I have traveled to the most popular tourist destinations in the world. France, Italy, Thailand, China, Spain, Mexico, United Kingdom, United States, Turkey, you name any destination that tourists flock to each year and I have probably been there.
After all this travel to these top world destinations, I found myself looking to visit a country that is less explored, and that is how I found myself enjoying a holiday in Kuwait. Kuwait, a small, oil-rich country located in the Persian Gulf doesn’t make it to the travel bucket list of many tourists, but you’ll be surprised by the attractions on offer in the country.
With a rich history and culture, galleries and museums, centuries-old mosques, lively restaurants, welcoming people, stunning architecture, beautiful beaches, a trip to Kuwait will give you a different travel experience from what you’re used to.
So, if you’re looking to travel to a lesser known destination, just like I was, Kuwait is waiting to be discovered, and you should plan a trip to the country. To help you know more about this destination and easily plan a trip, I’ll show you what you need to travel to Kuwait, where to go and give you some tips for first-time travelers.
Some Facts about Kuwait
- The country’s capital city is Kuwait City. Other major cities include Al Ahmadi, Hawalli, As Salimiyah, Sabah as Salim, Al Farwaniyah and Al Fahahil.
- Close to 70% of the country’s estimated 4.2 million population are expatriates. The large number of expatriates is because many multinationals have set up base in Kuwait. Also, a large number of immigrants travel to the country to take up low paying jobs, which Kuwait nationals shun.
- Because of its vast oil reserves Kuwait is a very wealthy country. The World Bank ranks it as one of the top ten richest countries in the world. Its wealth has allowed its citizens to have one of the best standards of living in the world.
- Kuwait is largely a Muslim nation but you’ll find Christians, Hindu, and Parsi there.
- Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken.
- The country’s currency is the Kuwaiti Dinar. This currency has the world’s highest value in foreign exchange.
- To travel to Kuwait, you’ll need a Kuwait visa. Depending on where you’re traveling to the country from you can apply for Kuwait visa from Germany, US, Canda, India, etc in a few minutes online. To gain entry into the country your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the time you travel.
Top Tourist Attractions
Now that you know a little bit more about Kuwait here are my top picks of place to visit when you travel to there.
AL Tijaria Tower
If you love admiring architecture seeing this skyscraper will be a delight to see. The tower which stands at 218 meters has a twisted design which gives it a spectacular look. It is not only the exterior of the Al Tijaria that will blow you away, but the interior is also beautifully decorated with vertical gardens and an incredibly interesting illumination system.
If admiring architecture is not your thing, you can visit AL Tijaria to do some shopping or enjoy different world cuisines at the restaurants in the tower while taking in amazing aerial views of Kuwait City.
Can you imagine seeing an entire country from the top of a building? Well, remember I told you Kuwait is a small country and on a clear day from the top of the Kuwait Towers, you can see the whole country. If the skies are not clear you still get to have a bird’s eye view of the city and the Persian Gulf.
The Kuwait Towers are three towers, 2 large and small one, built in the late 70’s. They are very popular with tourists and are usually the first stop for many of them when they get to Kuwait City. Apart from the aerial views, they offer the towers have several restaurants you can dine in. I particularly liked the 360 degrees rotating restaurant in one of the towers where I got to try some Arabian cuisine.
If you want to see the impact of the 1990-1991 Gulf War you must tour this island. The island which is 20 km off the coast of Kuwait City was heavily destroyed during the war. Most residents who lived there before the war fled and never returned.
Now curious sightseers who visit the island will see many buildings that were hospitals, offices, homes, and hotels crumbling and filled with bullet holes. Failaka Island will give you a true picture of what war can do to a community and nation. To get to the island you’ll travel by boat. The trip takes 40-90 minutes.
The Grand Mosque
Kuwait has over 800 mosques and the Grand Mosque is the largest of them all. The mosque in Kuwait City can accommodate over 17,000 worshippers. Built using $46 million the Grand Mosque has some extravagant designs you’ll enjoy looking at. They also have a replica of the oldest Quran in the world.
There are daily free tours of the mosque, which include a tour of the room the Kuwait Emir uses when he visits the mosque. For you to take a tour you need to book in advance.
Kuwait Desert Tour
You cannot go to Kuwait and not take a desert safari to see for yourself one of the hottest, driest and least hospitable place on earth.
While in the desert you can do camel rides, try 4X4 driving over the immense dunes or ride quad bikes. If you’re up to the challenge you can spend a night in the desert, that should be quiet and experience.
There are a lot more things you can do when in Kuwait like visiting Kuwait Camel Race Club to watch camels racing, shop at Avenues Mall, one of the largest malls in the Middle East, make a trip to Souq Mubarakiya to sample authentic Kuwaiti dishes or just chill and scuba dive at beaches around Kuwait.
When you get to Kuwait I recommend you get someone to show you around and you’ll not miss out on the fun activities you can do there.
Tips to Keep in Mind When in Kuwait
If you don’t want to get into trouble when in Kuwait ensure you respect the local laws and culture. Here are some things you should avoid doing if you don’t want to offend the locals or end up in jail.
- Watch how you dress. For women, tight, short or revealing clothes will get you unwarranted attention. Men wearing sleeveless shirts or shorts while in Kuwait streets will also be frowned upon. So try to dress conservatively.
- Avoid discussing religion or political matters because you might say something that offends the locals and get you in trouble.
- If you make your trip during the holy month of Ramadan don’t eat, smoke or chew in public. Doing so could see you asked to pay a huge fined or worse jailed.
- Don’t carry alcohol, drugs, pork product or pornography into the country. Having any of these items will get you a jail term between 5-10 years or a death sentence.
- Homosexual behavior is punishable in Kuwait. So if you’re from the LGBTQ community intimate acts while in Kuwait are a no-no.
Familiarize yourself with Kuwait laws before you travel so that you’re sure of what you can do and what is illegal. If you follow the local rules, I can guarantee you will have an awesome time in this country.
Let us know how much you enjoyed your trip to Kuwait once you back. I would love to hear what you got up to!