Kuwait City is the capital of the tiny oil rich nation of Kuwait, which is located on the Arabian Gulf. Kuwait has an ancient past dating back to early human civilisations. Kuwait City however couldn’t be further away from its olde worlde past. Kuwait City is ultra modern with a skyline full of sleek and new skyscrapers.
Kuwait was somewhere I would have never imagined going to, but a few years back I used to go quite regularly with the airline that I work for, even getting stuck in Kuwait once for an extra day and night. I’m always grateful to get to travel to these types of places as they’re not your average holiday destination, however I used to really love seeing a Kuwait on my roster.
Kuwait to me was always a pretty chilled trip, and a good opportunity for a detox as alcohol is completely banned in Kuwait. I used to love having a layover in Kuwait and sunbathing by the pool and then spending the evening wandering around the oud scented Souq for delicious local cuisine. If you ever get chance to go to Kuwait with work or stopping off on a flight connection you won’t be disappointed.
Sights & Activities
If you love a bit of retail therapy like myself then a trip to Avenues Mall is a must. Kuwait has lots of large malls, but the Avenues Mall is one of the largest malls in the world with more than 1100 shops spread over 12 districts. The districts are inspired by various architectural themes. It has every shop you can pretty much think of, from high end to high street shops and a mix of brands from all over the world. This mall is a shopaholics dream, and a great place to spend a day, or to come to for a meal in one of the many restaurants.
The Kuwait Towers are Kuwait City’s most well known landmark, there are 3 towers in total and were built back in 1979, their purpose was to provide water distribution.
The main tower is 187 meters high and has 2 spheres. The lower sphere holds water in its bottom half, and in its upper half there is a lounge, cafe and restaurant. The upper sphere which rises to 123 meters and completes a full turn every 30 minutes. The second tower is 147 meters high and serves as a water tower. The third tower has equipment to control the electricity flow and illuminates the larger towers. The towers hold 9000 cubic meters of water altogether.
You can spot these eye catching towers from all over the city, and these are considered one of Kuwait’s main tourist attractions.
The Liberation Tower is a 372 meter high telecommunications tower, which is the second tallest structure in the country. Construction of the tower started before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. When the invasion took place construction was put on hold, the structure received no damage and construction continued in 1991. When completed in 1993, the tower was renamed the Liberation Tower which symbolises Kuwait’s liberation from Iraq. You can see the Tower when near Souq Al-Mubarakiya.
The Marina Mall is set along Kuwait’s coastline and is a modern shopping mall with more than 150 shops and an enclosed bridge over to the marina. There is also a pathway to additional retail developments such as Marina Waves, Marina Waterfront and Marina Walk.
The Marina is also home to the Marina Yacht Club with gorgeous views overlooking the Gulf. There are lots of restaurants and cafes around there, and it’s the perfect setting for a late afternoon shisha and to wind down the day and watch the sun slowly setting.
Souq Al-Mubarakiya is a one of the oldest souqs in Kuwait, and was the center of trade prior to the discovery of oil. The market is about 200 years old, it was damaged during the Iraqi invasion in 1990, however it was renovated and it got back its traditional charm.
The Souq is a great place to come in the evening to see what the stalls and shops are selling. There is a whole range of things to purchase from food, homewares, carpets, perfume and clothes and literally anything you can think of. Tucked beneath Kuwait City’s skyline this old Souq really transports you back in time and you will witness authentic Kuwait culture.
Food & Beverage
If you want delicious cheap food with traditional flavours, Souq Al-Mubarakiya is the best place to come for your meals. There is so much choice with plenty of cafes and restaurants with lots of authentic Arabic dishes available.
My favourite is a selection of mezes, salads, hummus and warm breads all washed down with my favourite drink in the Middle East – mint and lime juice (most refreshing drink ever). When I used to order chicken kebab I hardly ever ate any of it as always took pity of the local street cats, and ended up sharing most of my food with them. If you are a crazy cat person take some cat treats with you so you don’t have to share your dinner.
Transport & Getting Around
In Kuwait there is public transport available such as buses, however I believe most visitors tend to take taxis as they are pretty reasonable and offer flat city rate tours. I always make sure to get the hotel to book taxis as they will recommend a reputable taxi company.
My biggest bit of advice would be that when in Kuwait remember you are in a Muslim country, so respect traditions and customs and be modest with the way you dress. Alcohol is also illegal in Kuwait however you can buy non alcoholic beer in certain places if you have a craving or why not do as the locals do and have a shisha instead?!