Favorite thing: its a very ladeback country, we took easy, no rush and enjoyed all local. Its nice and unique, reserved and very traditional . I respect countries like this that they still have lots to show and treasure their traditions and way of living.
Fondest memory: peace... though it was very noisy when they drive! but people are soo nice and all soroundings in old town..
Yemen Travel permit - Tourist Police
Favorite thing: Before you move out of Sana'a to most places, you need to get a travel permit from the tourist police. The driver you engage will make several copies for the road block police. The tourist police is located behind the Ministry of Toruism building.
Tourist visa on arrival
Favorite thing: Almost everyone, except the Gulf states citizen, has to buy the tourist visa on arrival. To avoid delay, you should be sure that you are onte of the first passengers to take the first transfer bus from aircraft to arrival terminal hall. In the transfer bus, stay on teh left side of the door as the arrival hall is on the left side of the bus. Once you get out of the bus, enter the arrival hall and move quickly to the left side and note for the sign "VISA" (see the first pic).
There is a small window in the middle of reflection glass. Have $$, YR, USD or EUR are ok ready. It was about YR5,500 (May 2008) or about US$30 for single entry visa. If you pay more of foreign currency, you can get change in YR, but the rate may not be so good. But if you change $$ in the next counter first, then you will be behind a few visa applications, that means you have to queue for visa. So small $$ can buy for your time.
It takes about 3-4 mins to get the paper visa done (see 2nd pic for the paper sticker visa on passport. After visa is obtained, then proceed to queue for immigration counter, which may take another 30-45 mins, depends on the passenger flow and length of queue, and mostly, how fast the immigration offficer process.
the old town's charm
Favorite thing: Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, is possibly the most impressive city I have ever visited. Situated at an altitude of about 2200 metres above sea level and surrounded by mountain, Sanaa is 1001 nights coming true. The buildings in the old city, some several centuries old, are the perfect example of the marriage between traditional architecture and art.
In too many places poorer people are happy just to have a roof over their head, or a shelter/simple home - here instead they are surrounded with great art: eleborate firezes and carved windows. Stalin would have liked that. When you are in the old town I dare you find a modern building... wherever you look, there's nothing "new" in sight. For this reason, too in 1984 it was declared a World Heritage City by the UNESCO.
Fondest memory: Just every building was my favourite sight - as the old city is very beautiful and photogenic. There are over 100 mosques (103, to be precise) and 6500 houses - all looking like ancient skyscrapers – six floors high or more, and topped with flat roofs. And in this maze of buildings, you can find a very lively souq, Suq al-Milh (Salt Market), where you can buy just about everything.
German Yemeni hospital
Favorite thing: After a night awake having hard stomach pains, I knocked at my friend's room door at 6 am and, after a quick discussing we decided to visit a Yemeni hospital.
Looked at the LP guide which advised this german Yemeni hospital and decided to go there.
The first thing we noticed was that weapons were not allowed inside and even our driver had to leave his knife at reception, this sounds obvious for a hospital everywhere in the world but in Yemen where weapons are everywhere.
Fondest memory: This is ofcourse not my favourite thing in Sanaa as I was not really having fun, but sure a fondest memory as I found really professional doctors and no que at all(in Barcelona I had to wait since 10 am untill 6 pm to be checked up for a similar problem), infact after 5 minuts I was in a bed with a flebo and the blood analysis arrived in 20 minuts.
To have an idea of this hospital enlarge the picture and see how many specialised doctors they have.
Arabic is a must
Favorite thing: If you plan on backpacking Yemen and without the services of a local travel company then you must speak Arabic. I feel lucky that I can get by in Arabic and my studying paid off because not many folks speak English in Yemen. Yemen is a destination that really challenges you if you are alone and some phrases in Arabic go a looong way in this country. Taxis, hotels and shops require the language but dont be discouraged to travel independantly. You can travel alone if you have a guide book but remember that you cant show most Yemenis the Arabic script because a lot of locals cant read or write. It is possible to find some folks that speak broken English but dont rely on it completely. You will have to rely on your language skills making the experience a challenge but a challenge you wont soon forget :)
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