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As a traveler, and someone who has been to every single country in the world, nothing excites me more than YEMEN. Out of all the dangerous and war-torn countries that I've visited — including Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, etc — no place is more dangerous for tourists than mainland Yemen.
I went on an 8-day road trip to Yemen, all by myself, and it was one of the wildest trips of my life. I ended up meeting a local tour guide, Abdul, but he was very unpredictable and left me feeling uncomfortable the whole trip. That being said, I had a very memorable time and this video highlights everything from Yemen!
It's important to know that Yemen is a very complex country (both politically, culturally and economically), and should only be visited if you are an experienced traveler. It's very risky to visit Yemen and I do not advise going there alone.
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People always ask me Drew what's the Most dangerous country you've ever Visited and my answer is Yemen last Night I heard some gunshots we got Pulled over a few times I searched my Bags I searched my pockets pretty Sketchy to shoot any kind of video so I Gotta keep the camera down visiting Yemen as a tourist is more dangerous Than Afghanistan Somalia Libya and Syria Put it this way I've never been more Scared in my life to get kidnapped than My week-long journey across Mainland Yemen all right we're just about to Cross the border right now I showed up To the land border all alone and met up With a random tour guide named Abdul Together we embarked on an eight day Road trip Into the Heart of the country Across the hydramat state from Al-Qaeda To mukula shibam to seyun I was Determined to uncover the truth about This Middle Eastern nation that has been In a constant state of War for over a Decade Foreign But Abdul did not help to calm down my Nerves as he kept saying things like They are watching us they know every Move we are making I mean like like Sometimes they go out without they Inform us and we need to keep worried About them he was referring to Al-Qaeda The militant Islamic extremist group of
Jihadists responsible for countless Terrorist attacks hostages and Kidnappings around the world for the Last hour we have been driving through Al Qaeda territory and it's really scary As we cross through random checkpoints Looking out the window at the waving Al Qaeda Flags I couldn't help but fear for The worst the word Anarchy takes on a Whole new meaning in a place like Yemen Yeah there's no logic still nobody cares I saw a kid as young as eight years old Speeding down the highway while driving A pickup truck I saw child soldiers even Younger with massive guns strapped to Their chest and knives in their belts This little kid just has this knife in His pocket the poverty line in Yemen is Unbearable with more than 60 percent of Its 30 million residents living on less Than one US dollar per day the World Health Organization has declared Yemen As the world's largest humanitarian Crisis with severe shortages of food Clean water and basic supplies you can See it on their faces you can see it's That they are suffering but they don't Want to show it and I must admit that The cuisine although very tasty was a Bit unsanitary so we got the goats and The Lambs right here and then right here They eat it it gave me the worst food Poisoning of my life my stomach is erect And it makes traveling not fun at all
Especially when you're using toilets That are holes in the ground but this is Only part of the story that I want to Tell you welcome to yeah man Yemen is Beautiful and there's nothing more Rewarding than to witness a culture that Few Outsiders get to see why does she Wear those hats From Silent also it's their traditional Wow that's so cool the pure raw Adrenaline Rush of just being there is What I live for Much like other countries in the Arab World yemeni hospitality is warm curious And genuine True You have to remember that the people are Not the same as their governments and Yemenis want nothing more than peace and Stability they said everything is gonna Be okay every time I went inside a small Shop or a house the local people were Quick to break bread and eagerly share Insight into their special culture a Culture I've come to adore I even Stumbled upon this crazy celebration Where I was invited to dance and sing Throughout the night and I came across This amazing wedding ceremony and Everyone's so friendly and they're doing The traditional dances Stick with me as I navigate Under Pressure to amazing sites like shabam From the 15th century this is what we
