Earth : Asia : Middle East : Kuwait : Kuwait City
Kuwait City (Arabic: مدينة الكويت Madīnat al-Kuwayt) is the capital of Kuwait.
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.
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
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: KD 3 is the standard fare for most trips around town, while going to/from the airport is KD 5. 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.
Orange taxis, which are actually white-and-beige 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 KD 1 and a longer trip across town around KD 2. Readilly available, you are likely to be tooted by them as you try to cross the road. The divers 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.
The Kuwait Public Transport Company (KPTC) and CityBus run buses in and around Kuwait City, with a flat 200 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 travelers 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.
There are quite a few things to do in Kuwait City. It is 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 Bedouin foods.
To escape the intense heat of the Middle East, visit the Aqua Park near the Kuwait Towers. It's 3.50 KD to get in and offers a variety of modern rides and pools. 
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 center 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 centers. 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 womenand Ayurveda Center .
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 area's around Kuwait.
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.
The Al-Fanar mall in Kuwait has restaurants, cafes and many shops like Ralph Lauren and Lacoste.
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.
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 ( 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 (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).
Numi Tea House
This place seems to no longer be operating
This is not a typical tea house! It is reasonably priced yet offers so much more than you would expect. There are several varieties of herbal teas to choose from and the menu is quite large. The atmosphere is quite cozy although the tea house itself is larger and beautifully decorated with contemporary style furniture. Address: Salem Al Mubarak Street, Salmiya, Kuwait. Telephone Number: (965) 5725870
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.
Kuwait City is one of the safest places in the Middle East. Crime rates are low and the neighboring 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 no pedestrian lights, pedestrian crossings are virtually ignored.
Kuwait is a liberal Muslim country thus it is acceptable to wear short shorts, tank tops and tight clothing. Kuwaiti malls are full of young Kuwaitis in shorts, tight clothing, etc. Although in religious mosques it is unacceptable to wear tank tops and other revealing clothing.
Do not say anything that might be perceived as an insult to Islam, the Kuwaiti government, or national pride.
The best way for any Westerner 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 Western 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.
Alcohol is illegal in Kuwait and possession of this carries very harsh penalties. Many inhabitants, however, both Kuwaiti and expatriate, maintain well stocked bars at home. Home brewing is a thriving hobby. That said, it is essential to remember that this is a Muslim country and it is foolish in the extreme to flout openly the laws of the place. Due respect should be shown at all times.
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.
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.