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Kuwait City

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Kuwait : Kuwait City
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The beautiful Kuwait Towers

Kuwait City (Arabic: مدينة الكويت Madīnat al-Kuwayt) is the capital of Kuwait.

Understand[edit]

Kuwait City is a bustling metropolis of high-rise office buildings, luxury hotels, wide boulevards and well-tended parks and gardens. Its seaport is used by oil tankers, cargo ships and many pleasure craft. Its most dominant landmarks are the Kuwait Towers, the Liberation Tower, and the Grand Mosque.

Orientation[edit]

The main residential and business areas are Salmiya and Hawalli. The main industrial area is Shuwaikh within the Al Asimah Governorate. The main palaces are As-Seef Palace in the old part of Kuwait City where the Emir runs the daily matters of the country, the government headquarters is in Bayan Palace; while the current Emir stays in Dar Salwa.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Kuwait International Airport (IATA: KWI) is 16km (10 mi) south of Kuwait City. See the main Kuwait article for the full scoop.

By car[edit]

Take Shaikh Jaber Ahmed Al Sabah Road (80, also known as the Highway Of Death) to Kuwait City from Iraq. From the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, take King Fahad Bin Abdul Aziz Rd (40).

By bus[edit]

There are buses from and to Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries.

By boat[edit]

Get around[edit]

By taxis[edit]

If you don't have your own wheels, taxis are the most practical form of transport. Meters are universally ignored (the official fares haven't changed in years), so agree on the price before you set off. There are three basic types:

Call taxis (aka hotel taxis) are all-white with company decals on the doors, and they can be found lurking around major hotels. Usually ordered by phone, these are usually fairly nice and will take you where you want to go with a minimum of fuss, but charge steeper prices: KWD3 is the standard fare for most trips around town, while going to/from the airport is KWD5. However, if you manage to catch one on the road (away from the watchful eye of the dispatcher), they may cut you a discount. Kuds Taxi, tel. 241-3414, is one of the largest operators.

Airport taxis are larger American cars that have their own ramp at the airport. They have a printed fee on the inside of the taxi with the fares fixed. Many drivers will, however, try to demand higher fares especially if the printed fare in the car is partially or completely destroyed.

Orange taxis, which are actually white-and-beige (previously orange) with yellow license plates and "TAXI" signs on the roof, prowl the streets of Kuwait looking for passengers. Fares are negotiable, with short hops from KWD1 and a longer trip across town around KWD2. Readily available, you are likely to be tooted by them as you try to cross the road. The drivers will try to increase the cost of the journey and huff and puff if the traffic is bad, or if you weren't completely clear on where you were going. They will then demand more on arrival. It is easy to see when they are about to pull this trick as they will start to complain about your inaccuracy shortly before arrival. Some, but not all, orange taxis ply only along fixed routes, and you'll be expected to share the cab (and the fare) with other passengers if you board one of these.

By bus[edit]

The Kuwait Public Transport Company (KPTC) and CityBus run buses in and around Kuwait City, with a flat 250 fils fare for trips in the city. The two run on the same routes, so KPTC bus 999 will get you to the same place and for the same price as CityBus 999. However, bus shelters are spartan, schedules erratic and information lacking, making this a poor second to taxis if you're in any sort of hurry and not desperately short on cash. For the adventurous, privately-owned CityBus maintains an up-to-date list of routes on their website, while figuring out KPTC routes is rather more challenging -- as of 2008, their Transport Kuwait website hasn't been updated in years and the route maps are thoroughly obsolete. Apart from the Bangladeshi working communities, who do all the low-end jobs in Kuwait, very few others use the public transport. Buses are mainly male, with many of the travellers listening to music without headphones on their mobile phones. The buses can also be filthy as many sit and eat sunflower seed and scatter the shells all over the floor.

