6 Amazing Things to Do in Kuwait
Kuwait is an Arab country located in Western part of Asia. If you want to travel to Kuwait, it is located at the tip of Persian Gulf wherein it shares the same border with Saudi Arabia and Iraq. During the 18th and 19th century, Kuwait had a prosperous trade port but this declined in the 20th century when the British Empire called for a blockade during the World War I. Then, followed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait during the 1990. A US military led-force however helped to free Kuwait from the Iraqis.
Today, Kuwait follows the parliamentary form of government. Their economy is also largely dependent on petroleum. The World Bank also recognizes Kuwait as a high-income economy.
The citizens of Kuwait are diversified. Out of the 4.1 million people, only about 1.2 million of these are Kuwaitis. The remainder is made up of Arab expatriates, Asian expatriates and Africans. Even the religion is quite diverse, although majority of the residents of Kuwait are Muslims.
Currency: Kuwaiti Dinar
Official Language: Modern Standard Arabic is the official language in Kuwait.
Wi-Fi Availability: There are several wireless internet providers in Kuwait. You can also get free Wi-Fi access from hotels and coffee shops.
Airport/s: Kuwait International Airport in Farwaniyah is the main hub for international flights for those who travel to Kuwait.
Visa Required: Citizens of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia are visa-exempted by Kuwait. A few other countries require visa upon arrival. Meanwhile, nationals from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan are banned to travel to Kuwait.
Driving: The people of Kuwait drive on the right side of the road.
International Driver’s License Accepted? You can use your international driver’s license in Kuwait. However, foreigners that get their Civil ID card, it is compulsory to get a Kuwaiti driver’s license.
Crime: The crime rate in Kuwait is pretty low with crime against tourists pretty low.
Electrical Adapters: Kuwait’s electrical outlets has 240 volts and 50 Hertz. Meanwhile, their plug type is D or G.
Trivia: Islam is the most prevalent religion in Kuwait, then followed by Christians. The others are practicing Hindu and Parsi religion.
1. Kuwait Towers
Kuwait Towers, Kuwait’s famous landmark. Recently renovated, the Kuwait Towers are now once again open to the public. The main tower has both a viewing platform and a restaurant (for those on a larger budget). On a clear day, you have an overview of almost the entire country – or at least the inhabited parts of it. Because yes, that is how small Kuwait is.
2. Visit the Grand Mosque
Learn more about Kuwait’s main religion by visiting the largest mosque in the country (completed in the 1980s). Guided tours take place on an almost daily basis and are free of charge, just call in advance to confirm. An imposing and beautifully decorated building, it is a must for every visitor. Outside it is busy and warm, but here you will feel yourself come to rest immediately. A bubble of peace in a vibrant city.
3. Failaka Island
Take the ferry to Failaka, one of Kuwait’s islands. Before the Gulf War people lived here, but the island was deserted during the war, and many of the buildings were never rebuild. Now it is mainly a large open-air monument to the horrors of war. Visit destroyed houses, schools and offices and see what war does to a country. If you are short on time and still want to experience the history of the Gulf War Al Qurain, the House of Martyrs is an impressive alternative that is somewhat easier to reach.
4. A night in the desert
No visit to Kuwait is complete without a visit to the desert. First stop should be one of the many camel herds. Drink camel milk, pet the baby camels (spring only!) or maybe even get invited for a ride if you are lucky. Then leave the herds behind you and drive further into the desert. Stop for a short quad ride, but then continue your drive until all signs of civilization have disappeared on the horizon. This is where you camp for the night. It is here when you can feel truly alone in the world. Experience the vast emptiness and silence. Take some meat and a few (non-alcoholic, of course) drinks, a grill and enjoy a night under the stars. A compulsory word of caution: do not do this without a guide. The desert is a dangerous place for those without local knowledge.
5. Go shopping in the Avenues Mall
One of the largest malls in the Middle East, the Avenues is more than just a mall. When the temperatures in Kuwait reaches 50 degrees in summer, here is where people go to walk, run and enjoy themselves in general. Try one of the many cafés and restaurants and enjoy people from all walks of life passing by. Shopping is almost an afterthought here, but there is a shop for every budget here. For the poorer travelers, there is always the local H&M or Forever21. The rich and famous shop at Dior or Chanel. Do not expect to find many local brands here, though. IKEA and Starbucks rule the world, including Kuwait.
6. Souq Mubarkiya
For a more traditional shopping experience, you go to Souq Mubarkiya. Here is where the more conservative locals gather at night. At Souq Mubarkiya you can find a few items that will serve as souvenirs in the absence of the traditional postcards or fridge magnets (no tourists here, remember?). Possible options are spices or local cookies. Especially the latter are very good, and they come in all sorts of varieties. Local salesmen are always happy to let you try one or two. While you are here, pass by the fish hall and the butcher’s street. Not quite like the Avenues, no? Try to eat at Souq Mubarkiya at least once during your stay. Food is delicious, authentic and cheap. From Lebanese to Egyptian and Iranian: everyone will find something to his or her liking here.