About Socotra/Soqotra

PictureYemen has a number of islands spread like a string of pearls along its coast; from the numerous small, flat coral-fringed island of the southern Red Sea (like Kamaran), which have developed on salt domes, to the smaller less common island along the Gulf of Aden, most of which are close to the coast and are generally extinct volcanoes thrown up out of the sea during the late Neogene. Some are more distant, fragments of displaced continental crust, like the Socotran Archipelago, which became separated from the mainland about 27 million years ago.

The island of Socotra lie some 190 nautical miles off the southern coast of Yemen, in the Gulf of Aden. Their relative isolation merely hints at their extraordinary foreignness. Like a lesser Galapagos, these islands boast flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world. Moreover, the Socotran people have their own language (which lacks a script) and distinctive culture, cuisine and architecture: neither Arabian or African, yet strongly and distinctively Socotran.


Socotra is the largest in a small archipelago of four islands, which includes the Brothers (Samhah and Darsa) and Abd al-Kuri together with two rocky islets that lie in the Indian Ocean on a mic-oceanic volcanic ridge 500 km south-east of Mukalla and 170 km off the coast of Somalia. It is roughly 130 km long and 35 km wide.

Its name may be derived from the Sanskrit dripa sukhao (‘isle or abode of the blest’) or from the Arabic  souk qotra, which would mean the market of dragon’s blood – a reference to the resin of its most famous tree species.

Dragon’s Blood


In antiquity it was known to the Greeks of the first century AD as the fabled Island of Dioscorida and described by Marco Polo in the late thirteenth centrury as the Island of Socotra – the market of the dragon’s blood. Island of Bliis, Isle of Tranquillity, Island of Mists, Galapagos of the Indian Ocean and the Galapagos of the Arabian Peninsula are just some of the names which have been applied to the island over the centuries.

Strategically positioned near the main gateway to the Red Sea, Socotra has been famous since ancient times, and is mentioned in the oldest stories of the world. Gilgamesh of the Babylonian epic passed through the Waters of Death world (the Bab al-Mandab straits) at the southern end of the Red Sea and came here to learn the secrets of immortality from a relative, known as Uta Napishtim.

Egyptian knew Socotra as the Island of the Genie – the spirit of the sacred tree, whose gum they used for mummification, temple offerings and medicine. To the Greeks in the first century AD, it was famed for the phoenix, ‘the Arabian bird’ and locals believe that the oozing cinnabar-like resin of the dragon’s blood tree is the result of an ancient myth of the combat between an elephant and a dragon, and the forces of life and death.


The island’s population, which currently stands at 50.000, consists mostly of shepards and fishermen who speak the unique Socotri dialect. The main population centres are towns along the north coast, such as Hadibu (Hadiboh) – the principal administrative centre; Mouri, with its airport; Ghubbah; Qadheb and the western port of Qalansiyah. The coastal population represent quite mix of backgrounds, consisting of Arabs (Hadrami and Gulf Arabs) who settled here on the islands over 3.000 years ago, as well as Greeks, Africans, Somalis, Mahri tribes, descendants of slaves, sailors, traders and shipwrecked seamen, and other races who have been migrating to the island since the twelfth century. There is alson a Socotri-speaking bedouin population in the interior, who live in the hills, tending their cattle and goats. The variety is hardly surprising considering the island’s long and chequered history.



Life on the island is controlled by the two monsoon seasons. The south-west monsoons rage from April to October and bring extremely strong, hot and dry winds in from Africa. There is little precipitation and extreme desiccation during these months. The winter monsoon is less severe and blows in the opposite direction from the north-east, and the Indican subcontinent, bringing a little rain, and lasts from November until March.

Rainfall is always higher in the mountains than on the more arid coastal plains, but is sporadic, and there are some years when no rain falls at all. Nocturnal dew seems to be far more important to the water supply than monsoonal rain, especially in the high altitude mountain belt where the mountainous cloud yone provides ground water and running water for the entire island.

Fauna and Flora


The coastal plains tend to be sub-desertic and are colonised by deciduous shrubs principally Croton socotranus, euphorbias, cucumber trees and Ziziphus spina-christi, but the foothills of the mountains contain a shrubby landscape with incense trees and more bizarre bottle-trunked trees. Socotra, it has to be said, is sparsely vegetated, but pockets of verdant vegetation survive the desiccating summer winds in sheltered valleys or in the high mountaains. Due to the island’s isolation, an the fact that human activity has been kept to a minimum, about 37 percent  of the flora is unique to the archipelago. Not surprisingly, the vegetation on the island is of great interest to botanists. Over 825 species of plant have now been recorded, and around 307 exist nowhere else in the world.

This makes it on of the richest island floras in the world, and Socotra has even been described as the Galapagos of the Arabian Peninsula. The fauna on the island is equally remarkable, 90 percent of its land snail species do not occur anywhere else in the world.

