No matter where one lives or visits, the recreation and leisure
activities are no less important than work and business. Kuwait
has all the amenities and infrastructure for business and
modern living and has plenty to offer for extra curricular
activities, pleasure, relaxation and pastime.
With modernization the pastime activities of
the past, Falconry, hunting in the desert and sea fishing
have lost much of their appeal, though evening 'Diwaniyah'
is still a favourite pastime for Kuwaiti men. Expatriates
and visitors have every conceivable modern pastime and recreational
activity for relaxation available in Kuwait.
In Kuwait, television and radio are state run and the rest
of the media is supervised by the Ministry of Information.
Five daily newspapers are published in Arabic, Al-Qabas (the
Torch), Al-Watan (the Native Land), Al-Anbaa' (the News),
Al-Rai Al Aam (Public Opinion), and Al-Seyassah (Politics).
These cost 100fils each, but home delivery is available for
a subscription of KD35 per year, except for Al-Anbaa' which
costs 150fils a copy or KD45pa.
There are also two daily English language newspapers,
the Arab Times and the Kuwait Times. These cost 150fils each
but are also available on early morning home delivery for
KD45 a year. Most foreign English language quality papers
are available from hotel kiosks and the larger bookshops,
though they tend to arrive a day late.
Plenty of weekly, bi-weekly and monthly magazines
are published in Arabic. Many English and Arabic Newspapers
and magazines from various countries are available at the
Videos & Music
Kuwait has plenty of video and music shops where music audio
and latest films video cassettes and CDs in Arabic, English,
Hindi, Tagalog, and other languages, are available.
The ubiquitous satellite dish means that TV programmes from
all over the world can be received, including CNN, TNT, Star
TV, the BBC, LTV, even MTC and Israeli TV --- programmes and
timings are shown in the daily newspapers. Many apartment
blocks have communal dishes.
Kuwait has four state-run channels. KTV1 broadcasts
a comprehensive selection of programmes in Arabic, including
variety and music shows, movies, news and current affairs,
from morning until late in the evening. KTV4 takes over from
KTV1 when the latter closes down and broadcasts a rather entertaining
mixed bag in Arabic and English throughout the night.
KTV2 broadcasts a variety of family and popular
programmes in English. Some programmes, such as the evening
movie, are subtitled in Arabic. Opening at about 2pm, KTV2
closes past midnight after the late night movie. KTV3 is Kuwait's
Sports channel. It broadcasts a wide selection of live and
prerecorded sporting events from all around the world, some
with voice-overs in Arabic.
Kuwait Radio bro-adcasts a wide variety of progra-mmes in
Arabic and English, and in a few other languages such as Persian,
Urdu and Philopino on several FM, MW and SW transmitters.
The main Arabic station broadcasts programmes
on current and social affairs as well as music and regular
Kuwait also has a commercial Arabic FM station
pumping out modern Arabic music on FM103.7 and classical Arabic
music on FM87.9 24 hours per day.
Kuwait has its own English-language FM station, Super Station
99.7 and Easy FM 92.5.Kuwait's SUPER STATION is probably the
best music station in the region.
Kuwait's AM service in English broadcasts a mixture
of cultural, religious and musical programmes that reflect
a Kuwaiti view of the world, twice a day, from 8 am to 11am
and from 9pm to midnight, on 963KHz on the medium wave for
listeners in Kuwait and the Gulf. There is a main news at
9:00am and an extended news at 9:30pm. Listeners in South
and South East Asia may tune into the morning programmes on
15110 KHz on the 19 meter band on the short-wave, while listeners
in Europe and North American may pick up the evening programmes
on 11990KHz on the 25 meter band on the short wave.
Details of programmes, advertising rates and
other information on Kuwait TV and Radio are available on
the Ministry of Information website:www.moinfo.gov.kw
The American Armed Forces FM Radio broadcasts
a variety of programmes for American servicemen from Camp
Doha on the north side of Kuwait Bay, which can be received
in most parts of Kuwait.
Overseas Radio Reception
Most international radio stations can be received in Kuwait.
The major international broadcasting stations
publish lists of frequencies, programmes and times, and these
are usually available from embassies in Kuwait. The BBC World
Service reports world events around the clock in English and
several times a day in other languages. The VOA (Voice of
America) has a relay station in Kuwait.
