Top 10 tourist attractions in Yemen

 

Yemen is home to the several number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It has natural beauty and rich history, like old city of Sana’a, Marib, Socotra and Hadramout are world famous and have been attracting visitors for so many years. Besides its historical and natural treasures Yemen also features beautiful coasts and mountains. No wonder why the Romans called Arabia Felix (Happy Arabia). With so many amazing sights, putting together a top 10 list of tourist attractions in Yemen is no easy task. The following list however should give a good indication of why over you have to visit Yemen.

10- Historic Town of Zabid

zabid

Zabid’s domestic and military architecture and its urban plan make it an outstanding archaeological and historical site. Besides being the capital of Yemen from the 13th to the 15th century, the city played an important role in the Arab and Muslim world for many centuries because of its Islamic university.

9- Almukalla City

mukalla

The main sea port and the capital city of the Hadramaut coastal region in Yemen in the southern part of Arabia on the Gulf of Aden close to the Arabian Sea. It is located 480 km (300 mi) east of Aden and is the most important port in the Governorate of Hadramaut, the largest governorate in South Arabia. Al Mukalla was founded in 1035 as a fishing settlement. This area was included in Oman state until middle of the 11th century, and later this area was included in Yemen states.

8- Alhajarah fort – Haraz

alhajarah

Is a village in Yemen. It is located in the Manakhah District of the Sana’a Governorate, in the Haraz Mountains. Al Hajara is built upon a precipice and is famous for the houses which are built onto the cliff faces.  Al Hajara contains the former residence of Imam Yahya Muhammad, a signatory to the Italo-Yemeni Treaty of 1926.

7- Saber Mountain – Tai’z City

saber

Saber mountain is one of the most famous mountains in Yemen, (almost 3000m above sea level), which affords panoramic views over the city. The city has a Muslim madrasa that has university status.

6- Gulf of Aden – Aden City

gold-mohur

Is a gulf located in the Arabian Sea between Yemen, on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. In the northwest, it connects with the Red Sea through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which is about 20 miles wide. It shares its name with the port city of Aden in Yemen, which forms the northern shore of the gulf. Historically the Gulf of Aden was known as “The Gulf of Berbera”, named after the ancient Somali port city of Berbera on the south side of the gulf.

5- Wadi Do’an

wadi-doaan

Do’an valley, Em valley, Amad valley.. etc. Do’an valley is the most important, as many villages spread on the road leading to it, some are models of architecture in Yemen, as Al-Hajrin unique village, Do’an valley is known with production of the Do’ ani honey which is considered the most expensive type of honey in the world, the beautiful villages on the valley banks.

4- Bar’an Temple – Marib City

belqis-temple

This lies 1400 m t o the northwestern direction of Mahram Balquis. It is a Sabaean Temple devoted to the Almaqah, the Moon God. This temple comes next to Awam Temple in importance, and is locally known as “al-Amaid” or the throne of Bilpuis. A German Archaeological mission explored this temple, where upon they found it to be square in shape with an open yard involving the sacred well in the middle, together with a pool supplied with water by a funnel from the mouth of the statue of the Holy Taurus.

3- Shibam Hadramout

shibam

Shibam is a town in Yemen. With about 7,000 inhabitants, it is the seat of the Shibam District in the Hadhramaut Governorate. It is famous for its mudbrick-made tower houses.

2- Old city of Sana’a

oldsanaa

Situated in a mountain valley at an altitude of 2,200 m, Sana’a has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years. In the 7th and 8th centuries the city became a major centre for the propagation of Islam. This religious and political heritage can be seen in the 103 mosques, 14 hammams and over 6,000 houses, all built before the 11th century. Sana’a’s many-storeyed tower-houses built of rammed earth (pisé) add to the beauty of the site.

1- Socotra Island

socotra

Socotra Archipelago, in the northwest Indian Ocean near the Gulf of Aden, is 250 km long and comprises four islands and two rocky islets which appear as a prolongation of the Horn of Africa. The site is of universal importance because of its biodiversity with rich and distinct flora and fauna: 37% of Socotra’s 825 plant species, 90% of its reptile species and 95% of its land snail species do not occur anywhere else in the world. The site also supports globally significant populations of land and sea birds (192 bird species, 44 of which breed on the islands while 85 are regular migrants), including a number of threatened species. The marine life of Socotra is also very diverse, with 253 species of reef-building corals, 730 species of coastal fish and 300 species of crab, lobster and shrimp.

Best beaches of Yemen

 

Yemen and its islands have outstanding beaches along the Red and the Arabian seas and as such, we’ve found it very difficult choosing our favourites. We are certain that some of Yemen’s beaches are still unexplored by humans, however, it’s summer in the jewel of Arabia and you are about to discover the best beaches of Yemen where you can bask in the warmth of the sun and swim in the still waters of the surrounding seas.

