Sitting comfortably on the Arabian peninsula and bordered by heavyweights and wealthy nations such as Saudi Arabia and Oman, Yemen is a developing country that can often go ignored. But the second largest country in the peninsula is packed in with little gems and treasures that are yet to be explored. Despite the conflicts and turmoil plaguing Yemen, it is still a compelling destination to visit but only after seeking necessary precautions for your well-being and safety.
The capital of Yemen, Sana'a is listed as World Heritage and is popular for it's Yemeni style of architecture with the streets packed with multiple-storey tower homes with the unique qamariya windows. Several renowned landmarks include Bab al-Yemen, Wadi Dahr, Great Mosque of Sana'a and so forth. It is fascinating to note that numerous ancient tombs date as far as back as the Palaeolithic ear. Located in western Yemen in Al-Mahwit district, housed closed to Sana'a, hundreds of old tombs are found. Don't forget to trek at Tazi - a breathtaking and picturesque mountain village in Southwest Yemaan where one can catch a glimpse of the magnificent Al-Qahira Castle.
Be sure to take a trip to the famous and tourist-friendly Socotra Island. It is also known to be the home of the popular Bottle Trees. They grow on rocky terrains which can be admired during hiking excursions. Apart from the Bottle trees, the island features excellent flora and fauna as well as packed with plenty of white-sandy beaches delightfully meshed with the warm and inviting deep-blue waters of the Arabian sea. The sand dunes in the Socotra Island, particularly at Archer Beach are breathtaking and eye-catching with some of the most remarkable landscape attractions. Some of the activities around Archer Beach are camping, swimming, trekking or to simply stroll along the beach. Drift through the Al Mukalla Harbor on a boat to soak in the atmosphere of the main sea port of Yemen.
Climb aboard the Haraz mountains and be sure to observe the traditional Yemeni lifestyle of the inhabitants housed there. Coffee enthusiasts will be delighted to visit the Beni Ismail district for it is known for it's coffee and the unique technique in the manner they cultivate it. Often referred to as the 'oldest skyscraper city in the world' or 'the Manhattan of the desert', Shibam is an ancient town in Yemen which is popular for having some of the tallest mud-brick buildings in the globe, many of them over 30 meters (100 feet). Don't forget to visit the spectacular city of Aden residing on the Gulf of Aden, at the Southern End of the Red Sea. Earlier the Gulf of Aden was called 'The Gulf of Berbera', named after the old Somali port city of Berbera situated on the southern portion of the gulf.
When it comes to shopping, traditional Yemeni goods are found in abundance in the country such as the curved dagger (jambiya) worn by local men. Handmade belts, silver pouches, jewellery and so forth are common items to purchase. Bargaining is common so be sure to haggle to avail great discounts. Yemeni cuisine is different from the rest of the Arabian Peninsula so don't forget to gorge on a few of their local dishes while visiting the country. Their quintessential delicacy is satla - a meat-based stew prepared with fenugreek and usually served after the main course. Those with a sweet tooth can try out the bint-al-sahn dessert, a type of flat dough item soaked in honey.
When it comes to stay options, Yemen has a wide variety of hotels ranging from the best luxury accommodations including spacious private apartments which can only be afforded by the millionaires as well as modest and cheap stay for the budget travellers.
Climatic conditions in Yemen differ from region to region, so one has to decide when to visit depending on the area you're planning to see. But in general, the best time to holiday in this country would be April-May and September-October when the temperatures are relatively pleasant.