RECREATIONAL GARDENS & RESORTS
The Government's success in greening the harsh
desert can be seen in Kuwait's parks and road verges. Most
public gardens have children's play areas and there are several
amusement parks dedicated to the art of keeping children actively
enthralled for hours at a time.
The Municipality maintains several well designed public gardens,
all with naturally shaded areas, around Kuwait City.
Kuwait Zoo (tel: 473 3389) is open every day except Saturdays
from 8am to 8pm in winter, and from 8am to 12 noon and 4pm
to 8pm during summer. Located in Omariya on the Airport Road,
entrance is 250fils, infants free.
Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC)
The Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC) organises many of
the major entertainment and recreational facilities in Kuwait.
It works in cooperation with local companies in developing
and maintaining leisure related projects, such as beaches
and sea clubs, recreational parks, guest houses and resorts,
and entertainment centres for children. (tel: 5650111/5653771)
Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC) has two recreational parks,
the South Sabahiya Garden (tel: 361 0472) in Ahmadi Governorate,
and the Touristic Garden (tel: 434 5961 / 434 9283) in Jleeb
Al-Shyoukh. Each has amuse-ments, rides and other games for
children and adults, as well as snack bars, gift stalls and
piped music. Both parks have 'Roman' theatres for the presentation
of entertainment on weekends. Entry is 250 fils a person on
ordinary days and 500 fils on evenings when shows are presented.
There are also several smaller parks, run by private enterprise,
offering amusements and games for children, located in different
The privately owned Al-Shaab Leisure Park (tel:
561 3777) is located next to TEC's offices on Gulf Arabian
Street. The Park has a variety of games and amusements for
young and old, including carousels, dodgems, bowling hall,
billiards, snooker and tennis, as well as a theatre and cinema.
All the amusements are linked by paths that meander through
gard-ens and around water fountains. There is a restaurant
block conta-ining branches of most fast food outlets in Kuwait.
Open daily from 4pm to midnight (from 10am on weekends), entry
is 500fils a head and games cost 250 to 750fils a go, though
a full ticket may be purchased for KD2/500.
The Green Island
Managed by TEC, this artificial island is near the Kuwait
Water Towers. Linked to the main land by a short walkway,
the Green Island has an amphitheatre, two restaurants, a viewing
tower, a children's castle and landscape of flowers and greenery.
The entry charge of 250fils a person provides a pleasant walk
with some nice views of Kuwait City.
Al-Madina Al-Tarfihiya (the City of Entertainment)
is located in Al-Doha, about 20 kilometers from the City.
Run by TEC, the complex provides a complete range of amusements
based on themes from the 'Arab World', the 'International
World', and the 'Future World'. One of the best amusement
parks in the world, the entrance fee is only KD3/500 per person,
an all-in price which allows the ticket holder to enjoy various
rides and amusements without paying anything extra.
Timings: Summer Winter
Sun - Wed 4- 12pm 2:30-10:30pm
Thur - Fri 4- 12pm 10am - 9pm
Sat - Closed
tel: 487 9545 / 487 9455
Showbiz (tel: 571 4094/5/7) is a permanently
sited carnival with carousels, dodgems, donkey and cart, pony
and camel rides, etc, located in Ras Salmiya. Open daily from
4pm to midnight (from 1pm on weekends), entry is free but
each amusement costs 500fils a go, except for the large roller
coaster (KD1) and a few other main attractions.
The Touristic Bus is an open top double-decker
bus that runs from Showbiz in Ras Salmiya along the coast
to Shaab and back via Salmiya and the Sultan centre. The half
hour sight-seeing round trip costs 250fils per person.
Considered to be the fourth largest fountain
in the world, the Musical Fountains (tel 242 8394), next to
the Ice Skating Rink on the First Ring Road, provide a sight
and sound show of music and colourful 'dancing waters', every
night during the summer from 4pm to 11pm. Entry is 250 fils
per person, but subscriptions for week-end shows are 500fils
per adult and 250fils per child.
Accommodation for the week-end or longer can
be rented in many places along the southern part of the coast.
Al-Khiran Resort (tel: 395 1122) is a TEC facility
about 120 kilometres south of Kuwait City. The resort has
nearly 200 chalets and studio flats. Facilities include a
yacht club and fully serviced marina, swimming pools, playgrounds,
sports and health facilities, shops, a supermarket, coffee
shops, and a 24-hour business centre. Small chalets cost KD100
for a weekend and KD202/500 a week. Regular chalets cost KD110
per weekend and KD285 for a week.