See[edit][add listing]

One of the many views you get from the Kuwait Towers
  • Museum of Modern Art, Gulf Road, in the front of Souq Sharq, close to Maritime Museum, 22468348. Showcases modern arts movement by Kuwaiti and regional artists  edit
  • Bait Al-Othman Museum, Hawally , Block 2 , Abdullah AL Othman St., 22653323.  edit
  • Al-Aujairy’s Astronomical Museum, Kuwait Science Club - next to 360 mall, 22247574.  edit
  • Kuwait Towers, Sharq, +965 1 820001, [1]. 09:00-23:00. Kuwait's unofficial symbol, found on everything except the flag, are Kuwait's top attraction. Designed by Swedes, built by Yugoslavs, and opened in 1979, they're actually rather interesting up close, as the spheres are covered with a funky polka-dot pattern made up from coloured circular plates. The first, 187m (583 ft) high, houses the Viewing Sphere (123m [403 ft]) complete with a rotating viewing platform; don't miss the photos of the damage done by the Iraqi "barbaric invaders", at the foot of the staircase to the second level of the sphere. In the viewing sphere there is also a small bar that serves soft drinks and snacks. You can enjoy your snack at a stand-up table on the rotating viewing platform. The lower sphere houses the Ofok restaurant (82m [270 ft]), serving breakfast (ladies only), lunch and dinner buffets daily. The second tower, 145.8m (478 ft) high, is for water storage and is not accessible to the public, while the third, sphereless spike mostly serves to light up the other two at night. Best visited, but also the most crowded, at sunset. STILL CLOSED FOR RENOVATION (June 2014) KWD2.  edit
    The trademark telecommunications tower of Kuwait City
  • Liberation Tower. One of the tallest telecommunications towers in the world. Tourists are no longer allowed to enter the tower; however, visitors seem to be allowed in on 25 Feb, National Day.
  • National Museum, (on Gulf Street between National Assembly and Grand Mosque). M-Th 08:30-12:30 & 16:30-19:30, F-Sa 08:30-11:00 & 16:30-19:30; Winter afternoon hours 16:00-19:00. Stripped of many artefacts during the war – part of it has been renovated and is now open to the public for display. One exhibition shows ancient relics found on Failaka Island and the other resembles a carefully designed copy of an old Kuwaiti souq (market). An old Kuwaiti boum (dhow) is on display as well. THIS IS CLOSED FOR REMODEL!!!! Entrance is free.  edit
  • Sadu House. Right beside the National Museum. Made of coral and gypsum and is used as a cultural museum to protect the arts and crafts of old Kuwait.
  • Bayt Al-Badr Right beside the National Museum. It is one of the very few houses left that were built in old Kuwaiti architecture. Seems to be closed at least temporarily as of early 2010 but it's worth passing by.
The best view you might get of Seif Palace
  • Seif Palace, (Between Grand Mosque and National Museum). Built in 1896, the interior features original Islamic mosaic tile work, though these suffered badly during the Iraqi occupation. You will not be allowed to enter, however it is still interesting to walk by and see the vast gardens of the palace.  edit
  • National Assembly, (beside National Museum). Not open for public.. The National Assembly is the seat of the Kuwaiti parliament and is one of the few pieces of fine architecture in the country. (latitude,) edit
  • Grand Mosque. Across from the Seif Palace and about a quarter mile east of the National Museum. Guided tours by friendly Kuwaitis are available for tourists. Women can borrow a proper dress from the mosque in order to enter. You will likely be told a time to come back for a tour by the security guard when you visit the mosque. Come back at that time and there will hopefully be a couple of guides available.
  • War Museum, (located in residential area at the end of the Gulf Street near Shuwaikh port, opposite to Kuwait Petrol Company headquarters). The war museum depicts the somewhat gory view of Kuwait on the Iraqi invasion. (latitude,) edit
The bustling fish market of Kuwait City
  • Fish Market. Arguably the most interesting thing to see in Kuwait. It's a giant, bustling building filled with rows of counters stocked high with fish. The interior is kept very clean with people hosing down the floor constantly. (Located just west of the Sharq mall)
  • Entertainment City, (near 7th Ring Road in Doha area). Amusement Park for families.  edit
  • Scientific Center, (On the seaside beside the Gulf Street in Salmiya), [2]. The Scientific Center is a family-oriented amusement facility features a 3D-Cinema with nature movies and an aquarium. Traditional boums (dhows) are on display outside.  edit
  • Sea Clubs
  • Science and Natural History Museum
  • Liberation Monument
  • Municipal Gardens
  • Zoological Park
  • Musical Fountain
  • 360 mall, 360 Mall, Sixth Ring Rd Al-Zahra, [3]. It's a mall that has its own unique architecture that's circular in shape. There's a cinema, near to the food court, and an exibition hall,together with a square for special events.  edit
  • The Avenues mall, Al-Rai- 5th Ring Road- Between Ghazali Street & Mohammed Bin Alqasem Street, Kuwait, Kuwait. The largest shopping mall in Kuwait with various luxury brands. 7 different phases: first avenue, second avenue, Prestige, Grand Avenue, the mall,SoKu and The Souk. The avenues have a supermarket, kids' play place (magic planet), cinema, huge varieties of international cuisines, and many cafes.  edit
  • kuwait Ice Skating Rink, Al-Soor St, Kuwait City. Two ice skating rinks: one for the pros and the other for the rookies. Beside the rink, there is a McDonalds that has a view of the rink.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

