mine ended up looking like this:
shoes east timor

Thongs held together with pins
Thongs are also great for Timor Leste’s wet season (December to April). It’s pretty likely that at some point during the wet season, you’ll find yourself stuck in a sudden downpour and you’ll need your thongs to wade through all the puddles. I also found thongs really good for attending expat parties and events. The dress scene in East Timor is pretty casual but if you plan on wearing something jazzy, you can just add a pair of thongs to bring the whole attire down a level.
2.    Joggers
East Timor was probably the first and last time I ever wore joggers and jeans! It was more for safety when riding a         motorbike than a fashion statement. Enclosed shoes are a must for motorbike riding, that being said, I only wore them on long motorbike trips. The rest of the time, scooting around Dili, I just wore thongs. But that’s a risk I took and if I ever crashed, I would have probably lost all the skin on my feet.You’ll also need your joggers for their purpose: exercising. I know right, who would even consider exercising in such a hot place like East Timor? Turns out that a lot of people really like exercising in East Timor. Every afternoon car loads of people head down to Cristo Rei, the large Christ Statue located on the eastern end of Dili, to run up and down the sets of stairs there…. Okay, and if you’re thinking “I’m not going to take joggers because exercise isn’t really my thing” I urge you to still take them because I’ve met a lot of non-exercising pre-Dili living expats that end up moving to Timor and then running the Dili Marathon. Who can blame them? There isn’t much else to do in your spare time.
3.    Fancy Shoes e.g. heels or polished black shoes
I could get away with wearing thongs to work because I worked with a local organisation, but if you’re going to be mixing with the big boys in the Government or UN etc… then a stylish pair of shoes is a must. Nothing says respect or demands authority in an East Timorese workplace than fancy shoes and clothing. Also, who knows what exciting event you’ll find yourself invited to which requires shoes with an edge of sophistication. Dinner with the President? Or a function with the High Commissioner? If you’re ever going to be invited to an event like that, chances are it’s because you are living in East Timor.That’s all you should need.

What, just three pairs of shoes?!
Yep, but once again, I should make it very clear that I’m not really a shoe person. But if you are, you might want to consider adding some of the shoes below.

Extra shoe options for you to consider:

  • Pair of Dunlop Vollies– I took these because I thought they’d be really good for motorbike riding but I never used them (refer back to dot point one)
  • Reef shoes– if you are planning on doing a lot of diving and snorkelling. I was always wearing flippers so didn’t end up needing these
  • Crocs– those awful plastic clog things (sorry to offend you if are a croc lover, if it helps, please know that I am going out with a croc owner). I’m told that crocs are great for motorbike riding because you’ve got the enclosedness that you get from wearing joggers but with the airy feeling you know from wearing thongs. Also great for showering in unfavourable conditions (in these circumstances, I just used my thongs)
  • Hiking boots– if you are planning on doing some hiking in Timor, then it would be worth taking your boots from home

Example of unfavourable showering conditions in Timor (you’ll want some thongs for this)
Lastly, quality shoes are hard to come by in Timor, so don’t think you’ll be able to pick up a pair when you get there. But if your thongs end up looking like mine, then you’re best bet is to head to the street markets for some good second hand options.Alright I’m shoed-out, let me know if I have I left any essential shoes out on our facebook page or in the comments field below. And if you want more details on what you should pack, check out our post on two particular items that you’re bound to forget.