Timor Leste

Location 2 weeks 3 weeks 4 weeks
  • Volunteer Program: Timor Leste
$1,790 AUD $2,190 AUD $2,490 AUD


East Timor (Timor-Leste in Portuguese) continues to suffer the after effects of its decades-long struggle for independence against Indonesian occupation, which severely damaged the country’s infrastructure and killed at least a hundred thousand people. The roads are rugged, the vehicles are in poor condition and therefore travel is slow.

Medical volunteering in Timor Leste is ideal for professionals with a sense of adventure!  The medical clinics are located in remote areas where there is often a shortage of experienced doctors and medical supplies.

The country relies on foreign support as it struggles to build a viable economy and coffee beans are one of their valued resources. Predominantly Catholic, over one-third of the population lives below the international poverty line (less than US$1.25/day) and around half the population is illiterate.

Life can be challenging in this beautiful country however it is a wonderful experience for the adventurous with the local people genuinely welcoming. The country offers trekking through spectacular tropical forests; beautiful sandy beaches and glorious sunsets.

Medical Volunteering in Timor Leste – Placement Overview 

The medical clinic is based in a picturesque village approximately two hours by road from Dili and almost 1300 metres above sea level. The clinic receives approximately 60 patients a day between 9 am and 1.30 pm. It is staffed by a young doctor, a local nurse and midwife, medical records person, a dispenser, cleaner and a few assistants. In addition to the two consulting rooms, there is a full dental set-up and a birthing suite. The facilities are described as very basic, minimal equipment and no oxygen facility. They desperately need the additional skills and support from volunteer doctors, dentists, midwives and nurses. It is primarily general practice work where serious cases are transported by ambulance to hospitals in Dili.

Medical volunteering in Timor Leste involves running consultations with patients at the clinic, antenatal checks and assisting with the outreach work. This provides a great opportunity to have a greater impact on the people who are in need of help – and is indeed back-to-basics medicine. Common conditions include trauma (broken limbs from falls, road accidents, snake bites, burns), infections (including TB and other bacterial, viral and fungal infections), malnutrition, respiratory issues (asthma, hay fever), malignancies, obstetric care, rheumatology conditions, skin diseases and malaria. TB and HIV are endemic in the community and therefore prevention and education is important.

In addition to the clinic, regular outreach work and home visits may be required. Families have an average of 7-8 children and younger mothers are gradually moving away from home births and into the clinic setting for deliveries.

Medical students (final years) are welcome and may be able to assist with basic clinical practice, history taking and re-stocking medications and the emergency/treatment room.

Please bring conservative, comfortable cotton clothing to wear while working in the clinic. Bring disposable gloves, face mask and antiseptic hand gel for your use. We will also provide you with a ‘wish list’ of supplies for the clinic.

Non-medical partners are always welcome at the centre and there is usually plenty of work to do including assisting with organising and providing the outreach services, teaching English and computer skills to the local children and staff, sewing lessons, mechanical or agriculture skills, nutrition, hygiene and family counselling.

Accommodation & Food

medical volunteering in timor lesteWhile medical volunteering in Timor Leste,  you will be accommodated in either a home stay or one of 4 (shared) bedrooms in the main building or portable accommodation on site.  The house is clean and basic.  Electricity, hot showers and western toilets are all available.

Meals are shared around a communal table and may typically be lentil stew, or a large platter of rice, chicken or pork, tofu and vegetables. Crème caramel and freshly brewed coffee from an open fire. If you have special dietary needs, please let us know on your Application Form.

The evenings and weekends are yours to relax and immerse yourself in the local community life. However you may be called into the clinic to assist in the event of an emergency. Free time can be spent exploring the local villages and teaching English and other skills to the local people.

Arrival Information

You will be met on arrival at Dili Airport by the centre coordinator. Please aim to arrive on the Saturday or Sunday so that you can be transferred to the clinic and ready to start work on the Monday.  The minimum visit is 2 weeks. We will communicate your flight details to the local staff and they will meet you at the International Airport.

When to go

East Timor has two seasons: wet (December to April) and dry (May to November). During the rainy season there can be floods and landslides that cut off access to roads.

Daytime temperatures are around 30-35°C all year-round in the lowland areas, dropping to the low 20s overnight. In the mountain areas, warm-to-hot daytime temperatures drop to a chillier 15°C at night, less at altitude. At the end of the dry season in parts of the north coast the mercury hovers over 35°C. A good time to visit is after the wet season, from late April to July.


Cost (per person)

2 Weeks:   A$ 1,790
3 Weeks:   A$ 2,190
4 Weeks:   A$ 2,490
Other durations are possible.
Inclusions Exclusions
Return Transfers Dili Airport / Accommodation. Items of a personal nature (ie telephone, drinks, etc).
Pre-departure support and information pack, arrival induction and orientation. Travel Insurance.
Accommodation, all meals, bottled water and coffee. Optional excursions while Volunteering.
Local in country ground support Passport, Visa and Police Report fees.
Registration, On Site Medical Supervisor and translator. Vaccinations.
 DocTours T-shirt and personalised luggage label Flights (and taxes) to and from Dili.


Terms & Conditions


Your medical voluntary work may be eligible for CPD points with your relevant college.  We will send you a copy of the guiding information with your travel documents.

We recommend that doctors advise their professional indemnity provider of their medical volunteering in Timor Leste in advance of travel.


Processing of your Volunteer Application Form can be initiated once we have received your deposit. Due with your Application Form is $ 495.00. This deposit is non-refundable once your placement is confirmed.


Due two months prior to departure or on receipt of invoice if travelling in less than two months. Payments by Visa and Master Card will incur a 1.5% fee and American Express 3.0%.


Contact STA Travel if you would like assistance with your flights, optional tours or travel insurance.  STA Travel provides special offers and benefits for volunteers and therefore please call direct:  Email:  doctours.au@statravel.com   Phone:  1300 675 435   Airlines flying to Dili include Air North (code: TL from Darwin) or Merpati (code MZ, from Denpasar, Bali).


Visas are required for most nationalities travelling to Timor Leste. A tourist visa on arrival (of up to 30 days’ duration) is available to valid Australian passport holders for US$30. A departure tax of US$10 is applicable and there are currently no money exchange facilities at the airport. Please ensure that your passport expires more than 6 months after you return home and there are at least two blank pages in your passport. We also recommend taking some spare passport photos.


It is a condition of your travel arrangements that you have current travel insurance to cover against cancellation fees, medical expenses, lost luggage and evacuation.


Please refer to the Conditions section on the Application Form. Deposits are non-refundable once your arrangements have been confirmed.

Please note that all costs are subject to change due to increases in taxes, hotel and volunteer price increases, as well as currency adjustments.