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Female travelling alone to Socotra

Dhahran, Saudi...
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Female travelling alone to Socotra

I had planned to go to Socotra Island in October of this year, (2013) with a friend of mine. Now, it seems that the British Foreign Office has reposted a travel advisory for Yemen and my friend is no longer willing to accompany me.

My question/questions are mainly concerned about any safety issues for women travelling alone to Socotra. I plan to book with Socotra Eco Tours and my main concerns are that a woman travelling alone might be perceived as someone who was looking for male attention. I am currently living in Saudi Arabia and I know that frequently Middle Eastern men assume that a woman travelling alone is looking for 'a good time'. I just want to see Socotra but I don't want to be perceived in any other way than a traveller who wants to see the island.

Are there any women who have any experience travelling alone to Socotra?

Thanks for any imformation.

Kyiv
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for Kiev, Ukraine
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1. Re: Female travelling alone to Socotra

Dear Hiyahti,

First of all, I’d like to convey to your British friend, if I may, that all warnings and challenges related to mainland Yemen have nothing to do with the Island of Socotra, distant and rather isolated (and fabulous!). And while I fully understand your friend’s reluctance to go to a country with travel alert hence no valid UK insurance, if she really wants to go, there is nothing at all to be worried about in Socotra from the terms of real security.

If however you are to travel alone, I still encourage you to go for it! Socotra is something else, and should better be visited sooner rather than later, before it is spoilt with mass tourism.

As a regular solo female traveller myself, I can appreciate your concerns perfectly well. But in Socotra you’ll be treated with all respect and taken a very good care of (that is, provided you don’t give reasons to believe you are in for a «good time», which you don’t seem to be after).

As a foreigner, and a woman travelling alone you will of course get much attention. But you can relate it to curiosity rather than anything else. I got an impression that sex tourism has not (yet?) spoilt Socotra (fortunately!), so there isn’t that «Egyptian perception» of every single woman as coming over there to have fun. So do go and have a trip of your lifetime! :)

Dhahran, Saudi...
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2. Re: Female travelling alone to Socotra

Thanks so much Cora. I apprecite you taking the time to write to me. I am just dying to visit Socotra, more than ever, now.

Kyiv
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for Kiev, Ukraine
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3. Re: Female travelling alone to Socotra

My pleasure! :)

If you have any other questions that i might help with, please, feel free to ask! I've really fell in love with Socotra, can't wait to come back (inshallah) and in the meantime just enjoy talking about it and leaving reviews and photos.

Here are some of them, if you are interested:

Hotels:

Summerland tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1420957-d16…

Taj Socotra tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1156345-d43…

Restaurants:

Taj tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1156345-d43…

Places of interest:

Delisha tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1420957-d45…

Detwah/Qalansiyah tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1420957-d41…

Shouab tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1420957-d20…

Aomak tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1420957-d45…

Arher tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1420957-d45… (photos to be added soon)

Dihamri tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1420957-d45… (photos to be added soon)

And some more to come shortly. Hope you find them helpful.

Edited: 04 August 2013, 07:57
Dhahran
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4. Re: Female travelling alone to Socotra

Me again, Cora,

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your indepth reviews of Socotra. You are a better person than I, because I get lazy and don't report on any of my 'adventures'. Not that mine come anywhere near yours. What I appreciate is that you tell so many nice things, even when it is obvious that in a few years, unfortunatly because of the positive experiences in this paradise, more and more people will want to come and more developers will arrive and the beauty that is this unspoiled heaven on earth is in danger of being destroyed. Why is it that we humans seem to feel the need to spoil perfection?

Anyway, I am really looking forward to going and I rather suspect because it is relatively easy for me to get there from my home in Saudi Arabia, it just might be my 'go to' destination when I just want to get away.

I will be sure to tell you how I manage. Who knows, we might end up meeting on Socotra.

Thanks again, so much and enjoy your future adventures.

Deborah

Kyiv
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for Kiev, Ukraine
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5. Re: Female travelling alone to Socotra

Many thanks :) By the way, the photos to my latest reviews have now been added. Enjoy the views! :)

I sincerely envy you that you can get to Socotra easily :)

Also because you are in Saudi Arabia that I can’t get access to at the moment as there are no tourist visas issued there. Always wanted to see Al-Hijr (Mada’in Salih).

Happy travels to you, too!

Dhahran
2 posts
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6. Re: Female travelling alone to Socotra

HI Cora,

Funny that you would mention Mada'in Salah. I went there earlier this year and it is indeed spectacular. It is not as 'developed' as Petra, but that it good, because there is virutally no one there. Also we went on a trip into the mountains near a village called Al Ula and it was unbelievable. The experience was virtually spiritual. I should really post some of my photos, but as you say, unless you live here, you really can't see anything of the country.

I am still pressing ahead with my plans to visit Socotra. I will keep you posted.

I just returned from Oman and if you have not been there, then it is really worth a visit. It is beautiful.

Cheers,

Pinckney, Michigan
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191 reviews
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7. Re: Female travelling alone to Socotra

I, too, am planning to possibly visit Socotra as a solo traveler (although in May, when it's really hot... unfortunately the only time I can make it) and I appreciate this thread!

Cora or anyone else, can you speak to how to go about planning the trip? Should I hire a driver before arriving? What are the things that I should think about?

Kyiv
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for Kiev, Ukraine
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8. Re: Female travelling alone to Socotra

Hello Michelle B,

How much comfort do you want to have? Some people prefer to have everything arranged before they go, while the others would only play it by the ear.

The easiest way to plan it is to find a local tour company who would provide you with the whole "package", i.e.:

(a) visa support (say, this was important in my case as there's no embassy of Yemen in my country and I hated the idea of going to Russia to only get a visa),

(b) domestic air tickets (most often Felix on-line booking glitches; can't tell about Yemenia; so the local company can help with the ticket, if needed - while you have to take care of international tickets),

(c) itinerary for your trip to Socotra, depending on the number of days you have (the length of stay is normally standard and is linked to the availability of flights to/from Socotra),

(d) accommodation - which is, depending on your preferences, either a very basic hotel in Hadibo, or (something that I recommend!) a camping around the island,

(e) a car with the driver and a guide (who will also be your cooks, if you prefer to camp out).

If you can settle the visa and flights yourself, and prefer the ultimate flexibility, you can of course try to arrive just like that and to find a driver on spot. I know of some Russian travellers who did it, with more or less success. May is considered a low season, so I don't think it should be a problem.

But most travellers prefer to arrive to Socotra already having their journey pre-arranged. Besides, the locals would be able to tell what you can and what you cannot do/see in May (it is not only about being hot, but also very windy in some parts of the island), so you will not have to amend your self-planned itinerary, if you agree on it in advance.

The things you should think about include the usual travel routine: how many days to go for - how to arrange visa - how to book tickets - where to stay - what to pack (remember the torch and LOTS of sun block cream) etc. If you have any specific questions, please ask!

Kyiv
Destination Expert
for Kiev, Ukraine
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21,670 posts
322 reviews
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9. Re: Female travelling alone to Socotra

Hi Deborah :))

Believe it or not, Oman is next on my ME travel list! Have been planning it for a while now :)

I’d really LOVE to see your photos of Mada’in Saleh. Do you think you could upload them to some photo-sharing web-site like picassa or flikr and post a link to your album? That would be lovely!

10. Re: Female travelling alone to Socotra

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