Dragon Tree


The dragon’s blood tree, Dracaena cinnabari, is quite widespread in evergreen woodlands over the centre and east of the island and is the dominant tree in some areas. Some grow to over five hundred years old but are failing to regenerate and are listed as vulnerable. The tree grows best in areas affected by mists, low cloud and monsoon drizzle. A major cause of its decline is likely to be climate change, rather than goats on the island, which have already been there a long time.

Life on the island now

In an attempt to allow economic development on this unspoilt island where for centuries the islanders have lived in harmony with nature and preserved a unique, traditional way of life, the government, international companies and donor agencies are trying to ensure its survival by improving the lives of the people but at the same time conserving its globally significant biodiversity.

Organisations involved include the Yemeni government’s Socotra Conservation and Development Programme (SCDP), which co-ordinates government and donor initiatives affecting the people, and has developed a zoning plan to ensure the survival of the main habitats and plans. Other organisations such as the Friends of Soqotra and the Socotra Conservation Fund contribute massively to this effort and are devoted to studying and conserving the island’s resources.



Socotra is a remote naturalist’s paradise, which ecotourism offers a way of seeing. A fromula of managed eco-friendly tourism has been developed to help generate incone from visits to protected areas such as nature sanctuaries, national parks and areas of special botanical interest which encompass about 75 percent of the total land area. This is an alternative Galapagos – an untouched, unique ecosystem – with pristine beaches and idyllic oases rarely visited by tourists.

The Diksam plateau in the centre of the island is the base and starting point for trekking in the high Haggier Mountains with its stunning scenery and dragon’s blood forests. From here the ascent of Jebel Skand (1600 m), currently the highest mountain on the island, is achievable, although strenuous, butis rewarded with spectacular views of the north coast and Haggier Range.

The high point, of any visit to this areas is Wadi Da’arho, a deep water-cut canyon filled with massive rusty-coloured andesitic lavas, crammed full of luxuriant palm groves and freshwater pools for bathing and picknicking, high up on the Diksam plateau in the shadow of the Haggier Mountains.

Socotra offers also Homhil and Ras Dihamri Marine protected areas. Homhil has special plants and succulent trees including mature stands of frankincense trees, Boswellia. Ras Dihamri Marine Protected Area in northeast Socotra the seas of the Socotran Archipelago still remain in a largely pristine state with spectacular areas of hard and soft corals totaling over 283 species including branching Acropora.

Socotra Archipelago


In 1998 the WWF designated Socotra as one of the ‘Global 200’ most important ecoregions on Earth. By 2003 it was recognise as the first UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve in Yemen and as one of the best preserved island ecosystems on the planet. It is hardly surprising, then, that in 2004 it was nominated as a potential World Heritage Site. Then at the 32nd session of the council on July 8, 2008 the Socotra Archipelago was finally added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. 

Mihajlovic beberapa pemain baru di tim sangat prihatin

M88 Perjalanan China ac Milan telah berakhir, masing-masing, dan dua klub yang pertandingan pemanasan, adalah saingan kota Inter Milan dan Real Madrid Galacticos, dalam adu penalti antara Mihajlovic memimpin tim kalah Real Madrid , tapi 1: 0 kemenangan atas saingan lama di Serie a Italia, dalam sebuah wawancara setelah pertandingan, pelatih kepala tim Michal beberapa pemain difokuskan pada pujian, ia berpikir saat ini klub telah membawa Calabria, dan Ellis, dilakukan dengan baik.
Mihajlovic beberapa pemain baru M88.com di tim sangat prihatin 
musim depan tidak mengesampingkan kemungkinan untuk membuat Serie A debut di saat yang sama, pemain penting dari tim Montolivo, tim masih memainkan peran penting di liga Serie A Italia selain awal malam, akan 23 Agustus dilakukan pembuka, karena di tangan Inzaghi mengambil pointer, Milkha segera menempatkan sistem taktis nya kembali ditanamkan ke klub ini dari Milan, ia juga membawa sebuah metode pelatihan baru , telah dikritik karena sebelum tuntutan fisik Inzaghi pada pemain tidak cukup.
Musim ini juga akan menggantikan lineup awal, musim baru dimulai beberapa pertandingan pemanasan sangat penting, ini adalah kesempatan penting untuk benar-benar Mihajlovic, Mihajlovic sangat optimis bahwa musim baru telah sepenuhnya ac milan menggantikan line-up, membuat tiga pertama liga musim depan prestasi saya pikir tidak ada masalah, hanya sebulan, tim telah meningkatkan tingkat hirarki, tetapi pelatih tidak takut untuk bersaing dengan Juventus, sejarah yang sebenarnya pada, ac Milan jauh lebih kuat dari Juventus klub, yang telah selama hampir 100 tahun, saya pikir Milkha jatuh hanya sementara.

Feel Different Sensation when Taking Vacations

Having vacations abroad is really attractive and will give you refreshed. You will also find many new things that will open up your insight. When it comes to traveling you will need someone who know the area best. Especially when you get the traveling due to business trip. Having business trip means you should always be in your best condition. This is because you will have to spend days in presenting presentation and always be ready for every chance of getting turning without planning. With this condition, you should get your body and mind relaxed.

