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I have been wanting to travel to Socotra, Yemen to see the dragonblood trees and bizarrely beautiful landscapes for a while now, but given the current instability in the rest of Yemen, is it advisable? Are Socotrans heavily involved in the current goings on or are they somewhat isolated from it? If so, are there ways of getting to Socotra which bypass the more dangerous parts of Yemen?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Sorry for answering my own question, but it looks like all flights currently go through larger Yemeni cities, and traveling by boat is likely to be just as dangerous due to Somali pirates. From the Australian Government's Travel Advisories for Yemen:

There is a high risk of piracy in the coastal areas of Yemen. There have been attacks by pirates against all forms of shipping in and around Yemen’s waters and the Gulf of Aden. Pirates have been using motherships to attack shipping further than 1,000 nautical miles (1,850km) from the coast of Somalia.

All forms of shipping are attractive targets for Somali pirates, including commercial vessels, pleasure craft (yachts etc) and luxury cruise liners... maintain a high level of vigilance and to exercise extreme caution when anywhere near these waters.

According to the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC), there were 217 attempted attacks of piracy with 47 vessels hijacked and 867 crewmembers taken hostage in the Gulf of Aden and off the east coast of Somalia in 2009.

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you don't have to be sorry to answer your own question :) – Sathya Jun 22 '11 at 4:26
Unique badge for you :) – VMAtm Jun 23 '11 at 17:06

The trees look amazing!

According to Wikitravel:

Yemania Airlines offers two flights per week on Friday and Monday:

From Sana’a to Socotra Island (Friday departure time 5:00 am) 
From Aden to Socotra Island (Monday departure 9:00 am) 

Flight durations are almost three hours. 

Felix is a new airline and has taken over all flights to Socotra, providing flights almost every day to and from the island.

And at least one website claims it's totally safe, at least in the tourist areas, which is certainly where the trees will be:

A common concern of visitors to Yemen is safety.

In general, personal safety in Yemen is so much better than communicated abroad.

All cities are safe. There is some ordinary criminality as anywhere of course, normal precautions as not to displaying money and keeping it not visible are sufficient.

Travelling is safe, exept(sic) the north, far ist(sic) end particularly Marib.

Non-advisable areas are anyway blocked for tourists.

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