Types of Tourism in Yemen
Yemen has a rich history. Even before our era, such powerful states as Saba, Main and Hadhramaut flourished on the territory of the country. In Yemen, the capitals of these states, their port cities and grandiose ancient buildings have been preserved. The old city of the capital of the country – Sana’a; the city of Shibam, located in the valley of the Masila River near Sayun in the province of Hadhramawt, and the ancient city of Zabid in the vicinity of Taiz are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the mountainous part of Yemen, the city-fortresses are interesting, where the Zaidi Shiites live, who for many centuries fought for dominance in the region. Also popular are the city’s seawall Marib, built under the Sabeans in the 8th century BC, the water reservoirs of Aden from the 6th century AD, the remains of fortifications that can be seen in almost every ancient city of Yemen, and mosques built during the time of the prophet Muhammad. Check top-medical-schools.org for travel information in Yemen.
In almost every city in Yemen you can find traditional Arab markets. The markets of the ancient cities, which have been functioning for several centuries, are a great place to buy souvenirs and get to know the locals. In the capital of the country – the city of Sanaa – on the territory of the Old City is the most popular market in Yemen – Souq el Mil, which means Salt Market. The market has been operating for over 1000 years. Today, you can buy not only salt here: the market consists of several dozen small markets, each of which specializes in a particular product. Souq El Mil is considered one of the best khat markets in the country. Also in the Old City of Sana’a, it is worth visiting the Jambia and Souq al-Nahaa markets. South of Sana’a, in the Old City of Taiz , at the ancient gates of Bab al-Kabir, there is an ancient market, which is considered one of the best places in the country to buy silverware. Markets of Saada are interesting in the northwestern part of Yemen, where the famous soapstone (steatite) pots are sold. 10 km north of Saada, in the village of Al-Tal, a market opens every Saturday, which is considered one of the largest in the country. Be sure to visit the Sayuna central market, which sells local artisans and the famous Yemeni honey, which is produced in the nearby Wadi Dovan valley. The fish markets of the coastal city of Hodeidah are one of its main attractions. They open early in the morning, after the fishermen return from the sea. On the local stalls you can see not only commercial fish, such as tuna, and lobsters, but also sharks and manta rays. 50 km southeast of Hodeida the city of Bait Al-Faqih is interesting, where one of the largest markets in the region is open every Friday. It was opened at the beginning of the 18th century. A wide variety of goods are sold here: vegetables, fruits, coffee, spices, textiles, pottery and products of local craftsmen. In the markets of the port city of Mocha, real Yemeni coffee “mocha” is sold, which got its name from the name of the city. Also interesting are the numerous markets of the coastal city of Aden , among which the markets of Zaafaran, Bukhara and Al-Tawila can be distinguished.
Mountainous regions stretching in the western part of Yemen, are a great place for hiking. In addition to picturesque landscapes, there are many historical sights in these parts. The most popular destinations are Mahwit Province, Hajja, Sumarra Pass in Dhamar Province and Mount Sabir (3070 m) overlooking the city of Taiz.
Yemen owns one of the most picturesque archipelagos in the world – the Socotra archipelago. It is located in the Arabian Sea, 350 km south of the coast of the Arabian Peninsula and 80 km east of the Somali Cape Guardafui. The archipelago consists of the island of Socotra, which has an area of 3625 sq. km, three small islands of Samkha, Abd al-Kuri and uninhabited Dars and two tiny uninhabited islands of Sabunia and Kaal Faraun, which are rocks towering above the water. For several million years, the Socotra archipelago isolated from the mainland. During this time, a unique animal and plant world has formed on the local islands, for which they are often called the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean. 37% of the 825 plant species, 95% of the terrestrial mollusks, 90% of the reptiles and 70% of the birds found here are found nowhere else in the world. In the waters surrounding the archipelago, there are 253 species of corals, 300 species of crabs and lobsters, 730 species of fish and such large marine life as sperm whales, pilot whales, long-snouted whales, bottlenose dolphins, whale sharks and rays. In 2008, for its uniqueness, the Socotra archipelago was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is a great place for hiking and ecotourism. Socotra tourists are offered hiking in the mountains of Hagier, towering over the capital city of Hadibu, the slopes of which are covered with forests, ornithological tours in mountain valleys and coasts, visits to numerous caves and boat trips to small rocky islands of the archipelago, which have chosen a wide variety of bird species.
Northern and northeastern parts of the country are occupied by deserts. In Yemen, jeep safaris are offered in the desert regions. For example, from the city of Marib or Atak, you can go to the valley of the largest river, Masila, to cities such as Sayun, Shibam and Tarim. During the trip, you will be able to see the vast sandy fields, red mountains and fragrant oases.