One way that will help you in making your trip to be really fun and unforgettable is by getting escort girls Ghent that will be really fun to hang out with. Ghent is a city in Belgium in where you can spend days in having fun and also to spend days for exploring the city which is so beautiful. Besides, with right choice of escort you choose for your trip you will find that your trip will not be boring. You will find the coziness and homey feel when you spend time with the beautiful girl you choose. Therefore, there is no doubt that you will find comfort while you are there.

Starting your exploration in Ghent you can start by choosing the best girl who is suitable with your type. Then, you can spend days with her to take her in restaurants and you can find many things related with your exploration in Ghent. Finding the best girl in Ghent is actually quite challenging since there are few of them that can be found. But, when you have chosen one of the beautiful girls as your company, you will find her to be intellect and also pretty at the same time. Thus, your trip will not even be boring!

Is Yemen Safe For Travelers?

When I started researching how I could travel to Yemen, I must admit that I assumed it would not be possible at all. Given the strongly worded government travel warnings about this country, coupled with the fact that any positive news about Yemen seems to be in great shortage, I just figured that things such as obtaining a tourist visa and even finding good, safe accommodation options would be impossible, paving the way for only the craziest of the craziest travelers to dare venture here.

And while I’m open to doing some crazy things, I’m not sure if ‘craziest of the craziest’ was a category I wanted to be a part of.

But surprised was I when I started to learn that a few travelers are making their way to Yemen and that traveling in these parts is not nearly as difficult, or dangerous, as I had once thought.

Surrounded by Soldiers

And then, a few weeks later I was in the back of an old Toyota 4×4 with a local driver and guide, heading out of Sana’a into the Yemeni countryside. The road wound through some rocky hills, passing along the edges of valleys and eventually cruising across a massive 2000 meter high plateau. En route to our destination for the night, we stopped at the impressively situated rocktop Palace of the Imam (Dar Al-Hajar) and we wandered through the streets of Thula, an ancient, and very well-preserved, village with structures dating back some 3000 years.

Thula village

After a couple of more short stops, it was time to head towards the town of Shibam.

Before entering Shibam, somewhere on the outskirts of town, our driver had to stop at a military checkpoint where he handed over a copy of the travel permits that all foreigners wanting to enter this region of Yemen must obtain. The soldier glanced at the paperwork for a moment, asked our driver a couple of questions and then, with a flick of his hand, allowed us to pass.

A few minutes later, we entered Shibam, where we had a great lunch, wandered through the friendly town and made a quick visit to the village of Kawkaban, clinging to the edge of a mountain nearby. Upon returning to our hotel in the afternoon, just in time to chew some qat of course, I realized that, not for one moment, had I felt unsafe, at all.

Kawkaban, Yemen

As I began to nibble away on some qat leaves, I asked our driver and guide about the military checkpoints, but they both brushed them off as nothing to be worried about and told me that the areas we would visit were perfectly safe. It all seemed reasonable to me…

…until the next morning when I was eating breakfast with the driver and guide in the small restaurant of the hotel.

The guide started to explain that, during the night, sometime around 11:00pm, a group of six armed government soldiers had shown up at the hotel.

“Why?” I asked.
“To protect you,” he said.
“What? I thought it was safe.”
“It is safe. But whenever there is a US citizen visiting, the government sends soldiers just in case,” he stated with a big smile on his face.


Soldiers at Al-Zakati Fort

Soldiers Following Us Around

Soldiers at Bokur

And for the rest of the day, our jeep was followed by a pickup truck with six armed soldiers sitting in the back. Not only that, whenever we got out of the jeep to visit a place such as the Al-Zakati Fort or the rocky cliffs near Bokur or to walk around the town of Mahweet, the soldiers got out of their truck as well and followed us around, never wandering too far away.

Even more surprising was the fact that this was quite a well-coordinated effort. As we were driving along a lonesome mountain road at one point, the soldier-filled truck behind us suddenly stopped. But sure enough, another truck, with another group of six soldiers was waiting for us right around the corner. This happened three times, with each group ‘handing us over’ once we reached the edge of their territory.

Now, before you let this whole soldier-following-you-around thing worry you, consider this. The Yemeni government, in an attempt to remain good friends of the USA, really does provide this soldier-escort service only to US citizens. Apparently, no other nationality receives this service. So, this does make me believe that such an escort is not really needed at all and is just for show. If these parts were so dangerous, the government would either provide the escort for everyone or they would add the area to the list of regions that foreigners are not allowed to travel to.

And whenever we got out of the vehicle, with our soldiers in tow, nobody in any town treated us any differently. It was as if the soldiers weren’t there and the soldiers certainly didn’t investigate anything, except for one town where they seemed to become a little more serious about their protective duties for a few minutes.

View from Bokur, Yemen

So, Is Yemen Safe?

Yemen is the kind of country you wouldn’t visit at all if you listened to all of the travel warnings. But it’s the kind of country you would probably be ready to visit if you listened to any traveler who has recently spent time there.

