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Practical information Yemen

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Yemen : Travel Information before you go!

Area

537000.0

Population

20000000

Airports

The Sana'a airport is just 6 miles away from the city-centre but the only way of getting to it is by taxi. Keep in mind that the rates are simply exorbitant, taking into account the fluctuation of the dollar. Normally, the trip should cost around 1,000 riyals (£3).

Security

FCO UPDATE:The FCO advises against all travel to the whole of Yemen. British nationals are strongly urged to leave now, while commercial carriers are still flying. If not, it is extremely unlikely that the British government will be able to evacuate you or provide consular assistance.

Tensions remain high in northern Yemen and at the Yemen-Saudi Arabian border, despite the open conflict between Yemeni government forces and the Huthi movement having subsided. There has been an outbreak of violence between the Huthis and Salafis around Dammaj, with numerous casualties.
Foreigners are often the target of attacks, with a German national shot and killed outside a supermarket in the Hadda district of Sana'a on 6 October 2013. If you go against FCO advice and stay in Yemen, avoid places frequented on a regular basis by tourists.

Avoid the designated danger zone on the main road to Sana'a's city centre, not far from the Mövenpick and Sheraton hotels

Foreign nationals have previously been detained in Yemen for several months and subsequently deported for having frequented Yemenite schools located outside of the capital. These schools are forbidden to foreigners.

For those visiting Yemen against FCO advice, ensure you do the following: 1) inform the British Embassy at home and in Sana'a of your planned whereabouts, 2) keep up to date on the current situation in the country before travelling anywhere, 3) practice caution when travelling around and stay discreet, 4) wear clothing that is in line with the local traditions.

The British Embassy in Sana'a: (00 967) 1 302480/1/2/3/4/5.
British Nationals in need of urgent consular/passport assistance should call: +967 1-302 485 from 0800-1530 local (0500-1230 GMT) Sunday-Thursday.

For the latest developments, see the FCO Travel Advice section for Yemen.

Languages

Arabic. English is understood in the larger cities.

Required travel documents for

Passport valid for six months after the return date. Visa mandatory. In both cases, the visa is valid for a stay of one month maximum in the country.
If your passport has an Israeli stamp, no visa will be issued.

Religion

"Orthodox" Islam alongside traces of sh'iite and sunni.

Currency

The Yemeni rial (YER). Money can only be exchanged in banks, foreign exchange offices and major hotels. Take note of the opening hours of banks, which only open from 8:00am to 1:00pm and are closed on Fridays and public holidays. Credit cards are only accepted in larger hotels and there are few cash machines in the country, so don't bank on this option. Bring US dollars in US$10 to US$50 denominations to make payments in tourist areas. Elsewhere, in markets for example, you must pay in the local currency, but you will always find someone willing to change a few US dollars.

Local transportation

By plane Internal flights are regular and fairly cheap. Useful when you want to visit Sanaa, Chibam, Al-Mukallah and Aden.
Buses Those that circulate on the tarmac roads are reliable and very good value. Allow a good three hours to get from Sanaa to Ma'rib, and around 500 riyals. Large taxis (cars in varying colouored stripes depending on the city) are very common. Always agree a price before getting in : once you've set off, it's too late! Beware - this very user-friendly means of transport is not particularly comfortable, bearing in mind the number of passengers within the vehicle. Allow around 1000 riyals for a 5 hour journey, including requested stops. To hire a 4x4 with driver, ask at the hotel or at the Tourist Office: They can recommend reliable local agencies. Allow 10,000 to 12, 000 riyals per day - an interesting price if split between four passengers.
Types of accommodation
For individual travellers, you must try funduck, a sort of local hostel (the term also given to hotels). There are various categories. Allow 500 riyals for the cheapest accommodation (you need to bring your own sheets to sleep in a dorm). Around 800 riyals if sheets are provided (changed once a week at the most). Allow 1500 riyals for rooms with two sheets, but these are only in the large towns that offer single or double rooms with air conditioning. For a bit of extra info, "mush mush kila" means "no problem".

Health

The vaccine against yellow fever is mandatory if you are coming from an area where the disease is present. Recommended vaccinations: tetanus, polio, typhoid, hepatitises A and B, and anti rabies vaccine. An anti-malaria treatment is strongly recommended. Avoid drinking tap water and favour water in bottles.

Electricity

220 V. Bring an adapter, US style.

Tourist numbers

Yemen received 80,000 visitors in 2005.

Taxes and tips

It is accepted to give tips to guides, depending on their services and attitude. But tipping is not common practice for other services.

Telephone

To call Yemen from the UK: dial 00 967, then 1 for Sana'a or 2 for Aden, then the 6 digit number of the person you are trying to reach. To call the UK, just dial 00 44 followed by the area code and the number.

Yemen : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Embassy Of the Republic of Yemen
57 Cromwell Rd London, SW7 2ED Tel: 020 75814039 01 47 23 61 76/01 53 23 87 87. Fax: (+44) 207 589 3350 01 47 23 42 95. Open weekdays 9.00am until 16.00pm.
-Yemen consulate: Same address as the ambassador.
Tel. (+44) 207 584 6607 01-53-23-87-85.
01-43-57-93-92.
Yemen Tourism office
http://www.yementourism.com/index.htm

At the destination

British Embassy
PO Box 1287 938 Thaher Himiyar Street East Ring Road Near Mövenpick Hotel Sana'a Tel: (00 967) 1 302450/1/2/3 (1) 268 888.
Tourist Office
Sanaa. Tel: (1) 237 164.