Socotra-pped On An Island Paradise: Day 1 – Hadibo Do Be Dooo

by | Nov 20, 2019 | Getting that VISA, How Did You Do That?, November 2019: Socotra Island, Socotra Island, Way Way Off the Beaten Path, Yemen | 1 comment



So after a 6 week hiatus from nearly a year of monthly travels, it’s time to hit the road again. With 85,000 miles I booked the Lufthansa LH 401 flights on business class from JFK to FRA to CAI all for $60 USD. The experience began with the quick obligatory visit to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge at JFK.



By 3:30pm I boarded my 747-8 intercontinental craft leaving at 4pm.



If you have to choose, pick the upper deck for a more intimate experience by the window; window seats here have an added compartment for storage!



On the downside, the amenities kit have downsized over the years:



And the menu looks a little sparser:



Dinner was served soon after take-off. I chose the beef fillet and lamb chop:



After a 3 hour nap and about 6 hours in the air, I was served breakfast an hour before landing: buckwheat and chia seed muesli and the smoked turkey breast.



Landing on time in Frankfurt at 5:30am, I kicked back for my extended layover at the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge outside baggage claims B, reserved especially for business and first class arrivals:



Their breakfast spread rivals the spreads I find even at Senator Lounges! If you had to choose between staying inside transit for a Senator Lounge, or going outside arrivals for the Welcome Lounge, I’d choose the latter. You have to go through security either way anyway!



At the lounge, they really pushed me to take one of their showers (probably because I smelled):



After about 7 hours kicking it, I boarded my onward 1pm LH 850 Business Class flight for Cairo.



Unlike the experience getting to Frankfurt, the business class flight on their medium-haul flights is pretty much economy without the middle seat:



But we get business-class level service in the soft product:



At 6pm I landed — this would be my first time back in Cairo 10 years later, albeit briefly, to begin our trip to Yemen’s Socotra Island.



With my 3 hours in Cairo, I did a quick roundtrip to Tahrir Square to make some final payments to secure our hostel bookings. Then I headed back to the airport to Terminal 1 where I met up with my perennial travel partners Young Pioneer Tours.



Only one flight is allowed for tourists to enter Socotra: via Cairo and Seiyun on Yemen’s mainland on Yemenia Airways flight IY 607. They’re so old school you have to go through 2 security checks to reach the check-in counter that took nearly an hour to open.



There we paid our 100€ visa to Socotra and booked the flights on the spot with cash.



Afterwards I waited around and charged up my electronics at the terminal’s only Priority Pass lounge.



By 1am we were ferried like cattle to our 2:00am Yemenia Airways flight from Cairo to Seiyun, Yemen.



At this point I knocked out for a few hours before landing in Seiyun for an hour.



While waiting for everyone else to disembark, those remaining onboard for the onward flight to Socotra stuck around inside the plane for about an hour as they processed our passports inside Seiyun Airport.



Then we waited for others to board before taking off for an hour’s flight to Habido, Socotra, landing at 8:45am.



Upon arrival we were greeted by our local Socotri guide in quickly processing our visas.



Then picked up our baggage among everyone else.



After a 20 drive from the airport we settled in for 2 hours at the island’s one of two hotels: the aptly named Socotra Hotel.

There is a much nicer, more modern one around the corner called Summer Land, but it was fully booked when I had inquired about an upgrade right after breaking my bed in two by simply sitting on it. Luckily they were able to fix it quickly!



We then took a 5 minute drive into town for a first lunch over freshly caught snappers.



Given first day blues and red eye flights, we then drove out for a swim at Delisha Beach, a beautiful white beach that once were filled with hundreds of tourists before the civil war.



And finally celebrating a proper birthday I took a nap on the sand without a care in the world as local kids played soccer around me.



After 3 hours here and then watching the sunset, we then went back into town for dinner and to exchange our cash at a current black market rate of 546 Yemenese Rials to the dollar.



We then turned in at our centrally located hotel in Hadibo for a quick dinner and early night.




- At time of posting in Hadibo, Socotra, it was 24 °C - Humidity: 79% | Wind Speed: 19km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy


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