The thing is, Yemen has its fair share of issues. With a branch of Al-Qaeda operating in certain corners of the country, a south that wants to separate from the north and some tensions among tribal groups, it might seem as if any trip to this country would be doomed from the start.

However, if you travel wisely, which doesn’t really take too much effort, the chances of anything negative happening to you are extremely slim. Yemen, for smart travelers, is as safe as most places. Anil from Foxnomad.com wrote more about the safety situation in Yemen: Is It Safe To Travel To Yemen?

I personally didn’t feel as if I was in danger at any time, nor did I ever have a moment when I thought “Uh-oh, this could be trouble.” The parts of Yemen that I visited, and keep in mind that the Government of Yemen will not allow foreigners to travel to parts of the country that they deem unsafe, left me with nothing but a positive impression.

But again, I didn’t wander into the areas of Sana’a where the staff at our trusty hotel suggested we didn’t wander. I didn’t try to sneak into regions of the countryside where foreigners are not allowed to go. And I did my very best to respect and adhere to local customs wherever I went.

The Result?

All of the people I met were extremely hospitable and welcoming (and many wouldn’t let us leave without taking their photos, something you can see from Anil’s “Faces of Yemen” post) in every single town in the country. I heard not one negative reaction when I said I was from the USA, only extended hands and smiles. The number of invitations I received for meals, or even to spend the night at a local’s home, from people I only met thirty seconds before, were too many to count. Again, friendliness, not danger, was what I felt the most during my stay.

Jambiya seller, Old Sanaa

Man from Manakh, Yemen

And this was the case whether I was in the once-touristy town of Manakh or having lunch at a restaurant in some dusty crossroads community where everyone around us seemed as if they had never seen a foreigner before. It was the same when I was high up in the mountains, stumbling upon tiny villages only accessible by foot, and when I was walking through the nearly hidden back lanes of the main market in the historic Old City of Sana’a.

Boys wearing Jambiyas in Kawkaban

Bab al-Yemen Gate, Sanaa

Of course, for some travelers, the sight of soldiers and tanks, dozens upon dozens of checkpoints (there are at least ten checkpoints between the Sana’a Airport and the center of the city) and the odd kaleshnikov-carrying man walking down the street might scare you away. And while those are all present for a reason, the chance of a traveler encountering anything but a smile or nod of the head from the soldiers or any gun-carrying individual, is not very high at all in my opinion.

Is Yemen Safe for Female Travelers?

Indeed it is. Speaking with my guide on the Yemeni mainland, it seemed as if he had just as many stories about female travelers he had recently shown around the country than about male travelers. And many of the females came either on their own or in a group of a few women. Of course, I am not a female but, based on the conversations I had throughout my stay, I learned that a foreign female would have no problems traveling throughout this country. For more specific information about traveling here as a female, be sure to read: Solo Female Travel to Yemen – Your Questions Answered

Yemenis do understand that foreigners have a different way of life and as a result, they welcome foreign females to join in any of the activities that males would partake in, even if it is something that a local woman is not allowed to, or doesn’t normally, do. You will be treated as a traveler, and as a result, those you meet will want to show you the best of their country.

And, as a female, you would have a chance to do something that a male traveler has little chance of doing. You could speak with and interact with females, giving you a much different perspective on life in Yemen and an entirely different set of rewarding experiences. During my stay, I must admit that I only spoke with three local females the entire time. One was a schoolgirl who wanted her photo taken, one was a 20-year old divorcee in a small village and one was a 17-year old trying to sell me some jewelry. That was it unfortunately.

Also, I did meet two foreign female travelers in Yemen during my stay and they were both having an incredible time. I heard not one complaint of trouble, harassment or any other difficulty and instead, they each told me that Yemen was one of the most welcoming countries they had been to and much easier to travel around, as a foreign female, than they had ever imagined.

Socotra Island

I have something different planned for my upcoming post on incredible Socotra Island, the Yemeni island located in the Indian Ocean that I also visited on this trip. But for now, in terms of safety, I can tell you that the island is completely safe. They basically have a zero crime rate simply because it’s an isolated island. If you commit a crime, there’s absolutely nowhere to run to and everyone on the island knows each other. You can’t really find a safer destination to visit!

Socotra Island landscape

Travel Wisely

In conclusion, the risk of encountering any major problems in Yemen as a traveler is quite small if you travel wisely. This means staying away from spontaneous demonstrations (none of which we came across during our trip), learning which parts of the capital city to avoid, dressing appropriately, getting the necessary travel permits and most importantly perhaps, traveling with a licensed driver and guide through a reputable local company.

Traveling on your own in Yemen is not easy these days and you will find it to be quite a hassle to move around the country on public transportation and to pass through the dozens of checkpoints on every road. According to some reports, travelers are often turned away at checkpoints if they don’t have a local driver with them and just communicating with the soldiers in general (no English spoken) would be difficult. A local driver will also provide a bridge between you and the local communities, making it much easier for you to have rewarding travel experiences.

