Backpacking In Kuwait

in Kuwait

Perched in the corner of the Persian Gulf states in between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait is is very accessible to tourists and backpackers alike. Visas can be obtained at the border for citizens of most countries (excluding Israel of if your passport has an Israeli stamp) for a nominal fee and visas last for 3 months. Public transportation inside the country is well developed and fairly inexpensive. Backpackers shouldn’t have much difficulty navigating the bus, train, or taxi system as English is widely used. Prices are expensive in Kuwait, as is the case with many of the Gulf states like Bahrain, so budget yourself as you would for a trip to Western Europe.

Backpackers headed to Kuwait should note that alcohol is illegal in the country and attempting to bring any will cause you major problems at customs so remember to clear out your bags before boarding any flights. Most of your travels will be in and around Kuwait city, which doesn’t have a good hostel infrastructure. Your options are really Western upper-class hotels, which don’t give you a great local feel as they are quite isolated from the surrounding streets. Although you’ll notice a heavy security presence in and around Kuwait City, the city is generally quite safe, even for tourists and foreigners. You probably don’t want to be lugging around your large backpack unnecessarily as most hotel rooms have safes and adequate safety measures in place.

Kuwait towers kuwait city at night

Island Of Failaka

Many travelers and backpackers tend to want to head to the island of Failaka, which is a resort in the making. It’s not too expensive to visit but might break your budget to stay there in a beach town that’s not quite booming yet. Rather, Kuwait City offers and interesting blend of Arab and modern Western culture with its gigantic malls and ultra-modern restaurants and lounges, next door to markets that haven’t changed much in decades. The Souq Marbarakia is one of those places, bustling and alive with shopkeepers eager to get your attention. Tourists may find the place overwhelming at first but are recommended to take it in stride and enjoy the crowds, smells, and bargaining for just about everything.

Women backpacking in Kuwait are recommended to dress modestly, especially when visiting these markets or the more crowded outdoor settings. Not that it is dangerous, but it can invited a certain amount of unwanted attention that might be difficult to deal with and make sightseeing all that more difficult. Speaking of sightseeing, the Kuwait Towers make wonderful photo opportunities. You might also want to plan your arrival for February 25th, Kuwait’s National Day when the Liberation Tower is opened up to foreigners. There are also several museums dedicated to the history of the Iraq invasion which preceded the Persian Gulf War during the early 1990s. Many of the mosques and palaces are also open for tourism although may run on strict schedules. Ask the hotel for an updated listing of the times, otherwise you may be turned back and forced to make a repeat trip.

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