The architecture of Yemen is truly extraordinary. It's unlikely that any tour guide will have any in-depth knowledge of the subject, especially since the variation between one region and another- or even between villages that are close together- is important.
By far the best book on the subject is Fernando Varanda's Art of Buiding in Yemen. Not a lightweight I'm afraid, but it's a very thorough synopsis of the subject, well illustrated with photographs and plans/sections. Unless you're backpacking around worth packing: if ever I revist this wonderful country it's in the rucksack.
Unfortunately out of print. You'll have to use a site like www.abebooks.com to locate a copy, and it'll probably cost at least $100. Worth every cent.
It is a bizarre travel habit of many Britons to lug quantities of their favorite foods half-way across the globe. I've never been a one for this myself: a major part of the joy of travelling is eating whatever is eaten locally.
But if I ever revisit Yemen I will pack a pot of decent-quality jam (or 'jelly' as out North American cousins call it). Simply because if decent-quality jam is available in Yemen the news doesn't seem to have reached any of the hotels I stayed at: typically breakfast would be bread, cheese and errr, this sweetened red glop that really just spoilt the bread. A pot of Tiptree's Damson Conserve would have been very welcome.
Yemen is very dusty and a little windy in places so you have to be very careful not to get dust in your camera. I did and my lense got scratched which cost me a few quid when I got home.
A plastic bag is the cheapest option and try to keep your camera in its case with the lense cap on when not in use.
It is tempting to keep the camera handy round your neck while walking around but you will pay for it later!
A marine case keeps out everything and is available for some Panasonic cameras - I'll let you know how well it works after my next trip..............
Climate varies greatly Yemen as it ranges from sea level to 2800 metres high.
The coastal areas are very hot and humid, especially along the Red Sea so you will need cool cotton and linen clothes and plenty of sun protection.
Hadramaut is a desert climate mostly dry and hot, very hot in summer but not as hot as the coast.
The mountain areas are warom in summer and cold in winter. Here you will need very warm clothes for winter and a sweater for the evenings most of the year.
The highlands also get quite a bit of rain March-April and July-August.
This weather chart, courtesy of Universal Travel and Tourism, shows average temperatures and rainfall *If you click on it you can view the full chart.
Women don't need to wear the full Burka in Yemen or cover the hair when walking around. Although I have red hair and that did attract a lot of attention!
If you wear loose fitting clothes, not too short and with long sleeves you will be fine most places. The highlands can be quite cool so you need a sweater for evenings, late afternoons and early mornings. The coastal areas are hot so fine cotton is best.
In case of visits to mosques, it is a good idea to always carry a headscarf.
Sunglasses and a sunhat are needed everywhere as you will be walking around a lot.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: You need strong sturdy shoes for walking up steps and on uneven surfaces. Flimsy flip flops or open toe sandals will not do the job. The ground is either rocky and slippery or muddy and slippery and the steps are uneven.
Miscellaneous: Some may argue against guide books - I have at times - but not for Yemen. Its a bit complicated getting around with permits etc and you need to plan ahead to give the police a schedule. Ive managed to borrow one - after a month of trying to find one out here - bring one with you!
Het Gelukkige Arabië
Most students of Yemen's history are aware of the famous Danish expedition sent to Egypt and Yemen in 1761 and popularly described in Thorkild Hansen's Arabia Felix (1962). The man we usually associate with this ill-fated expedition is Carsten Niebuhr, since he had the good fortune to be the only survivor of the expedition
Woestijnen van Arabië
The deserts of Arabia cover more than a million square miles. The southern desert occupies nearly half of the total area. It stretches nine hundred miles from the frontier of the Yemen to the foothills of Oman and five hundred miles from the southern coast of Arabia to the Persian Gulf. It is a wilderness of sand, a desert within a desert, an area so enormous and so desolate that even Arabs call it the "Empty Quarter."