In Yemen, in some parts of the coast of the Red and Arabian Seas, as well as the Gulf of Aden, there are beaches where you can relax perfectly. Moreover, the beach season lasts here all year round. On the Red Sea coast, the most popular beaches are located in the vicinity of the city of Hodeidah , these are the beaches of Al-Kateb Irj, Al-Faza, Al-Kawka, Al-Uri and Ibn-Abbas. Not far from the beach of Ibn Abbas, 2 km from the coast of Al Salif Bay is the island of Kamaran – the largest Yemeni island in the Red Sea. Its area is 108 sq. km, length – 18 km, width – 7 km. This is a shelf island surrounded by coral reefs on three sides. The island is known for its colorful underwater world and beaches. For living on the island, a tourist village is equipped, with 10 traditional-style huts. Each hut can accommodate 2 to 3 people. Inside there is a huge bed, but all the amenities are located outside the huts on the territory of the tourist village. Also on the Red Sea coast, you can relax in the vicinity of the city of Mokha on the beaches of Yaktul and Al-Mulk.
The main resorts of the Gulf of Aden are located in the city of Aden , which is located on a peninsula in the crater of an extinct volcano. In the western part of the peninsula, in the area of the modern port of Al-Tawai, the resort areas of Gold Mour and Elephant Bay are equipped. To the west of the peninsula, on which the city of Aden is located, there is another peninsula, on its eastern coast such popular beaches as Blue Beach, Ghadir and Kud Al-Namir stretch. On the coast of the Gulf of Aden, beaches can also be found in the city of Mukalla, which is located about 330 km south of Sayun, and in the vicinity of the fishing village of Bir Ali, 120 km from Mukalla.
In the Arabian Sea, 350 km south of the Yemeni coast, is the unique Socotra archipelago .. In addition to lovers of ecotourism, diving and surfing, these islands attract beach lovers. Beaches stretch along the entire coast of the largest island of the archipelago – Socotra Island. In the calm bays and lagoons of the northern and southwestern parts of the island, beaches of white coral sand stretch. Here you can have a great time: sunbathe, swim and snorkel. The rest of the beaches of the island are composed of pebbles. It is worth remembering that the infrastructure here is poorly developed, so you need to plan your trip in advance: even before arriving on the island, contact local guides and book hotels. All Socotra hotels are located in the capital of the archipelago – the city of Hadibo.
Yemen are the island of Kamaran and the Socotra archipelago.
Kamaran Island is located in the Red Sea, 70 km north of the city of Hodeida . It is the largest Yemeni island in the Red Sea. Its area is 108 sq. km, length – 18 km, width – 7 km. The island is known for its colorful underwater world and beaches. For living on the island, a tourist village is equipped, with 10 traditional-style huts. There is a dive club on the island, which arranges daily dives in the surrounding waters. Diving here is possible all year round. While diving, you will see over 100 species of colorful tropical fish, large marine life such as dolphins, and dozens of coral species. Diving depth varies from 7 to 30 m.
The Socotra archipelago is located in the Arabian Sea, 350 km from the Yemeni coast. Diving in Socotra is best from February to March, when the monsoonal northeast winds subside, the sea calms down, which means underwater visibility improves. But still, in some areas along the coast of the island, quite strong currents are observed at any time of the year. Underwater visibility, depending on the season, varies from 15 to 20 m. There are no well-equipped dive centers on the island of Sokotora, diving rules are strict, and you will have to sail on a fishing boat for a long time to dive sites. Despite this, the cost of one dive in Socotra compared to the most equipped dive resorts in the world is quite high and is about 100 US dollars. The most popular dive sites are located off the northern coast of Socotra Island. While diving, you can see more than 200 species of corals and about 700 species of fish, as well as huge whales, stingrays, manta rays, whitetip sharks, barracudas, monk fish, lobsters and moray eels. The local underwater world is so rich and diverse that sometimes divers do not see daylight because of the numerous schools of fish. The coastal waters of the eastern coast of the island are known since ancient times for their cunning. There have been many shipwrecks near Cape Ras Arsel, because numerous rocks are hidden under the water. In the local shallow water, you can see not only the wreckage of ancient ships, but, if you’re lucky, some ancient things. In the western part of the island of Soctor, in the coastal waters of the second largest city of the island – Qalansiya – the sunken ship “Sunrise” rests. The ship lies at a depth of 25 meters. It is split into two parts and is a huge reef inhabited by lionfish, trevally, stingrays, monkfish, groupers, groupers and moray eels. You can also dive near other islands of the archipelago, where large marine life is found.
You can also go diving in the province of Hadhramaut on the coast of the Gulf of Aden in the vicinity of the city of Mukalla. In Mukalla, the Hadhramaut Hotel has a dive center. The equipment offered here is imported from Europe and is in excellent condition. Dive sites are located near the coast. It is better to dive in the morning, when underwater visibility is 15 m. The most interesting is the coastal coral reef, where moray eels, warts, cuttlefish, turtles and sea urchins live. Also in the coastal waters at a depth of 20 m lies the Alimand ship that sank in 1998. Here you can see huge groupers and schools of tropical fish.
Socotra Archipelago in recent years it has become an increasingly popular destination for windsurfing and kiting. The best conditions for windsurfing are observed here in the summer (from June to September), when stable southwest monsoon winds blow. At this time, wind gusts often reach 30 m/s. The most popular places are the surroundings of the cities of Hadibo and Qalansiya, capes Ras Arsel in the eastern part of the island and Schaub in the western part of the island, as well as the southeast coast of the island.
Kiters go here in winter during the northeast monsoon. The best place for kiting is the northern coast of Socotra Island.