| ||INFORMATION STATION|
|Facts at a Glance|
| ||Full country name: Republic of Yemen|
Area: 527,970 sq km (205,908 sq mi)
Population: 17 million
Capital city: San'a (pop 1 million)
People: Arab, Afro-Arab, South Asian
President:Ali Abdullah Saleh
Prime Minister: Abdel Qadir Bajamal
Yemen is bounded to its north by Saudi Arabia, and to the east by Oman. A narrow strip of land, called the
Yemen's flora and fauna have been all but wiped out by the combination of over-cultivation, deforestation and desertification. Along the Tihama, vegetation runs from salt-loving mangroves to sand-dwelling grasses and shrubs. More rain falls in the foothills, and a few evergreen plants such as palms and acacias grow there. Tropical plants grow in the mountains' higher reaches, including commercial plantations of tropical fruits, while the highest slopes have been cultivated by coffee and
Yemn is the least sandy place on the Arabian peninsula, thanks to the the twice-yearly monsoon winds which dump huge quantities of water on the country. The wet season runs from March to May and from July to August, while the highest temperatures are between June and August. The Tihama and the southern coast are hot and humid throughout the year but without much rain - daytime temperatures are around 32°C (60°F) in winter, 40°C (104°F) in summer. The highlands are much milder, and San'a averages daytime temperatures between 25°C (77°F) and 30°C (86°F) - at night it can get down to freezing. Most of the rain falls in the western mountains between July and August, while no rain ever falls in the desert.
| ||GDP: US$12.1 billion|
GDP per head: US$740
Annual growth: 1.8%
Major industries: Oil, cotton, leather, food processing
Major trading partners: China, South Korea, UAE, Saudi Arabia
|Facts for the Traveler|
| ||Visas: Everybody needs a visa to enter Yemen. If your passport carries evidence of a visit to Israel you will not be granted a visa. Tourist visas generally last one to three months.|
Health risks: None, but consider vaccinations for hepatitis A & B
Time: GMT/UTC plus 3 hours
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
|Money & Costs|
| ||Currency:Yemeni riyal|
Budget: US$1-5Mid-range: US$5-15Top-end: US$15 and upwards
Budget: US$4-20Mid-range: US$20-50Top-end: US$50 and upwards
Yemen is one of the world's poorer countries, so wherever you're from, basics here are going to seem pretty cheap. You can get yourself a loaf of bread and a glass of tea for about US$0.10, or a simple meal for around $3. If you're keeping to basics - making some of your own meals, staying in the cheapest of hotels and keeping travel to a minimum - you could get by on around $12 a day. If you want to stay somewhere a bit more comfortable, eat out a few times a day and catch taxis, budget around $50 a day. Yemen also imports a lot of luxury goods, so if you're feeling really flash, you could spend about $300 a day to stay in a five-star hotel and hire a car.
If you want a decent rate, your best bet is to change your money in commercial banks or with private moneychangers in the souqs of large cities - airports and flash hotels offer dreadful rates. You'll have most luck changing money in San'a - in smaller towns you might not be able to change money at all. US dollars and major European currencies (both in cash) are the most widely accepted forms of lucre. Travellers cheques may be difficult to change, and credit cards are almost useless.
Tipping is unknown in Yemen, as a service charge is included in restaurant and hotel bills. Bargaining isn't a staple of Yemeni commerce, but you should negotiate with taxi drivers before you get in.
|When to Go|
When you go depends on where you're going. If you're going to the Tihama, Aden or Hadhramawt, don't go in July - the heat will be unbearable. If you're heading for the highlands, December nights can be very, very cold. From October to February most of the country is dry and dusty, and in March, April and August the temperature is pleasant but you'll get very wet. April-May and September-October are probably the best bets wherever you're heading.
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