Safety in Sanaa - Dec 2012?
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Jan 28, 2013 1:43 AM Last Post By: studentinyemen
Nov 26, 2012 10:50 AM
Safety in Sanaa - Dec 2012?Hello,
Planning to visit Sanaa and surroundings in last week December. Does anyone have any insight into safety and permits required? Can we show up with visa and wing it for a couple of days in Sanaa and driving around to the sights outside (thula, kawkaban, etc) without too much hassle? Then will go to Socotra which we are a lot more confident of.
Nov 26, 2012 4:42 PM
Nov 26, 2012 7:27 PM
2Agree. Embassies wil require a LOI for visa issuance. This LOI could come from a company or a travel agency. They can be rather expensive. You will not be issued a visa without one.
Assuming you get a visa, travelling around the country is difficult. Foreigners require travel permits anywhere outside city limits. This means you do not need a permit to fly, but you do need a permits to travel by bus or car. To complicate matters, Tourist Police are highly unlikely to issue a travel permit to use shared taxis, and are reluctant to issue them for buses. This means, you will need a private, prearranged car. This is especially true for the locations you want to go as there is no "bus" service to either place.
Socotra is totally fine. Expensive, but fine.
Nov 27, 2012 4:55 AM
3Many thanks to both of you. Tourist company has quoted the visa for $65, of course they are assuming we will sign up for the full pre-arranged tour. Will try to negotiate that down. however, would love your opinion on the safety issue even assuming we can address the permits and the pre-arranged tour problem?
Edited by: ass6ca
Nov 28, 2012 3:23 AM
4Kidnappings are a very real possibility anywhere in Yemen (even in Sanaa) But it is even more likely in the villages. While kidnappers very rarely kill their captives, it is still traumatizing.
On top of that, bombings do occur in Major cities, including Sana'a. While these target military or political targets, innocents do get caught in the crossfire.
As for the areas around Sana'a (including Haraz and Shibam) a group called the Houthis are growing in strength and anti-Americanism. There are countless signs around the country saying "Death to America, Death to Israel..."
Nov 28, 2012 9:01 PM
Nov 28, 2012 10:36 PM
6I do live in Yemen. And i haven't been killed. Unlike most NGO workers, i actually freely walk around Sana'a. As a matter of fact, i just came back from a weekend in Mahweet without dying. Other than a bombing in September about 50 meters from my office, i have never even remotely felt threatened or in danger. Sana'a (and other cities) lack the danger of a Moscow, Detroit or Bangkok. There is no street/petty crime (ie pickpockets, muggings...) Statistically speaking more tourists are killed in Thailand. About 100 times more people are kidnapped in Mexico. Both of these places still see major tourism numbers.
99% of Yemeni people are overwhelming friendly and hospitable. Actually, after about 20 years on the road and well over 100 countries later, i'd say Yemenis are the second most welcoming people on Earth (after Iranians). But the 1% is a very loud 1%. There are risks coming here. But the rewards are astounding as you're guaranteed to have the country to yourself.
Nov 30, 2012 9:27 PM
Dec 2, 2012 2:14 PM
8Hi! I just returned from Yemen. Sanaa and Socotra are OK to travel on your own. For the rest of Yemen, you do need an arranged tour. Here it is a link of tips I just posted. http://diariesofabackpacker.com/2012/12/02/tips-yemen/ If you need any more help, do not hesitate to ask. Yemen is a wonderful place. Enjoy!
Dec 2, 2012 7:17 PM
9Just a few changes to your tips if you were hoping to be accurate:
1) The flight from Sharjah connects in Mukhalla. While you don't have to disembark, it's not a direct flight.
2) Literally everywhere in Yemen has Sheiks, not just the Haraz Moutnains. Hence the tribal society. it has nothing to do with conservatism.
Dec 21, 2012 9:19 AM
Not great news, hopefully it's resolved quickly.
Jan 27, 2013 1:29 AM
12Just got back from 5 days in Socotra, with a day in Sanaa and another day visiting the sites the original poster mentioned (Shibam, Kawkaban, etc.). I had my travel permit prearranged by Arabian Felix hotel staff, and went with a driver and guide in a private car. The only danger you might experience is the beggars hassling you for money in the small towns, or schoolchildren who want to hang with you as you tour the sites! Had no problems at all!
Jan 28, 2013 1:43 AM
13How did you find Socotra? I mean to visit before too long.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$72.73 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$20.91 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$88.12 per night