Is Yemen Safe For Travelers

Is Yemen Safe For Travelers?

Derek Travel Tales, Yemen 101 Comments

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.

Hmmm….

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.


How does Yemen sound to you in terms of safety? Do you have any questions? Just let me know below!

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Comments 101

  1. Tiffany Wong

    Hi Jo,

    I am going to Yemen, I would like to know is that you applied the visa through Eternal Yemen? And you was joining their tour or just hire a driver from them? How much did it cost if just hire a driver but not joining their tour? Since we couldn’t find any Travel Agency let us hire a driver and apply visa & travel permit only!! All Agencies saying that we should join their tour all days!

    Thanks for your sharing! It is very useful!

    Tiffany~

  2. Julie

    Hi Jo,
    From Dubai, there are direct flights from Sharjah Airport to Socotra – no need to go through Sana’a if you don’t want to. You touch down on the mainland for about an hour to meet the plane from Sana’a and change plane. I flew via Sana’a to Socotra and then back to Dubai via Sharjah on my way home. The light is incredible and your guide on Socotra will probably be up at sunrise for morning prayer anyway 🙂 I had no problems wandering off early.
    If you want to go to Sana’a in one of the directions, then it is possible to fly directly between Dubai and Sana’a.
    Hope this helps.
    Hi Earl 🙂
    Julie.

  3. Jo Kearney

    Hi Julie,
    I was interested in your post. I’m a white female and would love to go to Yemen. I live in Dubai. I was slightly put off by the embassy advice, thinking it wasn’t possible. I’m a photographer so want to walk around, at early light. Also how do you get to Socotra?

  4. Shelley

    Absolutely stunning pictures. What a spectacular looking place. Seems like the kind of place i would love to visit one day. Thanks for the honest and interesting post.

  5. Ram Simar

    Hi Earl!!
    I Recently got the job Opportunity in Yemen as QC Inspector. But i feel little bit unsucure about the country. After read your entire story i feel better.
    But still i have some confusion about the security and the lifestyle .
    Thanks

  6. Emmjay

    And Earl, cheers man. Love reading your posts always. You have just helped me made up my mind on whether to go to Yemen or not!

  7. Emmjay

    Hi Julie!

    I am 26, female and Socotra is my dream destination. I am moving to Abu Dhabi later this month and hoping to spend atleast a fortnight in Socotra – solo. I have been reading up about the island and been talking torecent female solo travelers to this paradise. Maybe I could write to you sometime and know more about your experience? Will be very happy if it’s a yes and no problem if it’s a no! You could write to me at mjay.tj@gmail.com

    Cheers!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Emmjay – You can always write to me and I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about Socotra.

  8. Mario

    Hello Earl,
    Thanks for your article, it has been a dream for a while to visit Yemen (and particularly the New York of the desert, Shibam) but I thought now it was quite impossible. So it’s good to know that it is possible. I had a friend who went a couple of years ago while one still could but they didn’t make it to Shibam, because of troubles in that area. But your article is a good hope! It’s just a pity I didn’t see any photo of Shibam! 😉 Take care

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Mario – Actually, there are several “Shibam” towns in Yemen and the one I think you are referring to is Shibam Hadramout which has the tall mud buildings everywhere. I did not visit that Shibam as it is quite far from Sanaa and definitely located in a region that travelers are not recommended to travel to.

  9. Subhadip

    Hey Earl, I am an Indian & plan to travel to Sana’a in a couple of months time. Mine is a short trip of 3 days and I plan to stay in the old city. I am planning my trip through a tour company. If you could tell me the places to avoid in Sana’a.

  10. Julie

    Hi Allie – modest dress on mainland Yemen – long sleeves, long trousers / skirt and a headscarf. You do not need to cover your face. On Socotra they are much more used to western travelers and on the beaches pretty much anything goes (except nudity obviously) but up in the mountains it pays to be more covered rather than less. You don’t need a head scarf at all here though. I found that the locals are friendly regardless, but that they generally appreciate it when you make the effort and the women are more likely to want to talk to you as well 🙂

    The Middle East is a beautiful region and the people are some of the friendliest, most welcoming and helpful people I have met while traveling. Sorry Earl for hijacking your question – just thought the experience of a solo, white, female traveler who has been here recently might be helpful 🙂

