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Tips for visitors

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How to get there: airline companies with flights to Yemen

here are many companies with destinations to Yemen like British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Air France, etc., but those listed here are the cheaper ones, with fares starting at around 450 euros (return ticket from one of the main European airports.
Most of them include a stopover in their home country, sometimes with a change of planes and corresponding shorter or longer transit times. A flight to Yemen may then last from 12 to 36 hours or more (e.g. when staying the night in an airport hotel).


yemenia
the national airline, with local and international flight schedules
gulf
Stopover: Bahrain

jordanian
Stopover: Amman
qatar
Stopover: Doha
turkish
Stopover: Istanbul
egypt
Stopover: Cairo

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Visa for entering Yemen

ou need a (tourist) visa to enter the country. visa The normal way to get it is to contact the Yemeni embassy in your country, fill out an application form (nowadays downloadable from their website) and send it, together with your passport, two recent passport photographs and the required fee (about 30 euros) in a registered envelope to the embassy. Included in that envelope should be a self addressed one, registered also. If everything is ok, you will have your passport, with the visa in it, back within a week. The visa is valid for three months after the issue, but take good care that your passport is also valid for at least 6 months after your departure from Yemen.
A complete list of Yemeni embassies and consulates is available at the websites of:

Mind you, it is not possible to obtain a visa at the port of entry. If there is no Yemeni embassy in your own country, you'll have to contact an embassy or comparable representative in a nearby country. But that takes a long time and a lot of fuss.
As an extra service Yamanat Tours can help you there. For details contact Yamanat Tours at info@yamanat.com.

For more info on getting a visa and other customs regulations you might also consult the website of Visa HQ at http://yemen.visahq.com.

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About money

money he local currency is the RIAL which is fixed to the US dollar.
For the latest exchange rates look at the exchange rate page of the Central Bank of Yemen.
Whatever the rates for e.g. the Euro, the English pound, or the Swiss frank, our prices will always be in dollars, but you may pay in any currency you like.

Changing euros or other western currencies into Rials is no problem. Every bigger city has lots of small exchange offices and you will always get the correct current exchange rate.

And what about using traveller cheques, paying with credit cards, getting cash money (RIALS) out of ATM's?
Well, traveller cheques are not accepted at most banks and until a few years ago, using credit cards (even in Sana'a in the Central Bank of Yemen) was not possible, let alone getting RIALS out of ATM's: there were none available. So you had to take all the money you think you would need in either USD or EURO's with you and change them at the exchange offices.
But the banking system in Yemen has been modernized rapidly in the last years and now one can use credit cards in the better classed hotels and in the banks. Also, in the larger cities like Sana'a, Tai'z, Aden, one may find ATM's here and there, but don't expect too much of them: often they are out of service or only provide $300 in Rials at the maximum. So it is still advisable to take some cash money with you. How much is very dependent on the kind of trip you have planned. For more information contact Yamanat Tours.

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About communications

emen is still a relatively underdevolped and poor country and as such has not many fixed landlines (for telephony, etc), but you as a visitor need not be afraid of not being able to communicate with your home, or being unable to reach local organisations. First of all there are the many "communication centers" you'll find in every larger town. These are constructed of course mainly for the locals, most of which have no telephone at their homes. That is also the reason you'll find many internet cafes. Very popular nowadays and very cheap. So contacting your relatives is really no problem. Then, in the last few years the mobile phone system in Yemen has been expanded rapidly. Even in the most remote places, in the villages where there is even no electricity available, mobile you might now see people riding their camels or donkeys with mobiles at their ears (not at those of these animals of course). And although the quality of connections might be bad at times while in the midst of high mountains for example, the coverage of mobile communications is amazing.
One last thing:
If you really wish to use a mobile phone in Yemen, with that jungle in prices, providers and the many ways of contracting mobile facilities, we cannot at the moment advise you whether or not to bring your own mobile to Yemen. Phoning with your native mobile might be very expensive. Maybe it's better to buy one in Yemen itself if you cannot do without one. And after your stay you can always give the thing to someone who really needs it, or keep it for your next trip to the country. For latest developments on this subject, contact Yamanat Tours please.