The Scientific Center
A new addition to Kuwait's attractions, The Scientific Center,
was inaugurated on 17th April 2000. Situated on Gulf Road
in Salmiya, this new monument is a symbol of cultural heritage
projecting the advancement in sciences. Conceived and financed
by Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS),
it has the largest aquarium in the Middle East, a class IMAX
theatre, Dhow Harbour, Discovery Place for children, a restaurant
and a gift shop. (For further details Tel: 848888, or visit
their website at: www.tsck.org.kw)
Other Palces of Interest
Other places of interest to see in Kuwait encompass the moderately
old and the almost brand new.
Dhow Harbours & Building Yards
There are several dhow harbours along the coast where traditional
wooden boats, such as sanbooks (medium-sized coastal traders),
can be seen. There is a fairly large dhow harbour between
the Seif Palace and the fish market, and another one just
opposite the National Assembly. These are working harbours
and most of the boats are used for fishing.
Doha Village was once the centre of boat building
in Kuwait but the building yards were looted and fortified
by the Iraqis, and nowadays very few dhows are being built
except for some exquisite miniatures.
The world's largest wooden dhow, owned and built by Hussein
Marafie, Al-Hashemi II is a 'Baghalah'of monumental proportions.
'Baghalah' was a large wooden cargo vessel which sailed the
seas in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Constructed
next to the Radisson SAS Hotel, the double-decked Al-Hashemi
II is dry-docked next to a pre-oil era Kuwaiti village and
marine museum containing models of extinct and modern dhows.
The lower deck has the Grand Ballroom, one of the finest in
Al-Hashemi II has earned the distinction of being
listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
There are several old houses from the pre-oil
era along the seif (waterfront) which have been renovated
and prese-rved, including the old British Political Agency
building opposite the Dhow harbour. In the area just inland
in Sharq there are some interesting broken down old houses
Bayt Al-Badr, an old house located next to As-Sadu
house, was built between 1838 and 1848. It is a good example
of the famous front doors of old Kuwait and exhibitions of
local handicrafts are sometimes displayed there.
There is a replica of an old Kuwaiti town next
to the Dhow harbour opposite the National Assembly, which
includes a play area for children and is occasionally used
for traditional cultural events. Though it is a bit contrived,
the replica does provide a good idea of what a coastal Gulf
village was like in the old days.
There are several ancient mosques in Kuwait City
which are still in use. The oldest is the well-preserved Al-Khalifa
Mosque, opposite the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Arabian
Gulf Street, which was built in 1714CE (1126AH). Other 18th
century mosques include Ibn Khammes, Al-Nesif and Soud Mosques,
and Al-Hamdan Mosque in the Central Area. Al-Matabba (now
Shamlan bin Ali bin Seif Al-Roumi) Mosque and Ibn Bahar Mosque
(opposite the Council of Ministers) are from the 19th century.
CITY WALL GATES
The wall around the old City was demolished in
1957 but its five gates were left standing as monuments to
the past. These are Maqsab Gate (by the sea, down from the
Sheraton Hotel), Jahra Gate (inside the roundabout at the
bottom of Fahd Al-Salem Street), Shamiya Gate (at the start
of Riyadh Street), Beraisi Gate (at the end of Mubarak Al-Kabeer
Street), and Bneid Al-Qar Gate (in Bneid Al-Qar), in the green
belt between Soor (wall) Street and the First Ring Road. The
gates were destroyed by the Iraqi invaders but have since
A wonderful cultural centre on the seif at Salmiya,
Bayt Lothan (tel: 575 5866 / 5877) was set up to preserve
the culture of, and develop skills in the creative arts and
crafts of Kuwait and the Gulf, and to promote fine arts and
handicrafts both locally and internationally. The Bayt's facilities
include a court yard for lectures and concerts, an exhibition
hall, a children's play centre, two tea rooms, a shop selling
art materials, books and gifts. The Bayt, a private non-profit
organization, offers basic training programmes in creating
jewellery, pottery, drawing, painting, mixed media, photography,
Arabic calligraphy, and music, and provides much of the materials
and equipment needed. All courses are conducted by professionals
and are open to both the indigenous and expatriate communities.
Bayt Lothan also organises and sponsors art exhibitions, educational
programmes and public service campaigns.
