Top events in Yemen

July
31

The Muslim holy month is a time to purify the soul and concentrate on spiritual matters, a time to refocus the soul and practice self-sacrifice by...

August
30

A three-day festival that celebrates the end of Ramadam and the conclusion of the fast. After Eid prayers communal celebrations involving family...

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Yemen landscape

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Yemen Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

536,869 sq km (207,217 sq miles).

Population

25.3 million (2013).

Population density

47.2 per sq km.

Capital

Sana'a.

Government

Republic since 1990.

Head of state

President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi since 2012.

Head of government

Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa since 2011.

Electricity

220/230 volts AC, 50Hz. Flat two-pin, round three-pin and square three-pin plugs are used.

Yemen is authentic Arabia, an antidote to Arabian Gulf bling, and the Peninsula’s most fascinating destination.

Recognised by UNESCO, Sana’a’s multi storey tower houses and ancient Souk Al Milh lend an overwhelming sense of otherness. Being woken pre-dawn by competing muezzins, from just some of the city’s 40-ish mosques, only adds to the effect.

Outside the capital, explore fortified cliff-top villages overseeing cultivated plains or hike the foothills of the Haraz Mountains. To the east, walk the shady streets of Shibam, Freya Stark’s ‘Manhattan of the Desert’, where nine-storey mud towers stand testament to Yemeni building skills. On the coast, visit the bustling fishing ports of Al Mukalla or Al Huydaydah. Most remote is Yemen’s ‘Arabian Galapagos’, the Socotra archipelago. Cast adrift at the mouth of the Gulf of Aden, Socotra is two hours by air from Sana’a. Here 37% of plant species, 90% of reptiles and an estimated 90% of invertebrates are found no where else on earth.

Once characterised as Arabia Felix (Fortunate Arabia) by the Romans, these days an uncertain security profile deters all but the hardiest travellers.

Travel warning: Due to ongoing violent clashes in Yemen, the Foreign Office in the UK advises against all travel to the country. Any remaining British nationals in Yemen should leave as soon as they can.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 19 October 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Yemen and strongly urge British nationals to leave.

There is a high threat from terrorism throughout Yemen and specific methods of attack are evolving and increasing in sophistication. Terrorists continue to threaten further attacks. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has previously targeted western interests and there could be a threat to commercial sites, transport infrastructure, diplomatic missions and any place where westerners gather.

There is a very high threat of kidnap from armed tribes, criminals and terrorists. So far in 2014, a number of foreign nationals have been kidnapped, and groups actively continue to target westerners. In February and March 2014, there were at least 3 separate kidnap attempts against well-protected westerners.

Since late August the Houthis and their supporters have held a number of anti-government demonstrations in Sana’a. The Houthis have erected camps and set up checkpoints on main roads in and around Sana’a to restrict the movement of government and military traffic.Since early September there has been fighting between Houthi and government forces in and around Sana’a. Fighting also continues in the northern region of Al-Jawf. On 9 October at least 42 people were killed and many injured when a bomb exploded at Tahrir Square in Sana’a where a number of Houthis and their supporters were demonstrating.

On 21 September, after a period of fighting in and around Sana’a which left several hundred casualties and the Houthis in a position to control a number of key government buildings, the Houthis and President Hadi signed an agreement to end this tension. It is not yet clear whether this agreement will work and the situation in Yemen remains volatile with continuing unrest and violent clashes. The threat of an escalation of violence and disorder remains.

A number of airlines have resumed services to and from Sana’a following heavy fighting between Houthis forces and the government in mid September. Airlines continue to monitor the situation closely and may cancel flights with little or no notice. You should take the opportunity to leave the country. If you’re unable to leave you should minimise movement around Sana’a and follow the other precautions in this travel advice. The level of consular assistance available to British nationals is limited in Yemen and it’s extremely unlikely that the British government will be able to evacuate you. If you need urgent consular assistance call either +967 1308 114 and follow the instructions given, or +44 (0) 20 7008 1500. Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

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