Wilfred Thesiger was born in Addis Ababa in 1910 and educated at Eton and Oxford. In the spirit of T.E. Lawrence, Thesiger spent five years exploring and wandering the deserts of Arabia. With vivid descriptions and colorful anecdotes he narrates his stories
Salmon Fishing in Yemen
Vissen op Zalm in Jemen
This is the story of Dr Alfred Jones, a fisheries scientist - for whom diary notable events include the acquisition of a new electric toothbrush and getting his article on caddis fly larvae published in 'Trout and Salmon' - who finds himself reluctantly involved in a project to bring salmon fishing to the Highlands of the Yemen ...a project that will change his life, and the course of British political history forever. With a wickedly wonderful cast of characters - including a visionary Sheikh, a weasely spin doctor, Fred's devilish wife and a few thousand transplanted salmon - Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a novel about hypocrisy and bureaucracy, dreams and deniability, and the transforming power of faith and love.
Yemen Engraved (Illustrations by foreign travellers 1680-1903)
Yemen has been a magnet to travellers for thousands of years, from the days of its reputed wealth through the trade of frankincense and myrrh and because of its strategic position on the southwest corner of the Arabian peninsula, linking east and west. A debt of gratitude is owed to the foreign travellers and artists for their engravings, gathered here for the first time--
This collection of engravings made between 1690 and 1900 will appeal to the general reader and to the researcher. The territory of Yemen is widely ranged--the islands, the Hadramaut, Sana'a, Taiz, Aden and Lahej... Here are beautifully detailed images of the scenery, historic towns and unique architecture, and portraits of the people and costumes of Yemen in all thier variety.
Ornithological Society of the Middle East
Birds of Yemen
Written by RF Porter and RP Martins and illustrated M Langman
Language: Text in Arabic, Bird names in English and Latin
Luggage and bags:
JohnnyOmani said it and I will second it. Cash is king in Yemen and most wallets will not stretch enough to carry all the bills you will end up with.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: You can get most of what you might need in Sanaa and the other major towns or souqs but if you are partial to something it is probably a good idea to take it with you.
Photo Equipment: I think digital cameras are the way to go since charging them is not much of an issue if you've got an adaptor. Make sure you bring a good lense or have super zoom so you can get some good shots of those far away villages that you will pass by.
Miscellaneous: Needles if you are going to be there for some time. Why take a chance with the local Dr.
While I did not run into any mosquitos while I was there in late Feb/early March I did bring spray and took the anti-malarials to be safe. Better to be safe than sorry since being sick when you are on the road sucks.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: This is an absolute essential if you are going to travel to Yemen. The local pharmacies only handle after care which is no good if you are trying to stop the flies at night and depending on your hostel they can be persistant buggers! They are brutal and I heard they are extremely bad near the coast. Even the mid range hotel have beasties so be prepared with either repellent or mosquito net. If you do not have either then ask the local staff where you can find 'Pif Paf' which is known throughout the Gulf for being absolutely lethal to flies and insects. This stuff is so potent it can kill an insect in mid flight so spray your room and go for a walk and you should be ok. Overall, dont go without it!
Luggage and bags:
Do you want your own clothes? 5% of ALL bags get lost or delayed by airlines. Mostly because they do not have a luggage tag! Put the details of your hotel. They can find you!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: A good pair of shoes/boots and light coloured clothes, preferably a tan colour. You will get dusty and dark clothes show it more.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sterile wipes for sure and your own soap. Many toilet facilities do not have any sort of soap. Diarrhoea tablets. They can be hard to find and only a few Pharmacies actually sell them. Aspirin. Very expensive in most of the developing world. Bandages for those blisters. Tissue for toilets that do not have any.
Photo Equipment: A lot of film or a large memory card. You will take a lot of pictures. The whole country is one big photo opportunity.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Sunscreen. The sun is strong most of the year. You need an electric torch and/or a candle. The power does go out. Water. Water can de disrupted as well so always have some for your accommodation.
Miscellaneous: US Dollars or a strong currency like Euros or British Pounds. The local currency is not convertible. Exchange before you leave for the airport! A good Guide Book and some reading books would be handy. ** Also: Alcohol. It is legal here; you just have to be discreet.
absolutely PERFECT! We had all we need - hot water, cable TV, views and very interesting stay....more
I didn't stay there, but went there in early afternoon hoping for a cup of tea. But they don't have...more
Al Hawta Palace Hotel is situated on the outskirts of Say'un and is set in lovely landscaped...more
More Regions in Yemen