The 'House of Weaving', located near the National
Museum, is a fine example of a pre-oil era house. It exhibits
bedouin camel bags, decorations, tent dividers, carpets and
cushions and is open in the mornings and from 5 to 7 pm, Saturdays
to Thursdays. Founded to preserve the art of Sadu, Bedouin
women can be seen weaving inside. Sadu House (tel: 243 2395)
organizes weaving lessons. The Kuwait Textile Association
(President: Fadela Bird tel: 5624517) holds seminars, lectures
and demonstrations under the auspices of Sadu House.
The National Museum (tel 245 1195 / 245
6534 fax 240 4862), near the National Assembly, comprised
four buildings and a planetarium. It once housed the Dar Al-Athar
al-Islamiyah, the As-Sabah collection of Islamic Art, one
of the most comprehensive in the world. Other buildings housed
pearl diving relics, ethnographical artefacts and archaeological
material from excavations on Faylaka Island. Looted and burned
by the Iraqi invaders the museum is now restored and some
exhibits are again open to the public including parts of the
Dar Al-Athar al-Islamiyah collection, ninety percent of which
has been returned from Iraq. In 1997, Muhallab II, the replacement
for (and replica of) the magnificent trading dhow from the
1930s that graced the front yard of the museum before it was
burned by the Iraqis, was constructed on site and is now open
The Educational Science Museum (tel 242
1268 / 244 8320-1 / 244 1791-2) is on Abdullah Mubarak Street.
It contains displays of the petroleum industry, natural history,
aviation, machinery, electronics, space and zoology subjects,
as well as a health hall and a planetarium. The museum is
open from 9:00am to noon and from 4:30 to 7:30pm everyday
except Thursdays and Fridays. Entrance fees are 150fils per
adult and 100fils per child.
The Taraq Rajab Museum (tel 531 7358 / 531 8060) is a private
museum, located in a villa in Jabriya (area 12), that specialises
in Islamic arts and crafts. A large collection of ethnic and
Islamic gold and silver jewellery, manuscripts, metalworks,
textiles, embroideries and costumes, ceramics and musical
instruments, can be viewed every weekday from 9am to noon
and 4 to 8pm every day except Friday afternoons.
The new KOC Display Centre is an ultra-modern
audio-visual museum of Kuwait's oil industry, past and present.
It is open to the public by appointment (tel: 398 2393).
There are several monuments to the Iraqi occupation and Allied
liberation of Kuwait here and there, all conceived in a discrete
Al-Qurain House (tel 543 0343) was the site of
a bloody battle between the Messilah Resistance Group and
the Iraqi occupiers. Situated in the new Qurain housing area
on road 208 between the Fahaheel and Magreb Expressways, the
house is now a museum and monument to the martyrs of Kuwait.
A stroll around Kuwait City or its suburbs is well worth the
while for persons interested in modern buildings.
The Kuwait Water Towers (tel 244 4021)
are situated on Arabian Gulf Street on a promontory to the
east of the centre of the city in Dasman. The Towers are the
country's most famous landmark. The uppermost sphere of the
largest tower (187 metres high) has a revolving observation
area (one full turn every half hour) and a restaurant, with
access by high speed lift. Entrance is 500fils per person
but is free if lunch or dinner has been reserved. Cameras
with zoom lens are forbidden. The other two spheres in the
towers are water tanks, containing about 4.5 million gallons
of water each.
The Liberation Tower, with a height of
372 meters, is the fifth tallest communication tower in the
world. Construction started in April 1987 but had to stop
due to Iraqi Invasion in August 1990 and resumed in 1993.
Covering an area of 21,000 square meters, it includes a hall
to serve the public 24 hours a day and the new main building
has administrative and technical offices and the Liberation
Tower. The eighteen meter under ground foundation holds three
basements. The tower has a revolving restaurant and the vertical
cavities in the tower body contain two elevators which provide
panoramic view of the city as they climb to the revolving
restaurant and the viewing balcony.
There are many fine examples of modern mosque
architecture in Kuwait. These include the pyramid shaped mosque
in Ras Salmiya and the Fatima Mosque in Abdullah Al-Salem.
The Grand Mosque (tel 241 8448/7 to arrange guided tours),
opposite the Seif Palace, combines several traditional Islamic
styles using modern technology while retaining the local characteristics
of Kuwait as well as preserving the Islamic tradition of calligraphy.
