15 Days Yemen Discovery Tour Package from Info Hub $1899/- (Posted on Jul 19 2011)

15 Days Yemen Discovery Tour Package from Info Hub $1899/-

YEMEN – DISCOVERY PACKAGE

KEY INFORMATION:
Tour Duration: 15 day(s)
Group Size: 2 – 15 people
Destination(s): Yemen
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey   Archeology/History
Season: February – December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 1899 Pound Sterling (GBP)
Maximum Per Person Price: 1899 Pound Sterling (GBP)Mosque, Sana'aMosque, Sana'a

Wadi Hadramaut

Wadi Hadramaut

Tour Dates:
– 17 December 2011
– 18 February 2012
– 15 December 2012.

To put it simply, Yemen is one of the most incredible countries in the world, a corner of Arabia that instantly takes you back centuries to an almost mythical land. On this two week trip we visit some of the key sites that make Yemen such a very special place. We explore the remarkable old city of Sana’a with its stunning buildings before flying to Wadi Hadhramaut, one of Yemen’s most exciting regions where mud brick skyscrapers rise from the desert floor.

From there we travel to the coast and to Aden, once one of the most important ports in the world and still with an aura of former glories. We journey along the Red Sea coast and the Tihama region before heading inland to discover the fortified towns and villages of the mountains, with their age old citadels, mosques and markets – an insight into a part of the world that few even know exist. With its incredible architecture and proud traditions, there is no other place in the world like Yemen, and it deserves to be on every serious traveler itinerary.

TOUR ITINERARY:

Day 1: Sana’a. Arrive in Sana’a and transfer to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, there may be time to explore the city. Overnight Royal Sana’a Hotel or similar.

Sana’a: One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth, Sana’a is believed to have been founded by Shem, the son of Noah. With its unique architecture it appears as if much of Yemen’s capital is frozen in time, especially in the old city, now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main Tahrir Square is a focal point of the old city, with a bus terminus and several government buildings, but it is the Bab al-Yaman to the east which was traditionally the most important part of town under the Turks. The bustling Souk al-Milh, largest market in the country, borders the gate. There are many smaller souks, as well as beautifully ornate houses, mosques and hammams – bathhouses – in the narrow alleys of the old city.

You can buy most things in the souks – the spice market is undoubtedly the most fragrant. There is a souk which sells nothing but jambiyas, the traditional curved Yemeni dagger worn by all men. These make great souvenirs, but bear in mind that the more expensive ones are decorated with rhino horn, the trade in which has made the rhino highly endangered. Another souk that offers a great insight into Yemeni culture is the qat souk. More modern than the others, this is where you obtain the vital ingredients for the serious business of qat chewing – the small bush with a mildly narcotic effect which almost every male Yemeni chews.

Day 2: Sana’a. We take a tour of this remarkable city, including visits to the National Museum and the markets. We then explore Old Sana’a, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nothing can prepare you for the moment we pass through the gates of the Bab al-Yaman, into the old city, said by many to be one of the most beautiful anywhere on Earth. Overnight Royal Sana’a Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 3: Wadi Hadhramaut. An early flight takes us to Seiyun in Wadi Hadhramaut, an incredible area with some of Yemen’s most amazing architecture. We head to Tarim, an early important centre of Islamic learning where we see the palace of Al Kaf, the market and the library, home to ancient Islamic manuscripts. Overnight Seiyun Plaza Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (D).

Wadi Hadhramaut: Wadi Hadhramaut is the second largest desert valley on the Arabian Peninsula – after Wadi Rum in Jordan. Although today the name is often used to encompass a region of several desert valleys, the actual Wadi Hadhramaut is about 160km from the south coast and runs for nearly 200km from west to east. It is a remarkable region of towns and villages constructed of mud brick, many of them containing spectacular mud ‘skyscrapers’ several stories high.