Call Manhattan of the desert I take you Deep inside the valley of Wadi Dohan Which Rivals the Grand Canyon in its Beauty and we venture into Lawless Cities like mukula where anything can Happen as I give you a glimpse of the Amazing yemeni people and their Traditions I will say that this road Trip is not for the faint-hearted but For all you travel crazies out there let Me show you what it's really like to go Solo in a war zone and why it's so easy To fall in love with Yemen before we Dive into Yemen I want to send you a Free digital version of this book my top Hundred travel photos from every country In the world all you have to do is sign Up for my free email newsletter where I Send exclusive travel tips and my best Hacks and secrets for saving money on my Newsletter I will also be choosing a Random subscriber to come with me on an All expenses paid trip and be with me in An upcoming video and that all being Said let's hop into Yemen [Music] We're just about to cross the border Right now Passport stamped I have officially made It to Yemen country number 171. Yemen is Not a normal place to visit as a tourist In fact it's not really allowed to visit I had to pull some serious strings to Get the visa my first 24 hours consisted
Of driving westbound across a Surprisingly beautiful Coast to a town Called Al-Qaeda last night I heard some Gunshots and I think it was because of a Celebration but I'm not sure the drive Was more Greenery and mountains than Desert but we did see our fair share of Camels we stopped several times along The way first to eat we just got invited For a home-cooked meal gonna get some Yemeni food no problem they're very nice Thank you [Music] What's the name in Arabic Wow a piece and this is Very good Then we stopped again at a local cut Market remember that video I made in Somaliland it's like smoking cigarettes It's just like Smoked Cigarettes Or something like that it gives you Energy it boosts your mind boosts your Intelligence it's that same addictive Plant that you chew on to get high and It's a huge epidemic here in Yemen as I Gazed out the window I saw lots of Poverty kids tapping on my arm to get Some coins lots and lots of garbage Everywhere is covered in trash and also There's a lot of military presence and Checkpoints bringing me back to my time In Afghanistan I am now safe at my hotel in a city Called Al-Qaeda it was a wild experience
Today very eye-opening Um yeah just trying to take it all in And mixed with the fact that I haven't Slept in about 48 hours I need to get a Good head rest for the last seven years I've gone around the world to see what I Could buy for ten dollars not only is This helpful for Budget Travelers but it Really shows you what's unique about a Given culture in Yemen I was super Nervous to film inside random Street Markets and restaurants but it was Really rewarding to be able to tell this Story today I'm going to City in the Dead center of Yemen 10 buses about 5 500 yemeni Rios it's time to see how Much we can get Yemeni food is fantastic and is often Consumed in a shared communal gathering On the floor my favorite thing is called Cubis that's the big oven or basically The best tortilla you've ever had dip it In your spicy omelet and there you have A very tasty meal So good really good One cannot visit Yemen without noticing It's caught epidemic this plant is seen And sold everywhere and it's commonly Enjoyed after lunch it's a hundred Percent natural and legal I guess it Just keeps you awake Now we are heading onwards to the market Which is super big in bustling here in Seon and I'm gonna try to buy a yemeni
Flag that's my goal but I haven't seen Them selling it anywhere so if I can't Get a flag I'm gonna have to buy Something else really crowded in this Market wow So it looks like we're out of luck with The flag and second option I'm gonna buy A new scarf if you visit Yemen as a Tourist it's mandatory to keep a low Profile or else you will find yourself In situations that are not good the best Way to blend in is by wearing a Traditional outfit and a turban so I Found a small shop to get the ladder That one fifth to the left one the blue And white one yes could you put it on me Here I like the feel of this one better it Feels nice Sugar [Music] Nothing and I mean nothing beats an Afternoon chai all it is is sweet milk Tea and you can find it from India down To Yemen across North Africa I went to The most local shop I could find run by This little kid Ty That is just the best taste the sweetest Taste The Arabian Peninsula and Middle East is Filled with all kinds of swedes and Halva is my favorite one we headed into A local market to find some yemeni halva And I landed with this one
