Welcome to Kuwait City!
For the longest time, the area that is now known as Kuwait City was a fishing village. Controlled by local sheiks, it wasn’t until the 19th century when it began to prosper more as a center or commerce of shipping due to its location on the Persian Gulf. Soon afterwards, oil was discovered, and in the 20th century, Kuwait City experienced a drastic economic boom until it reached the height of the current time. In Kuwait, history and modernity exist hand in hand.
The Kuwait capital is a bustling metropolis of skyscrapers, luxury hotels, manicured gardens, and fancy restaurants. There is a large expat community, that vary from the ultra-rich to workers brought in to run businesses, such as restaurants and hotels. Kuwait City is not widespread with international tourism but a worldwide local knows that shouldn’t deter you from visiting. This guide will help you get acquainted with this little city on the gulf.
Worldwide Local Tip: Kuwait is a Muslim country, so always be sure to wear respectable clothing during your stay. That being said, there are still plenty of young Kuwaitis wearing shorts and tighter clothing; so it’s best to use some discretion at the very least. Publicly swearing or gesturing obscenely, can be punishable by arrest, so always try to keep your cool.
Where to Begin
You’re in Kuwait--time to get exploring. When you arrive, chances are high that if you’re looking for cool and interesting places to check out, locals will probably point you to the Kuwait Towers. This experience will offer a great view of the country and is known as a popular tourist destination. Instead of the towers, you could head to the weirdly beautiful Mirror House. This quasi art project is an entire house covered in fragments of mirrors and mosaics. The scene is always paired with music and nice lighting, and it is officially a museum that is privately owned. Often overlooked by visitors, but when possible the owner gives private tours, so be sure to book this one in advance.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you are going to head to the towers make it worth your time. There are dining options available such as brunch or dinner, served daily in the rotating sphere of the towers. The price can be a little on the high-side but it makes a cool experience, nonetheless.
Ride a Camel--or an ATV--into the Desert
A worldwide local knows that to experience a city, you have to live like a local, and one of the many local pastimes is spending time in the desert. Camel herders take people out to the desert, where you can indulge in camel milk, pet the camels, or even ride one. It’s a phenomenal experience and a way to make the dry heat of the Kuwait weather more tolerable. Of course, if that’s not your thing, the more modern approach is to hop on an ATV and ride out into the desert until you can’t see the city anymore. Experience the vast emptiness of the Arabian Desert, where all signs of civilization have disappeared. Of course, caution should be taken when heading out there, and it is advisable to bring a guide and supplies with you.
Worldwide Local Tip: Camping in the desert is a tradition that you surely will not want to miss. Pack some camping gear and food and drive out into the desert. You can barbecue and throw back a few (non-alcoholic) drinks, enjoying a night under the stars with a view that is unbeatable.
Shopping in Kuwait City
If you’re going to be in a new city, you need to immerse yourself in the local way of life. Head to one of the many local markets and do a little shopping. The Souk Al-Mubarakiya offers some amazing pottery, silk, and elegant perfumes, among many other local goods to buy, such as jewelry and food.
Worldwide Local Tip: Around sundown, pick up a light snack and head to the souk. Head out to the nearby sidewalks, that line the coast of Kuwait City, and enjoy the sunset over the Arabian Gulf. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
Enjoy Your Stay!
Kuwait may be small and mostly desert, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have anything fun to offer visitors. A worldwide local knows that sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to find the best spots, and Kuwait City has no shortage of fun places to see.