There are quite a few things to do in Kuwait City. It's possible to have lunch or dinner in the Kuwait towers (the three towers by the sea with water storage). It is worthwhile to take a tour of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait, just kindly ask the security guard in front of the entrance to the mosque. Across the street from the Grand Mosque is the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange, which seems to be open to the public.

While in Kuwait it is also crucial to smoke Shisha (Hookah/Hubbly Bubbly) at a cafe in Kuwait. There are also quite a few great restaurants with Iranian, Lebanese, and Arab foods.

The Kuwait Aqua Park, as seen from the Kuwait Towers

To escape the intense heat of the Middle East, visit the Aqua Park near the Kuwait Towers. It's KWD3.50 to get in and offers a variety of modern rides and pools. [4]

One can also walk along many of the well-kept sidewalks that line the coast of Kuwait. At dusk, it's ideal to sit on a bench across from the Sharq Mall and watch the sun set on the Arabian Sea. Buy yourself a cheap sack of nuts or bagful of olives from the souq in the fish market and relax.

Fitness fanatics and the health conscious have several options to get engaged with exclusive fitness centres in and around Kuwait City. Some of the best health clubs and gyms are attached to hotels like the Palms, SAS Radisson, Hilton etc. There are also stand alone spas and fitness centres. Elysium, Flex, Spa time and Ayurmana are a few of the highly top fitness centers in Kuwait. Ayurmana also has a highly rated Exclusive Yoga Studio for women.

Learn[edit]

The American University of Kuwait

The American University of Kuwait is located in the Salmiya District, the Gulf University Of Science and Technology is located in Mishref, Australian College of Kuwait is located in Mishref, The American University of the Middle East and the American College of the Middle East are both located in Egaila, Kuwait University has a few campuses at different locations in the city, Box Hill College Kuwait is located in Abu Halifa. There are a large number of British, American, French, Indian and Pakistani schools located in different areas around Kuwait.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Several high-end malls in Kuwait City, with the Marina Mall being one of the largest. However, prices are quite expensive especially compared with other places in the region - most name brand products will cost 2-5 times what they would cost in the west.

  • Western style shopping centres: Souk Sharq (Kuwait City) and Marina Mall (Salmia) are both on the coastal Gulf Road and offer excellent shopping. Another shopping centre is "Al-Kout" (Fahaheel) it has several beautiful coffee shops and many other outlets. "Araya Mall" (Sharq) and Al-Salhiya Mall (Sharq) offers high-price designer brands. The Avenues is a new mall which has come up and is one of the largest in Kuwait. Because there is no sales tax or value added tax in Kuwait, some brand name items have prices comparable to the US prices, and often lower than in countries with VAD.
  • Traditional markets: A famous destination is the Souk Al Mubarakiya in the heart of downtown. Middle Eastern and Oriental items abound as well as a gold and jewelry market. Souk Al-Juma'a is a Friday market with very low-priced mass-produced goods and second-hand stuff. The Mahameed markets in Behbahani complex have similar selection and pricing as well.
  • A more Oriental atmosphere can be found on the other side of town also in a western-style mall called Souk Al-Watiya or Al-Watiya Complex, located beside the Sheraton Hotel and 4 Point Sheraton. This place is also called the Adidas Building by local Filipinos. Situated close to churches the whole area can look like a mini India Town and Filipino Town during Friday and Sunday. Many restaurants also serving either fast food or oriental traditional foods. This is also a good place to buy any gold or jewelry.