All right it's time to give it a try Oh The sweet smell of sugar and Yemen Everybody just uses their hands I mean It's almost like there's no utensils Here you see how hard that is there we Go it almost looks like brown sugar it's Like powdery texture Um when you chew it it kind of forms Together in your mouth like a sweet Yummy caramel In total I got a breakfast chat a turban Chai and Hava for 9.57 if you're like me then you know That the best parts of travel are the Real life experiences that money can't Buy and when I found myself out in the Middle of the desert I came across a Place that absolutely blew my mind Welcome to this special Valley that few Outsiders have ever encountered this is So cool I got caught in the middle of a Yemeni wedding and their celebrations Their chances are incredible everyone's So friendly [Music] Foreign Everybody's walking so we're walking With them I don't know where we're going In the center of Yemen is a giant Canyon Called Wadi Dohan and at the bottom of This Canyon you can find many Settlements that are entirely made out Of mud bricks
Welcome to Safe Village and this Village Is known with the top houses and it's Very colored and the people here are Very outgoing with they're very friendly They will come tourists and they're very Happy to have them here and what are the Houses made from is it bricks the houses Are made of mud prick that's crazy I'm Just walking around here and like these Are abandoned buildings these mud bricks There's no people in there they look Like Hobbit holes this is absolutely Wild from the Blissful nature to the Fascinating culture this is truly a Remarkable place on planet Earth and It's not only my opinion in 1982 it was Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site It's just so peaceful in these Villages And they're just like stacked up on the Mountain it's so cool to see they have These little squares for Windows and uh It's just filled with the nicest people I mean everyone comes up to me on the Street ask me where I'm from what I'm Doing here and it's really cool and it's Just not really what you think what do You think about Yemen What's your name you speak English there Are many thousand residents here who Live quietly among themselves including A few Rich Saudis who reside in these Colorful palaces how many people live in This Village I think uh 900. one of them Is Osama Bin Laden's family because yes
He comes from this part of Yemen and his Wealthy family is still here walking Along the streets you'll find kids Riding donkeys old men walking with Their canes and women Farmers wearing Tall cone hats made from Palm leaves They look like witches and it's one of The most unique things I've ever seen in All of my travels and lucky me I just Happened to stumble here upon a wedding On this perfect evening it's really a Special sight to see I'm loving this Right now what you're seeing now is life As simple as it can be Symbol If you drive two hours north of here You'll find a settlement called chibam Which is known as the world's oldest Skyscraper City shabam this is this is What we call Manhattan of the desert in Shabam you'll find about 500 tall and Ancient mud brick Towers it's really Amazing like these buildings are so tall And it's 650 years old and instead of The tents the fittest houses that the Bedouin choose to build it was in shibam Seven floors it's so cool to be here in This moment right now I'm not trying to Trick you or lie to you by telling you How incredible Yemen is I'm just being Honest I mean these people at least in This part of Yemen are peaceful they Have lots of smiles and they're very Humble yemeni hospitality is some of the
Best in the world and there's no better Place to experience it than inside a Local household I was invited to try one Of the craziest meals in my life if you Happen to be squeamish or vegetarian Then you might want to skip ahead to the Next part so we have just arrived here In seon right in the heart and center of Yemen some of my buddies who are driving With are from here and one of their Friends invited us into their house for Some home-cooked lunch it's about 2PM I Haven't eaten breakfast yet I'm starving And I'm really excited to eat some Really home cooked traditional yemeni Food I already know that this is going To be a great experience that people are Going to be super friendly it's going to Be amazing [Music] There's a room that they eat in just a Bunch of rugs on the floor and the food Will be served right there on the floor Behind me Thank you I headed upstairs to see the kitchen Yeah this is awesome and look at all This delicious food [Music] The generous offering of food to guests Is one of the best customs in yemeni Culture if you're a visitor and you Don't accept the food given to you then It's a huge insult yemeni food consists
