Kuwait is no newcomer to welcoming tourists. A coastal oasis that has for centuries lured Bedouin people in search of sea and a cool breeze, modern Kuwait offers you a glimpse into the Middle East at its most extravagant.
With towering high-rises, plush beach resorts and extravagant restaurants, don’t come to Kuwait looking for a budget getaway – unless you are shopping for tax-free luxury goods!
Wedged in a corner of the Arabian Peninsula between Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the country is currently home to a growing population of about four million people. Its capital Kuwait City is where about half of the country resides and is also where you’ll find the largest number of attractions.
Most famous of all is the iconic Kuwait Towers, which rise 187 metres from the sand below. Inside you’ll find a revolving observation deck, gift shop, cafe and stirring photography collection.
The Tareq Rajab Museum has managed to remain intact during decades of unsteady politics. An ethnographic museum housed in the basement of a large villa, inside you’ll find an impressive collection of pieces from around the Muslim world. Just as remarkable is the story of how the museum survived Iraqi invasion thanks to the owners tricking Iraqi forces by disguising the building’s entrance with bricks and rubbish.
Another monumental Kuwait attraction is the Grand Mosque. In many ways just as ambitious as the Kuwait Towers, the epic Grand Mosque spans 45,000 square metres and can accommodate up to 10,000 men in the main prayer hall.
The largest of the city’s 800 mosques, take a tour if you want to get the full story. Remarkable for a different set of reasons is the innovatively designed Al Hamra Tower. At 414 metres tall, it’s currently among the top 20 tallest buildings in the world.
Though most tourists stick to Kuwait City when they visit, there are a few more points of interest scattered around the small country. Failaka Island, a small island 20 kilometres off the coast of Kuwait is the most fascinating of the small list. There are currently plans for the island to be developed into a holiday resort.
To head into the desert, get a driver or set your Kuwait hire car GPS for the Kazmah desert cliffs. There, you can catch a birds-eye view of the desert and bay, or join the adventure sports enthusiasts 4WDing, quad racing and sand gliding through the golden expanses.
Located in Salmiya, just south-east of Kuwait City, the Scientific Centre is another Kuwaiti architectural feat. The centre houses the largest aquarium in the Middle East, holding more than 100 different species of animals and a 1.5-million-litre capacity.
Though Kuwait might not top your bucket list, the country is still well worth a visit and offers a fascinating insight into the marriage of Islam with oil-wealth.
When booking your flight, don’t stress about which airport to fly into – there’s only one! One thing you do need to keep in mind, though, when you land is that Australian passport holders need a visa, which you can get on arrival.