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Country info
Square area:
527,968 km²
28.25 million
Yemeni rial (YER)
Unstable politics
Rare speakers
Safety level
Many parts of Yemen are still off limits to international travelers due to an ongoing civil war. However, Hadhramaut Governorate and Socotra Island are safe to visit.

Amid Arabia’s longest valley Wadi Hadramaut, it comes like a mirage - the ancient city of Shibam. ‘Manhattan in the desert’, as the traveler Freya Stark dubbed it in 1930, rises from the warm, orange sand. Set closely together, its mudbrick high rises cast a soothing shadow over narrow alleys that funnel winds. In 1982, UNESCO proclaimed Shibam a World Heritage site.

But after a civil war broke out in Yemen in 2015, Shibam slid to the less-noteworthy, endangered sites list, and the rest of the country plunged into poverty. The war continues still today, making travel in Yemen a demanding affair, one ridden with safety issues, travel permits, and disturbing poverty. But in spite of it all, Yemen will inspire you with a culture which hasn’t changed much since Shibam’s first mudbricks were laid, some 1700 years ago. 

  • From national parks to marine reserves, enjoy Yemen’s peaceful oasis, the UNESCO-listed Socotra Island. 
  • Picnic in the shade of a Dragon Blood tree at Diksam plateau in Socotra.
  • Admire the ingenious design of the strategically-built brownish town of Shibam. 
  • Explore the historical center of Sufism, Tarim in Hadramut valley. 
  • Taste the Yemeni Sidr honey, praised for its antiseptic and antibacterial benefits.




Perfect For

World's most religious Muslim country is full of ancient traditions and customs.


From spectacular, out of worlds sites of Socotra to ginger bread mud towers of mainland Yemen, the country is full of amazing sites


Canyons of Hadramaut, sand desert of South Yemen and riches of Socotra - "Galapagos of Indian Ocean", Yemen is a treasure trove of unique natural riches.


From UNESCO World Heritage site of Shibam, to historic towns of Wadi Doan and religious center of Tarim, Yemen offers places like no other place on Earth!


Itinerary ideas

A drive from Salalah to the Oman-Yemen border in Surfeet. Panoramic drive with the view of coastal villages close to the city of Hawf. Drive along the Arabian Sea for your last stop, Al-Ghaidha. Enjoy the evening at leisure.
Visit Somali fisherman’s district in Al-Ghaida and proceed to Al Mukalla. En route, you will make some stops in the Fartk Mountains and drive via the seaside road to Al Mukalla for overnight.
Morning visit to the Old Town of Al-Mukhalla and the Al-Quizi Fort. En route to Wadi Do'an, stop in Abdallah Ghareeb and Haid Al-Jizil for the most amazing views and panoramic photography.
Enjoy the beautiful sunrise over Haid Al-Jizil Valley. Later on, enjoy a full day of exploring the area of Wadi Do'an. Visit the village of Buqshan before heading back to Haid Al-Jizil to watch the sunset.
In the morning, set off to Seyun, driving along the Wadi Do'an. En route, you may take photo stops and capture the views of Sif and Al-Hajjarain. Drive on to visit Shibam Hadhramaut, before arriving to Seyun for overnight.
Head on to visit the Old Town of Tarim in northern Hadhramaut. Afterwards, head off to to Aynat and the old Islamic tombs of the Sufi Imams. Return to Seyun in time to take a photo of Shibam Hadhramaut at sunset.
Early morning departure from Seyun to Shehn border via Rumah. After lunch break, proceed to meet our Omani representative who will drive you back to Salalah.
Discover the uniqueness of Socotra and the treasures of the mainland. As every other, this program can be easily customized and adjusted to your preferences.
A drive from Salalah to the Oman-Yemen border.
Arrival to Seyiun later in the afternoon to check in to hotel. After exploring Sayiun known as 'Paris of the Wadi' enjoy dinner in the city.
Drive to ancient town Tarim to visit Al-Muhdhar Mosque. Proceed to Shibam, fortified 'the Manhattan of the desert'. Enjoy the sunset over tall, sun-dried mud brick houses before returning to Sayiun.
Flight to Socotra followed by transfer to Hadibo. Settle in and relax for a while. Enjoy a stroll around the town before heading to the beach to refresh in sea or maybe even in the freshwater lagoon.
A day planned for Detwah Lagoon, renowned for its magical landscape. This marine protected area, its white sandy beaches and amazing dunes views overlooking turquoise water will stun you.
A drive to Dixam plateau and Shebahon viewpoint to see the biggest area of dragon's blood tree. Proceed to Wadi Dearhu for unusual rock formations. Take refreshing swim before valley sunset.
We go to Ras Erissel to see the point where Arabian sea meets the Indian Ocean. Proceed to Arher for a swim or if you are up for a challenge try to climb white dune for another amazing photo opportunity.
Heading south to Aomak beach with intriguing landscapes following us all the way. Next, we are walking through stalagmites and stalactites framed entrance to Dogub Cave, impressive closure of the day.
Visit Ayaft Gorge, a green oasis with numerous springs and creeks. Due to its unique microclimate, this rain forest is known for various endemic trees, including the Bible frankincense.
A drive to fisherman village Qalansyia to take boat for Shu’ab beach, another picture perfect place for relaxation. Enjoy bird watching and proceed to see salt flats and Ghubb village before returning to Hadibo.
DAY 10
Enjoy some time at leisure before meeting with your chauffeur for a private transfer to Hadibo airport for your outbound flight.
Explore the major sites of Yemen with security and comfort at the highest possible level, and with unique world-class guides, all depending on your preferences.
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What to Expect

