The media shows the civil war raging on in several regions of Yemen, but what it fails to show is the absolute blissful peace high up in the mountain top settlements of Haraz. Miles of terraced fields cut their way up the mountain side all the way to the gates of the gravity-defying, medieval Yemeni villages. The trails twist and turn through the farmlands and descend into Arabia’s wilderness, while the fresh mountain air makes for clear, scenic views over the Arabian plateau. The war is nowhere in sight and the residents of Haraz go about life as they have for centuries. Hiking from one village to another, traversing the mountain valleys along the way, gives you a deep understanding of one of Yemen’s oldest and most traditional cultures. Most exciting of all, it takes you to a remote corner of the world once thought to be lost. Read More
As the hours begin to lead up to it all, my mind starts to race. Traveling to Yemen is something I’ve always wanted to do, but because of Yemen’s war and political strife, it seemed an impossible task. Now, as I sit in a haze of hookah smoke in a Salalah cafe with a shady permission form from one of the governments in Yemen, I am finally going. After all the months of research and bureaucracy that I had to fight through to plan this adventure, the time to cross from Oman to Yemen has finally arrived. Just then, a beat-up van pulls up and a dodgy looking Yemeni driver peers out the window and says with a crazy look in his eyes “ready to go to Yemen!?” Read More
Nowhere has ever captured old Arabia like Sana’a. The smell of spices and meat cooking over charcoal in the old city souq, the enchanting melody of the call to prayer encompasses you as it rings out in every direction, locals prefer to wear turbans and the abiyah compared to western fashion. Sana’a will with no doubt take you to that Lawrence of Arabia dream you fantasize about. A city with such deep historical significance retains all its character despite the current circumstances. Now it’s not uncommon to hear airstrikes alongside the call to prayer, locals swapping their traditional outfits for military gear, and the entire city cut off from electricity and water; but politics and war aside, Sana’a still retains its charming self, a true authentic traveler’s paradise. Read More
What brings a traveler to places like this? Is it the desire to be so far from other travelers and achieve an authentic experience, or is it the thrill of stepping into the forbidden and unknown corners of the world?
When it comes to Yemen, I found my attraction drawn from its plethora of historical sights and its splendid natural beauty. But if I am to be one hundred percent honest with you the tremendous lure in coming to conflict areas like Yemen are the people. Yemen’s people are unlike anywhere I have ever been. Their hospitality is contagious, they smile even when there are airstrikes happening blocks away and no matter who you are, or what you believe in, they will be your lifelong friend.
This is what makes all the pain, all the danger, and all of the after effects worthwhile in venturing into finding the truth for yourself. This is Yemen, true Arabia.