And besides, trying to organize the travel permits on your own would probably take up half your trip and conducting research in order to find reliable information on how to travel from one destination to another, where to get off the bus to visit a particular sight, how to reach the sights that are only accessible by 4×4 jeep along a non-existent road, which hotels are still in operation (many are closed now due to the lack of tourists), etc. would take up the other half.

Using a tour company to organize the visa, permits, driver and guide will ensure that you are able to see far more than you could ever see on your own, while enjoying a personally-tailored itinerary, for a price that suits your budget. And again, I’m going to recommend the tour company I used, Eternal Yemen, because they are as reliable as it gets and their team of kind, dedicated staff is what helped make my trip so memorable. (If you do use Eternal Yemen, make sure you request to have “Ali” as your driver…you won’t be disappointed!)

*Keep in mind that the above is simply my opinion and before traveling to Yemen, you should conduct additional research in order to decide if it’s the right destination for you to visit.

Find the Best Hotel in Medan with Affordable Price

If you are looking for a nice place to spend your holiday, you can go to North Sumatra. Moreover, when you think Java and Bali Island have been common place to spend holiday in, Medan is good for you. Medan has lots of tourism attractions that you can actually see. It provides you with cultural sites that you can actually see. You can find out about Batak culture as well as enjoying your time in Lake Toba as the iconic site. In addition, you can also taste the special culinary of Medan that will indulge you so much during your holiday.

Well, it is not an impressive holiday when you can’t have good experience to stay too. Having a good hotel to stay will enhance your holiday so much. It is good for you to go with the hotel that can give you the best service and it is not difficult to have it anyway. You can actually go to MisterAladin.com to book the hotel. One thing which makes it different from others is you can find cheap hotel in Medan with the best facility. It seems to be impossible tough, but you can actually prove it and book it from now on.

It is easy to find the hotel in affordable price since the price available here is very competitive. You can actually go specify the name of the area that you are going to visit and also take the ability to have something to do. In addition, you can just set the date for check in and check out. Then, in seconds the hotel will come out on the screen. If you want to find the affordable one, you can actually make it in order from the lowest to the highest one. It is better for you to go with it.

Furthermore, you can see whether it has good facility or not by seeing at the information given by the hotel. Each of hotels is attached by the information about the facilities, type of rooms and the pictures. To

Diving Tours in Yemen

Reliable Antwerpen Escorts Agency

If you are taking a tour or vacation to Belgium, you should not let the chance to find out the most beautiful girls in Antwerpen go away. The city of Antwerpen as known as Antwerp or Anvers is the largest municipality in Belgium which has a pretty good development in economy sector nowadays. As the industry grows up and develop the city into such larger one, the entertainment industry such as escorts business follow to grow up in this city. Antwerpen escort agency has become popular and seemed to be promising industry in the future.

When you are taking a tour in Belgium, you will find Antwerpen call girls in some quite remote corners of the country. Actually, it is considered to be the best place where the best escort girls are born and reared. The coming of escort girls in the city certainly drives out the boring life in the city which sometimes felt by the visitors. Many adorable and stunning girls are providing their best service for any kind of visitor with any kind of desire. Once you walk along the street in the city and you find it boring, the adorable girls of Antwerp will not be able to resist.

Well, there is one perfect site which you should visit when you are looking for Antwerpen escort girls. It was Sky Models that we are talking about. On Sky Models, you can find any kind of Anwerpen escort girls which may attract your interest. You can find out the cutest, the most beautiful or any other girls you have ever dreamed off. You can ask the girls to escort you everywhere either for your public or private business. They are certainly reliable and you will not get disappointed when you use the girls provided by Sky Models.

5 Things to Always Keep in Mind When Travelling to Yemen for Business

The country shares its borders with the Red Sea from the west end and with Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea to the south border. Oman lies on the northeast end of the country and the leftover land shares the border with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In terms of religion, Yemen is an Islamic country which follows strict religion guidelines and culture. They strictly observe the teaching of all the Muslims as a custom of Middle Eastern country. This, by no means indicates that they do not create a welcoming environment for other religion preachers – they welcome the travelers from all around the world, throughout the year.

The visitors for pleasure and business concerns are welcomes and the country with its citizens encourages the tourism as much as they can, hoping to create a wonderful experience for the visitors who will promote their image to the world.

Geographically, Yemen is a country that is divided into three different zones: the coastal strip aside the Red Sea, the central highlands and the northeast desert areas. From November to February, the coastal strip along the Red Sea experience hot seasons. The desert region on the other hand, goes through the hottest time of the year during June to September. The last region is the central highlands which features more climate than the other regions, reaching 77 degrees as the maximum temperature in the month of June.