There is a poor selection of hotels. On the mainland, both staying at a hotel and private accommodation depend on the situation and security. The capital of Sana'a offers a somewhat wider choice of accommodation. Socotra island has very limited choice of accommodation options ranging from basic hotels to homestay and camping.
On the streets of Shibam
• Most places do not meet expected Western standards
• Hygiene can be the issue at some properties • Home-stay when needed is the only option
• Camping on Socotra is the best option
• Socotra hotel choices are very limited but good for quality shower and great AC
Given the country is largely covered by deserts, expect extremely dry weather throughout. Western and northern Yemen has always been known as the green and fertile part of the Arabian peninsula. The island of Socotra is known for its humid, tropical climate. Western parts of the country are hot and humid due to sporadic monsoon rainfalls.
The beaches of Yemen's mainland
• The best time to visit is from September to April
• The period from June to August is the least visited as it gets really hot
• Expect high humidity on Socotra Island
Communication in Yemen may be challenging at times. Socotra generally has a very poor WiFi connection and the internet via phone does not work in many places. On the mainland, the situation is somewhat better as the GSM coverage has improved over the recent years. Please bear in mind that local SIM card provides with good service for calls and texts, but not with internet connection.
Yemen SIM card
• Country code: +967
• WiFi is poor on Socotra, but solid on the mainland; internet via SIM card isn't possible
• Roaming provided by the majority of international operators (please check with your local supplier)
• Plug types are A (USA), D (India) and G (UK); standard voltage is 230V and it operates on 50Hz
Yemeni cuisine is diverse and authentic and it has left traces throughout the Middle East. Meals are consumed by sitting on the floor, and are usually followed by drinking coffee or tea. The Yemenis are known to be generous and when offered food, not accepting it is considered inappropriate. Spices are an integral part of Yemeni food culture.
Chicken with rice
• Yemenis consume a lot of fruits and vegetables, and mainly chicken, goat and lamb meat
• Yemen is known for its very special and valuable honey
• Common dishes are saltah, shakshuka and meals with meat and rice like mandi and zurbian
• Tipping: 10% on top of the bill, or rounding it up
Since Yemen is not a touristy destination souvenir production or mass craft workshops are not developed. Some of the unique things to purchase in Yemen are frankincense, Yemeni honey and Dragon Blood dried sap. Fruits, vegetables, spices, cooper tools, leather goods... are also unique and worth getting.
A store in Shibam
• Barganing is expected
Janbiyas curved daggers
• Coffee in Yemen is considered as one of the best in the world. One from Mocha is most popular one but anywhere in the country you can find good one
• Yemen is also known for its exceptional (and expensive!) honey
Yemen is a patriarchal society and exceptionally religious with quite strong tribal traditions in most areas. Men can have up to four wives and arranged marriages are still a norm. As in many other Muslim countries, women are required to dress appropriately. Most households possess weapons and some men carry guns and traditional janbiya in public.
Women wearing madhalla hats
• Men are wearing skirt called fūṭah
• Consummation of alcohol is forbidden
• Chewing khat is very popular in this part of the world
• You may encounter beggars who are war refugees and paying for their meal is looked upon favorably in the society
• This is a Muslim country so alcohol is forbidden and don't approach unaccompanied women
Yemen is still in the state of civil war in the western and northern parts of the country. However, all our programs are staying far away from the troubled areas. Socotra is very safe and there are no issues whatsoever regarding travel. On the mainland, safety measures are practised with extra caution, and we never suggest a long stay.
Girls on Socotra island
• Hadramout Valley and eastern parts of Yemen are safe
• Socotra is very safe and there are no issues on the island
• It is recommended for ladies to wear burqa throughout their trip on the mainland
• Tap water is not safe to drink
Getting to Yemen by air is possible only by flying Yemenia Airlines scheduled flights via Cairo. On ground, the best and only way to get around Yemen is by car with local driver and guide. All our transfers are done in SUV vehicles as roads are not always in great condition. The vehicles available are the best possible option. Luxury is not to be expected.
SUVs are often the only way to go
• Driving side: right
• The main airport on the mainland currently is Saiyun Airport (GXF)
• All our transfers are done in best available SUV vehicles with driver and guide at disposal
• Long drives are needed for visiting several spots
• On Socotra, expect serious off-road drives

