Some people only equate Kuwait with oil and unrest.
However, contrary to these beliefs, Kuwait has much more to offer and is becoming an increasingly popular traveller destination in the Middle East.
Indeed, it is a beautiful country endowed with a diverse and rich history.
Situated at the tip of the Persian Gulf, Kuwait borders Saudi Arabia and Iraq and is among the fourth richest countries in the world.
It is also a small country with a population of fewer than 5 million people, 70% of whom are foreigners working in various professionals.
The first requirement if you are thinking of visiting Kuwait is, of course, to ensure you obtain a valid visa and have a passport with a validity of at least six months from the date you arrive in the country.
You can apply for a visa online by filling out a form, which includes most important details about the purpose of, and plans for, your visit.
The maximum stay for tourists in this country is 90 days and further information about Kuwait’s visa process can be found here…
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How Safe is Kuwait for Female Travellers?
Being an Islamic country, there is a question in many people’s minds about how safe Kuwait is for foreign travellers, especially about how safe it might be for solo women to visit Kuwait and walk around freely enjoying the sights and sounds of the country.
Contrary to what people may think, Kuwait is actually a very safe place for solo female visitors.
A few stares here and there are a common thing for women travelling alone, but certainly shouldn’t put you off coming here.
Instead, the main thing to take note of is the dress code.
Kuwait law requires women to cover their knees, chest and shoulders and to avoid unpopulated places.
Many of the younger Kuwait women dress in tight-fitting long western clothes, but always ensure that they cover their heads with a headscarf when needs be.
As long as your dressing code is modest, and in line with the law and respectful of the culture, you will have no one disturbing you on the streets or in shopping malls of Kuwait.
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The Best Things to Do in Kuwait
And with any safety issues out the way, we now move on to talk about the best things to do in Kuwait.
As a small country, rarely visited by many travellers, there really is a surprising amount on offer to see and do here.
Indeed, if you are travelling to the country for the first time, you can enjoy everything from shopping and eating in restaurants from around the world, to exploring the desert and abandoned islands.
So let’s get started with my list of the top 10 things to do in Kuwait…
#1 Check Out a Camel Racing Event
Camel racing is one of the most important, fun and free things to do in Kuwait.
What makes it even better is that the jockeys are not even human, but remote-controlled mechanical jockeys.
Mechanical jockeys replaced child jockeys that graced the events a few years back – thank goodness! – so each camel now has a vehicle that rides next to it with the mechanical jockey inside.
The whole scenario is frankly bonkers, but also weirdly exciting and certainly leaves lasting some memories.
This is without a doubt one of the most unique things to do Kuwait offers and you’re unlikely to see anything quite like it, anywhere else in the world!
#2 Visit the Mirror House
One of the most iconic places that you cannot fail to visit while in Kuwait is the Mirror House.
As you may have guessed from the name, this house has a mirror mosaics covering every inch of it, both inside and out.
Created by the Italian born artist, Lidia al-Qattan, and her Kuwaiti husband, the mirror house is a private home that you can only visit by making an appointment.
But it sure is worth it!
No doubt, you will also love the history behind the mirror house, because as the story goes, Lidia al-Qattan’s daughter broke a mirror and instead of throwing the pieces away, her mother decorated a small cabinet with the pieces.
When her husband saw the result, he got an idea to try the same thing by putting up mirror pieces on the inner and outer walls of the house… and years later the result is a whole house covered with reflective glass shards!
But it’s not just an artistic endeavour, no a visit to the Mirror House, will also help you learn more about the history of this country, easily making this one of the best things to do in Kuwait.
#3 Enjoy an Opera at the Sheikh jabber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre
If you love opera, or want to experience a night of great opera for the first time perhaps, then a visit to the Sheikh Jabber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre, which is the largest opera house and cultural centre in the Middle East, is definitely one of the best things to do in Kuwait for you.
Here, you also get the chance to experience the best cultural performances from around Kuwait, as well as other places in the a Middle East, including poetry, music and discussions.
The Sheikh Jabber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre also has amazing grounds with beautiful fountains that perform to background music.
Perch yourself in any of the restaurants or cafes that overlook the fountains and you can enjoy the spectacle for free!
