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Kuwait Country Guide

Kuwait_travel_tips

With nearly 500km of white, sandy beaches, excellent museums, lively restaurants, interesting architecture, and year-round sun, Kuwait is an intriguing and increasingly popular holiday destination in the Gulf.

The population is 4.2 million and 70% of them are expatriates, only 1.3 million are Kuwaiti. Where is Kuwait? It is on the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, it borders Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Kuwait's history

The history of 'Kuwait' began in 1613, when the town of Kuwait was founded in what is now the capital city. The town prospered and quickly established itself as a major commercial center where goods were transited on their way between India, Muscat, Baghdad, and Arabia.

Oil reserves were discovered in 1938 which sparked a period of prosperity and large-scale modernization, which began in the forties and continued through to the eighties.

Kuwait had the highest Human Development Index ranking in the Arab world from 2001 to 2009 and women won the right to vote and run in elections in 2005.

Kuwaiti society is more liberal than other Gulf Arab countries. From 2001 to 2009, it had the highest Human Development Index ranking in the Arab world and In 2005, women won the right to vote and run in elections. Women outnumber men in the workplace. Kuwaiti popular culture has boomed and is exported to neighboring countries.

Kuwaiti culture has boomed and is exported to neighboring countries: theatre, radio, music and television and all popular forms of entertainment. However, Kuwait's art movement is far older, The Kuwaiti artist Mojeb al-Dousari was the earliest recognized visual artist in the Gulf and the Sultan Gallery was the first professional Arab art gallery.

Tourism in Kuwait

What to do in Kuwait? There are plenty of things to do in Kuwait. Kuwait City has excellent museums, modern shopping malls, beach resorts and extravagant restaurants. The bait Al-Othman is the largest museum which tells the story of Kuwait's history through its vast collection of exhibits.

Outside of the capital, the most popular tourist attractions in Kuwait are near the beach resorts which line its coast. The endless sandy beaches, azure waters, eternal sunshine are popular with tourists and locals.

The historical Failaka Island is currently being developed for tourism and will become increasingly popular. The island, 20 km off the coast of Kuwait City, is the place where the Mesopotamians settled in 2000BC and left their mark, it is now possible to visit the ruins of their ancient civilization. Definitely worth a visit when you visit Kuwait. 

 

Kuwait Basic Information

  • Country: Kuwait
  • Capital: Kuwait City
  • Population: 4
  • Currency: Kuwaiti dinar
  • Language: Arabic
  • Time Zone: GMT+3

When to Go

Kuwait has a subtropical desert climate. There is year-round sunshine with mild winters and very hot summers. Most of the rainfall occurs between November and April, sometimes the showers are long and intense. This seasonal guide explains when the best months to visit Kuwait are.

  • Winter (December to February): Days are pleasantly warm (around 18 °C) and nights are cool. Clouds and rain possible.
  • Spring (March to May): The weather is nice and sunny and the temperature rises quickly and steadily over this period. In April temperatures reach around 30 °C and by the end of May temperatures can exceed  40°C. The rising temperatures can bring sandstorms.
  • Summer (June to September): The summer in Kuwait is dry and scorching. The temperature is normally around 45 °C and humidity is low. Fortunately, buildings have air conditioning.
  • Fall (October to November): The hot weather continues throughout October but the temperature drops below 30 °C in November.

When is the best time to visit Kuwait? The temperature is the most important consideration. The summer months are unbearably hot and should be avoided.

 

Kuwait is a good destination for:

Kuwait Entry Requirements

All visitors to Kuwait must have a passport valid for six months on arrival.

It is also necessary to obtain a visa unless you are from one of the countries which are exempt. Citizens from Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates can travel to Kuwait visa-free.

It is possible to get an electronic visa to visit Kuwait, click here for more information.

There are 52 territories whose citizens can obtain a visa on arrival and these include the US, all EU countries, Canada, Australia, Japan and New Zealand.

Some nations are banned from entering Kuwait and others need to apply in advance, check with the embassy before your trip.

Kuwait Country Atractions

There are so many things to see and do in Kuwait, here are six unmissable highlights…

What to see and do in Kuwait…

  1. Bait al-Othman Museum HawalliDiscover various aspects of Kuwait’s culture and traditions at the historical house of the Al Othman family. You can see artifacts, old furniture, photographs, ornaments, clothes which combine to tell the Kuwait’s unique story.
  2. The Grand Mosque. Located in the heart of Kuwait City, the Grand Mosque (known as Al-Masjid Al-Kabir by locals) is internationally renowned for its Islamic architecture. It is the country’s biggest mosque and one of its most treasured landmarks.
  3. Kuwait Towers. One of the most popular things to see in Kuwait, the three slender towers were inaugurated 1979 and signify the nation’s prosperity. An iconic landmark, the architecture is a blend of the modern and the more traditional.
  4. The Avenues Shopping Mall. The award-winning shopping center is considered to be one of the biggest in the world with over 800 stores. Inspired by the natural forms of desert sand dunes, rock formations, and the sky, the mall has continuously developed and evolved to improve the shopping experience.
  5. Al Kout beach. One of Kuwait’s best beaches, its white sand and azure waters make it a popular place to relax. Along the country’s spectacular coastline, which stretches 499km, there’s a large number of beach clubs, public beaches and beach parks to enjoy.
  6. The House of Mirrors. An incredible wealth of art which is definitely worth a visit. Approximately 100 tonnes of cement and 75 tonnes of mirror have been used to make the mirror mosaics that cover the inside and outside of the house. The amazing mosaics cover every space inside the house and depict butterflies, stars, planets, palms and even calligraphy.

Travel Tips

  • Changing money in Kuwait: The Kuwaiti dinar is linked to the US dollar. There are many places to change your money and there are also many ATMs in Kuwait. You should avoid changing your money at your hotel as the rates are likely to be poor. It’s a good idea to have some local currency with you when you arrive.
  • Is alcohol illegal in Kuwait? Yes it is, Kuwait is a dry countryIf you are caught in possession of alcohol you will be fined, you may also go to jail for repeat offenses.
  • Drive with care! Driving in Kuwait, when you’re new to the country, can be extremely chaotic. The road system is good and signs are in Arabic and English and it is easy to rent a car with an international driving license.
  • Is Kuwait safe? Overall, crime levels in Kuwait are very low. However, you should exercise the same precautions you would anywhere. Some women travelers have been physically and verbally harassed. Women should avoid walking through isolated areas alone at night.
  • Public health is funded by the government and available to foreigners (a nominal fee is paid), you are entitled to free treatment in case of an accident or emergency. In case of an emergency, call 112.
  • See your doctor a few weeks before your trip to ask about vaccinations. It is necessary to be vaccinated against Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A. Malaria isn’t found in Kuwait.