Tarim: Tarim lies 35km west of Seiyun and has been the spiritual centre of the Hadhramaut since its heyday between the 17th & 19th centuries. At that time young men used to come from all over the Arabian Peninsula to study the Holy Scriptures. More than 300 mosques and religious schools developed to control the teaching activity though most are now closed. The teachings of orthodox Sunni Islam are still taught in Tarim. Many of Tarim’s buildings date to a building boom in the 19th century when successful Arabian traders returned with their riches from enterprises in South-East Asia. The minaret of the al-Midhar mosque is remarkable. 64 metres high and square rather than round, it is built of mud bricks. Unfortunately the mosque is now closed to non-Muslims.

Day 4: Wadi Hadhramaut. We visit the Sultan’s palace in Seiyun, a spectacular example of Yemeni architecture, before driving to Shibam, known as the ‘Manhattan of the Desert’ on account of its mud brick skyscrapers. Explore the breathtaking old town before returning to Seiyun for the night. Overnight Seiyun Plaza Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (D).

Seiyun: Clinging to the limestone walls of the Wadi, Seiyun is the provincial capital of the Hadhramaut and was apparently founded in pre-Islamic times around the castle of a beautiful princess whose name was “Seiyun”. The Old Town of Seiyun is dominated by the massive sultan’s palace – now the city museum, which stands on a hill in the town centre and looms over the mosques and houses.

The bustling markets go on as they have always done. The main mosque, standing in the precincts of the market, is said to be the most beautiful in all the Hadhramaut. Seiyun has many older houses and mosques which are still in use today. You will also find Seiyun a good place for traditional craftsmen such as silversmiths, potters, basketmakers and joiners. Outside Seiyun, on the road to Tarim, is a tomb dedicated to Ahmad Ibn Isa al-Muhajir, the sayyid who re-established orthodox Islam in Wadi Hadhramaut about 1,200 years ago.

Shibam: One of the most spectacular cities of the Hadhramaut, Shibam is thought to be 1,700 years old and has been called the “Chicago of the Desert” because of its mass of mud brick ‘skyscrapers’. Built on a rise to avoid flash floods, Shibam has always been of strategic importance. Most of the buildings within the city wall are about 30 meters high and many of them are between 100-300 years old. These mud houses are surprisingly durable, if properly maintained. As a result of government pressure for international help to preserve Shibam, it was added to the UNESCO list of cultural monuments.

Day 5: Wadi Do’an. Drive to Wadi Do’an. We visit the villages of Al Hajjarayn, Al Mashad, Ar Ribat and Khureiba before reaching our hotel for the evening. Overnight Hayd al Jazeel or similar. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 6: Mukalla. Drive over the Al Jol plateau until we reach the port town of Mukalla. On arrival we visit the Husn al Guayzi fortress, the museum and the old town. Overnight Rayboon Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (D).

Mukalla: From the sea, Mukalla is a striking sight, with the brilliant whitewashed mosques and houses of the old town contrasting with the deep blue sea and the black rock of Jabal Qara. Mukalla probably began as a fishing settlement that later developed into a meeting place for traders and fishermen. The former Sultan’s palace, now a small archaeological museum, offers beautiful views across the bay. Not the most beautiful of Yemeni towns, Mukalla does have some intricately carved doors, which can be found on a walk through the town.

Day 7: Bir Ali – Aden. We leave early today to drive to Aden. En route we stop at the Bir Ali where we take a short walk up the nearby mountain for stunning views across the volcanic landscape. We can also take a swim at the beach here before our picnic lunch. After lunch we drive along the coastal road to Aden to spend the night. Overnight Amer Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Yemen Bir Ali

Yemen Bir Ali

Bir Ali: Named after a freshwater lake in the crater of an offshore volcano, Bir Ali itself is little more than a fishing village but the coastline is beautiful and offers an ideal place to relax. If you feel like being more active, just 3km east of Bir Ali, between the road and the sea is an extinct volcano. The climb to the top is easy and well worthwhile to see the magnificent crater lake.