The three-storeyed Islamic Medicine Mosque, attached to the
Centre for Islamic Medicine in the Al-Sabah Hospital Area,
is a masterpiece of Islamic style and calligraphy.
There are several areas in the country of interest to nature
lovers. Near Sulaibi-khat, for example, there are mudflats
where various species of marine and terrestrial animals can
be seen, as well as (occasionally) flamingoes.
Jahra Town was once a small flourishing garden
settlement, with a strategic importance because it was on
the intersection of three major caravan (and invasion) routes.
The ancient Qasr Al-Ahmar (Red Fort), famous for several historic
battles, is open during the morning and is well worth a visit.
Driving in Jahra is a unique experience.
Ahmadi, Kuwait's oil town, lies about 40km south
of the City. It is attractively laid out in tree-lined avenues
fringed by small houses with well-tended gardens, which gives
the place a park-like appearance.
Wafra, in the deep south, is the main centre
for farming in Kuwait. The area has about 1,000 farms and
the town has a vast vegetable market for local produce which
is patronised by buyers from Kuwait City, who descend on the
place in droves during the weekend.
There are 15 cinemas run by the Kuwait National
Cinema Company (tel: 5396091). Seating areas for families
and single men are segregated, and women do not usually go
to the cinema alone. Arabic, Indian, Chinese and international
films are shown. Prices range from KD1/500 to 3/- a head.
Tel 5387300/400 for locations and timings. Automated 24-hour
telephone service for movies schedule 803456.
KNCC has plans to construct a unique multiplex cinema entertainment
center at the current location of Drive-in cinema on the 6th
ring road with 10 screens. The center will also have restaurants,
bowling alley, games arcade, prayer rooms, internet cafe and
extensive shopping centre.
& CULTURAL ARTS
The cerebrally orientated will find that Kuwait is a hive
of intellectual activity.
The sciences are actively encouraged. The Kuwait Fund for
the Advancement of Science receives a compulsory donation
from the annual profits of public companies which it uses
to fund scientific research.
Membership of The Science Club on the 6th Ring
Road is open to all nationalities. Managed by a group of enthusiastic
amateurs, the Club's amazing range of facilities and the latest
in scientific hardware includes Al-Aujairy Observatory. Its
aims are to create an informal environment in which people
of all ages, from pre-teens to grandparents, can develop their
scientific hobbies. Contact:
tel 5396561/2 fax 5392549
The government actively encourages the development
of artistic talents in Kuwait and provides funding for developing
artists to study abroad.
The Free Atelier, founded in 1960, to provide
technical help and professional instruction for students,
and its full-time artists have their studios on the premises
near the British Embassy in Arabian Gulf Street. Visitors
are welcome between 8:00am and 2:00pm every day except Thursdays
There are several commercial art galleries, notably
in Salhiya Complex and in Salmiya.
Male expatriates, are often invited to the diwaniyahs
of their Kuwaiti friends. These are excellent opportunities
for making good business contacts. Indeed, a pleasant evening
may be spent going from one diwaniyah to another. These diwaniyahs
range from large formal gatherings used as public meeting
places and platforms by well known Kuwaitis down to small
private diwaniyahs where a club atmosphere reigns.
In the formal diwaniyahs seating is usually provided.
If not, sitting cross-legged on the floor becomes comfortable
in time. Tea and other beverages, and small snacks are served.
CLUBS & SOCIETIES
Kuwait has many clubs and societies catering
to a wide range of social interests.
The Kuwait Transplant Society carries out public awareness
campaigns to encourage the public to donate their organs.
The society also encourages re-search and, in cooperation
with Arab and international organisations, organises seminars
and conferences. (tel: 2520230/0147, fax: 2560751).
The Social Reform Society was established in
1963 with the aim of providing moral guidelines for the country's
youth. It does so by contributing to the debate on educa-tional
policies and by encouraging charitable works through the organisation
of social activities for all sectors of society. (tel: 2514180,
Bayader Al-Salem Society - Women aims to achieve
social, educational, cultural and religious objectives in
practical ways, such as by organising lectures and seminars
to improve the cultural awareness of women, by establishing
model nurseries, by organising educational courses in household
management and other topics, and by founding kindergartens
and schools. (tel: 2514501/8, fax: 2514528).