#4 Take a Day Trip to Failaka Island
Taking a day trip outside Kuwait City to the beautiful Failaka Island is absolutely one of the best things to do in this county and reaching it via boat is easy care of any of the ferry companies operating at the Marina Mall.
Once inhabited, before the time of the Gulf War, the island now serves as a large, open-air museum to the impacts of Kuwait’s infamous conflict.
Now unpopulated, Failaka has all the signs of abandonment that came with this time of tragic upheaval, including cars just left in the road, buildings bearing bullet holes and many signs that the people here suddenly departed in a hurry, leaving everything as it was.
#5 Explore the Desert
There’s no question, a trip to Kuwait would feel incomplete without allowing any time to explore the magnificence and the vast desert that spans much of this land.
If you want to experience it, then I’d highly suggest booking yourself onto a guided adventure to ensure both your safety and that you get the best from the experience, including the chance to try some camel milk!
You can even spend a night out in the desert, which will instantly make you feel a million years away from the stresses of civilisation.
The huge sand dunes, as well as their eternal sense of silence and rawness, is an experience hard to match.
#6 Enjoy a Local Feast at Moubarakiyya
You also cannot leave Kuwait without enjoying a traditional shopping, or better eating, experience.
And the best place to do this is undoubtedly the Moubarakiyya – a traditional souk, where locals gather to buy, sell, eat, chat and haggle together!
This is one of the most delicious, cheap and authentic places to eat in the country and enjoying a feast here at least once is absolutely one of the best things to do in Kuwait.
Some of the things you can buy or try include local cookies, spices and traditional fish dishes… don’t miss it!
#7 Unwind With a Spa Treatment
Moving to the other end of the spectrum, away from the old world to a new one, unwinding with a top-class spa treatment is absolutely one of the top things to do in Kuwait.
After all that desert sun, you may find yourself feeling fatigued and your skin a little dry, so what better remedy than a spot of rejuvenation at one of the best spas in the city.
Try Orchid Spa or Talise Spa, which both receive great reviews on TripAdvisor.
We touched on it in #6 in this article, but I’m going to mention it again, because there’s no question one of the best things to do in Kuwait is eat!
This country has a very strong food culture, with the most common dish being Shawarma – a popular Middle Eastern dish where shaved meat is wrapped in a flatbread with other ingredients into a sort of kebab.
Other local staple foods in Kuwait include hamour, a popular local fish and my all-time favourite, falafel.
Indeed, almost everywhere you go in the city, you will find many places selling falafel and that made me very happy!
If you want to go for luxury instead, Kuwait has some of the best restaurants in the world too and your bucket list here should include Al Boom for steak and seafood, the open-air food court Marouj, Babel for the best tasting Lebanese food and Freij Shwaileh for local dishes.
#9 Shop Till You Drop
And sticking with the theme of luxury, there’s no getting away from the fact that one of the most popular things to do in Kuwait is shop.
Filled with more modern malls than perhaps anywhere else in the Middle East, these vast air-conditioned spaces are where Kuwaitis come to spend their cash, socialise and escape the summer heat!
The biggest shopping mall is The Avenues, which stocks everything from traditional clothing to modern appliances.
There’s also high-end shops filled designer clothes or cheap fashion brands like H&M.
Marina Mall is also another place where you can find anything you want, including a ton of restaurants and souvenirs.
#10 Marvel at the Kuwait Towers
And finally on this list of the best things to do in Kuwait, we come to the country’s number 1 attraction, which is the Kuwait Towers.
Recently renovated and now open to the public, one of the towers has metal discs that form part of a revolving viewing platform that boasts 360 degrees view of the city – allowing you to see vast swaths of Kuwait city and beyond.
Taking around thirty minutes to revolve the whole 360 degrees – this is a thrilling experience and certainly a highlight in any tour of this country.
This is also one of the best places to experience the reverberation of prayer across Kuwait City and there’s no question the towers form one of the most architecturally beautiful skyscrapers in the world.
What’s Your Favourite Thing to Do in Kuwait?
A visit to the small country of Kuwait is certainly a worthwhile experience – the country has very friendly people; it is safe, diverse and rich in cultural heritage.
All you need to visit Kuwait is a valid visa, a passport, a great attitude and a sense of adventure. With this combination, there’s no doubt you will enjoy every moment of your visit!
And tell me, have you visited Kuwait?
What was your favourite thing to do there?