Yemen Travel Tips


Yemen does not have a good transportation system, which makes it very difficult to get around. There is almost no road infrastructure in the eastern Mahra region. Local transportation options include taxis, and buses. You can also choose to hire a private driver, but that is more expensive than taking a bus.

The buses are actually a good way to see the country. They make a pit stop every few hours or so, which can make traveling very slow, but you’d get to see more of the country this way.

Shared taxis are another option. There are taxis that go to almost any destination. If you ask someone, they can point you to a car that is on its way to your destination.

Foreign nationals are required to have travel permits if you are leaving the capital, and in some regions, you may not be allowed to travel independently. You can apply for this permit at a tourist police station. You will need your passport and itinerary.


Outside of the capital and major metropolitan centers, accommodations are very basic. Generally, you will be offered nothing more than a mattress on the floor and a shared bathroom. Hot water is not always available.

Yemeni accommodations outside of the capital are rated on a “sheet basis” instead of “stars.” This means that a one-sheet funduq (village tourist hotel) is going to be better than a no-sheet funduq.


Working in Yemen is difficult for western foreigners. There are many bureaucratic levels to go through if you want to work in Yemen. Most expats who are working in Yemen find jobs working for a western company that has interests in Yemen.

The only exception is in teaching. If you are a native English speaker, many big city institutions, such as schools and government organizations, are in desperate need for English teachers. In the capital, Sana’a, it is also possible to find a job as an English-language magazine proofreader.


Yemen is not a very safe place for tourists. There have been many reports of kidnapping and terrorist attacks. In addition, the roads are pretty dangerous.

You will definitely need a 4-wheel-drive vehicle as roads are often in poor conditions or not paved. Yemeni drivers also drive very differently from western drivers. They often take unnecessary risks. The locals are used to it, but for foreign drivers, this can be very dangerous and difficult to adapt to initially.

Homosexuality is punishable by death. Do not engage in homosexual activities in public.

Yemen is currently experience political turmoil, which raises the dangers for foreign travelers. Travel to Yemen is advised against.

If you do need to travel to Yemen, make sure you have international medical insurance that can cover emergency evacuations.


Tap water should be avoided. Stick to bottled water.

There is also a risk for respiratory problems, as Yemen is very dusty. Travelers may experience breathing difficulties.

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