Riding into a sandstorm by motorbike in Mocha, Yemen.

Riding a Motorcycle into a Sandstorm on the Red Sea: Yemen Travel Stories

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This is a throw WAY back story, well before ever starting Desk to Dirtbag and having the glimmer in my eye of becoming a travel blogger. This is a Yemen travel story about the time we rode into a sandstorm by motorbike in Mocha, Yemen. Not many people get the chance to travel to Yemen, so I thought it might be interesting to share a little bit more about what Yemen travel was like.

Riding a Motorcycle into a Sandstorm on the Red Sea: Yemen Travel Stories travel, featured

Me posing with our group of guides.

Note: This was from a time during the Iraq war but before the Yemen civil war and war with Saudi Arabia. Times were different then and I would not by any stretch of the imagination recommend traveling there today. Hopefully, in the future, this country will open up again for travelers. It is an interesting, incredible, welcoming, friendly country. It is also among the poorest countries in the world and has seen a lot of suffering.

Riding a Motorcycle into a Sandstorm on the Red Sea: Yemen Travel Stories travel, featured

I was living in Sana’a, Yemen, the capital, studying the Arabic language for six months, when me and my buddy Matt headed out along the Red Sea to get away for the weekend and do a bit of Yemen travel.

We arrived to the sleepy little fishing village of Al Khawkhah, Yemen where we would spend the night. There really wasn’t much here beyond a few shacks, business, and friendly locals. We didn’t really come here to do anything specific though, it was mostly just to travel somewhere new in Yemen and to get out of town.

Riding a Motorcycle into a Sandstorm on the Red Sea: Yemen Travel Stories travel, featured

We had heard that this was a beautiful beach but were somewhat disappointed to see a fairly unattractive beach filled with algae and strewn with garbage, unfortunately.

Riding a Motorcycle into a Sandstorm on the Red Sea: Yemen Travel Stories travel, featured

The next day we hired a few moto-taxis to drive us two hours down the beach, through the sand, with waves lapping at the tires, to go to the world’s original coffee port, Mocha (also where the name of the beverage comes from).

Riding a Motorcycle into a Sandstorm on the Red Sea: Yemen Travel Stories travel, featured

Because, why not? We didn’t have anything else to do that day, so why not visit the original home of coffee, one of my favorite drinks!

The journey was long but quite scenic as we were literally driving down the sandy beach, with no road even insight.

I made the below video 7+ years ago (so don’t judge–the song is meant to be a parody!) to tell the tale of our mototaxi journey along the Red Sea between Al Khawkhah and Mocha, Yemen.

Only to arrive in the midst of a huge sandstorm… Our drivers dutifully kept on going, just pulling the bottoms of their shirts up over the tops of their heads to keep the sand at bay.

Riding a Motorcycle into a Sandstorm on the Red Sea: Yemen Travel Stories travel, featured

Sand got absolutely everywhere. My camera never quite worked again the same after that, either, it would randomly switch modes and the lens would go in and out.

Riding a Motorcycle into a Sandstorm on the Red Sea: Yemen Travel Stories travel, featured

After a quick lunch of fresh fish, we quickly hightailed it out of there and headed back inland to the city of Taizz.

Riding a Motorcycle into a Sandstorm on the Red Sea: Yemen Travel Stories travel, featured

Still, one of the most amazing memories from an amazing six months of traveling in Yemen. It was truly a special trip to experience the hospitality of the locals, the beautiful architecture, the storied history, and learn the intricacies of the language. And who can forget the daily shouts of “Welcome to Yemen!” in English from locals whenever I walked down the street. People were genuinely happy that I was here visiting their country. 

Riding a Motorcycle into a Sandstorm on the Red Sea: Yemen Travel Stories travel, featured

Riding a Motorcycle into a Sandstorm on the Red Sea: Yemen Travel Stories travel, featured

Yemen Travel

Yemen and the Middle East, in general, is a deeply misunderstood region. If you would like to learn more about this country, culture, and amazing people, I highly recommend you check out the following books and movies:

In the Unlikely Event That You’re Traveling to Yemen: Book your lodging on Booking.com now to save. And don’t forget to purchase international travel insurance that will help protect you against illness, injury, and theft. I use and recommend World Nomads for its combination of coverage and affordability.

Read Next: Budget Travel Tips & Tricks

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Ryan

Author, Writer, and Head Honcho at Desk to Dirtbag
Ryan is an author, adventurer, perpetual wanderer, and self-proclaimed dirtbag (but that might not mean what you think). Originally from Seattle, he headed to Washington D.C. where he spent five years working for Congress before heeding the call of the wild. He set out truck camping to road trip across the American West. Since then he set out traveling to Colombia, drove across all of Central America, and also wrote a best selling book: Big Travel, Small Budget. He just finished driving his old truck across all of South America. Follow the adventures on social media or read more about me.

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