Not many countries manifest proud Islamic culture better than Yemen. Serviced apartments here grant expats up-close access to a country that has never been shy from global headlines and its exclusive landscapes and attractions.
Occupying the southern point of the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle Eastern country of Yemen borders Oman, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf of Aden in the South. Yemen is, in fact, the second largest Arabian sovereign state, with a population of nearly thirty million inhabiting over 200,000 square miles of land. Across this landmass the Yemeni climate and terrain are varied. It contrasts from mountainous landscape to flat coastal and desert plains. Hot and humid temperatures dominate the deserts whilst seasonal monsoons overwhelm the western mountains and coast. Its capital Sana’a is the largest city in Yemen and is the hub for finance and governance. Its ancient inhabitant history makes it a landmark in itself within Asia, and a popular spot in Yemen for serviced apartments.
There is no doubt that Yemen’s history has been eventful, particularly in the modern era. First knowledge of Yemen came in the first millennium BC along with the emergence of frankincense on the world’s markets. Since, Yemeni’s have taken great pride in the fact that their country has never been fully occupied, always maintaining majority country over their land. Of course, occupation came from the Ottoman and British Empires, with Yemen’s coastline providing many significant overseas ports. South Vietnam actually achieved independence from the British on November 30th 1967 and this is now a national independence day. Similar joy comes on Unity day on May 22nd, which commemorates the day South and North Vietnam reunited in 1990 after civil war conflicts over leader succession. Sadly, this was not the end of the internal conflict and has burdened the country’s population.
Civil wars and political instability have limited the progression of Yemen’s economy. The country continues to enjoy support coming from the United States and European Union, whilst also managing a multi-party political system. Important exports include coffee and cotton, but oil is by far the standout export from Yemen. Around 85 per cent of export earnings and 75 per cent of government revenue comes from oil. Trusting that oil prices rise in the following years, GDP growth could improve. Secondary to oil is the agricultural sector, with products accounting for a fifth of the national GDP. The government have made attempts to introduce reforms to encourage foreign investment in recent years, and presuming these acts can go through, would lead to Yemen having the potential to become a place for business travellers staying in Yemen corporate accommodation.
When staying in Yemen, the most important thing to do is respect the solely Islamic culture. Consider where your serviced accommodation is, and what the local customs are. Understand the religion, follow the customs and refrain from being disrespectful, for instance, drinking alcohol publicly, dressing inappropriately or photographing indecently. These examples apply particularly to the holy month of Ramadan, which takes place between May and June. Attitudes towards sexuality, marriage and politics can also be strong, but visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel website for clarity before you travel. Most establishments do not accept other currency either, so it’s worth carrying plenty of Yemeni Rial (YER) currency. For the current Rail exchange rates, visit www.xe.com.
Public transport is not always readily available and frequent, so driving presents itself as a worthwhile alternative. You will require your national driving license and an International Driving Permit whilst in Yemen. You should also observe that the maximum speed limit is no higher than sixty miles per hour and that driving is on the right side of the road. Petrol stations are dotted around the main cities and toll roads do not exist. It certainly does not have the worse road conditions either compared to other Arabian states. Car hire with a driver is also available too. Otherwise, you can use Yemeni taxis which typically work on a ‘leave-when-full’ system and operate regularly throughout the major cities, particularly the capital.
Only nationals of twelve countries, all situated in Africa and southwest Asia, can obtain a visa before or on arrival into Yemen. Otherwise, it is worth obtaining your visa way in advance and preparing for questioning about your reasoning for travelling to Yemen. Information on Yemen visa policy is not immediately available but contact your national embassy or high commission for more details.
Yemen has attractions capable of putting a reputation of political and social unrest in the background. History and religion are at the forefront in Yemen, and its capital embodies this. The old city of Sana’a boasts a breath-taking range of ancient houses and stunning Islamic architecture. It is almost as if every building has been untouched, restored in order to maintain Yemeni culture. Lit up at night, this World Heritage Site both beautifully reflects what Yemen is all about and the prominence of national wealth.
Also within Sana’a boundaries is the Al Saleh, the largest mosque in Yemen. Despite being one of the world’s oldest, the mosque has also been modernised to cater for many Islamic needs. The main prayer hall has a 20,000 capacity, a separate hall for women and a library housing countless historic documents relating to Islam. It’s beautifully decorated, with an old oak ceiling and forty different stain-glassed windows, all surrounded by six towering minarets that can be seen across the city. Yemen serviced accommodation enables visitors to be within close vicinity of this significant landmark for Islam.
It’s important not to forget Yemen’s scenery though Especially popular are the islands of Yemen, particularly Socotra Island. Socotra stands out as its own island, consisting of wildlife, scenery and beaches that are like nothing else around the world. Surrounded by the beautiful, crystal-clear Arabian Sea and only 240 miles south of Yemen, the island is incredibly tranquil and tears you away from the rests of the country, and the world.
Whilst Yemen is not currently one of the most visited destinations on the globe, there are still plenty of reasons to go. When you book through SITU a Yemen city apartment, you have the opportunity to witness one of the proudest expressions of Islamic culture and undertake your business in comfort and luxury.
The main provider of transport into Yemen is this airport, particularly through Yemenia Airways. Other airports accessible by domestic flights include Aden and Seiyun airports.
It is worth checking the availability of these airports, with some providing limited services or none at all due to political reasons.
As there are no railway services in Yemen, buses become the priority. Inter-city buses run routes between the major towns and cities, and dabaads (minibuses) offer a slightly quicker and cheaper mode of transport.
International buses arrive a couple times a week from Oman into Yemen cities such as Al Mukalla.