Yemen Things to Do

  • SOCOTRA ISLAND
    SOCOTRA ISLAND
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  • Qalansiyah
    Qalansiyah
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  • Diksam Plateau
    Diksam Plateau
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Yemen Things to Do

  • Al-Qahera Castle

    One of the most impressive sights in Ta'iz is al-Qahera Castle, also known as Cairo Castle. Perched precariously on a sharp spine of Sabr Mountain 591 feet (180 meters) above the city, it can be seen from throughout the valley in which Ta'iz is located.The castle was constructed by the Ottoman Turks during their reign. The Ottoman Turks controlled...

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  • Sana'a Old Town

    Sana'a Old Town, or Alqadeemah in Arabic, is one of the great sights of the world. It was declared a World Heritage City in 1984 by UNESCO, and the Arab Cultural Capital in 2004. It is noted for its unique, ancient architecture which involves mud brick and elaborate friezes. Due to its importance not only to Yemen but to the world, preservation...

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  • Zabid and the Tihama Coastal Plains

    5/10Moving south Zabid is a little inland from the Red Sea coast and a little hot. If you come here in summer you'll probably die. It is one of those towns where the historical accounts make it feel more interesting than it really is, and historically it is fascinating. It has a small, interesting citadel and a few historic buildings but not an...

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  • Shibam

    This tip refers to the Shibam in the Haraz Mountains, not the Shibam in the Hadramout. It is a small market town at the foot of Jebel Kawkaban. You will almost inevitably pass through it on your way to the much more scenic mountaintop village of Kawkaban, and it is probably where you will stop for shopping and lunch.Shibam was founded in the 2nd...

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  • Dar al-Hajjar

    If any building is the icon of Yemen, it is Dar al-Hajjar, the seventeenth century summer palace of Imam Yahya. It is just 15km north-west of Sana'a and consequently receives thousands of visitors, especially at weekends. In fact, the number of people visiting the palace is doubling every year, from 46,000 in 2006 to more than 100,000 in 2007. This...

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  • Hababah

    This is one of my favourite places in Yemen. It is built around a huge cistern, which not only supplies the town's water, but also serves as an impromptu public swimming pool at weekends. Here you will see youths with rifles slung over their backs watching scores of children swimming with the ducks. Like Thula, Hababah is a walled town in the Haraz...

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  • Al-Hajjarah

    With its dramatic setting and architecture, Al-Hajjarah is one of the most photogenic towns in the world. Inside, however, it is a confusing maze of narrow alleyways and closely-packed adobe buildings.The Ottoman Turks used Al-Hajjarah as a citadel to protect the approach road to Sana'a. The town has 5 to 8-storey tower houses and what was formerly...

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  • Bayt Baws

    Bayt Baws is the nearest fortified, hilltop village to Sana'a. It is a pretty place and well worth a visit. When I first arrived here, I thought that someone had painted the rocky slopes around the town green, but it's actually a natural phenomenon caused by the mineral content of the rocks.If you are only in Sana'a for a short visit and want to...

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  • Kawkaban

    Kawkaban is a fortified which stands on top of Jebel Kawkawban, 2850 m above sea level, overlooking the town of Shibam, at the foot of the mountain. It was the 15th century capital of the Bani-Sharaf Al-Din tribe and was once famous for its school of music.It is a great centre for hiking, including the one-hour hike down the mountain to Shibam.

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  • Thula

    Thula, sometimes also spelled Thila or Thilla, is a town, built at the foot of the 2,350 metre-high Al-Ghurab Mountain, where you can see some magnificent, traditional architecture. Thula is an ancient city, named after Thula bin Lubakha Al-Hemiari, who lived here two thousand years ago.There is a fortress on top of Al-Ghurab Mountain and a wall...

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  • Sanaa Suk (Souk)

    Some important tips for buying in the Sanaa Suk (the most worthwhile bazaar of Yemen). The rules apply anywhere in Yemen. Shopping can be great fun in Yemen. 1. Haggling is not as common as in other tourist destinations. The prices are usually not ridiculously high "tourist prices", but more or less what you will pay. Some haggling is okay just for...