  11. Allie

    Hey Earl I have a question:
    I’m a single white female who is planning on travelling and my friends and family were terrified the moment I expressed a desire to see the middle east (We live in the bible belt, so i don’t really blame them) and Yemen is at the top of my list. I’ve looked at several sites to find out basic ways to not to draw attention to myself. It helps that I have Dark Irish and Cherokee coloring (I’ve actually been mistaken for Middle Eastern before, as the only member of my terrified tour group in DC to wave back at the nice women wearing hijabs and initiated a small conversation with them. They helped me a bit with my broken God awful Arabic and assumed I was a second or third generation in the country. My friends looked as if I had spouted three heads)

    Anyway, my big question for Yemen is what amount of covering will I need for walking down the street, having dinner with a local friend’s family, and visiting mosques? I intend to travel alone or with a female friend of mine and neither of us want to cause a huge fuss by mistake.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Allie – Regardless of what you look like, you will definitely stand out as a foreigner in Yemen. Also, almost 100% of local women are wearing full, face-covering burqas in Yemen so if you’re not wearing one of those, which isn’t required but is definitely the norm, everyone will know you’re a foreigner for the most part. But, the foreign women I know there wear full length abayas (long robes that cover everything below the neck). As for mosques, foreigners are not allowed to enter many mosques and for the couple that you may be allowed to enter, you would need to have your hair covered as well.

  12. Emily Sinkes

    Oh my goodness, I am SO jealous. I have been trying to travel to Yemen for the past 2 years to teach English, and my trip was canceled both times because of the travel warnings. Now I’m teaching English in Korea, and it is still my dream to teach in Yemen someday. Hopefully one of these days I’ll at least make it there for a visit!

  13. Pingback: Is It Safe To Travel To Yemen? | foXnoMad

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  15. Jamie

    This is such a cool story mate! If only they gave military escorts for those from the UK too! did you talk to the soldiers at all? or where they more so hanging back & not invading your space?
    Definately adding Yemen to the travel plan after this!

  16. Jennifer

    A million years ago on the television show “Friends”, Chandler tried to avoid breaking up with his annoying girlfriend by lying and telling her he was moving to Yemen. I had never even heard of Yemen. I Googled and saw pictures. It looked like a movie set to me. I never thought I would ever be there.

    Now flash forward to me being in a place in my life where I am overdoing the “I AM INDEPENDENT WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR” thing, I know that things I used to think were not possible to do, are actually completely possible if you just do them. Yemen is pretty high up on my “to-do” list . I have a few other things I need to cross off the list first and then Yemen, here I come.

    Thank you for your post. I get so excited when people post about Yemen, it doesn’t happen all that often! I have bookmarked your page into my Yemen folder.

  17. Cindy

    Great post – but now you have me wanting to travel in Yemen and my list of places to get to is already too long! It’s always sounded fascinating, but the warnings are pretty scary. I’m glad to know what it’s really like.

    Like Katie, we discovered that Americans are required to have an armed guards when traveling in parts of Eygpt, in our case traveling overland to the Red Sea and in the Sinai. (This was in 2007, when things were calm.) I kind of liked having the guards, none of the locals seemed to think anything of them and sometimes I could get them to talk about their lives. And I never worried about getting lost or left behind (I was with a group) when I wanted to wander off somewhere, as they made sure they always knew were we were.

  18. Katie

    The stuff with the armed soldiers joining you because you’re American reminds me of when I was in Egypt several years ago. I was doing a day trip with a guide to Tell al Amarna and Beni Hassan in middle Egypt and just before we got to a checkpoint, my guide said he wanted to tell them I was Spanish. I laughed and asked why and he said if they knew I was American, they would require an armed guard join us for the rest of the trip to protect me. We ended up saying I was Canadian to avoid the armed escort.

  19. Pingback: How To Travel To Yemen And Socotra Island | foXnoMad

  20. Tim Moon

    That’s pretty interesting to hear about the soldier escort. I guess because we give them so much money and help to fight AQAP, that’s one way to help return the favor. It’s also bad press if someone gets kidnapped and beheaded.

    On a lighter note, the pictures of the villages are pretty incredible. They look like the backdrop to an Indiana Jones movie.

