• Indonesia!

    Indonesia: Lombok. Go Now!

    Indonesia
    This archipelago nation is culturally diverse from big cities to isolated islands. Begin Your Journey!

  • Nepal!

    Nepal: Phewa Lake. Go Now!

    Nepal
    This landlocked country mixes the cultures of the Indian sub-continent with the high Himalayas. Explore Nepal!

  • Mongolia!

    Mongolia: Desert. Go Now!

    Mongolia
    This vast country has a culture that spans past and present... a nomadic life shifting to a modern & sedentary society. Begin Your Journey!

  • Qatar!

    Qatar: Dhows in Doha Bay. Go Now!

    Qatar
    Although little more than a deserted peninsula, Qatar has a thriving culture based on technology and immigration, with Doha (pictured) taking the lead. Explore Qatar!

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    Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Mountains. Go Now!

    Kyrgyzstan
    The mountains, including the Tian Shan Mountains (pictured), give Kyrgyzstan a unique culture, partially formed from this isolation from the mountains. Go Now!

Social Life in Yemen

WARNING: Terrorist threats continue in Yemen, please read this travel warning before going!

Behavior

How most Yemenis behave and the expectations for how foreigners must behave is deeply rooted in the people's Islamic faith. Adult women are best off traveling to Yemen with their husband, father, or brother. Single women travelers are looked at oddly and traveling with a man who is not related or married to you is widely considered inappropriate. Pretending you are married is not right, but most Yemenis would consider it less offensive than a single man and women traveling together. It is also improper for a man to touch a woman, even holding your spouse's hand or offering to shake the hand of a person who is of the opposite sex can be considered inappropriate to a conservative Muslim, of which there are many in Yemen.

Also, Islamic law forbids pork products and alcohol; however there is little worry about adhering to these rules since neither is available anywhere in Yemen. You should note that attempting to take either into the country is also strictly forbidden so don't try to smuggle any pork or alcohol into the country as punishments can be severe.

In addition to following the dress restrictions mentioned below and following the local dining etiquette (see our Qatar Dining & Food Page), the most important behavioral restrictions are basic courtesy. Avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, religion, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart.

Dress

As a Muslim country, there are a number of religious laws which must be obeyed by everyone in Yemen, both foreigners and locals alike. The locals dress very conservatively as they cover themselves entirely with loose fitting clothing so they reveal nothing. The men generally wear tans or browns, in addition to a turban. The women tend to wear black, but color is not completely unheard-of in the dress of the Yemeni women, like it is in some neighboring countries. Although color is common, the dress remains very conservative as women cover up in an abaya. Since Yemen is very conservative, nearly all women cover their hair with a hijab and most cover their faces with a piece of cloth so only the eyes can be seen (although neither is required by law). Although covering one's face is not required, nearly every Yemini woman does so.

As a visitor to Yemen you must at all times cover your body, only showing your head, hands, and feet, at the very most. Women visitors are also expected to cover their hair, although not a legal requirement, but not their faces (although most foreign women get many stares if they leave their faces uncovered so may decide to cover their faces as well). Imitating the local dress is not necessary, but covering up is, so you're welcomed to wear western-styled clothing in Yemen, but make sure it is loose-fitting and doesn't reveal your figure.

This page was last updated: December, 2013