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Yemen Travel Notes

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Yemen Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Explore the Arabian Peninsula's millennia-old cities, marvel at UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and embark on an unforgettable historical adventure in Yemen.

About Yemen

The Republic of Yemen, proclaimed on 22nd May 1990, is located in the south of the Arabian Peninsula, at the mouth of the Red Sea; opposite Eritrea and Djibouti.

Countries neighbouring Yemen: Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Travel Map Mapping The Republic of Yemen

Map of Yemen

Map of Yemen

The Republic of Yemen is the result of unification between the Yemen Arab Republic and the Socialist People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen.

Sana'a (one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world) is the political capital of Yemen, while the business centre is Aden.

Other major cities include Taiz, and Al Hudaydah.

Yemen Overview

Yemen is a country located at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia, bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea to the south, and Oman to the east.

Despite its challenges, Yemen remains a culturally rich and historically significant country, but its people continue to suffer from the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis.


Yemen has been embroiled in a complex and devastating civil war since 2014.

The conflict began when Houthi rebels, supported by forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, seized control of the capital, Sana'a, and forced President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to flee the country.

A Saudi-led coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognised government, leading to a protracted conflict that has caused widespread humanitarian suffering, including food insecurity, disease outbreaks, and displacement.

Culture and History

Yemen has a rich cultural heritage and a long history, dating back to ancient times.

It was once part of several ancient kingdoms, including the Sabaean, Himyarite, and Aksumite civilisations.

Yemen has a diverse cultural landscape influenced by Arab, African, and Islamic traditions.


Yemen's economy is primarily based on agriculture, fishing, and services.

The country has limited natural resources, but it has historically been an important centre for trade, due to its strategic location.

Humanitarian Crisis

The conflict in Yemen has resulted in one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

Millions of people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, including food, clean water, and medical care.

The situation has been exacerbated by restrictions on imports and access to essential services.

International Involvement

The conflict in Yemen has drawn significant international attention and involvement.

Apart from the Saudi-led coalition, various other countries, including the United States, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates, have been involved either directly or indirectly in the conflict.


Arabic is the official language of Yemen.

Yemeni Arabic, a dialect of Arabic, is spoken by the majority of the population.


Islam is the dominant religion in Yemen, with the majority of the population adhering to the Sunni branch of Islam.

There is also a significant minority of Zaidi Shia Muslims, particularly in the northern regions.

Visiting Yemen

If you're considering visiting Yemen, it's crucial to research thoroughly and ensure your safety throughout your journey.

Consulting with travel experts and local authorities can provide valuable insights and assistance in planning a safe and enjoyable visit to Yemen.

Current Situation

Yemen has faced significant challenges in recent years, including political instability, conflict, and humanitarian crises.

It's essential to stay informed about the current situation in Yemen and any travel advisories before planning a visit.

Heritage and Traditions

Yemeni culture is deeply rooted in its Arab heritage, with influences from Islam, which plays a significant role in daily life.

Historical Sites

Yemen boasts several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Old City of Sana'a, Shibam Hadramawt (known as the 'Manhattan of the Desert'), and the Historic Town of Zabid.

These sites showcase the country's ancient architecture and cultural significance.Traditional clothing, music, dance, and cuisine reflect the country's diverse heritage.

Natural Beauty

Yemen's landscapes range from coastal areas along the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea to rugged mountains and vast deserts.

The Socotra Archipelago, located off the coast, is renowned for its unique flora and fauna, including the iconic Dragon's Blood Tree.

Historical Adventures in Yemen

Embarking on a historical adventure in Yemen offers a glimpse into millennia-old cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a rich mix of culture and history.

As you embark on your historical adventure in Yemen, it's important to stay informed about the current situation in the country and take necessary precautions for safety and security.

Yemen Travel Advice from The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (UK).

Yemen Travel Advisory from the U.S. Department of State.

Be sure to respect local customs and traditions, and engage with the local community to gain a deeper understanding of Yemen's fascinating history and culture.


Aden is an old trading port, with numerous old castles, fortresses and interesting museum exhibits.


Nestled in the mountains of Haraz, Al-Hajjarah is a picturesque village renowned for its stunning architecture and scenic beauty.

Wander through its narrow streets lined with stone houses adorned with intricate woodwork, and soak in the tranquil atmosphere of this mountain retreat.

Al Mukalla

Located on the shores of the Arabian Sea, Al Mukalla is a port city with a rich history dating back centuries.

Explore its ancient fortresses, vibrant souks, beautiful seaside promenades, and sample the fresh seafood for which the region is famous.

 Barqan - City of Cisterns

Step back in time at Barqan, an archaeological marvel.

Explore its intricate network of ancient cisterns, some dating back to the 1st century AD, a testament to the ingenuity of Yemeni water management techniques.

Marib Archaeological Site

The Marib Archaeological Site contains the remnants of the ancient city of Marib, which was the capital of the Sabaean Kingdom.

The site features the ruins of the Great Dam of Marib, an engineering marvel built in the 8th century BC to control the flow of water for irrigation and agriculture.

Shibam Hadramawt

Shibam is famous for its impressive mud-brick high-rise buildings, some of which date back over 500 years.

