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Visiting Kuwait: A Travel Guide for First Timers

Thinking of traveling to the Middle East but don’t know where to go? Think no more. I have the perfect destination for you and that is Kuwait. Kuwait may not be on your bucket list of travel destinations but the country is worth visiting.

In this article, I’ll tell you a few things you should know about Kuwait and then you can decide if you want to plan a trip to this tiny country which borders Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

What Are Some Key Facts About Kuwait?

Kuwait is a Muslim country in the Persian Gulf. The nation is oil-rich having 10% of the world’s oil reserves. They sell over 60% of their oil to Asian countries and their economy is largely petroleum based. The country’s currency the Kuwaiti Dinar is the world’s highest-valued currency.

You may know Kuwait mostly because of the 1990 Gulf War. The war started after the invasion of the country by the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who wanted Kuwaiti’s oil, caused instability in the country.

However, Kuwait has moved on since the war and is now stable and peaceful for you to visit.  A clear indication of the country’s stability is that 70% of the population is made up of expatriates. With a population of 4.25 million people, the number of Kuwaitis is only slightly over one million.

Majority of the population lives in the Capital which is Kuwait City and most enjoy a high standard of life given that Kuwait is a wealthy country.

What Do You Need to Travel To Kuwait?

They are two crucial documents required for you to be allowed into Kuwait. A valid passport and a Kuwait visa.

For example, the Kuwait visa requirements for Indian citizens traveling to Kuwait are:

• You must have an Indian passport which is valid for at least 6 months upon arrival in Kuwait.

• An approved Kuwait eVisa. You can apply for your visa online. The process takes less than 10 minutes. All you need to do is fill an online visa application form with your personal and passport details, plus information about your trip to Kuwait. Once you submit the form and everything checks out your visa will be sent to you in a few hours by email.

Nationals from the USA, Canada, Australia and the EU can also get a visa on arrival. I recommend checking in advance the requirements for your passport.

Best Things To Do in Kuwait

Kuwait has several tourist attractions that you’ll enjoy visiting. I will list for you some of the top attractions you must visit when you travel there.

Al Hamra – Located in Kuwait  City this the tallest tower in Kuwait and the 15th tallest sculpted tower in the world. The tower which took six years to construct has 80 floors and from it, you can get an amazing aerial view of Kuwait.

Liberation Tower – After Al Hamra, this is the second tallest building in Kuwait. On a clear day atop the tower, you can see the whole of Kuwait. The tower also has a revolving restaurant from which you can sample some Kuwaiti cuisine as you enjoy your view.

The Grand Mosque – This is the largest mosque in Kuwait. If you want to learn more about the nation’s Muslim religion take one of the daily tours at the mosque. The Grand Mosque is also beautifully built and you can go admire its architecture.

Failaka Island – The Gulf War came with a lot of destruction. On this island which is 20 km east of Kuwait City the effects of wars can be seen. Homes, office, hospitals, etc. destroyed during the war have not been rebuilt. Failaka Island gives you a first-hand experience of what war does to a country. The island which was once inhabited is abandoned now. On the island, you can also visit archaeological sites that date back to the Bronze Age.

Kuwaiti Desert – A visit to Kuwait would be incomplete without a trip to the desert. Activities you can do in the desert include camel rides or camping for a night in the desert. If you venture into the desert remember to carry sunscreen, sunglasses, hats and UPF clothing.

Kuwait Beaches – Kuwait has spectacular sandy beaches for you to just chill and soak up some sun. The beaches fall into three categories public beaches, beach parks, and beach clubs. Public beaches are open to all but for beach parks and beach clubs, you will have to pay to access the beach. Beach clubs are more expensive as the offer more luxurious surroundings.

Old Souk/ Mubarakiya – Visit this market if you want to taste some mouth-watering Arabic dishes.

To shop for trip souvenirs head over to the Haraj– the Friday market.

There many other places you can visit in Kuwait like the House of Mirrors and Avenues Mall. You should consider hiring a guide who can take you around Kuwait so that you don’t miss out on its key attractions. Being a small country you can see it all in two or three days.

Key Information to Keep in Mind When Visiting Kuwait

There are some rules you must adhere to if you don’t want to get into trouble when in Kuwait. Let us go to through some of them.

• Possession of alcohol, drugs, pork or pornographic material is illegal. If you’re found with any of this you could get a serious jail term.

• Homosexuality is also illegal in Kuwait. Talking about or displaying homosexual behavior will also land you in jail.

• Public display of affection is frowned upon. Cuddling or kissing in public may not get you as severe a punishment as homosexuality but avoid it. No need to go looking for trouble.

• I’ve heard multiple times that driving in Kuwait is a nightmare. So if you’re thinking of hiring a car and driving yourself around, you might want to rethink it. The safety record on Kuwaiti roads is bad. Drivers over speed, tailgate and generally ignore traffic rules making the number of road accidents high. The traffic on the road is also terrible.

• When it comes to dressing, dress conservatively. For women, tight clothing or revealing clothing may get you some unwanted attention. For men, avoid shorts that are above the knees and sleeveless tops.

• Kuwait may not excite you at first like other countries. However, once you travel to the country and meet its warm people, experience it culture, try their amazing food, tour the museums, shopping malls, and get some rest and relaxation on their beaches you will have a different opinion about the country.

Where To Stay in Kuwait

Kuwait has many hotels you can find accommodation at. Depending on your budget you can stay at a budget-friendly hotel or book a luxury suite at any of the five-star hotels in Kuwait City. Book your accommodation by using the map below ⬇

Royal Inn Hotel – This is a budget hotel located in Al Salmiya. It is about twenty minutes away from Kuwait City and is close to the beach. Being in a desert, temperatures in Kuwait are extremely high so you’ll be happy to know this hotel has air-conditioned rooms.

Le Royal – Some of the amenities at this four-star hotel are an outdoor pool and a gym. From the hotel, you can have scenic views of the Gulf state and are offered free Wi-Fi.

The Regency Hotel – If you’re looking for top-notch accommodation in Kuwait the luxurious Regency Hotel will do it for you. This five-star hotel is on a private beach and has several fine dining restaurants you can try out. It is also minutes away from most of Kuwait tourist attractions.

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.