Of meat either goat lamb or chicken then Lots of rice flatbread and this really Tasty mixture of chili peppers tomatoes Garlic and herbs ground into a salsa This stuff called salta is considered The national dish almost all meals are Consumed while sitting on the floor and Contrary to most Arab countries lunch is The main meal of the day in Yemen not Dinner I should mention that I've had Some food poisoning so hopefully that This meal is going to do me okay but I'm Gonna eat it anyways even if I get sick It's going to be worth the experience This one is bread with soup this one is Corn with soup salta and soup and this Is a head of goat it's a head of the Goat yes you eat every part they just Eat only the brain because they want to Be clever my stomach is Really sure it's good it's like a cheese Wow Cheese You want to get the mind [Music] Goat brand yeah The Taste isn't bad but the texture it's Like creamy yeah goat brains aside the Rest of the meal was pretty damn good And I thoroughly enjoyed it This is the best um eating experience I Had in Yemen He said you're welcome and take me to Your home in the United States yes after
About 20 minutes or so of eating hot tea Is served and it's loaded with sugar What is that for oh floss it does that's A yemeni dental floss then everyone Gathers on the floor for some cot Chewing cut is synonymous with Yemen and Is consumed by the vast majority of men This one is the god it's Yemen he got And everybody in Friday they meet Together it costs like all these three It costs about like 20 bucks how does it Make you feel when you eat it when you Chew you feel like more wake up More and he wants to move he wants to do Something so it gives you some energy It's like coffee they sit here for hours And hours and hours chatting and chewing Cut it's the ultimate way to pass time For yemenis I feel more better and I want to work And I want to do a lot of things so you Just take the wooden from here You don't chew the branch like uh no you Chew only the soft one like a gum like a Gum yeah and then how long do you keep It in your mouth for for five six hours All right let's try it [Music] Well now I am extremely full and that Was an amazing experience and also a Great way to pass by a couple of hours During the hottest time of the day it is Boiling outside it's like I don't know 45 degrees Celsius or 115 Fahrenheit but
Anyways now you know what yemeni food And hospitality is all about Through my travels I've often found that The kindest people and cultures come From countries that suffer the most from Hardships and here in Yemen one of the Strongest challenges that locals are Facing is the crisis at the gas pump we Are right now road tripping across the Southern part of Yemen from Al-Qaeda to Mokola and we pulled over to get some Gas so you have all these kids that are Like I don't know five to ten years old On motorbikes that are running by Selling you Um liters of gasoline for a lot more Expensive prices than they used to be Someone's honking at me you have to get The gas when you can because once you Hit the open road there's not that many Places to fill up and the worst case Scenario here would be running out of Gas and being stranded on the side of The road [Music] Is that gasoline Really life in Yemen is not easy for Anyone as most of the boaters and Airports are closed off that means it's Hard for basic Goods to come in because Of there is no oil and always we have Only black markets for buying oil So now it's increasing because of the Situation in Yemen and it's so
Complicated so now it's the oil is Double three times they don't have gas Here What happened that's the third gas Station we found and they're all eating Lunch they don't want to help you Despite Yemen sitting on large oil Reserves it's getting harder and harder To come by basic gasoline to fill up Your car it's so old school it looks Like 1945 so now because we have this Situation and always we are in a war so They didn't yet produce oil yet or maybe Being stolen by your neighboring Countries maybe and they are selling it For us he carries that in the car the The extra gas how many liters is that 20 Liters Oh [ __ ] What used to cost 50 cents a liter now Cost a dollar fifty making it all the More difficult to get across the country I see Putting it on the black market where do They get it from they get it from like What you call different countries that They come to sell it as a black market Because now it's very expensive Especially it comes from Oman despite Having to compete for gas yemenis are The most humble people in the Middle East they are always thinking about Others rather than themselves to the Point that they don't even keep track of
