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Saturday, 05 July 2008

Enchanting Yemen: A Country Largely Untouched by Tourism - Page 3

Written by Lies Ouwerkerk
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"I taught myself as a kid," explains our trekking guide Abdullah, when we prudently inquire about his credentials in the face of a steep mountain ahead of us. "I tried this stone, and that rock, and every time I ventured a little bit farther. By now, I know that mountain inside out." Abdullah’s self-taught approach exemplifies Yemen’s response to its slowly growing tourist industry.

This is certainly good news for Yemen’s national income and for travelers accustomed to more amenities. But for those who would like to experience the Queen of Sheba’s magnificent former kingdom just as it has been for centuries, there may be an urgency to visit Yemen sooner rather than later, before the consequences--more tourists, jewelry stalls, pop vendors, and kids begging for pens, candies, and money—dull Yemen's charm and authenticity.Enchanting Yemen: A County Largely Untouched by Tourism, Manakha, Yemen's capital, Sana'a, Haraz Mountains, travel Yemen, tourism Yemen, Yemen sights, ancient cities, Taiz, Ibb, Jibla, Kaukaban, Thula, Marib, Socotra, Queen Arwa mosque, Al-Mukalla, Hadhramaut and Doan wadis,  Shibam, Gulf of Aden, Middle Eastern travel, Arabia Felix, Lies Ouwerkerk

These travelers will, at least if they are prepared to turn a blind eye to Yemen's current imperfections, certainly be mesmerized by its unique architecture, by its cultural and geographical wonders, and by its romantic ambience straight out of "Thousand and One Nights." They will also be warmly welcomed by incredibly hospitable people eager to greet them with some words of English, help them find their way through the mazes of narrow streets, and often invite them into their modest homes.

GETTING TO YEMEN

Various airlines connect Sana'a with the rest of the world. Qatar Airways flies to Sana'a via Doha, Qatar and London, England; Turkish Airlines offers direct flights between Sana'a and Istanbul, Turkey. A visa is needed for entry to Yemen and can be purchased upon arrival or at Yemeni embassies abroad.

By far, the best travel option outside of Sana'a is hiring a 4x4 and driver through a reliable Yemeni tour operator. Not only can independent travel by local transport be very complicated and uncomfortable, but tour companies can also arrange for the necessary travel permits and police escorts in potentially "dangerous" zones, as well as provide indispensable know-how on itineraries, driving distances, proper roads in remote areas, and can provide cheaper rates in restaurants and hotels.

Enchanting Yemen: A County Largely Untouched by Tourism, Manakha, Yemen's capital, Sana'a, Haraz Mountains, travel Yemen, tourism Yemen, Yemen sights, ancient cities, Taiz, Ibb, Jibla, Kaukaban, Thula, Marib, Socotra, Queen Arwa mosque, Al-Mukalla, Hadhramaut and Doan wadis,  Shibam, Gulf of Aden, Middle Eastern travel, Arabia Felix, Lies Ouwerkerk

Recommended travel agencies include:

- Universal Group Yemen

www.universalyemen.com

Tel. 967-1-440-305

- Yemen Explorers offers adventure and women-only tours.

www.yemen-explorers.com

Tel. 967-1-404-838

- Yemeni Dreams features adventure tours, customized programs, and ecotours.

www.yemeni-dreams.com

Tel. 967-1-514-028

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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