Cristo Rei in Timor-Leste is one of the most scenic spots in the main capital city of Dili. Set on top of a hill, the statue dominates the landscape and can be seen from many vantage points in and around town. You’ll want to make the visit – for some a pilgrimage – up to the top for scenic views, a close up view of the statue, and a chance to escape the city and swim in the ocean.
Located 7km outside the city on the eastern peninsula of the far edge of town, Cristo Rei is easy to get to. You can catch the number 12 microlet from town for only a quarter. It goes through Rua Belarmino Lobo and this will drop you off at the base of the walking path after a short 25 minute ride. Otherwise a taxi can be negotiated for a few USD. From Praia Cristo Rei – the base, it is only a 500 step walk – difficult because of the Timor-Leste heat – till the top.
The best light for this spot comes from the afternoon-evening. The sun, setting in the west will light up the statue on the front, and the colors of the green grass and mountains really pop during this time. Although it is very hot still, it begins to cool down slightly. You’ll likely see runners, people working out, or those taking a walk around town at this time. It’s a chance to see the local life.
This was my second time visiting and because of the beautiful afternoon light, it was a way better experience than going in the morning. I recommend catching the microlet out and back into town for this half-day trip and then hopping into the water on either Backside Beach or on Praia Cristo Rei.