  21. Colleen Friesen

    Thank you for such a great post. Yemen has been on my must-see list for so long and it’s wonderful to read about your experience. Reading your story and seeing your photos has pushed it to the “get-on-it”! list. I really appreciate your comments on female travellers, though as a Canadian, it sounds like we don’t get the armed escort. Too bad. It sounds like it gives those guys a chance to have a little tour of their own country…

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Colleen – You don’t need the armed escort to travel around the countryside. You just need a driver and guide who can arrange the permits, so you can definitely explore some more of the country 🙂

  22. Irene

    Hi Earl,

    It’s not just Yemen but most of Middle East countries and in general muslim women will not allowed anyone taking pictures to them. Even me as a woman most of the time, women ask me not taking pictures….. It happens in Jordan, Syria and even some more conservatives areas in Algeria.

  23. Will

    Earl,

    Great post Earl. Goes to show that first-hand experience goes a long way.

    Your photos look like you went back in time (as mentioned above). I like the picture to Socotra Island as well.

    Will

  24. Traveling Ted

    I think the presence of 6 soldiers following me around, although kind of strange, would ensure that there is safety for U.S. travelers. I am sure it not really needed out in the countryside, but I am sure they don’t want any incidents to occur to Americans. I am sold on the merits of traveling to Yemen.

  25. Jacqueline

    Yemen sounds and looks beautiful. Reading this, I’m going to have to put it on my list of must-see destinations. The Middle East is fascinating, isn’t it? But I have one question to ask: Were you not allowed to photograph the female locals? I’ve heard somewhere that even female visitors aren’t allowed to do so.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Jacqueline – It is not allowed to simply take photos of females without asking. But even if you ask, most females will say no. But I imagine it might be different for a female traveler who would actually be able to spend more time interacting with local females.

  26. Sara

    Yemen looks like such a beautiful country! I just love the geography of the country, with all the cliffs and mountains. When I grow up, I hope to travel like you! And Yemen will certainly be on my list of places to visit! Although, maybe I could convince my family to let us go to Yemen…

  27. Stefanie

    Excellent article on Yemen, and beautiful pictures! Thank you for including the part about women travelers.

  28. David Butler

    Excellent article Earl. I did much the same trip as you in February but without the soldiers. Not necessary, it would seem, for the British. Your photographs are better than mine. It is very good to see another positive article about Yemen. The country needs visitors. It is a special place.
    Stay Safe
    Dave

  29. Brian D.

    Earl,

    Just want to say you continue to inspire us all to travel the world, and your stories and photographs re: Yemen are fantastic. Was there anything that you did not like about Yemen? I have heard poor things about the treatment of women and animals there and am curious about that. Keep up the great work.

    Brian

  30. Forest Parks

    Earl this is amazing. How many travelers can say they have been to Yeman! Not many I am sure.

    I LOVE Yemani food but have not been to the country or really considered it just yet. I did however have some great friends who lived there for a few years working for the UN.

  31. Mike | Earthdrifter

    I often meet Yemenis here in Saudi. They’ve all been super nice. I had a Yemeni cab driver recently. He was calling friends just to tell them that he had an American in the car. It made his day.

  32. Diana M.

    Awesome post on Yemen. Exactly the info I would want for planning a trip over. It definitely made me feel a little more at ease with going. Although having some soldiers follow me around would feel kind of weird lol

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Diana – It’s still not a destination for everyone but if you do a little more research you can determine if it is a good place for you to visit.

  33. Megan

    Between this post and Julie’s earlier comment, I’m itching to make it to Yemen now. Damn. It really does sound like a country where an organized tour would be advisable- it seems like you got to see so much of the country during your stay. Honestly, it sounds like a safer experience than some of the other “safe” countries I’ve traveled to.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Megan – Having that driver and guide is essential in my opinion when traveling here. And as for safety, these were definitely my experiences but of course, I always recommend seeking the opinions of others before making any decision to travel to a place like Yemen.

  34. Brian Wadman

    Great pictures! Too bad you have to talk about how safe it is, it looks like you had travelled back in time.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Brian – That’s exactly what we were thinking…it is like traveling back in time, more so than just about anywhere else I’ve ever been.

  35. Steve C

    Safety and Risk are relative terms. If you’re going to limit yourself because “all it takes is one time”, then you might as well stay at home, even though their is risk in that too.