Aden: Aden was once the most important port of the great Ausan trading kingdom (a contemporary and rival of the great Sabaen kingdom). It was from here that ships set sail to cross the Red Sea and found colonies in the areas now known as Eritrea, Somalia and Zanzibar. The absence of buildings from pre-Islamic periods is almost certainly due to the constant wars Aden was involved in, with the city being conquered and razed to the ground on a regular basis. The only thing that does survive from the early period is the amazing drinking water cisterns, known as the ‘Tanks of Tawila’. This complex of 17 tanks, arranged in sequence, can collect about 45 million liters of water in a single heavy rainfall.

Aden’s importance as a trading port declined sharply after Vasco de Gama discovered an alternative sea route to India by sailing around Africa. After centuries of decay, the port’s fortunes were revived when, in 1836, the British East India Company took Aden by force and installed administrators. Aden’s economic fortunes received a huge boost when the Suez Canal was opened in 1869 and it became the most important transit port on the sea route between the Mediterranean and Asia.

Day 8: Aden – Taizz. Explore Aden this morning. We visit the ancient ‘tanks of Tawila’, an ancient water storage system dating back to the 1st century and the old part of the town, known as the ‘Crater’ area. We also visit the Zoroastrian tower, once used for death rituals. After seeing the sights of Aden we drive to Taizz, once the capital of North Yemen and known for its beautiful mosques and bustling markets. We visit the Al Gahira castle and have free time to explore the markets. Overnight Taj Shamsan Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (D).

Taizz: Taizz is set in a mountainous yet fertile part of the country mostly undulating between 1,000m and 2,000m above sea level. A relatively modern city by the ancient standards of the region, most of the architecture is post-revolutionary, giving Taizz a superficially European appearance. Nevertheless there are old quarters and many beautiful mosques in the town. The streets wind around the hillsides, many of them without visible names, with the Jebel Sabir Mountain to the south providing a convenient landmark. The central market is the liveliest part of the old town, near the old city wall, entered via the Bab Musa or Bab el-Kebir gates.

Day 9: Ibb – Jiblah – Taizz. We head north visiting the Al Janad Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in the world and built during the lifetime of the prophet Mohammed. We then visit the ancient mountain settlements of Ibb and Jiblah before returning to Taizz for the night. Overnight Taj Shamsan Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (D).

Ibb: Ibb is the main town in the province of the same name, lying to the north of Taizz in a mountainous region. The slopes of the hills are terraced from the valley floor right up to the mountain tops and in the heavy rains of summer the streets often flood. Some of these are so narrow that there’s barely enough room for a donkey to walk down them. Decoration is minimal – tall five-storey unpainted buildings with small lattices over the windows.

Jibla: From 1064 to 1138, the Sulayhid dynasty – Fatimid Ismailis – ruled this part of Yemen as an independent state. Their capital was moved from Sana’a to Jibla by Queen Arwa who took on the role of head of state in 1086 when her husband Mukarram died. At the time there were 2 important rival dynasties: the Najahids of Zabid and the Zaydi Imams of Sa’da. Jibla flourished during Arwa’s reign. One of the main sights in Jibla today is the mosque of Queen Arwa, one of the most beautiful mosques in Yemen. One of the features of Arwa’s reign was the development of the local agriculture and aqueducts built in her reign are still in use today.

Day 10: Al Mokha – Al Khokha. This morning we visit the Al Ashrafiya mosque in Taizz, one of the few in Yemen that allow non-Muslims to enter. We then head along the coast, driving through the coffee port of Al Mokha to reach Al Khokha where we can take a swim. Overnight La Moka Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Al Mokha: In the early 17th century, Al Mokha was the world’s leading source of coffee. By the beginning of the 18th Century however, coffee plants had found their way to other parts of the world and Mokha’s monopoly was broken. For a while Mokha thrived as a port, though with reunification in 1990, and the designation of Aden as the major port of the region, Mokha declined quickly.

