Aden

Old town of Aden, with Shamsan Mountains and crater in background.
WARNING: All travel to Yemen is strongly discouraged at the moment as there is imminent danger of civil war. Due to the volatile situation on the ground not even the Yemeni government is able to guarantee foreign travelers' safety. If already in the country, please leave immediately.

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest. The Department urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart. Similarly, the Australian government advises against all travel to Yemen due to the very high threat of kidnapping and terrorist attack, and other governments have issued similar warnings. Terrorist groupsincluding the notorious al Qaedahave actively targeted tourists and Western targets, with suicide bombings and armed ambushes occurring yearly since 2007. Depending on your position and timing, you could also be at risk from missiles fired by US drones at suspected terrorists. Western (French, German, Norwegian, UK & US) embassies have previously closed because of credible threats.

Government travel advisories

(Information last updated Mar 2014)

Aden is a city in the Yemeni Coastal Plains, on the Gulf of Aden just at the Southern End of the Red Sea. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Understand

Aden has a long and complex history.

It is a very picturesque city with a mix of traditional Arabic and British influences. It was the capital of the liberal South and is presently changing negatively due to the take-over of the tribal forces of the North. For instance the Soviets banned head scarves for women and for decades, women were relatively emancipated and could carry out university degrees abundantly. Now, the scarves are back on the street. One can also notice a sizeable Somali minority (war refugees).

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 32 32 34 35 38 39 39 39 38 35 33 32
Nightly lows (°C) 22 22 24 25 27 28 28 27 27 24 23 22
Precipitation (mm) 0 2 6 15 12 0 10 11 5 0 0 0
Sea (°C) 26 26 27 28 30 31 30 29 30 29 28 27

The city swelters through a desert climate all year round, with high temperatures and little to no rain.

Get in

Access to Aden is available by car, airplane and bus. Airfare from Sana'a on Yemenia, the national carrier, is around 10,000 rials or 55 USD. Buses are generally comfortable and the journey from Sana'a to Aden takes about 8 hours. A ticket costs ~1500 rials. Be prepared to show a travel permit (Tashrih) on military checkpoints. You can't leave capital Sanaa without it. It's good idea to have also few photocopies of your passport ready. If you travel to Aden or elsewhere in Yemen by plane, no travel permit is required.

There are direct flights to many cities in the Middle East. If you are flying in from outside the region, it will be necessary to transfer in Egypt, Jordan or the United Arab Emirates.

Get around

The different current options are:

Taxis are practical, yet always bargain with the taxi driver before getting in. Otherwise, they have the tendency to get it done at their high price. If you know the city very well, you can use the mini-buses along with the public. The mini-buses are easy to use; they follow an essentially circular path around the city. Find someone familiar with the area to explain their route as the fare for the buses is around 30 rials, or roughly a tenth of the average taxi ride. There are also many boats that will take you whenever on a little cruise on the sea.

Aden International Airport is accessible, yet if you are in Yemen it is better to drive there. You can also rent cars from international companies.

See

Sunsets, lagoons (for bird-watching), the Aden museum, Crater (including a shopping district), people, beach and tanks.

Sights :

Do

Among activities carried out by the locals, one can easily sample:

Aden is especially known for the beautiful beaches and swimming activities. Besides this, Aden has the only considerable nightlife in Yemen, and foreigners can enjoy wonderful Arabian nights.

Furthermore, Sport fishing should be considered. Tunas and sharks can be hunted near the coast.

A visit at the Gold Mohur Beach and Elephant Bay Hotel is a must. For women travelling alone, there is also a women only beach located at the Sheraton Hotel. Excellent snorkeling is available although not as clear as Sharm El-Sheikh.

Buy

Beautiful scarfs can be purchased in Crater as well as an abaya for the ladies. Spices can also be found in abundance. Other typical local products include: perfumes & incense, male dresses, female dresses, head scarves, honey, sweets.

Eat

Aden is especially known for its fresh fish.

Breakfast dishes Foul beans and baguette bread or khobez (round pita bread) Khmir (sweet square doughnuts) and tea with milk

Dinner or lunch Moufa or mukbza restaurants have mufa fish, khobez rushwsh, mulwah, rateb (round bread).

Zurbian is a mixed of lamb meat & colure rice.

Saiydia : fish steak (tuna or king fish) and rice.

Shwarma is the snacks in the evening, pita bread and tender grilled lamb meat with Salad

Drink

As in the north capital Sana'a where only alcoholic drinks are officially served in Sheraton and many places where you can get alcohol openly or secretly, as in Sanaa have many night spots. There are few places in Aden where you can buy officially alcoholic drinks. Furthermore, Aden is known for its belly dancing events by overseas dancers (e.g. Iraqis, Syrian and others), which you can find in many tourist places incl. Sheraton Aden, Diplomacy Resort, Bahara, Nashwan, Hotel Aden and others.

Fruit juice bars offer very nice, cheap and wholesome drinks.

Sleep

Aden is the tourist and economical capital of Yemen. You have many chances to purchase alcohol, go to clubs and enjoy a sunset in the high-class hotels. There are many 5 star hotels and numerous others.

5 Stars:

There are many budget, decent and clean hotels and resorts such as:

Good value is "Yemen Nights Tourism Hotel" in Queen Arwa Road, Crater. Tel: 256093. Less than 10 euros for a clean double room with TV, fridge, balcony and air con (which is essential in hot Aden).

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