Top events in Yemen

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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: 17 April 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 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.

You are strongly advised to avoid places visited on a regular basis by foreign nationals.

The situation in Yemen remains volatile with continuing unrest and violent clashes. The threat of an escalation of violence and disorder remains. If you travel to Yemen against FCO advice, you should regularly reassess your security and plan any movements around the country carefully. Unarmoured vehicles are particularly vulnerable to carjacking and kidnap attempts. The British Embassy in Sana’a operates under strict security protocols and staff receive security training and briefings to enable them to carry out their work in as safe an environment as possible. The provision of close security protection and/or a military escort is extremely important for those working and moving around in Yemen, including in Sana’a.

The level of consular assistance available to British nationals is limited. 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. 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.

Edited by Jane Duru
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