Al Khokha: This is the largest fishing village on this part of the coast. Its palm tree lined shoreline is quite attractive, though to reach good swimming spots it is necessary to make a short journey by boat.

Day 11: Zabid – Mahweet. Drive via fertile Wadi Zabid to Zabid, once an important town. We visit the old Turkish citadel and the Al-Ashair and Great Mosques, which date back to the 7th and 9th centuries, as well as the beautifully decorated ‘Pasolini House’. After lunch in a local guesthouse we drive via Bayt al Faqih and Wadi Sara to Mahweet. Overnight Mahweet Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Zabid: Zabid was once the location of a famous Islamic university and a seat of power in the coastal region known as the Tihama. Today its importance has declined considerably and it is not even a provincial capital. Among the city’s attractions is a large walled Citadel with the Iskanderiya mosque built into the fortifications.

Day 12: Zakati Fortress – Hababa. In the morning we visit the old town of Mahweet before driving via Tawila to Zakati Fortress. We then visit the picturesque village of Hababa, an old Himyarite settlement. Overnight in a local guesthouse in Kawkaban. Includes: (B), (D).

Kawkaban: The fortified town of Kawkaban is located on a grand plateau, with views across the plains of Shibam to Thula and beyond. There is still only one gate into the city and throughout its history, Kawkaban has been home to both rulers and artists.

Day 13: Shibam – Thula – Manakha. We walk to the village of Shibam, once the base of the Yufurid dynasty, before heading to the fortified village of Thula. We then visit Al Khoteib, renowned as being the centre of Ismaili Islam within Yemen. This is a truly beautiful area and spending time here will give you a great sense of rural Yemeni life. Our final destination in Manakha. Where we stay in a local guesthouse and are treated to a performance of traditional Yemeni song and dance. Includes: (B), (D).

Thula: Thula is of pre-Islamic origin and is made up of two parts; a fortified mountain top village which was used as a retreat in times of war and walled city at the foot of the mountain. Its architecture has some of the finest examples of stone work in Yemen.

Manakha: Manakha (2,150m) is the urban center of the Haraz Mountains. Nearby, is a community of about 7,000 Yemeni Ismailis living in small villages. You’ll notice that the terraced fields in this area are better kept and the houses better decorated. Not connected to the Eastern Ismailis who follow the Aga Khan, the Yemeni Ismailis are known for their hard work and attention to detail.

Day 14: Wadi Dhar – Sana’a. We spend this morning walking in the area and visiting the village of Al Hajjarah. Later we drive to Wadi Dhar, home to one of Yemen’s most iconic sights – the Imam’s Palace. After visiting this remarkable building we head back to Sana’a and have some free time to wander the streets of this most fascinating of cities. Overnight in Royal Sana’a Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Al Hajjarah: The fortified village of Hajjarah, located at 2,400 metres above sea level, offers wonderful views of the surrounding mountains & valleys. With just one entrance to the town, Al Hajjarah was a local stronghold and place of refuge in times of trouble.

Wadi Dhar

Wadi Dhar

Wadi Dhar: This valley of vineyards and orchards enclosed by high cliffs is famous largely due to the spectacular Dar al Hajjar, the summer palace of the Imam Yahya and his family, built high on a narrow rock pinnacle overlooking the valley.

Day 15: Sana’a. Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Includes: (B).
Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Prices:
– Single supplement £185
– Return flights from London to Sana’a start at £350.

Price Includes:
– Arrival and departure transfers
– Domestic flight
– All accommodation on twin share basis
– Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
– Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
– Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary.

Price Excludes:
– International flights
– Any airport taxes
– Travel Insurance
– Visas
– Drinks.

For More Detail & Booking of Yemen Discovery Tour Package

Visit: http://www.infohub.com/vacation_packages/26406.html


Posted by on Jul 19 2011. Filed under Middle East, UAE, Yemen.

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15 Days Yemen Discovery Tour Package from Info Hub $1899/-

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