There is another route through Gleno to Letefoho and then to Hatobuilico village. This road is not in good condition so it is recommended that you travel via Aileu.
You can expect your trip to be extraordinarily scenic, in fact, spectacular in parts, and to take 5-6 hours.
Dili to Hatobuilico via Aileu
Leaving Dili, take the road past the clock tower roundabout and head straight towards the hills. At the “roundabout” veer to the right. Then follow signs to Dare and Aileu.
The road then winds up the hill towards Dare where you might stop to visit the WWII Memorial and have your first cup of coffee (and enjoy the cooler temperatures). At Dare take the left hand fork and continue straight towards Aileu. You will see that you continue to climb steadily upwards for more than an hour with glorious views to the coast.
While in Aileu you could visit the markets (on the left in the centre of town). These are the biggest set of markets in the area that you travel though and you will find a variety of food to buy (fruit, vegetables, tofu, eggs etc) as well as tais to purchase.
It takes between 1.5 to 2 hours to drive from Dili to Aileu.
Continue on through the town and as you head towards Maubisse you pass through areas in which rice is grown as well as coffee plantations. The scenery changes rapidly as you pass though river plains and then hilly, heavily vegetated regions.
Maubisse is a smaller town with more limited markets. This is the place to buy those batteries that you have remembered you have forgotten! You might also stop longer and visit the Pousada Maubisse located up on the hill to the left of the main part of town.
A visit to the “Green School’ is highly recommended if you have time.
It takes 40 minutes to drive from Aileu to Maubisse.
About half an hour past Maubisse, after driving through coffee plantations, through small villages and then past a series of local gardens and very good quality local vegetable stalls, you will come to the ‘easy to see’ turn off for Hatobuilico. At this very evident corner you will see a small kiosk and “bus stops” for travellers to wait protected from the weather. Look for the sign indicating that this is the road to Hatobuilico etched into the concrete at the side of the road.
From here you just follow your nose. The road is in relatively good condition for Timor and has been significantly repaired. It is 18 kms between the turn off and Hatobuilico village but be prepared that this part of your trip will take you an hour to an hour and a half as the rocky construction of the road and the windy nature of the route requires you to be slow! You can lap up the extraordinary scenery as you drive!
A couple of kms along from the turn off, look for the set of houses on the left with the flags and then the uma lulik tree growing up from its circlet of stones.
About one third of the way or 6 kms along the road from the corner you will come to the village of Muluhulu (or Manumera depending on who you ask). Your route winds around the primary school that has been renovated by the South Korean government as part of an aid program and you will note that the school is well fitted out with solar power. To the left and away from the street you will see the green and white health post.
Leaving Muluhulu and steadily climbing you traverse a bend and arrive into another valley. You will see small communities to the left and on a clear day you can see through the gap in the hills to the coast past Suai. Look for people riding or leading their ponies and carrying loads of wood on their heads.
Two thirds of the way in to your destination or at the 12kms mark, you will come to the second village of Querorema. There is rectangular set of classrooms on the right just after a newly constructed and yet to the used market building on the left. With houses on each side of the road it will be easy to see that you are in a village.
From Querorema, you need to follow the direction signs to Hatobuilico. Enjoy the last section of a spectacular trip!