The Gulf countries have lots to offer. Read our Kuwait travel tips for first-time visitors and get ready to explore this amazing land.
Is Kuwait worth a visit?
Kuwait is one of the Arabian/Persian Gulf countries. It is considerably small compared to its neighboring countries such as Saudi. Although I lived the first half of my life living four hour’s drive from Kuwait, I did not visit till 2016 and all I could think of was why did not I go for a visit before!
It is very similar to Saudi and other Gulf countries, but it has some special interest points that are just there. To start off, it is much quieter than the very popular UAE. It might not sound as thrilling, but it is a nice place to go for a short visit or to join in a road trip around the Gulf region. It will probably take you two to three days to see Kuwait depending on how easily you want to take it.
Safety & Religion in Kuwait. Is Kuwait a safe country?
Kuwait is considered a safe destination. The only time this country was unstable was when it was at war with Iraq, but that ended in 1991, which is 27 years ago. It has been safe and stable since then. It is considered a great place to live; the Kuwaiti nationals live a comfortable life and get a lot of support from their governments.
There is also a community of Western expats that work and live there comfortably. For the latest info, please check the Bureau of Consular Affairs updates.
The country itself follows Islamic rulings, but it is much more relaxed than Saudi in terms of women’s clothing.
Women are not required to cover their hair and Kuwaiti women take fashion and style very seriously. Just take a look at their beauty bloggers like Dalal AlDoub and Ascia. However, Kuwait is still a dry country and alcohol is illegal there.
Best time to visit Kuwait. What’s Kuwait’s weather like?
The summer heat is unbearable in the whole Gulf region. Most places are air-conditioned, so it can be manageable if you have to visit in the summer, but that means most of your outdoor activities will cause you huge discomfort unless you enjoy walking in a humid 54 C degree. I personally, like the Fall and Winter in the Gulf. The cold is mild and there are lots of fun outdoor activities to do.
Kuwait travel tips for tourists visiting the country for the first time
- What’s the best way to reach the country? Flying there. Search and compare the best deals for airline tickets.
- Is it legal to drink alcohol in Kuwait? You must know that Kuwait is a dry country and alcohol is illegal there. It is not even served in hotels.
- They do not have uber there, but you can either flag a cab on the street or call a cab service.
- Is it expensive to rent a car in Kuwait? Renting a car is relatively cheap, but there are so many reckless drivers there.
- They have lots of exhibitions and fun activities that are usually announced on social media like Instagram and Snapchat rather than a website update.
- Do you need a visa to travel to Kuwait? Most likely, yes! Don’t forget to figure it out before your departure.
Ten Great Things to do in Kuwait
1. Relax on the beach
The public beaches there are a hit-and-miss, some of them are nice, but some are not looked after well and are full of rubbish. If you want a great beach experience you can go to the Hilton Kuwait Resort or Al Corniche Club.
If you want a women-only beach, there are three options: Messila beach, Aqua Park, and the Regency hotel. The nicest one of the three is the Regency hotel, but it is the priciest.
2. Explore the history of Islamic art
Kuwait has a few fantastic places to explore the history of Islamic art. One of the things I really enjoyed was visiting Dar al Athar al Islamiyyah meaning the House of Islamic Archeology, which houses the internationally recognized Sabah collection.
I really enjoyed seeing the rich collection and if you time your visit right, you can even catch a talk or a lecture about Islamic art there. Another place to consider is the Tareq Rajab Museum of Islamic Arts and the other private collection there, which is very informative and beautiful.
If you are interested in learning more about Islamic art and attending workshops you can check out the Kuwait Islamic Arts Center, which is located within the Grand Mosque of Kuwait, and Liwan Kashida. They both offer occasional Arabic calligraphy and Islamic pattern workshops.
3. Attend a show at the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre
This center has been established last year, 2017 and I heard so many amazing things about it. The building itself is worth visiting and seeing up close. The center includes a number of theatres, a concert hall, and workshop spaces.
There are also places to eat, so it is a great option for an evening outing. The dancing water fountain is also fun to watch!
4. Shop in Souq Mubarkiah
The thing I was eager to see in Kuwait was the traditional market known as Souq Mubarkiah. I just heard so much about it as I grew up and there was always a reference to it in Gulf Region TV Dramas, so it was on top of my list.
I really enjoyed spending a few hours there looking at various things, buying jersey headscarves, and taking lots of photos. There are so many restaurants around it for dinner as well.
5. Shop some more in their shopping malls
Shopping is a big part of the Gulf region culture and the three main shopping centers in Kuwait are The Avenues, 360 Mall, and Marina Mall.
All are located in Kuwait City. They are huge and can keep you occupied for a few hours. They also have lots of cafes and restaurants there.
6. Learn about the world in the Scientific Centre
The Scientific Centre is another new building that was opened recently and it houses an aquarium and an IMAX theatre that shows Arabic and English documentaries for children and adults. It is not as big as the other ones around the Gulf countries, but it is a nice addition to Kuwaiti activities.
7. Rooftop Cinema
One of the fun activities you could do when the weather allows like in late Spring, Fall, and Winter is to go to Cinemagics rooftop cinema. It is a very chilled-out evening activity.
8. Upgrade your Cinema experience
Going to the movies is such a causal, under-the-reader thing to do, but in Kuwait, you can take that up a notch and transform a regular movie night out into a luxury experience at Vox Theatre, where you get cooked for by Chef Gary Rhodes, a Michelin Star Chef!
9. Eat and Hangout with pets in Kuwait
I spent a considerable amount eating lots of delicious foods when I visited Kuwait. They have lots of delicious local brands and some international ones too.
The food scene is great there. The café that caught my eye recently is the K9 Café, which is one of the first pet-friendly cafés in the region.
10. Failaka Island
Once you are done with all the activities in the city, you can head back to the water to spend a day visiting the little islands around Kuwait.
The most popular one is Failaka and there are available tours there too. You can get there by ferry and you can buy the tickets from a little tourism office facing the waterfront. There is no public transport, so either be prepared to walk for hours, take your car with you on the ferry, or even a bike if the weather is decent.
For detailed and updated weekend itineraries for Kuwait: Check the 248am blog by Mark Makhoul.
Contributing members are responsible for the accuracy of content contributed to A World to Travel.