Kuwait is a modern nation with a rich history. Situated on the Arabian Peninsula between Saudi Arabia and Iraq with its coast on the Persian gulf, it has a culture influenced by the peoples of the Arabian uplands, Mesopotamia, ancient Greece and traders along the spice trail. The modern day Kuwait is an oil rich urbanised emirate. Based around the capital of Kuwait City, it has boomed since the discovery of the natural resource in the 1930s. With a cosmopolitan mixture of old and new, Kuwait might be the destination that you’ve been seeking, for that unique holiday experience or even to settle down. There is certainly plenty to see and do.
Owing to its extensive gulf coastline, Kuwait offers many activities on or around the water. Pearl Diving was formerly a crucial industry in the state before the discovery of oil. Most diving now occurs during pearl diving festivals in which the Kuwaitis re-enact their traditional diving methods before rounding off the festival with song and dance. If you want to get below the water yourself, Kuwait’s reefs and islands offers plenty of opportunities to scuba dive and experience the underwater marine life first hand.
However, if you’d rather stay above the water, the gulf seas off the coast of Kuwait also offer the ideal conditions for yachting, with calm waters and gentle breezes. For those visiting, the Yacht Club in Salmiya offers plentiful mooring. Alternatively, you can take boat trips to experience the tranquillity of the emirate’s handful of islands and find a quiet spot for a quick swim. These trips may also offer the chance to squeeze in some fishing which can’t be missed. The waters around Kuwait contain an incredibly diverse fish stock ranging from shark and stingray to tuna. If you’re planning an activity in a small group you may even prefer to hire your own boat and get complete control over your excursion.
For those seeking a more high action activity then there are plenty of other opportunities for fun on the water including water skiing, jet skiing and windsurfing (although you may have to purchase your own equipment). Otherwise, why not relax on one of Kuwait’s many stunning beaches, perhaps Messilah Beach, Oqialah Beach or the Seafront at Al-Shaab
Kuwait City is a great location to while away your hours shopping whether you are after leading international clothing brands or fresh fish. The Avenues shopping mall in Kuwait City is the state’s largest and if you crave some serious shopping you can easily spend a day or two in its international stores with plenty of restaurants and cinemas to keep you fed and entertained in between. For a different shopping experience, take a cool stroll through the promenades of Souk Sharq and its neighbouring fish market on the waterfront in Safat. The traditional architecture creates a unique backdrop as you shop at many of your favourite outlets. Once you’re ready for a pit stop, it is the perfect place enjoy lunch overlooking the water at one of its many cafés and restaurants, perhaps sampling Kuwait’s traditional seafood and spice infused dishes. The main attraction of Souk Sharq, however, must be its rare example of a functioning water clock – not to be missed.
To gain a better understanding of Kuwait’s heritage and culture, your primary destination should be Kuwait’s National Museum. Entrance is free and it is by far the best place to learn about the history of Kuwait and its peoples, giving insights into topics such as pearl diving and the spice trade. Particular highlights include the rich archaeological discoveries on the island of Failaka (once settled by ancient Greeks), the extensive collections of Islamic art and its planetarium.
The Scientific Center, on the other hand, combines the largest aquarium in the Middle East, a facility for children to experiment with science themselves and an IMAX theatre showing educational films. The aquarium houses a diverse range of marine fauna from sharks to otters, to penguins. Watch the shark feeding in the evening or get closer to some of the indigenous Gulf sea life. In addition, you can visit the Kuwait Zoo in Omarrya to see a variety of animals, great and small.
Due to its changing economic fortunes, Kuwait is home to mixture of old and new Islamic architecture. One site which must be on any visitor’s is Kuwait’s largest mosque, the Grand Mosque. The building is covered with beautiful decorations and can be visited by all faiths (as long as you adhere to the dress code). However, if you are looking for views then why not head to the iconic Kuwait Towers in the Sharq district of Kuwait City. There are three towers which have become a symbol of the nation and its resistance throughout recent conflict. One tower has a rotating observation deck at a height of 123 metres giving you 360 degree views of Kuwait City and beyond. And if that’s not enough, keep an eye out for the 372 metre high Liberation Tower, one of the tallest communications towers in the world.
However, for more action based fun to entertain the children Kuwait has a number amusement parks including the largest, Entertainment City in Al-Doha, with its plethora of rides and arcades set alongside gardens and more serene boating lakes. In addition, children may enjoy the water rides of Messilah Water Village and the Aqua Park (next to the Kuwait Towers), or the ice and roller-skating rinks at Al-Shaab Leisure Park.
With so much to keep you entertained and with Kuwaiti people being so naturally welcoming and hospitable as hosts, Kuwait really is a unique destination whatever the reason for your visit… And if you are tempted to stay why not have a look at the Kuwait Property Listings.