Kuwait has an abundance of sports and leisure
facilities and there are facilities for playing all major
field, track and indoor sports, such as tennis, handball,
basketball, volleyball, athletics, gymnastics, squash, table
tennis, etc. Despite its small size the country has four world-class
stadiums. Each has a capacity for about 25,000 spectators
and can host international field and track events by day or
night. Football, with more than 120 football pitches in sporting
clubs and schools, is by far the most popular sport in Kuwait,
followed by basketball.
FEDERATIONS & THE KUWAIT OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
The Ministry of Social Affairs & Labour provides
generous funding for organised sports activities through the
Public Authority for Youth and Sports. Sports activities are
organised into federations which are supervised by the Kuwait
Olympics Committee. The sports federations and the Kuwait
Olypmic Committee are located in Hawalli (tel: 263 7904).
The Kuwait Olympic Committee, which is recognised
by the International Olympic Committee and is a member of
the Asian Games Federation, organises Kuwait's participation
in international events. Kuwait first took part in the Olympics
in Mexico City in 1968 and Kuwait won the Olympic gold medal,
in Moscow in 1980. Indeed in the last twentyfive years Kuwait
has had outstanding success in international soccer, equestrianism,
swimming and athletics, much of which can be attributed to
the encouragement of HH the Amir, generous state support,
the enthusiasm of fans and the media and, above all, to the
guidance and organisational genius of Sk. Fahd Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah
who was first elected chairman of the Kuwait Olympic Committee
in 1974. Sadly, Sk. Fahd died valiantly in defence of his
home on the 2nd August, 1990. The current chairman of the
Olympic Committee is Sk. Ahmed Fahd Al-Ahmed, a worthy successor
to his father.
TEC's Ice Skating Rink (tel: 241 1151-3 ) is
just off the 1st Ring Road at Shamiya Gate. It has an Olympic
size skating floor as well as a smaller rink. The small rink
is often reserved for women and children, and it may be rented
for private and corporate parties. Training is available and
there are equipment rental shops (which also sell skating
clothes and equipment) and a small cafe. Hours are 8:30am
to 10:00pm every day except Saturday. Entry 500 fils and scating
costs KD1/500 per head (including rental of shoes).
Kuwait Skating School offers a variety of reasonably-priced
courses from beginners to advanced for children and adults.
Contact: Gilda Karam mbl: 9058996
The beaches are safe, though sea urchins and
stone fish may be encountered. Sea snakes are sometimes seen
but they are not aggressive. Jelly fish may annoy at times.
Shark attacks are virtually unknown. However there are strong
currents along parts of the coast, so bathing at the popular
beaches and clubs is safest.
Swimming Pools & Sea-Clubs
Women and families may prefer to go to the facilities operated
by TEC, all of which have supervised bathing, swimming pools,
cafeterias, shaded areas with tables, showers and changing
rooms, gardens and play areas for children, though moderate
entry fees are charged.
The Swimming Complex (tel: 562 2600) in Shaab
on Arabian Gulf Street contains an Olympic-size pool and a
diving pool for youth and adult use only. There is a family
section with a beginners' pool and two pools for the under-fives.
The complex also has a swimming school and cafeteria as well
as a billiards and snooker hall.
The Aqua-Park (tel: 243 1960-3) is beside Kuwait
Towers. Its main attractions are the water slide and artificial
wave pools. There are also kids pools, as well as restaurants.
TEC runs three sea clubs, Shaab Sea Club (tel: 564 1953),
Ras al-Ardh (tel: 574 0977) in Ras Salmiyah, and Fahaheel
Marine Club (tel: 372 4073). The clubs have swimming pools,
and basketball, volleyball and tennis courts, and amusement
halls. Shaab and Ras al-Ardh have bowling alleys, fitness
centres, a sauna, a swimming school, and amusement halls.
Shaab also has a karate gym, while Ras al-Ardh has table tennis.
All three clubs have gardens, each with a theatre and cafeteria.
Ras al-Ardh has a billiards hall and a ball room, while Shaab
caters to nautical members with a 200-berth anchorage for
boats (maximum 15-foot) and related services.
TEC operates three beaches, Messilah Beach (tel:
5650642) just off the Fahaheel Expressway and Oqeilah near
Fintas(tel: 3900583), and Fahaheel (tel: 3719496), where bathers
are supervised by trained life-guards. These beaches have
cafeterias and open theatres. Messilah also has a swimming
pool for adults and two for children, as well as children's
entertainment such as a spider's web climbing pole and a train.