Their own birthdays so do you know do You know how old you are Um Do you know when's your birthday He doesn't no idea no yeah no month no Nothing over the last five days in Yemen I've been asking random people about Their age and nobody seems to know the Answer so what do you know when you're Going with you if he doesn't know he Doesn't know no do you know when is your Birthday How are you okay can I ask you can I ask You like two questions do you know how Old you are How many years old are you Um do you know when is your birthday He doesn't know when but he knows that He's 19. because he saw his spirit is Already big and as a default response Most of them tell me they were born on January 1st and it's even written in Their passport ask him if he knows Um his birthday how old he is Ask him how old does he think he is Why does nobody know their age and Birthday because normally we don't have Like a birthday we don't celebrate that So people that don't care about their Age or so why do they say January 1st is Their birthday is this like a joke Mostly people that don't care about Their birthday or your age just because Yeah as I told you we don't celebrate it
No one cares about it I wanted to make This video to show you that yemeni People and culture represents life in Its purest form nobody cares whether You're 5 or 30 or 90 years old because They all treat each other with respect And the Western World we're so caught up In these numbers and we think we're Getting old I'm 28 years old does that Mean I'm old no to these people they Don't even care they also don't have This concept of materialism like we have In the Western World in other words Wealth is not as important to them when Compared with family and friendship I've Hardly seen any big house fancy cars Smartphones TVs and even basic Appliances like AC and seated toilets Are few and far between but smiles Family gathering and laughter is seen Everywhere in one peculiar way traveling Through Yemen brings me back to my Senses and that is one of the most Beautiful things about life in Yemen as You know not all life in Yemen is so Beautiful and safe especially for the Women who face many difficult challenges But one woman who I met is changing her Personal narrative of finding Beauty in Even the most intense circumstances this Is Fatima and I moved to Yemen six years Ago foreign [Music] Is going through a brutal War right now
And people have been doing anything they Can to escape but not Fatima she did the Exact opposite I am 22 years old I was Born in real Saudi Arabia I lived 17 Years of my life in Saudi Arabia but her Family ran into some difficulties and Were forced to move to Yemen when you Moved from a place to another you Actually want to move to a better place But in my story I had to move here so Moving from Riyadh was hard was Difficult I had to adapt to a different Situation she essentially went from the First world to the third and it was not The easiest of transitions I was living A modern life in Riyadh but now yes I Lost some things I don't have what I had Before but I got used to it out of all The hardships about living in Yemen Fatima says the most difficult thing of All is staying healthy I struggled with My health a lot you can't find good Hospitals or good Medical Care here it's Really hard people actually die doing Labor which is pretty scary if you are a Woman also you can't find the healthy Food you can't find running water in Some places the electricity goes on and Off sometimes it cuts off for about a Whole day you have to go through a whole Day without electricity so yeah it's Really hard have you left since you've Been here no I haven't left at all Because you are in a war country yeah so
You can't actually leave it's really Hard have you ever met another tourist Here aside for myself am I the first Tourists yeah you are the very first yes Have you seen any on the street no never So in six years I'm the very first Non-jamini I mean Tourists No you're actually the first non-yearman I've ever seen since I came here wow That's I'm feeling Strange yeah so what do you think has to Happen for Yemen to get back to his Olden days people should start loving Each other people should start to accept Each other more I mean we are all human Beings so we should love each other more We should accept each other's point of View no matter what no matter what color What race what religion we have to Accept each other we have to love each Other in order to overcome these Problems are you scared living here Because like when you walk outside has There been many times where you're just Like I need to go back home I'm really Scared right now what's happening at First at the first couple of years yeah We were I was really scared if I heard a Gunshot if I saw something I would be Like no I want to go home I want to go To my bed don't talk to me but when you Get used to it when you see these scenes Daily when you hear gunshots basically