The Al-Fanar mall in Kuwait has restaurants, cafes and many shops like Ralph Lauren and Lacoste.

Eat[edit][add listing]

French: Le Relais de l'Entrecote (Avenues Mall, Al-Fanar Mall, Salmiya) - The tradional steak frites, based on the original Parisian restaurant in Porte Malliot; Paul (Marina Mall, Salmiya + others) - The patisserrie which serves pretty authentic pastries/baguettes and some decent entrees.

Italian: Viaggio Restaurant located in the first floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel has probably one of the best authentic Italian food in town. Lorenzo, next to Salhiya Complex (in Sharg), and Ricardo, which is in the Sheraton are considered among the best Italian restaurants in Kuwait. Pomodoro which is in Sharg next to the church also serves good Italian food. Nino's, on the Gulf Road, is also good, but is more of a casual restaurant.Gelato Italiano, at Sharg area Ahmed AlJaber st. - Gaz Tower, Tel. 22434434, one of the first in Kuwait since 2001, very popular, and offers a large selection of Italian ice creams.

Indian: Mugal Mahal(sharg), Bukhara (Sheraton hotel), Silk and Spice (Al Kout Mall,Fahaheel), Asha's (Marina crescent). The Spice Club (360 Mall), is a popular spot in the new mall, and is acclaimed for it's North Indian delicacies and varied menu, hence an attraction to regular foodies year round - highly recommended.

Lebanese: Villa Fayrouz (Sha'ab), Mejana (Al Kout Mall, Fahahel), Mais Al-Ghanim (Gulf Road), Tarboosh (Sheraton Hotel), Burj Al Hamam, Ayam Zaman.

Persian: Shahrayar (Sheraton Hotel), Shabestan (Crowne Plaza Hotel), Baba Taher ( Sharq)

Kuwaiti: AL-Marsa which is in the Ritz Hotel on the gulf road, highly recommended if you want to try local cuisine.

American: Johnny Rockets (Marina Mall, Kout Mall, The Avenues), Chilis and Fridays both located on the gulf road

Japanese: Kei [5]( Marriot Hotel or Marina Mall), Maki (Marina Waves, Edo (Shaeb) Sakura (Crown Plaza hotel or Layla Gallery) all four are highly recommended.

Chinese: Greens (Gulf road), Golden chopsticks (Sha'ab), Peacok (Radisson Sas Hotel).

Burgers: Burger Hub serves over 50 kinds of gourmet burgers & appetizers the largest selection in the GCC & M E [6](Gulf Road in front of Al Seif palace), burger gourmet (marina mall). Burger Co. (Hawalli in front of Muhalab Mall)

Breakfast: Prime and Toast is the first gourmet Deli in the Middle East located opposite (Seif palace).

  • 360 mall
  • The Fish Market, Marboula. A great fish restaurant where fresh fish is on display and sold and cooked per your instructions. Of additional interest is that this great restaurant is next to TGI Friday's, which Kuwaitis treat as a high class restaurant and stand in long queues to be see at - an ideal opportunity to partake in excellent food while people-watching  edit

Budget[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

Splurge[edit]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Alcohol is not allowed in Kuwait.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Western chains are prevalent in Kuwait, with the JW Marriott and Sheraton as the largest five-star hotels in the downtown business district. The Courtyard by Marriott and Four Points by Sheraton are also present, along with two luxury Le Méridien properties. A Crowne Plaza is located near Kuwait International Airport; there are also two Holiday Inn properties, one in the shopping district of Salmiya and the other located in downtown Kuwait City. Additional resort hotels, such as the Hilton and Kempinski, are located on the coast.

New hotels scheduled to open in Kuwait between 2008 and 2010 include the Golden Tulip Kuwait, Hotel Missoni Kuwait, Ibis Salmiya, Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait, The Regent Kuwait at Messilah Beach, InterContinental Kuwait and the Hilton Olympia Kuwait. Other properties by different groups are also planned.