Sports such as boating, wind-surfing and jet
skiing may be enjoyed off most beaches. Police regulations
prevent speed-boats and jet-skis from entering areas used
There are fish of every conceivable shape and size in the
waters off Kuwait, just there for the taking, including six
different sorts of shark, two types of barracuda, stinging
and non-stinging ray fish, four sorts of mackerel and tuna,
and an array of soles, breams, snappers, rock and cat fish,
flounders, cobias, puffers and needlefish.
Fishing can be done from the beaches using sophisticated
long casting rods, from prominent rocks and the ends of piers
using simple poles, lines and hooks or wire baskets to catch
fry, from the water off the beaches using nets held by several
persons, from boats using trawls and multi-hooked lines. Tackle,
from the simple to the ultra-sophisticated, is available (see
Boats & Yachts in the KPG Business Directory), though
many of the most successful fishers seem to use rather crude
looking home-made equipment.
The fishing boats can be hired either from dhow harbours or
private companies operating in TEC's sea clubs.
Kuwait is a sailor's paradise. Off-shore there is nearly always
a moderate breeze and it is not often that sailors are becalmed
or driven to land by rough seas. Boats range from small sailing
dinghies to large yachts.
The Yachting Club, on Arabian Gulf Street next
to Shaab Sea Club, has a marina with 390 fully-serviced berths
for craft with a minimum length of 25 feet. The club has a
marine survey centre and also runs the nearby Shaab Anchorage
where it costs KD1 a day to moor a small boat. The Yatching
Club organises an annual regatta and speed boat championships.
The Kuwait Offshore Sailing Association (KOSA) is a registered
Royal Yachting Association shore-training centre and offers
internationally recognised shore-based theory courses. KOSA,
which has about 50 members and ten boats (24 to 40 foot),
runs three racing series in Kuwait each season (September
to June) under international offshore racing regulations and
also takes part in international races. Meetings are held
on the first Monday of the month at 7:30pm in the Messila
Beach Hotel. Sailing and racing takes place on weekends from
TEC's marina at Shaab.
There is a Catamaran Club centred on the Messilah
Beach Hotel for Hobie (16-footers) and Dart (18-footers) which
meets once a month at the home of one of its members. All
the boats are privately owned. Members welcome visitors on
Thursday afternoons and Fridays and, though there are no formal
training courses, newcomers will find that members are happy
to demonstrate their craft.
Despite increasing pollution from the Shatt al-Arab, the seas
off Kuwait are comparatively clear, and scuba diving is popular.
The best locations are off-shore around Qit'at (Donkey's Reef),
Umm al-Maradim and Qaruh islands in the south and so most
trips leave from Fahaheel or the Khiran Resort area.
There are several diving schools offering training
courses, from complete beginners to assistant instructors,
conducted by instructors with internationally recognised certification.
Equipment can be hired from diving centres and commercial
establishments, which also organise diving trips on weekends
and public holidays. Diving trips are about KD15 a person
per day and full cylinders can be hired for KD2 each.
To preserve Kuwait's pre-oil heritage, pearl diving using
traditional boats and equipment is being revived under the
auspices of HH the Crown Prince. The boats are prepared in
April, training in diving techniques takes place in June and
July, and there are diving competitions in late August.
& BUYING BOATS & EQUIPMENT
Taking a boat trip to one of the islands, such
as Failaka, can make for a pleasant day out, with swimming
and picnicing on fish caught by trawl or line along the way.
A dhow can be hired for a few hundred dinar a day, including
crew and all running costs, which is ideal for a small office
outing or for several families clubbing together. Enquire
at any dhow harbour.
KPTC (tel: 5742664) runs ferry trips from Ras Salmiya to Failaka
Island every day. The return journey costs KD2/500 per person,
cars with driver KD 20 and box cars KD 25. The time schedules
are different for every day and monthly schedules are available
from KPTC. A trip by dhow to Umm al-Maradim Island for 30
people from Khiran Resort (tel: 3951122) costs KD100 for 12
Boats may also be hired at the sea clubs. One
holding 14 persons rents for KD25 an hour. A 45-minute sea
trip in a large boat usually costs KD2 a head or KD1 in a
small boat. But at the Yacht Club a 74-footer holding up to
35 persons can be rented for KD250 for the day.