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Travelling alone?

travel-alone  s that possible? Travelling alone meaning here: travelling alone or in a small group, without the help or guidance of someone local or some local organisation, that know about conditions in Yemen.
The answer to that = Yes, No, Maybe. Not very informative, eh? It sure isn't because it all depends on whether or not:

  • you have a good working knowledge of the Arab language
  • you are only staying at one or two places or really would like roaming the country and see as much as possible
  • you are on a tight time schedule
  • you know about conditions in Yemen, habits, how to behave, dress, etc.
  • whether or not you belong to the female species
  • and finally, you are prepared to accept things as they are in Yemen

We suggest reading a very lucid and with a great sense of humor written article on this subject at the travel review site IgoUgo titled "And do you really need a tour operator".
And if you have come to the conclusion that you need one, then we would like you to contact Yamanat Tours of course.

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What to put into your luggage

toothbrush  t's entirely up to you of course what to take with you and how much. If you have been in the tropics before you'll know for example the kind of clothing that is the most comfortable.
Here we will only mention the "must haves" when making an avarage trip, staying in Funduqs, middle class hotels and doing some camping. And that doesn't always mean you have to put it into your luggage: most things you can buy in Yemen also (and cheaper) if necessary. These are:

  • Sun glasses
  • A hat, cap or something like it. And wear it please from the first day you make a walk through let's say Sana'a. If you don't you might end the day with a sunburn on your forehead and nose, that will make you feel rather uncomfortable for the rest of trip.
  • A torch, not only useful when camping, but also when the electricity is cut off either by a power failure, or when it is switched off on purpose at some time in the evening. This is quite normal in rural areas to save gasoline for the power generator.
  • If you like your coffee in the morning, take some (instant) coffee with you. Although Yemen once was a main coffee producing and exporting country (»» mocca = Al Mokha, now a dusty fishing village at the Red Sea coast), tea is the national hot drink, very tasty when properly spiced and very cheap, but coffee is hard to get by, relatively expensive and may not always be to your liking.
  • For charging batteries, using an electric shaver, etc. you'll problably need an international plug adapter. The Yemeni plugs differ from the European or US plugs for example. Also the voltage in Yemen is 220 not a 110.
  • If you have planned to do some walking or even trekking, it is essentential to wear good walking shoes or boots. Especially when going downhill on a rocky terrain there is a risk of spraining an ankle or worse. A local guide may wear only sandals, bathroom slippers or even go barefooted when accompanying you. Don't think you can do likewise.

bikini A word about dresses for women: Unlike in some other Moslim countries, the female visitor need not wear a burqa, a head scarf or cover her face. This doesn't mean you can walk around in mini skirts, hotpants or go bare shouldered, let alone breasted, into a mosque. Just dress as you would when on an outing in your own country. And when going for a swim in a crowded area like the Hodeidah beach, it will be appreciated if you don't do this wearing a bikini. You will not get stones being thrown at you, but the lascivious glances of the Yemeni male and the disapproving ones of the female will soon make you feel uncomfortable.

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Health considerations

medical irst of all a DISCLAIMER: Although YAMANAT TOURS will do its utmost best to keep you healthy while staying with us in Yemen, we cannot and will not be held responsible for your physical wellbeing. Consider the items listed below as recommendations and whether or not you'll be following them is entirely up to you.


  • For Yemen being a country in the tropics, consult your local health service for necessary vaccinations (hepatitis, typhus, etc.) and whether or not it is advisable to take anti-malaria pills.
  • When staying in the lowlands, in coastal areas like the Tihama, mosquitos can make life miserable especially during the night when trying to get some sleep. A good mosquito reppellent like DEET (see also Wikipedia on Deet and its alternatives) can do wonders. When camping you can sleep in our tents that have a good anti-mosquito netting. Many hotels and funduqs have this netting also in their windows, but many have not or are damaged, so then also Deet (or closing the windows) is the best solution.
  • If you have doubts about hygienic conditions in restaurants only order well cooked meals, so no fresh vegetables in salads. When camping we prepare our own food and we will always wash the vegetables carefully before serving them in salads
  • When buying fruits in the markets, always peel them before eating.
  • In the towns you'll see sheds where very tasty and thirst-quenching fruitcocktails are prepared. If you cannot resist them, make sure they don't put ice cubes in them. The water used to make them might be contaminated. So also don't drink the water that is served in the restaurants. Only drink the water that is sold in sealed plastic bottles.
  • diarrhea If in spite of these recommendations you get the "racing shit" or diarrhea, try not to take anti-diarrhea pills like "Imodium". It's better to let all those evil bacteria go out of your body as soon as possible. A good antidote and keeping you from starving is yoghurt mixed with shredded apple (with compliments to my mother who was an expert in nutrition).
  • If you are on a special diet or need to take medicines in your own country, please tell us and take those medicines or your doctor's prescription with you. In the cities there are many well equipped pharmacies, but they may not have the medicines you need (e.g.: pills against malaria!).

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