Venilale is a fantastic place to spend a day or two to see the “real” East Timor.
Venilale is a small rural town in the mountains, and among that there are some amazing sights. Relax in Hot Springs, browse the bustling market, see historical buildings or experience the Seven Caves, carved by the Japanese during World War II. You can climb Mt Ariana and take in the stunning panoramic views of terraced rice paddies.
In the Portuguese era Venilale, then known as Vila Viçosa, was a popular mountain retreat from the heat of the coast. The country is steep and surrounded by spectacular mountains. The skyline to the east is dominated by Mt Matebian or ‘Mountain of the Souls of the Dead’, 2300 metres, where the souls of the ancestors are believed to reside. To the west of Venilale is Mundo Perdido or ‘Lost World’, 1800 metres. This remote and rugged terrain provided shelter for the Australian Sparrow Force during World War II, and during the 1980s and 1990s for Fretilin guerrillas fighting the Indonesian occupation.
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