Kuwait is a gem of a country steeped in Islamic heritage. It lies between Iraq and Saudi Arabia right at the tip of the Persian Gulf. For those looking to holiday here, you'll find no shortage of things to do. Whether you love to take in a city's ambiance and vistas or frolic on beaches or roam the desert dunes like the Fremen, Kuwait has got you covered.
But before you visit, be aware and mindful of their laws and cultural norms. Kuwait is a conservative country, as are the other Gulf countries. For example, as an American citizen, you need to be aware of the Kuwait visa requirements for US citizens and have your Visa with you at all times. Apart from that, you'll find that the locals are friendly and welcoming.
You’ll also find Kuwait to be a charming place, full of adventure, culture, and beautiful scenery. Here's a list of activities and places to see while visiting:
Experience a Rush of Adrenaline as you Dune Bash in a 4x4
This adventure requires you to leave the city's outskirts and roam the southern Desert in search of sand dunes to conquer. You’ll be picked up in a 4x4 vehicle from your hotel by the tour operator. The actual dune bashing will be done by an experienced driver as a tour guide regales you with tales of the Desert as you embark on your desert safari.
Dune bashing is a very popular activity in the Gulf countries. It involves racing up and down sand dunes in search of that adrenaline hit. So, if you want thrills and excitement, you'll find it here. Vehicle options also include quad bikes that even kids, and beginners can try after gaining basic riding skills.
Furthermore, while out in the Desert, you can indulge in additional desert-themed side activities that include:
- Camel riding – take the opportunity to see these desert creatures up close and explore the Desert.
- Sandboarding – It might take some time for you to get the hang of surfing the sand, but it will be fun. You'll be making multiple trips up and down the sand dunes with safety gear strapped on, so be ready for a workout.
- Camp in the middle of the Desert – after a day of desert activities, you're tired and worn out. So why travel back to the city when you can relax at the majlis seating, smoke Shisha, enjoy the belly dancers (not available during Ramadhan), Tanoura folk dance, and fire shows as you eat shawarmas, marinated chicken, delicious BBQ, etc.
To experience any desert safari, you'll want to be mindful of the weather. Kuwait is a desert country, and the climatic conditions can get downright inhospitable. Aim for November to March as that is when the desert safari happens. Prices for the whole package go as high as $250. You can expect more than 7 hours of joy from your desert trip.
Enjoy Panoramic Views of the City atop the Kuwait Towers
Unmistakable across the city's skyline, these three towers are in the northern part of Kuwait City. Two of the towers have three striking spheres built to imitate the form of old Arabian perfume containers and feature a harmonious blue, grey, and green reflective color palette.
A rotating observatory that spins a full 360 degrees in 30 minutes can be found in one of these spheres. Here, from an altitude of 123 meters, you can take in captivating panoramic views of the city's iconic skyline as well as the Arabian Gulf.
If you visit any of the two excellent Towers restaurants, you will be permitted to enter the observation deck for free. If not, the observation deck will cost around $10. A perfect place to spend 1-2 hours.
See the 8th Largest Mosque in the World
The Grand Mosque, or as locals call it, 'Al-Masjid Al-Kabir,' is in the heart of the city. It is world-renowned for its Islamic architecture, and you are likely to find friendly and highly knowledgeable tour guides who can confer so much of the building's rich history. Expect to spend a good 1 - 2 hours here.
The Mosque offers free guided tours on weekdays from 9 -11 am as well as from 4-6 pm.
The Tareq Rajab Museum
This museum is a magnificent place to visit. It houses more than 30,000 items ranging from musical instruments and costumes to calligraphy and ceramics. It is the home of collections that include Islamic manuscripts, metalwork such as the bronze door of Sultan Barquq, oriental artwork, silver folk, and many more.
To gain access to this depository of Muslim history, you pay only 7 dollars. To get there, you'll travel 5.5 miles southeast of Kuwait City, where you should be able to spend 2-3 hours.
Enjoy Private Kiteboarding Lessons
For about $200, you can enjoy the wind and water fueled exhilaration of kiteboarding with the equipment and a private tutor provided for an hour. You will learn the basics of kiteboarding as you thrash about in the water.
That would include learning how to launch and land a kite, proper stance, toe side and heel side turns, body dragging, and everything else needed to get you in the air and on the water. Kiteboarding equipment is included.
For this experience, visit Salty Sports, the only windsurfing academy in Kuwait. If you're an experienced kite surfer, check out the Subiya lagoon, which has a strong and frequent North-Northwest wind.
Souk Al-Mubarakiya: The Best Traditional Market
The Souk is very popular with tourists and locals. It is a great place to get your souvenirs. You can spend hours strolling about this market where you can get scarves, Persian handmade carpets, clothes perfumes, tea sets, etc. There are restaurants, a fish market, various produce, spices, and herbs. You've got to take something back home.
Entry is free but carry some Kuwait Dinars and prepare to haggle. The Souk is quite the experience.
Many tourists while their time away in the bustling city of Kuwait, where they frequent museums, fabulous restaurants, art galleries, and theatres. The country has been called the Hollywood of the Gulf for its love of cinema that is expressed through traditional performing arts and popular local soap operas.
It also has a vibrant music scene, having pioneered the Sawt, Khaliji, and Fijiri music genres. Kuwait is a country that celebrates its Islamic heritage through architecture, art, and people. Tourists will surely appreciate the various offerings of this desert country.
If you visit, remember to wear a mask in public areas and follow social distancing protocols.