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  • Shibam (west)

    Shibam west of Sanaa (direction Thulla/Kawkaban) should not be confused with Shibam in the Hadramaut. While the Hadrami Shibam is worthwhile seeing, the western Shibam is - as a village - nothing special. It just lies convenient towards Thulla and Kawkaban and has a good restaurant (Hameeda), run by a local women`s initiative, very popular with...

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  • Socotra

    Socotra is a beautiful, sparsely populated island off the Yemeni coast with great beaches, lots of marine life, rugged landscapes, very unusual vegetation (the mushroom-like dragonblood trees), and plenty of vultures. We only had a week there, so the highlights of our itinerary are meant just a suggestion, but you should see: - the Diksam Plateau-...

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  • Aden

    I must admit Aden was only a stopover for half a day and we only got a superficial impression at best. What we saw was not spectacular, though. The setting against the backdrop of volcanic mountains looks great (as a friend of mine put it: "Aden is like Cape Town without the sights & without the crime"), but the socialist architecture doesn`t, few...

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  • "Little Ben" in Aden-Tawhila

    While Aden is decidedly unspectacular, this little clock tower - ironically called "Little Ben" - was built in 1890 by the British, destroyed in the Civil Wars, and then rebuilt in 2002. It is on a hill in the Tawhila Quarter in Aden and the site also offers a great view on the harbour and the Tawhila district against the backdrop of volcanic...

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  • The Chicago of the Middle East

    Shibam is a city in the Hadramaut region and is known as the chicago of the Middle East due to its buildings. All the buildings are made of mud bricks and some of them are 200 years old. The rise 5 to 9 stories high and was built to protect residents from Bedouin attacks. It is an amazing place to spend a couple of hours and the buildings provide...

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  • Weddings

    In Yemen weddings are one of the strangest things you will ever come across. It is the highlight of any family and visitors are welcome (if invited..dont partycrash!) The weddings in Yemen are held at seperate locations for the bride and groom. The groom's party is male only and is a lot of traditional dancing and showing of infront of the...

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  • Sanaa

    Sanaa is the historic capital of Yemen with a fabulous Old Town (UNESCO world heritage monument), at an altitude of roughly 2000 m, surrounded by mountains. It is said that Sanaa dates back at least 2500 years, maybe more. Before Yemen reunification in 1990, it was capital of the North Yemen. The main attraction of Sanaa is the architecture of the...

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  • Distinctive Doors

    Yemen has some doors to rival those of Zanzibar Old Town. They vary a little in style but not so much as the windows do. Most are made of wood, although some of the modern ones are made of metal. Many of the wooden ones are hundreds of years old, very thick and intricately carved. Sadly some are in a bad state of repair. In the highlands and the...

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  • Wonderful Windows

    As well as the buildings in Yemen, the windows are incredibly interesting and vary in style throughout the country. They are both decorative and functional. In the rural highland villages and small towns, the windows were small for shooting out of during feuds between tribes. In Sana'a and the larger highland cities they are quite large and grand...

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  • Stunning Architecture

    The architecture of Yemen is one of the highlights of a visit. Building styles vary from the stone tower houses of the highlands, made from huge blocks taken from the mountains, and the tower houses of the old city of Sana’a, which were built for defence, to the mud brick buildings of the hadramaut, the clay brick houses of Zabid, and the African...

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  • Al-Hudayda and the Tihama Coastal Plains

    3/10If you've been in Yemen a while and crave a little sand and sea you might be yearning to reach Al-Hudayda, due west of Sana'a. Don't get too excited! It tries very hard to be a typical sea-side city but in my opinion fails quite miserably! There is no sandy beach near town, though a fair ground tries to compensate, and in winter, like much of...