Parasailing is available from some of the sea
clubs. Jet skis may be hired from private traders on the beaches
for KD10 an hour; the owner usually insists on holding the
customer's civil ID to ensure the safe return of the equipment.
For long-term enjoyment it is more economical
to buy. Most international brands of marine equipment are
on sale (see KPG Brands & Agents Directory), though locally
made boats are also available (KD1,150 upwards for a fibreglass
pleasure-fishing boat). Gear for speed boating, windsurfing,
jet skiing, water skiing, yachting and scuba diving can be
bought from the dealers shown under Boats & Yachts in
the KPG Business Directory.
CUISINES OF KUWAIT
The polyethnic diversity of the population is
the reason that a vast range of foodstuffs is available in
Kuwait. The staples of the Arabian, Western, Indian and Far
Eastern diets are sold in the supermarkets. Up-market speciality
shops offer haute nouriture from Lebanon and Europe. Small
groceries supply the soul foods of Arabia and the Eastern
Mediterranean, Pakistan, Baluchistan, India, Sri Lanka, Korea,
the Philippines, and Thailand --- everything from fragrant
rice to fermented fish. This phenomenal choice is reflected
on private dinner tables and in Kuwait's innumerable restaurants.
Kuwait is a food lover's paradise.
Home cooking and partying play an important part
in the social life of expatriates. This may be due to the
emphasis on family life and the conservative nature of evening
entertainment in Kuwait. But the culinary emphasis also arises
from the abundance of freshly caught seafood and fresh vegetables
and fruit available every day in the local markets.
Kuwait is rumoured to have more restaurants per
resident than any other country in the world. Without a doubt
there is choice enough to suit every taste and pocket.
The restaurants found in Kuwait's major hotels
range from coffee-shops to exclusive dining rooms where international
haute cuisine is served. Compared to Europe, America and Japan,
prices are reasonable.
Every hotel has a buffet where for a fixed price
guests may gorge themselves without limit. These serve a variety
of hot and cold foods and though the cooking is not exclusively
Arabic, they do offer excellent introductions to Kuwaiti cuisine.
Prices range from less than KD5 to 15 a head at most, which
is cheap considering the quantity, quality and variety of
In addition to Arabic and 'intern-ational' cuisine,
many hotel restaurants have 'theme nights', such as Italian,
Japanese, Western, etc, when they offer foods and ambience
based on national cuisines from the East or the West.
Outside the hotels there are hundreds of restaurants where
substantial meals can be enjoyed at very reasonable prices.
Those that specialise in particular national cuisines, such
as Arabic, Persian, Indian, Chinese, Philippino and Italian,
seem to enjoy better culinary success than the few that serve
a mix of styles in an attempt to satisfy all tastes.
Possibly because of its relative blandness, Continental
and American cuisine is mainly found in the larger hotels.
Yet there are several Italian and other European restaurants
in Kuwait City and down the coast.
Small Restaurants, Take-aways & Casual Dining
Every street in Kuwait has several small sandwich shops with
a few seats and a mainly take-away clientele. Most sell Arabic
snack foods, such as sh'wermas, samboosas, and falafel, and
a filling collation may be enjoyed for less than half a dinar.
Most of the Arab, Indian, Persian, and Chinese restaurants,
even the larger ones, provide a take-away service.
The apex of local restaurants are the kebab houses
selling kebabs, shish kebabs, hummus, juices, samadi (a mix
of ice creams, fruits and juices) and other triumphs of Arabic
casual dining. These are mainly found in residential areas.
A full meal costs KD1/250 a head at most, and foil and plastic
wrapped deliveries to nearby flats and residences at no extra
charge are usual.
For those with unadventurous palates, the homogenous
burger of American casual dining experience is available most
everywhere, along with the usual range of pizza parlours.
Though they tend to be concentrated in the City and the shopping
areas such as Salmiyah and along the Seif (Gulf Road), outlets
for international chains such as McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's,
Wimpy's, Hardees, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Express, Pizza
Hut, Pizza Italia, etc, are found just about everywhere in
Kuwait. Of more interest to the discerning is the growth in
recent years of local chains of casual dining outlets, such
as Bint Al-Deek, Naif Chicken, which serve a creative mix
of international and Arabic casual dining foods using mostly
home-reared animals and fresh produce.