This ancient city, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers a fascinating glimpse into the architectural ingenuity of the past.

The city's vertical architecture is not only impressive but also served as a defensive measure against floods and raids.

 Thula - Gateway to the Past

Delve into the heart of the Hadramawt Valley and discover Thula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mudbrick homes cling to the cliffsides, offering a glimpse into a bygone era.

Wadi Hadhramaut

This vast desert valley is dotted with ancient towns, oases, and historic sites.

Explore the mud-brick villages of Shibam, Tarim, and Al-Qatn, visit ancient irrigation systems such as the Aflaj irrigation canals, and marvel at the stunning natural beauty of the desert landscape.


The Old City of Zabid, located in western Yemen, is renowned for its Islamic architecture and historical significance.

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Zabid an important centrer of Islamic learning and the capital of Yemen from the 13th to the 15th century.

 Zabid's mud-brick buildings, mosques, and ancient souqs showcase the country's rich heritage.

Explore its well-preserved mosques, ancient streets, and historical landmarks, including the famed Al-Asha'ir Mosque and the historic Al-Mahjariya Mosque.


The capital city of Yemen is a treasure trove of ancient architecture and cultural heritage.

Map of Sana'a

Map of Sana'a

Old City of Sana'a

The Old City of Sana'a, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts unique multi-story mud-brick buildings adorned with intricate geometric patterns.

Stroll through its labyrinthine alleys, visit the iconic Bab al-Yemen (Yemen Gate), and marvel at the grand architecture of the Great Mosque of Sana'a.

Exploring the narrow streets and bustling markets of the Old City is like stepping back in time.

Mareb Province

One of the most important historical and tourist regions of the Republic of Yemen, especially the old city of Mareb, and the ruins of the Sun Temple, and Bilqis Throne of the ancient Sheba kingdom.

Tourists to Yemen can enjoy two seas, The Red Sea and the Arabian Sea; where fishing and diving are very popular pastimes.

Socotra (Soqotra)

Socotra Archipelago

Socotra, or Soqotra, is the largest of the four islands that make up the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Socotra Archipelago in the Arabian Sea, 240 miles offshore from their mother land, Yemen.

There's plenty for the adventurous traveller to explore, from the capital Hadibo to Ayhaft Canyon National Park, Qaria Lagoon, Rosh Marine Protected Area, Homhil Reserv, Terbak village and Hoq cave, Qalansiyah, Diksam Plateau and the forest of Firhimin to name a few.

Sometimes known as 'The Galapagos of the Indian Ocean', the Socotra archipelago has an exceptionally large number of endemic species.

Of the 220 bird species recorded, eleven are endemic, including the relatively recently identified Socotra Buzzard.

At ground level, some three hundred plant species are endemic. Many of the insects, reptiles and spiders are unique to the archipelago.

With its superb beaches and dramatically varied landscapes (mountains, forest, ravines, sand-dunes, beaches, caves.) Socotra is a prime target for tourism, which will need handling with extreme care.

Strict regulations are in force to preserve the island's natural heritage and much of it has protected status, but some unprotected land has already been sold to potential developers.

This pristine and relatively unknown little island, so full of natural treasures, may be on the brink of a very different future.

Yemen's Socotra Archipelago could become a dream destination for tourists.

Getting Around Socotra

Public transport on Socotra is limited to a few minibuses. Car rental usually means hiring a 4WD with driver.

The airport for Socotra was built in 1999. Before this modest airport, the island could only be reached by a cargo ship.

When to Visit Socotra

The best time to visit Socotra is from October to April; to avoid the monsoon rains.

Around Yemen

Discover the mysterious way of life in the South of the Arabian Peninsula.

Tourism in Yemen

Yemen is Arabia's undiscovered gem; a country where you can find the world's oldest skyscrapers, spectacular mountaintop villages, pristine coral reefs and stunningly gorgeous trees unseen anywhere else on earth.

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in London:
57 Cromwell Road, London.

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Rome:
Via Antonio Bosio, 10, Roma.

Tours in Yemen

Since ancient times Yemen has enchanted travellers, merchants, philosophers and kings with its secrets and wealth.

You too can enjoy adventure, trekking and diving in the south-west corner of the Arabian Peninsula.

From the Red Sea to the Arabian Sea, there's a varied cultural program on offer for visitors to Yemen; the crossroads of ancient spice and incense routes and one of the oldest continuously inhabited regions in the world.

Hadramawt Valley

Explore the Hadramawt Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and step back into a time of frankincense caravans and ancient kingdoms.

Lush palm groves line the valley floor, while centuries-old mudbrick towns perch precariously on the cliffs above.

Hiking and Trekking in Yemen

Yemen offers some of the best opportunities for trekking, especially in the mountains north-west of Sana'a.

Juban Crater

Embark on a challenging yet rewarding hike to the rim of the Jubah Crater, a collapsed volcanic caldera.

Descend into the verdant crater floor, a hidden oasis inhabited by traditional Yemeni villages.

Yemen Travel Guides

Socotra (Bradt Travel Guides) Yemen: Travels in Dictionary Land - By Tim Mackintosh-Smith

Yemen Travel Guides - Yemen Maps.

Weather in the Middle East:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around the Middle East.

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