19 March, 2007

Yemen: The Ultimate Tourist Destination

Any one who has ever been to or visited Yemen will say one thing about that: an unforgettable experience. Yemen is also unique, exotic and enchanting. Rolling, green, cool high mountains; fantastic valleys; pristine beaches and blue, pure seas; vast expanses of deserts - some mountainous and some flat filled with Mars like features; radically distinctive islands; and the friendliest people.

Due to some few incidences, associated with the so called 'terrorism' - Yemen has been (wrongly) made to appear dangerous and unsafe.But contrary to what some or many think, Yemen is very safe. Where else can one stop by on any high way and rest or help others, so easily, without fear? Where else can one walk the streets at any time of day or night without the fear of being mugged or robbed? Very few countries can claim or boast that.

Most tourists who come to Yemen these days are cultured, elderly Europeans; those seeking the authentic and unusual. Yemen provides that. Yemen appeals to those with a taste for adventure and the ancient. "Yemen offers stunning, ancient cities like Ma'rib, which was the capital of ancient Sheba. The country also boasts soaring mountains and pristine coral reefs. Yemen's architecture is dramatically different from the suburban sprawl and urban boxes of most of the modern world. It has buildings made of mud, straw and dung that can rise eight stories, and the mosque minarets are frosted with gypsum." It offers too: the stunning, UNESCO's, World Heritage city of Shibam. And much more.

"It's a very beautiful country and it has some of the Arab world's most interesting, best preserved, medieval ruins. And it's also got a living culture which is exotic in the true sense of the word," John Andrews, a Washington correspondent for "The Economist," once told CNN.

As recently as last December The New York Times had this to say:

TO the untrained thrill-seeker, Yemen would seem to promise the kind of adventures that only James Bond would relish: kidnapping by tribal factions, riots over gasoline prices, cheap and plentiful AK-47s, and taxi drivers who pack daggers and pistols. Plus, there’s the specter of terrorism: the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Aden in 2000 presaged much bigger attacks.

But in contrast to the rest of the Arabian Peninsula, which is mostly hot, dry and barren, Yemen is practically a cool green paradise, with crisp mountain air, enormous acacia trees, pristine coral reefs and verdant fields bursting with khat, a psychoactive plant that induces mild euphoria.

In recent years, tour operators have started to capitalize on Yemen’s exotic geography as the new frontier in adventure travel. New outfits offer grueling treks to mountaintop villages, four-wheel-drive safaris through untrammeled deserts and sailing voyages aboard ancient dhows to isolated, Galápagos-like islands. And unlike Dubai, the Oz-like emirate on the other side of Saudi Arabia, Yemen is nothing if not authentic.

And from the Arabian Wildlife: Yemen is a very attractive place for the committed eco-tourist to visit, not only because of its interesting geographical features, flora and fauna, but because the traditional lifestyle of its people has remained relatively untouched by the 20th century.

Other Posts On This Site On Yemen

More Links On Yemen: AME Info, Arab.net, Yementourism.com, al-bab.com, Yemen Times, Yemen Observer, Saba News, Google News, Google Scholar, Google Earth