While the different climate zones of the three different regions may seem it difficult for business travelers to make traveling plans, you can always hit Yemen according to the climate season of the time you are going there. For the business travelers, here’s what you need to keep in mind while going to Yemen for business, apart from the climate concerns:

1.Take your travel Visa with you

Take Your Travel Visa With You

 Always keep your passports and travel visa with you in order to avoid all the travel difficulties. A travel visa is an essential requirement for entry in any country and is usually valid for around 30 days. Keep in mind that you cannot get your travel visa on the entry you make in Yemen; you need to have it before in hand. Business visa are also what business concerned personalities keep. Make sure that you register to a passport authority or the Yemen police station within the first two weeks of the time you arrive in Yemen.

2.Pack the right wearable

Pack The Right Wearable

 As mentioned earlier, the climate in Yemen is fairly moderate around the year in the different regions. Apart from the formal wear, pack your summer attires for your stay in Yemen.

These may include light color dresses, head coverings, pants and loose shirts. There are no certain law enforcements in the wearable for the tourists. However, the Western governments believe that foreign women staying in Yemen should avoid wearing shirts, bikinis, miniskirts and items that reveal. Since there would be a lot of walking tours, physical activities and hiking (if you plan to spend your free time in touring), make sure you leave your land with a comfortable pair of running shoes. Do not forget to keep sunscreen, sunglasses and other sun gears as you will need a lot of those.

3.Essential items you need when away from home

Essential Items You Need When Away From Home

 It is always a wise thing to move out from home with all your requirements. However, toiletries are something most of us miss out. Make sure you make a bag of all your required and favorite toilet items, including soaps, shaving cream and shampoos.

Also add a small box of first-aid kit in your suitcase. If you plan on taking your electric devices, such as electric shaver, hair straightener or others, make sure you keep an international plug adaptor. In case you have certain medical issues or complications, pack your required medications especially in case of asthma as the areas in Yemen can get very dusty. You surely do not want to go to a meeting with a choking lung or unshaved beard – so make yourself prepared.

4.Make the right communication arrangements

Make The Right Communication Arrangements

 While you are away from home and family, it is genuine that you will miss your folks. Often at times, the business people need to make contact back to the main office to discuss certain issues and notions which cannot be discussed over the internet or chat.

In such case, cheap international calling rates save your time and money. The international calls here mean making calls from your smartphone to other countries. With calling apps like Yello, Skype and Viber, you can save yourself from the hassle of going to phone booths in making calls. It also saves your money as the calling rates to call to Yemen are extremely affordable.

5.Celebrate the cultural fests of Yemen

Celebrate The Cultural Fests Of Yemen

Yemen is known the best for the food customs offered at the ceremonial occasions. During the celebrations and the feasts, the festive meals are boiled, roasted or nomads of sheep or goat that are served on bowls of rice.

In the villages and towns, the same dish is served with side dishes of friend or roasted eggplants and mixed fresh green salads, along with custard or fruits and grapes or raisins as the dessert dish. People in Yemen also love eating dairy, poultry and fish products, so it is common to find different dishes of such. Yemen is also known for the sweet dishes they offer. The variety of sweet dishes offered is led by Bint as-Sahn; a puff pastry which is covered with honey.

During the Ramadan feast, the Yemenis prepare special sweet and sour dishes for nigh breaks as well. So if you wake up in the middle of the night during the Ramadan, you can always visit the restaurants for food options. During the religious feasts and wedding celebrations, coffee is the most used drink. The Yemenis are also known for smoking water pipes with chew Qat.

Yemen is an excellent place for business and traveling concerns. Make sure you know all the right things before stepping in the land of beauty.

Why I Traveled To Yemen For My Vacation

Travel to Yemen - Burra Mountains, YemenA few weeks ago, I decided that I needed to take a vacation. I just needed to get offline for a while and take a short break from the blog. I don’t take such breaks often but a little time away every now and then sure seems like a wise idea in order to keep me fresh and motivated as much as possible.

So, I began brainstorming potential vacation destinations, thinking long and hard about where I should go…

Perhaps a simple hut on a white sand beach or a quiet mountain retreat? Maybe some picturesque European town or Melbourne, Australia, where many of my friends live?


After talking with my good friend Anil from FoxNomad.com and discovering that he was also up for a blog vacation and a unique adventure, I remembered a particular destination that we had both been interested in traveling to for quite some time. And that was all it took. In an istant we settled on what, at least to us, seemed like quite an ideal place to visit.

Off we went…

On April 20th, at 2.30am, our flight from Istanbul landed at Sana’a International Airport. I obtained my tourist visa sticker from the visa counter, passed through the immigration inspection and collected my backpack. I then took a deep breath before stepping outside into the dark unknown, with the simple words that the immigration officer had said to me while stamping my passport playing over and over again in my mind. All he had said, with a big smile on his face, was…

You have curly hair. Welcome to Yemen. Thank you for coming here.

Sanaa, Yemen

Travel To Yemen?

I know, it’s probably not the destination that most people would think of when they decide to take some time off from work. Not only that, but if you take a moment to look at the websites of almost every Western government, I’m quite certain that the various warnings you’d read would convince you never to step foot in this country…ever.