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  • Al-Hajjara and the Huraz Mountains

    10/10Al-Hujjara is an extraordinary village clinging precariously to the mountain top and set among some of the best scenery in all of Yemen. There is good, laid back accommodation but it is the chance to wander off into the mountains and villages scattered all around that make it so worth while. I would recommend 2 full days here if possible and...

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  • Shibam / Khokabam

    rating: 7/10There is more than one Shibam, hence why I've lumped these two neighbouring villages together. Only about 1 1/2 hours north west of Sana'a, Shibam, despite sounding interesting in the guide books I found to be little more than another scruffy little village, though in an interesting setting. It really is more just a gateway to Khokabam...

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  • Manakha and the Huraz Mountains

    7/10West of Sana'a you climb into the stunning Manakha Mountains. The town itself, perched high on a ridge has great view all around though is very scruffy (as are many Yemeni towns). As a preference I would continue along the road about 2km to Al-Hajjara.

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  • Sana'a

    rating: 10/10First off, this rating above. Not everyone will have time to see all of Yemen and may need to make sacrifices, so I have rated the destinations how I found them ...10/10 being an absolute must-see5/10 being just about worth it but dont expect too much1/10 being I'd rather chew my own foot offOf course its only my personal view and...

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  • Best viewpoints - Sanaa

    Most hotels in the Old Town of Sanaa give free access to their roof where you can make exceptional photos of the Old Town architecture. The "Gallery no. 1" in the Old Town is located in a "samsarat" (=former trading post) with a great view on Sanaa as well, especially at night. You can climb on the ramparts of the "Bab al Yemen". There is an...

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  • Kawkaban

    Kawkaban is one of the most scenic and photogenic villages in Yemen. It is only one hour out of Sana'a, so it makes for a popular day trip from the capital. Because it is a popular tourist destination, this was the only place in Yemen where I encountered aggressive locals trying to sell souvenirs. Most were offering very rare and valuable ancient...

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  • Sana'a - surrounding area

    A day trip out to Wadi Dhahr is really well worth it and doesnt require any permits.To get there leave through the Bab Al yemen gate, cross the road and pass through one of the alleys in the buildings opposite to the bus station. Ask for a bus to Jamal Al Jadete (20YR / 10c / UK0.05) - it will be a mid size bus, not a minibus.At Jamal Al Jadete...

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  • Sultan`s Palace in Sayun

    The major attraction of Sayun is the former Sultan`s Palace, towering above the smaller houses of the city. On the different levels of the palace you get excellent photo opportunities for a birds-eye picture of Sayun. The palace features a small (boring) museum and a superb photo exhibition with interesting black- and white pictures from Yemen in...

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  • Rada

    RadaRada is not very often visited by tourist, but it's worth to wander around the large old centre and have a visit to the old suq.The ground floors of the houses are made of stone, the next floors are usually built of brick and finished with a beautiful, smooth mud surfacing that needs to be renewed every day.Keep an eye open for the windows and...

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  • Azzan

    AzzanThough the modern centre of the town of Azzan is not too attractive, the old town is worth a visit.The old city is buillt low on the banks of the wadi, framed on all sides by majestic table mountains.A distinctive feature of the houses are the highly protuding corner peaks on the roofs. These are often painted white with chalk and are of...

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  • Bir'Ali

    Bir'AliA sceniv coastal road streches west of Al Mukkala, with sand dunes sometimes invading the road.There is a pleasant strech of beach know as Bir'Ali, offering a resthouse, with shared bathrooms and toilet.The geology around is impressive, with black volcanic rock and green crater-lakes providing a strong contrast with the white sandy beaches.

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  • Rock Castles

    Another day trip from Sanaa. Sorry don't remember the specific name so if you do please feel free to let me know. This was one of the more memorable sites I visited in Yemen. You need to 4wd off one of the main roads to a small village then it is a brief hike out to the end of the mesa where you can view this old fort/castle from the other side of...

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  • Sa'adah city and province (currently...