  • #6 – Lover’s Beach – Aden city

lovers beach

  • #5 – Bir Ali – Mukalla city

birali

  • #4- Arher beach – Socotra island

arher beach

  • #3- Shouab Beach – Socotra island

Shouab beach

  • #2 – Aomak beach – Socotra island

aomak

  • #1- Qalansiya beach – Socotra island

qalansiya

10 Things To Do In Sana’a

Most of you are wondering what to do during your visit or stay in Sana’a and here we’re going to give you some helpful tips on some interesting things to take part in in the old city of Sana’a

  • Walk around the old city of Sana’a in the early morning

Walking around the old city of Sana’a in the early morning has a different taste especially when you watch the locals starting their day heading to the market and opening their shops. You will also hear plenty of blessing words hoping to have a blessed day.

Old city of Sana'a

  • Enjoy some traditional Yemeni Chai

There’s no way you’ll go to the old city of Sana’a without having some Yemeni tea. Try Chai Ahmar (Tea) or Chai Haleb (Tea with milk). If you love milk then ask for Haleb Mofawer and if you prefer tea without milk then you should try Chai na’naa (Tea with mint)

  • Old Sana’a from the top

Nothing better than seeing Sana’a from the roof of one of its old buildings. If you’re thinking to go inside one of these buildings we recommend you to go to the roof of Burj Alsalam hotel as there’s a cafe with a beautiful view of the city.

old city of sana'a

  • Hamam Sana’ani (Sauna)

We all need to relax when we’re away on foreign soil, and one of the best options in Sana’a is going to Hamam. Most of the Hamams are booked for women in the morning and men in the evening. (Going there is usually recommended for men only)

Old Sana'ani hamam

  • On the top of Bab Al-Yemen

Ever wondered about going on the top of Bab Al-Yemen (gate of Yemen)? Yes you can – there’s a small door on the right when you enter the gate which is actually a gallery shop. When you go there, take the stairs up to the gate and enjoy (and some friendly advice – tip the man who works there on your way back)

bab alyemen

  • Have a meal

If you think you have a strong stomach then you should try the local food in the old city of Sana’a. We will leave the choice of what to eat for you but if you don’t like spicy food make sure you tell them when you order “Bedun Besbas”(without spices)

food in the old city

  • Night walk around Alsayelah

Don’t miss the night walk in Alsayelah (rain water channel)

alsayelah

  • Attend a wedding

One of the unique things to do in Sana’a is to attend a wedding. Most of the weddings are held on Thursdays as Yemenis believe it’s a blessed day. Once you see a huge tent with lamps around it and music you can go without advance invitation – Yemenis are friendly they will definitely welcome you as they will know you’re a tourist.

Sana'ani wedding

  • Dress in true local Yemeni style

You can’t just observe the beautiful traditional dress of Yemenis without thinking of wearing it just like them! You can find some traditional dresses in the markets but make sure you get help from a local so you can wear it the way they do.

  • The art gallery

Don’t miss visiting one of the art galleries in the old city of Sana’a.

art sanaa

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How to Get a Tourist Visa to Yemen

In January 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Yemen announced that they will no longer be issuing visas on arrival to the country. A report released by the Ministry stated that in an effort to fight terrorism and strengthen security measures to prevent the infiltration of terrorist elements into the country, the granting of visas at airports to foreigners will be cancelled

That has left many individuals confused – they are keen to visit Yemen yet unsure of how to get a tourist visa to the country. There are several ways this can be done, one of which involves the embassies abroad in the individuals’ residential countries. These Yemeni embassies can issue tourist visas for whoever applies which is then procedurally followed up by a standard security check. Some other embassies may ask you to bring special documents such as an invitation from Yemen or a “no-objection entry paper” stamped by the Ministry of the Interior.

These methods are tried and true and can prove beneficial for many visitors but what about those that just can’t make it to a nearest Yemeni embassy? Do they miss out on the wonders of Yemen? The short answer is no! The simplest yet safest method to gain a tourist visa to Yemen is through a friendly travel agent.

  • Applying for a Tourist Visa through ToYemen.com

ToYemen.com will issue a tourist visa for their clients wishing to take advantage of complete tour packages that typically include accommodation for the period of stay in Yemen, a tour guide and itinerary for the sightseeing and tourist attractions around the country. Furthermore, ToYemen.com is committed to making sure that their clients will depart Yemen safely at the end of their tour.

Please be advised that you should not contact ToYemen.com for your tourist visa if your main purpose of visiting Yemen is to either to work there, visit friends, conduct and/or be involved in meetings with organizations, press coverage, participate in and/or conduct political activities or any activity that is not related to tourism. In such an unprecedented case, the individual is in violation of Yemeni security and may face penalties of a hefty fine and deportation.

The following Nationalities can get a tourist visa on arrival in Yemen

  • GCC Countries
  • Egypt
  • Syria
  • Algeria
  • Jordan