US Government: “The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest. The Department urges U.S. citizens not to travel to Yemen. U.S. citizens currently in Yemen should depart. The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a remains a restricted staffing post. As staff levels at the embassy are restricted, our ability to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency remains limited and may be further constrained by the fluid security situation. The security threat level in Yemen is extremely high.”

UK Government: “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Yemen and strongly urge British nationals to leave now. If you don’t leave the country now while commercial carriers are still flying it is extremely unlikely that the British government will be able to evacuate you or provide consular assistance. The situation in Yemen remains volatile with continuing unrest and violent clashes. The threat of an escalation of violence and disorder remains. There is a high threat from terrorism throughout Yemen. Terrorists continue to threaten further attacks. There is a high threat of kidnap from armed tribes, criminals and terrorists.”

The question then becomes, “Why would I travel to Yemen? Why would I spend 9 days in a country that appears to be so dangerous?

The answer is easy. This is my drug, it is my ‘high’. Traveling to these kind of destinations, destinations that few people know anything about and that fewer people seem to visit, regardless of whether or not they seem safe, brings me the most satisfaction. It also provides me with the most interesting and eye-opening of experiences by placing me far out of my comfort zone, something that is difficult to reach these days after 13 years on the road.

As most of you know, I want to see the world with my own eyes in order to gain a better understanding about the cultures and people that call this planet home. And with the blog, I am then able to share my experiences in an attempt to break down the collection of inaccuracies, assumptions and misunderstandings that we all have about parts of the world we are really not so familiar with. This is why I travel.

And as simple as that may sound, that’s exactly why I went to Yemen.

My Guides in Yemen

This is also why I have traveled to Lebanon, Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan. It is why I like to spend so much time in India and Mexico and why I lived in Romania, traveled around Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia and so on.

Do I now claim to be an expert on Yemen just because I just spent 9 days there? Absolutely not. But what I do claim is to have seen a decent amount of the country, to have spoken with a good amount of local people and to have gained a much better understanding about this part of the world. And I also have a much better idea as to whether or not this country is a good destination for travelers, something that I will discuss in more detail in the coming weeks.

(I do want to mention that our trip was organized by the wonderful people at Eternal Yemen, a local tour operator based in Sana’a. The reason we used a tour operator is because it is much harder to obtain a tourist visa without going through one and in addition, given the limited tourism infrastructure, you can’t travel independently to many destinations. The only option is to have a driver and guide take you around and you need to obtain travel permits as well. We chose Eternal Yemen simply because of the positive reviews we found online and their impressive service during our email interactions with them. And after meeting the owners and their staff, I would definitely recommend them to anyone thinking about visiting Yemen as well.)

What Is There To See In Yemen?

I must admit that before I traveled to Yemen, I knew almost nothing about what I would find there…turns out I could have stayed for 9 months and probably still not seen it all. In the end, I had to skip many places that I wanted to see and believe me, the list of worthy destinations to visit is remarkably long for a country that sees not even a trickle of tourists passing through these days.

From the mesmerizing old city of Sana’a, to towns and villages such as Shibam, Kawkaban, Manakh, Mahweet, Al-Hajarah, Tawila and more, many of which are perched in the most improbable of locations and appear to have changed little in hundreds of years. There were the colorful canyons, the lush green valleys stretching as far as one can see and the Burra and Haraz mountain ranges, all of which offer landscapes that literally seem out-of-this-world.

Al-Hajarah, Yemen

And I haven’t even mentioned Socotra Island, a truly isolated and alien-esque Yemeni island located in the Indian Ocean, where we spent 3 days, an island that can only be described as a place you MUST see with your own eyes in order to believe it. (Just wait until I write more about this place…for now, here’s two photos to give you a small taste!)

Socotra Island, Yemen

Dragon's Blood Tree, Socotra Island, Yemen

The above destinations, combined with dozens of cups of tea per day, afternoon qat sessions with the locals (chewing a mildly intoxicating leaf for hours on end), military checkpoints, armed escorts, food ranging from superb to bizarre, the most beautiful beaches on Earth, laid-back people, wedding celebrations, two strange flights, barely existent roads, hiking and camping, kaleshnikov guns, talking with students and teachers in remote schools, conspiracy theories, maze-like markets, traditional music and dancing and so much more, turned this trip into one of my favorite trips I have ever been on in all of my travels.

Sure, some things abut Yemen confused me, some things made no sense to me, some things certainly were frustrating or did not align with what I believe is right in this world. But as a travel destination, especially one that manages to truly open the eyes of visitors to a land, culture and people that few of us are at all familiar with, Yemen could not have been better.

Burra Mountain villages, Yemen

Why Did I Keep Yemen A Secret?

To be honest, I was a bit scared. Since I was not fully aware of what the actual safety situation would be for a foreigner, and after reading the government warnings I listed above and hearing such mixed reports about current security issues, I thought it best to keep my whereabouts unknown in order to be as safe as possible.

Was it safe in the end? Well, I’ll dedicate an entire post to that topic soon. Right now, all I’ll say is that I am extremely happy I traveled to Yemen and I never really felt as if I was in any real danger at any time during my trip. In fact, I wish I could have stayed for a much longer period of time.