Every couple days you get used to it so Yeah we kind of got used to it but Sometimes yeah we got we get scared Fatima is brave even though it wasn't Her choice to move to Yemen she's now Stuck here for the foreseeable future And she's been forced to adapt to this Lifestyle this girl represents the 30 Million other innocent civilians in Yemen who are sacrificing their health Their safety and their overall Well-being to tough out this war only Time will tell when life will get back To normal but all I can say is I hope It's soon Now we are going to hear from another Female in Yemen who has decided to turn Her hardships into a success she is Going to paint a more complete picture Of what life looks like for many other Women in Yemen this is Shahrukh and I'm Living normally as a yemeni woman Foreign Woman comes from the south coastal town Called mukula live Live men and we're having our own normal Life sharuk is back in school and doing Very well I'm studying architecture and Environmental planning and you're also Studying English I'm not studying English I learned it like your brother Yeah I got it from Disney Channel which Movies Yeah exactly when we think about Yemen
We tend to think about war and terrorism That's certainly what I thought before Arriving here but things in Hyderabad at Least the region that we are currently In seems to be going okay sure there's a Lot of police checkpoints and security But what I've been seeing is markets That are Lively Late Night concerts that Are crowded and a Riverside that is Charming the city is honestly beautiful People are out and about on the streets Just like in your hometown okay let's Get back on topic to sharuk and her role In yemeni society there's no denying That being a female here overall isn't As easy as in the Western World there Are many restrictions revolving around Religion and tradition which can be Discussed in a separate video but she's Doing everything in her power to fight It starting with showing her face Because about 99 of women in her City Keep it completely covered I'm showing Who I Who in my vision women are have the Society so women trying to do what men Can do here so me and my friends from a Lot of women do the same what men can do Working studying having our activities a Lot of things to have a normal life Sharuk and a couple of her girlfriends Started an activist Club in Yemen called Taquin which revives culture in hadramat We are doing like musician Nights movie
Nights discussion books also like we Care about how we can develop ourselves As youth to build our own area small Areas to live in peace it's amazing how They're all so fluent in English When I'm hanging out with them I feel Like I'm home in the U.S hanging out With my friends and believe it or not Being a woman in Yemen does have its Benefits [Laughter] I've spent the last 24 hours with these Girls and I'm Amazed by the priorities They have especially with policemen and Haiti a society filled with traditions And cultures they believe that they Should take care and everyone should Take care of women because women like Need to be protected yeah during this Messed up situation it's good to be a Woman and she points and those things in Lines and bad things does that stop by There but they're so crowded so he said Okay we'll make the place for you who Said the policeman the policeman they Let you come in women women Queens it's Great to see sharuk and her friends Paving the way for the future of Yemen They are so sweet and so sincere and I Really hope the situation clears up so More people can experience their Hospitality and see the beautiful Wonders of Yemen we're trying to have a Normal life here despite everything
Happened here in mukanda we have a Simple normal life Amazing thank you As you can see from watching this video Yemen truly has a special place in my Heart I mean despite it being one of the Most dangerous and most impoverished Countries in the world there is so much Hope that remains in the eyes of its People they are without question some of The most resilient that I've come across In all my travels toughing out severe Living conditions and pushing forward to A brighter future we can only hope for a Safer situation in Yemen when the people In power realize that this is one of the Most unique and special cultures in the Entire world and all 30 million yemenis Deserve better I mean the country is Full of so many hidden wonders and Surprises and as I sit here and reflect On my trip I can't help but have a huge Smile on my face I'm really looking Forward to returning back to Yemen soon Maybe to the island of sokotra or back To the hajramad province or even to the Capital of Sanaa to see the famous Gingerbread houses thank you guys for Watching and if you want to stay updated On my travels you can do so on my free Email newsletter where I send exclusive Updates and my best tips tricks and Secrets from visiting every country in The world and how you can save money and
Don't forget about the giveaway that I'm Offering you right now this book for Free a digital copy of my top hundred Best travel photos from visiting every Country it's pretty amazing it'll be Sent to your inbox immediately if you Sign up on the link below in the Description all right guys be well and I'll see you in the next video peace