    One of the very tribal governorates of Yemen, Sa'adah is well worth a visit. Unfortunately it has seen three rounds of fighting between 2004 and June 2007. There is a - perhaps rather fragile - truce now, so hopefully order will be restored, displaced persons will be able to return to their homes, war damages will be repaired .... and tourists will...

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  • Zabid -UNESCO World Heritage Center

    Zabid was the capital of Yemen from 1400 to 1600 and was a huge influence in the Arab world of that time. Before that Zabid was the capital of the Ziyadid dynasty from 819–1018 and the Najahid dynasty from 1022–1158. Here at Zabid was one of the major centers of learning with Zabid’s Islamic University. Zabid is another site in Yemen that is a...

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  • Shibam "oldest skyscraper-city in the...

    Shibam Is the "the oldest skyscraper-city in the world", This is a Unesco heritage site and it deserves that designation for sure. This part of the Arabian Peninsula was for many centuries or even thousands of years the Hadramawt Kingdom and Shibam was its capital. This is a place legions are made of. When you drive towards Shibam and the sunlight...

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  • Drink a cup of Mukha or visit Mukha

    The mother of all coffee cames via this port and for hundreds of year coffee was only grown in the mountains of Yemen and shipped to the port of Al Mukha Mocha. The name Coffee is from the name of the original Kaveh houses. I would go down the street and they would roast the coffee in a very thick pan than grind it and serve very HOT -- now that is...

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  • Exploring the Outskirts

    If you've been here feel free to mention the name to me since my note taking skills here were not what I thought they were. This place is about an hour or so out of the city and any good driver will take you here if you are interested in the old villages that make up this great country. The village or fort sits on the side of a hill and the local...

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  • Al-Mukalla

    Al-MukallaThe most impressive sight in Al-Mukalla is the coastline of the old town, a chain of white houses, built next to the waterfront, squeezed between the sea and hudge volcanic mountains.Al-Mukalla is one of Yemen's most important ports, and became an important local power in the 8th century AD.Well worth a visit is the new fish-market in the...

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  • Tarim

    TarimTarim is famous for the quantity and quality of it's mud-brick palaces, built by emigrants of Indonesia and Singapore. The huge palaces they built in this Javanese Baroque style are now in various stages of decay. The finest palace is Al-Kaf Palace built by As-sayed Omar bin sheikh al-Kaf.In the centre of town yoy can find the al-Muhdar...

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  • Sayun (Tomb of Ahmad ibn Isa al-Muhajir)

    Tomb of Ahmad ibn Isa al-MuhajirIn 951 AD Sayyid Ahmad ibn Isa al-Muhajir, a descendant of the prophet Muhammad, came here, out of Iraq with 80 families and settled in the eastern part of Wadi Hadhramawt, establishing Shafa'ism in the region.The tomb of al-Muhajir is still an important place of pilgrimage, and the town of Tarim has remaind the...

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  • Wadi Hadhramawt

    Wadi HadhramawtWadi Hadramawt, the biggest wadi in the Arabian Peninsula, is one of the major attractions of southern Yemen.Formed by erosion of the sandstone bedrock over millions of years, the main wadi is today some 300 meters deep and two-km wide and runs for 160 km, west to east.The abundance of archaeological sites in the wadi, reveal that...

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  • Sayun (Sultan's Palace)

    Sultan's PalaceThe Sultan's Palace in Sayun is perhaps the most pompous of all South Yemeni palaces, a multistorey , white-plastered colossus with light-blue window decorations.It stands on an elevation next to the town's central souq.The present shape of the building stems from the 1920s and 1930s when the Kathiri sultans Mansur bin Galbi and his...

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  • Shibam

    ShibamShibam is a very old city. It was already the capital of the Hadramawt area in the 3rd century AD, and served as the capital several times until the 16th century. Today it has a population of around 7.000.Sibam with its extremeley compact layout, is a remarkable example of ancient town planning. It has a earth wall and the houses are built...

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Yemen Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Yemen things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Yemen sightseeing.
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