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Kuwait title

Map Kuwait

  • Kuwait is a very small country, only 17,818 sq. miles. In it live about 1.819,000 people (1996), of which only 44% are Kuwaiti. The other 56% are foreigners, like Philipinos, Indian, Pakistani, Europeans and Americans. There is only one big city, Kuwait City. Then there are a few towns, like Ahmadi, Jahra and Wafrah (the latter is where one can find the oil wells). There are a few more small communities. One, which was a favourite of mine, was Fahaheel, with it's shopping center. Most of the population lives in Deera (City).

  • Money: Kuwaiti Dinar, divided in 1000 Fils.
  • Visa: It's not easy to get into Kuwait. One has to have business there, or relatives and be invited to be able to get a visa. However, if you are so lucky, it will be worth the effort put into it, as Kuwait City is well worth seeing, as is the "feel" of the desert country around it.

  • Calls to Holland: 0031 -
  • religion: mostly Islam, however, very tolerant. Women are allowed to wear whatever they like, as long as it is decent. No scarfs or coats are necessary. However, don't go swimming on the beach. Try the swimming pools of the different clubs. Christianity is present as well as all other religions.

  • Health: There is no need for special injections. There is no Malaria

  • Climate: Kuwait has a desert climate, with extreme temperatures: in summer it can go up to 50 plus degrees centigrade (everyone stops work, when the temperature gets above 50 degrees Celsius. So, the official temperature never rises above that figure! Although I myself registered 54 degrees at one time!). However, in winter the temperature may drop to 0 degrees! It is a very dry country. Hardly any rain falls. And again: I have video scenes to prove that it can really pour down in torrents! Kuwait is difficult to keep green in spite of those rare rainfalls. The government however does all it can to improve things. By immense irrigation projects, the planting of trees and parks, it is trying (successfully) to make living a little easier. Near Waffra I saw huge nurseries where they grew vegetables and fruit. Even though the heat can be excessive, it is bearable, because the relative moisture in the air is very low, usually around 25-30% or even lower. Still, airco is a must in the houses, offices, hotels and off course your car!

  • Traffic: Right hand driving, stick to your lane system. Very good roads, lined in some places with artificial grass! Gasoline is extremely cheap. Car hire is available from well known rental firms, such as Avis, Europcar, Al Mulla and Budget, in the city or at the airport. Traffic is usually not too heavy. Try to steer clear (literally!) from accidents. That can get you into big problems. Although I must say, that the police and other officials are largely very helpful and friendly. Make sure your driver's licence is valid in Kuwait. Bring an international licence with you. The rental firm can then arrange a temporary license valid for one month within a week. Make sure you get yourself an insurance for that time, also available through the rental firm.

  • Public Transport: Buses from Kuwait Transport Company operate a nationwide service, which is good and cheap. Also: taxis can be phoned and are reliable. They can be rented per day also. Make sure you agree on the price beforehand. The taxis at the hotel ramps are usually more expensive then at other places. Tipping is not expected.

Kuwait City and the Kuwait Towers
  • Activities and tips. Do your shopping in the Souk (market). You can get anything there. It is a large conglomerate of streets, shops, restaurants, etc. in the center of Kuwait City. This is a must to visit. And you can go there at any time of the day. It is quite safe. Haggle for prices at all times! There are several parking places in the neighborhood. Visit the "Ship Restaurant" on the coast. They simply dug a channel, sailed a huge passenger liner into it, than filled the channel and now it sits there, only its butt sticking out into the water, the rest bordered by beautiful gardens. And the food inside is excellent! Also: eat at the Hilton Hotel, with its self service restaurant. Pay a standard fee and then you can really fill yourself with the most delicious dishes you can imagine. The Holiday Inn does something similar, but my experience says the the Hilton is tops. Even to the Meridian hotel, with its indoor shopping center. You must go and see that too. There is the SAS hotel with its ship restaurant. And drive along the Gulf Road, along the coast. Stop here and there to see the sights, but most certainly, visit the Kuwait Towers. Go to the top, which revolves slowly and see the unbelievable panorama of Kuwait City from 123 meters up! Then have a meal or drink at the Horizon Restaurant in the tower. Or have a drink (always nonalcoholic!!) in Le Cafe, open from 10 am to 10 pm. The Towers were opened in 1979. The middle tower holds a million gallons of water, while the needle-shaped tower controls the electricity for this particular suburb of Kuwait City. See the beaches, Sea clubs (I stayed at the Gazelle Club at Ahmadi, but there is a resort at the end of the Gulf Road, of which I have forgotten the name, but which is well worth the visit). Gardens, an Ice skating rink (!), Musical Fountains, The "Entertainment City", Rest Houses and Chalet resorts at Failaka and Khiran. Is it a wonder, that I still feel homesick a little, when I think back on my four month's stay there, even if the work was hard, difficult and long at the Mina Abdulla Refinery of KNPC. But the people of Kuwait made up for it. They are hospitable, friendly and very helpful


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Copyright © 1998-2012 Luuk Francken
Map Kuwait: permission for use granted by www.graphicmaps.com
Created: April 14, 1998. Updated: mei 8 2012