|Yemen - Travel Facts and Figures|
Location: Middle East
Government type: republic
Local time: GMT + 3 hours
Drugs: Khat (qat) contains the alkaloid called cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria. In 1980 the World Health Organization classified khat as a drug of abuse that can produce mild to moderate psychological dependence. The plant has been targeted by anti-drug organizations like the DEA. Traditionally, khat has been used as a socializing drug, and this is still very much the case in Yemen where khat-chewing is predominantly, although not exclusively, a male habit.
Credit cards: Major cards are accepted in most tourist area hotels, restaurants and major stores. They are not as widely accepted in rural areas of Yemen.
Business hours: The weekend has traditionally been Thursday afternoon and Friday.
Health: Health care facilities are relatively poor in Yemen, especially outside major cities. The major hospitals in Sana’a are: Al Jumhuriyya, Al Kuwait and Al Thawra. In Aden, there is the Al Jumhuriyya, the Saudi Hospital and the Refinery Hospital. Most large cities have a general hospital. Medical insurance is essential.
Hotels: Accommodation in Yemen varies from ancient palace hotels and modern luxury hotels to funduks and tribal huts. It is necessary to book in advance and to receive a written confirmation. Standards range from basic to 5-star. Outside the main centres, facilities are limited.
Social conventions: Yemen is an Islamic country that observes all of the religion’s strictest beliefs and this is extremely evident in everyday Yemeni culture. Holiday makers should be aware of this and tailor their behaviour accordingly. All visitors should exercise modesty with their clothing especially when visiting religious sites and generally speaking, long sleeves and trousers are considered more appropriate than the shorter alternatives. Non-Muslims are in fact not permitted to enter mosques so most tourists must make do with external views only. Yemeni people traditionally greet one another with a handshake and visitors may do the same when meeting locals; make sure to use the right hand only for this act and when receiving or offering food or drink also. If invited to the house of a local for dinner, then it’s polite to bring a small gift as a token of your appreciation. An item from home that would be unavailable in Yemen would be ideal.
Photography: Visitors should avoid taking photographs of military constructions, women and police officers.
Mobile telephony: Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone operators. Coverage is good in the west and in coastal areas of the east.
Traffic system: Driving in Yemen is on the right-hand side.
Taxis: Recognisable by yellow licence plates. Taxi-sharing is the cheapest transport between cities. There are minimum charges within main cities but fares should be negotiated beforehand for intercity journeys.
Getting around: Road conditions and driving standards are quite poor and many roads are in a state of disrepair, with mountain roads particularly hazardous. Within Sana’a and from Ta’izz to Mokha, the roads are reliable. From Aden to Ta’izz is three to five hours’ driving time. A road links Aden and Sana’a, otherwise the road network is mainly limited to desert tracks. Use of 4-wheel drive vehicles and a guide is recommended. There is a road from Aden to Mukalla of 500km (310 miles). Officially, traffic drives on the right but sometimes drivers travel on the left.
Getting there: The national airline is Yemen Airways (IY) (Yemenia)
Airport: Sanaa International Airport (SAH) is 13km north of the city. (al Rahaba Airport)
Internet country code: .ye
Telephone dialing code: + 967
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