Budget[edit]

  • Hawali Continental Hotel, Hawali Qutiba Street.  edit

Mid-range[edit]

  • The Oasis Hotel, intersection of Ahmad Al-Jaber Street and Mubarak Al-Kabeer Street, +965 2465489 (, fax: +965 2465490), [7]. Solid hotel in down town Kuwait City, will arrange pickup from airport, good Indian restaurant on the top floor.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Four Points by Sheraton Kuwait, Fahd Al Salem St (Kuwait City), +965 2242 2055 (fax: +965 2244 8032), [8]. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. USD270.  edit
  • Courtyard Kuwait City, Al Shuhada St (Dasman), +965 2299 7000, [9]. Much nicer than your average Courtyard, but priced to match. 22 stories of understated modern style built around a soaring atrium. Large but shallow rooftop pool, decent gym, free wired Internet in every room and Wi-Fi in the lobby, amazing breakfast buffet. Directly connected to the Arraya Centre shopping mall. USD270.  edit
  • Radisson SAS Kuwait, Al Bida Al Tawoun St, Salwa, +965 575 6000, [10]. Large selection of business, recreational and leisure facilities, restaurants to choose from as well as a convenient free city shuttle service. The major drawback is the raw sewage being dumped into the sea a few hundred metres away. If you have a sensitive nose, best to not stay here.  edit
  • Sheraton Kuwait, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Fahd Al Salem St (Kuwait City), +965 2298 2000 (fax: +965 2244 8032), [11]. checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. 300 guest rooms & suites. USD350.  edit

Contact[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Kuwait City is one of the safest places in the Middle East. Crime rates are low and the neighbouring civil conflict in Iraq has not spilled over into Kuwait. The same is not true of some of the suburbs where it can be very unsafe for single females to walk alone. Cars will pull up demanding that western women get in and they can be very threatening.

Be very careful crossing streets -- Kuwaiti drivers are reckless. There are lack of pedestrian lights especially outside Kuwait City, pedestrian crossings are virtually ignored.

Respect[edit]

Kuwait is a liberal Muslim country and it is common and acceptable to wear tank tops and tight clothing. However, do not wear revealing clothes at mosques and churches. Do not say anything that might be perceived as an insult to national pride and the Kuwaiti government.

A Kuwaiti man walking along in traditional Arabic dress

Cope[edit]

The best way for anyone to cope with living in Kuwait, particularly if coming here without family, is to make plenty of friends. The newcomer will find that friendships among members of the expatriate community are formed more quickly than back home. There are plenty of social activities to get involved with, especially sport (cricket, rugby, sailing, squash, tennis, horse riding, darts, to name a few). Also available are theatre groups, ramblers, choirs, and business associations (in conjunction with various of the Western embassies here). Christian churches are also well represented.

An essential first step is to register with your home country's embassy, under the warden system, so that the Consular staff know you have arrived and where you live in Kuwait. Also, it is sensible to register with a decent doctor and a dentist. Your embassy can help with this.

The sale of alcohol is illegal in Kuwait. However, the consumption,possession and making of alcohol for private use is also illegal, you may get fined for this. Many inhabitants, both Kuwaiti and expatriate, maintain well stocked bars at home. Home brewing is a thriving hobby. There are legal penalties against public drunkenness and driving under the influence. Pork and pig products are not allowed in Kuwait.

The summers (particularly July and August) are extremely hot, with temperatures during the day reaching over 50°C (122°F) for weeks on end. It is therefore important to drink plenty of water at these times to avoid dehydration and to keep out of the sun as far as possible. December to February can, surprisingly, be really cold, with night time temperatures falling below 0°C (32°F). The spring time (March and most of April) is delightful in terms of weather. Thereafter, the weather heats up and it is often mid - October before the place starts to cool down.

Embassies[edit]

  • Gr-flag.png Greece, Khaldiya, Bl.4,Str 44, Hs 4 (P.O.Box 23812 Safat 13099, Kuwait), +965 24 817 100, Emergencies:+965 99 163 502 (, fax: +965 24 817 103).  edit

Get out[edit]

Everyone who has spent more than a few months in Kuwait quickly realizes that they have seen and done everything that can be seen and done here. Exploring the Gulf region becomes a relatively low-cost diversion whatever an adventurer's tastes may be: rock climbing, snow skiing, scuba diving, fishing, drinking, dancing or whatever. You'll definitely want to leave Kuwait if you seek to avoid boredom.




This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!




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