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Travel Guide > Asia > East Timor > Baucau

Baucau Travel Guide

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Bacau is East Timor's second largest city, behind Dili. It is located on the northern coast of East Timor, east of Dili. The city has East Timor's only major airport outside of the capital. During the political events of the late 1990s and early 2000s, the city found itself accommodating an influx of overseas jets and airplanes shipping people and supplies into the country. But Baucau has always been an important administrative and agricultural centre. It is the capital of a district with the same name.

Baucau has always played second fiddle to Dili in terms of national relevance. But the town has a backdrop that is just as scenic as that of Dili, with dramatic cliffs skirting the town.

Like Dili, Baucau suffered from the post-referendum carnage in 1999 where many of the main administrative buildings were burnt down. Departing Indonesian troops and the mobs they sponsored ripped out all infrastructure and utilities, leaving it without electricity and telephones. Baucau has since recovered remarkaby, although one can still see many gutted buildings.

Baucau's administrative centre is located at the foot of the cliffs that overlook the town. There is a large colonial hall surrounding a small fountain that was used for public addresses in colonial times. Nowadays you are more likely to see a goat wandering through than any colonial administrators. The real action now happens up on the cliffline - an area called Kota Baru (Indonesian for "New Town") which was developed during the Indonesian era - where the UN and now the East Timorese government have set up shop.

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