What to pack

Dry, desert climate of the mainland is in hard contrast with the humid shores of Socotra. Small selection of the essentials can make the decisions on what to pack easier. Of course, there is also a list of recommended reading for better understanding of this unique country.

In The Media

The Alien Beauty of Socotra Island
Surreal beauty of Socotra island
The Otherside of Yemen
From Food to Historical Sites & Hospitality
Hadramout - An untold story
Old city of Shibam in Hadramout
The Manhattan of Yemen - Shibam
Landscapes and Indigenous Cultures of Shibam
Yemeni Culture
Portraying some of Yemen's culture
Arwa - Mekhabi Alaya / أروى - مخبي عليا (فيديو كليب)
Popular music in Yemen

Best to combine with

Yemen is surrounded by a wealth of unique and less-visited countries. From the historic towns to stunning coastlines and endless deserts, Middle Eastern countries are full of riches!

An oasis of peace and stability in the Middle East and an easy border-crossing away from Yemen. Long desert drives ahead!

The ideal connection point with your Yemen adventure for its daily flights, Egypt is one of the world's most fascinating cultures.

Saudi Arabia
Yemen's big northern neighbor has just recently opened its borders for travelers. True discoveries await!

Quirks for the Curious

Straw Hats of Yemen
One of the most curious and unusual details you will see in the mainland are the strange, tall hats worn by local women in the fields. Despite the scorching heat, Yemeni women are dressed in black burqas while working in the fields and the only relief, apparently, is coming through these tall hats. The hats are made of dried and braided strips of date palm leaves and are characteristic to Hadramaut province of Yemen. These strange hats are called madhalla and please ask for permission before taking a photo.
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Dragon Blood Trees of Socotra
One of the most unique plants on the planet is definitely an endemic Dragon Blood Tree. It is unique only to Socotra island which is also known as "Galapagos of Indian Ocean" due to over 700 endemic plant and animal species found only there. Dragon Blood Tree is found mostly only on Dixam Plateau of Socotra and it is easily recognized for its unique and strange appearance, with densely packed, umbrella-shaped tree top. It got its name from bright red colored sap.
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Mud Scrapers of Shibam
Yemen is known for its unique architecture and Shibam is one of the places where the famous and most beautiful mud skyscrapers can be seen. Shibam is nearly perfectly preserved and walking its narrow streets is like walking back in time. The local museum is housed in one of the buildings and is the perfect place to learn about this unique place and the history of Hadramaut valley. Shibam is also on UNESCO World Heritage list but entire Hadramaut valley is full of stunning towns and villages.
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