Back In Time by Yumna Al-Arashi in Socotra

Socotra is one of the most alien looking places on Earth. Rather than focus on the area’s geographical beauty, I chose to highlight the beauty of its people and the lives they live.

Name:Yumna Al-Arashi


Tell us about Socotra:

Socotra, Yemen is an island archipelago located in the Indian Ocean. It’s tiny and secluded. Socotra is also known as Yemen’s Galapagos because of the amount of flora and fauna native to the island. Here you’ll find white sand beaches with emerald water, beautiful mountain ranges lined with sand dunes and hidden caves, and insane landscapes of alien-like plants.

A perfect day?

One that includes going from the sea, to the desert, to the mountains all in one day.

What is the best thing about Socotra?

Most people think Socotra’s landscapes and geography are the most interesting things about the island. But I find beauty in the people who live by the land here. It’s hard to come by a place that has kept its way of life for so long and can be this beautiful, yet have hardly any tourism.

What is the worst?

The lack of education and resources available to the people of the island.

What would be surprising Socotra to an outsider?

The peacefulness here, despite the turmoil on mainland Yemen.

Can you sum up the people of Socotra, Yemen?

The people of Socotra live by the land. They have little to no contact with the outside world, making it feel as though you’ve taken a trip back in time, far away from the modern world. The tribes near the ocean live by fishing, while those in the mountains live by farming. They speak Soqotri, which is entirely different from the mainland’s Arabic, showing how long this magical land has been secluded from the rest of the world.


Name:Yumna Al-Arashi


Best local food:

The fish! It’s so fresh and delicious. Part of a typical day here includes catching your lunch (the biggest meal of your day), and eating it with rice and a vegetable stew. Of course you eat it all with your hands.

Favorite local drink:

Everyone drinks tea all day long. In the mountains it’s served with fresh goat milk, which is delicious.

Best outdoor activity:

Swimming in the crystal clear waters.

Local Tip:

Never say no to the hospitality! It’s considered offensive to decline food, tea time, or anything else the locals offer you.