    I like it that you’re doing a series of posts on this one country. I remember doing a similar detailed log of my 10 days in Russia, driving my VW camper van to Moscow back in 1988 when it was still hardcore communist. There were many military checkpoints there too.

    You didn’t say if you had any personal interactions with the “Gun totting soldiers”. As I was once one, (although a long time ago), my guess is that they were pretty jazzed to have such a cushy assignment. Follow an American around? Party time!!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Steve – With the soldiers, they were actually more interested in taking photos of themselves at the various sites we visited because, after all, they had never visited these sites before themselves. And they were all quite quiet. But they did answer our few questions and were always very polite.

  36. Irene

    Thank you Earl. I am planning a world Tour for 2014-15 and Yemen was one of my target. I used to travel in Middle East, have been in Palestine for 3 months. Also I travelled in Algeria last February and I had a security escort (2 jeeps) in the Sahara with me all the time. No big deal! Your pics are amazing 🙂

  37. George

    Another great post about Yemen. I hardly new anything about the country until you visited but reading these posts has given a great insight in to the country and their customs. Can’t wait for the next post!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Scott – The prices there are all over the place but in general, you could expect to pay about $50 – $75 USD per day for a driver, accommodation and food. And flights to Socotra Island are about $250 USD RT at their cheapest, from Sanaa.

  38. Julie

    Hi.

    I am a solo, white, female traveler and I was in Yemen in March. I never felt under threat at any time, though I was only in Sana’a for 1 day and with a local guide – testing how security on the mainland felt, before heading to Socotra for 18 days. I did of course get the odd stare, but living in the Middle East I am used to that… I used a different travel company (one based on Socotra) and had no issues. The Visa is currently 50 USD and in my case was paid to the travel agency. I would like to return to the mainland and travel further outside Sana’a and am planning to do this while I am still based nearby. The people were very open and friendly and seemed genuinely curious about who I was and thankful that I had chosen to holiday in Yemen.

    Also a side note – almost anywhere you go in the Middle East you are likely to encounter armed police or military, but never once have I felt threatened by their presence. Their normal weapons are automatic firearms a lot of the time. Even the guards on the entrance to my work are armed, but I live in one of the most open Middle Eastern countries. If you are even vaguely interested in this region come on over 🙂

  39. Matthew August

    Hey Earl! I’ve been reading your posts on Yemen.. now I really want to go! Ancient Arab society and architecture has always interested me. I’m a very inexperienced international traveler, so I’d like to cut me teeth in Europe and SE Asia first, but it’s good to know when I go to the Middle East there are some great places and ways to get arund them safely. My question for you is what other seemingly dangerous places in the Arab world have you heard are fairly safe for US travelers?

  40. Thomas Dembie

    Great post! I love the photos. Though I’ve never been to Yemen, I’ve traveled to a few countries with travel warnings. Like you mentioned, I think if you’re smart about your travels you should be ok. In all my travels in the region I’ve always found the people to be very welcoming and friendly – often more so than back home!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Thomas – That sounds about right. In some places, there are definitely risks involved with visiting but traveling wisely can certainly keep those risks low.

  41. Ryan

    Awesome post, Earl. I think you just talked me into going to Yemen. I’ve thought about Socotra before, but it’s your photo of Thula that makes me want to go even more.

    How difficult was the visa process?

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Ryan – It’s best to have a local tour operator handle the visa as this will save you time and potentially being rejected if you apply at the Embassy. Our visas cost $45 USD and I just had to forward a copy of my passport to the tour operator and they took care of everything in about a week.

  42. arpitha

    brilliant photos! especially the view from Bokur. its absolutely wonderful to know that Yemen is safe for female travellers as well! i was definitely not expecting that one!

  43. Paul

    Gorgeous photos man.

    I met some college students from Yemen yesterday (living in Turkey) and told them I “knew” someone who recently visited Yemen! They were impressed, to say the least.

  44. Jonny Blair

    Excellent post Earl! Love the way you say it’s safe and those photos are exceptional. How much was the visa? (didn’t see the price mentioned, unless I missed it). I’m heading to the Middle East in a few months and tempted to add this place into my itinerary. Safe travels, Jonny

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Jonny – My visa was $45 USD and that was organized through the tour company. Using their services is the easiest and fastest way to get the visa and won’t cost you extra.

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