This is probably why, as I sit here on the rooftop terrace of my guesthouse in Istanbul right now, where I flew to from Sana’a yesterday morning, I often find myself lost in thought, quietly repeating the word “Yemen” dozens of times in a row. Yemen. Yemen. Yemen. I honestly cannot believe that I was just there, that all of the experiences and interactions of the past 9 days actually occurred.

It will take some time for me to process everything that happened but I do know that I have so much I want to share about this trip and I can’t wait to tell you about it all!


Sana’a, Yemen

Yemen is something of a conundrum in the Islamic world.  Geographically the closest country by land to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, it was the first place outside of what is now Saudi Arabia where Islam was introduced.  It then spent well over a thousand years as little more than a forgotten corner of the Muslim world.  Thanks to its strangely ironic geographic isolation, the city of Sana’a has remained virtually untouched by the ravages of wars and conquerors, and has preserved some of Islam’s most ancient treasures.  Foremost among these is the Great Mosque of Sana’a, one of the oldest intact functioning mosques in the world.  It was here that the Sana’a Manuscripts, which include the oldest known copy of the Qur’an, were discovered in 1972.  The Great Mosque of Sana’a and the House of Manuscripts are part of the Old City of Sana’a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Yemen has always been among the most mysterious places associated with the Abrahamite faiths.  Tucked away at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, it was a critical center of trade between the Middle East, Africa and India, while at the same time was sheltered by geography from the ravages of wars that racked the region throughout almost the entirety of history.  Religiously significant as the location of the mythical land of Sheba, Yemen has sheltered Jewish, Christian and Muslim refugees throughout its entire history.

Yemen was almost certainly the first country outside of what is now modern-day Saudi Arabia to see the introduction of Islam.  It is possible that some of the followers of the Prophet Muhammad, fleeing persecution, arrived in Yemen as early as the 620s.  The community founded by these earliest Muslims likely predated anything else outside of central Arabia, and is one of the oldest continually active Islamic populations in the world.

From the earliest days of Islam the small kingdoms of Yemen were ruled by an assortment of dynasties nominally loyal to whoever ruled the Caliphate but who were effectively independent for the better part of a thousand years.  Only during the Mameluke and Ottoman periods did the caliphs exert greater control over Yemen, and then only in the north.  Nowhere in the entire Middle East are early Muslim religious and cultural practices as well preserved.  Thus it is perhaps not surprising that one of the greatest ancient caches of Qur’ans and other religious and historical documents turned up in Yemen.

The Great Mosque of Sana’a is one of the oldest continually active mosques in the world.  Though it has been expanded and restored over the centuries, some of its earliest elements date back to the 7th century AD.  During a routine renovation in 1972, workers came across stacks of ancient papers and manuscripts in a long-forgotten attic space.  On further investigation, it was discovered that many of these documents dated to the earliest days of Islam, and included what is believed to be the oldest copy of the Qur’an in existence.  Both the mosque and the manuscripts, which are now kept at the House of Manuscripts, are considered to be the country’s greatest Islamic treasures.


The bright white brickwork of the Great Mosque of Sana’a stands out starkly against the darker, sandy-colored architecture of the surrounding city which presses in closely from all sides.  Laid out in the 7th century AD, the Great Mosque still roughly conforms to its original plans.  The architecture bears a recognizeable resemblance, albeit on a much smaller scale, to the holy mosques of Mecca and Medina.  While there is no dome, a pair of mismatched minarets grace two corners of the courtyard.  These are about the only portions of the mosque which are visible from any distance.  A prayer shrine stands in the center.

The Sana’a Manuscript collection is absolutely enormous, consisting of as many as forty-thousand documents, of which barely a third have yet been examined.  Among these are many old Qur’anic writings, including pages and fragments that have been dated as far back as the mid-7th century, when the Qur’an was first committed to parchment.  The collection is now kept in the House of Manuscripts, a library/research facility built specifically for the restoration and study of these ancient documents.

The Great Mosque of Sana’a is located in the very heart of the Old City.  The House of Manuscripts is close by.  The mosque is open to Muslims only.  There is no cost of admission.  As of this writing, access to the House of Manuscripts was extremely limited due to the delicate (and religiously highly sensitive) nature of its contents.  No other visitor information was available.  Web: www.yementourism.com (official tourism website of Yemen)

Other Sites

The entire city of Sana’a is an homage to the traditional Islamic culture and architecture of Southern Arabia.  In addition to the Great Mosque, some of the highlights include the Bab Al-Yaman (Yemen Gate), which protects the entrance to the city’s ancient Medina; the jaw-dropping, sky-scraping Imam’s Palace; and the recently completed Masjid Saleh, which is now Yemen’s national mosque.  Yemen’s other major Muslim sites are scattered throughout the country.  Notable among these are the Masjid Al-Muhdhar in Tarim and the Shrine of Al-Hoteib in Al-Hkutayb.