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Kuwait

Flaga Kuwejtu
Official name: State of Kuwait
Population: 4 444 000
Total area: 17 820 km²

, Kuwait, Compass Travel Guide

Gallery

Kuwait – tourist attractions

Kuwait is a small desert country which has several places worth seeing. In my case, when I went to Kuwait I didn’t expect anything new but I was still happy that I had a chance to see another Arab country. I also think that for someone who is just getting to know the Arab world, Kuwait is a very good introduction. Kuwait has interesting cities, traditional Arabian bazaars and some nice beaches. In Kuwait I ate good meals, drank traditional Arabic coffee on the beaches and visited Arabic tea houses. Each of those places has its own charm. Referring to the beaches however I remind that in this conservative Arab country couples should not show affection to each other and women must be covered.

Kuwait City, the capital has the most to offer. I lived there in a very nice hotel, almost by the sea. I liked the coast of Kuwait City which was always full of Arab families in the evening after the heat subsided. I was also impressed by the buildings decorated with paintings referring to the Arab culture of Kuwait. They usually depicted old Arab boats and Arabs helping themselves to Arabic coffee from traditional jugs. There was also an elegant port with new boats nearby and a fish bazaar that looked like an Arabian fortress.

When in Kuwait City I think that first of all one should see the symbol of Kuwait, which are the two Kuwait Towers. I was there twice and once I took a lift to the observation deck to see Kuwait City from above and the sunset over the city. Downstairs there are of course palm trees and a beach where Arab families pleasantly spend their time after the heat subsides. There are always many fishermen on the pier.

Kuwait city centre

Kuwait City centre.

Being in Kuwait City I returned to the Mubarakiya Market many times. I think that place is a must visit because of the people. I spent a merry time with the Arabs in a teahouse, I chatted with vendors from many countries of the Muslim world, and I also tried to make contact with beauties dressed in stylish black sheets. Mubarakiya is a great place to chat, buy souvenirs and eat well. From the bazaar it is easy to reach the coast and downtown Kuwait City where there is more to see. One of these places is the Liberation Tower with a height of 372m.

About 13 km from Kuwait City is Salmiya, which in my opinion is a very active and pleasant suburb of the capital. In Salmiya I spent most of my time at the Marina beach which is nice and well-prepared for people who are tired of the big city. The beach is long and wide and you can swim. There are also a few palm trees on the beach and an interesting wooden object in the form of a shipwreck. Kuwait City and the famous Kuwait Towers are visible from Marina Beach. Not far from the Marina beach there is the Aquarium, which I think is a must see when in Kuwait. There are many beautiful animals inside, from seahorses, through moray eels, to great sharks. Behind the aquarium there is a beautiful coastline, an elegant area for walking and palm trees of course.

With own transport one could also take a few trips outside of Kuwait City. One of them is the Failaka island, where in addition to the beach and peace there is also a Greek fortress built in the times of Alexander the Great, and an archaeological site also left by the Greeks. Someone else might prefer to go to the desert to Al-Jahra (32 km), to see the over 100-year-old Red Fort. Near the border with Saudi Arabia, about 100 km from Kuwait City there are Wafrah farms, where Arabs try to grow vegetables and fruits in greenhouses in the desert. This can also be very interesting, although I know it from Bahrain.

Kuwait Arab girl

Kuwait; Arab girl in Mubarakiya market.

If someone really wants an original adventure, one could also go to the Bubiyan island and take the ‘road to nowhere’ towards Iraq. After a short stretch the road ends and there is only desert left. Bubiyan however is a delicate matter because this island is in a strategic location, close to Iraq and Iran. After the Gulf War in 1991 Bubiyan was turned into a US military base. However, Bubiyan has nice nature, including swamps and seasonally migrating birds. Tourism on Bubiyan Island is very limited but it’s starting to come back to life. There are large tents for rent and sometimes you can ride camels. I advise to rent a car.

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Don’t miss the short paragraph at the end of this article: “Additional Note from the Author”. I plan to add it to each country’s website.

Kuwait – present times

Economy of Kuwait

Mainly oil 

Kuwait has an economy based on oil production and its export and is one of the richest countries in the world. According to the World Bank, Kuwait is the fifth richest country in the world in terms of gross national income per capita. Kuwait is therefore a high-income economy that has the world’s sixth largest oil reserves. Oil exports account for approximately 90% of total exports and 80% of government revenues.

Kuwait also has the most expensive currency in the world. This is the Kuwaiti dinar which is over 2.5 times more expensive than the British pound. The purchasing power of the Kuwaiti dinar is therefore incredible. The National Bank of Kuwait holds shares in many global companies and also provides financial assistance to Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Egypt. Kuwait is a small, powerful country… with an unbearable climate.
Whilst traveling around Kuwait you will definitely feel poorer, although according to my personal experience, prices in Kuwait are not significantly higher compared to London. The most expensive thing is housing.

I think that just in the few sentences above I have explained why the economy of Kuwait is so powerful. Kuwait is a very small country with a small population, which lies on rich deposits of ‘black gold’, has strategic location and one of the highest incomes per capita. Kuwait has 8% of the world’s oil resources, and according to experts and the opinion of the Kuwaiti government it has as much as 104 billion barrels of oil, although part of it is in the neutral zone which Kuwait shares with Saudi Arabia. However, Kuwait has an ambitious plan because it wants to become the global centre of the petrochemical industry by 2035.

Kuwait City bay.

Kuwait City bay.

It is worth mentioning at the beginning that Kuwait was a British protectorate in the years 1899-1961 and Kuwait Oil Co. was jointly owned by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, but later the British got rid of the Persians and the same company changed its name to the British Oil Company, and then to the Gulf Oil Company. The Kuwaiti government nationalized the mining industry in 1976.

According to worldometers.info Kuwait has oil reserves exceeding 775 times its annual consumption, which means that if Kuwait stopped exports, this small country would have enough oil for the next 775 years.

Diversification of the Kuwaiti economy

Taking advantage of the fact that Kuwait is a hot desert where even winters are hot, Kuwait has invested in solar energy. The Shagaya Renewable Energy Park was created in the desert, with the plan to supply approximately 100,000 homes with electricity.

The second largest industry in Kuwait, but incomparably smaller than oil, is steel production. It is large enough to ensure Kuwait’s self-sufficiency. Kuwait also has a macro economy and successfully exports precious metals, aircraft parts, chemicals and computers.

In the inhospitable, extremely hot desert, it’s still good that at least 8.5% of the entire territory of Kuwait is agricultural land, even though arable land covers only 0.6%. Kuwait produces its own vegetables, fruit, meat and dairy products but has to import most of it. Agriculture and animal husbandry take up only 0.4% of GDP and employment is taken mainly by immigrants from the Indian Subcontinent.

The most popular fruit growing in Kuwait are of course dates, also known as ‘desert fruits’. Kuwait produces over 100 tons of dates annually. I entered Kuwait from Saudi Arabia (Khafji), so if someone wants to see vegetable and fruit farms in the desert, on the way from Saudi to Kuwait City they can turn to Wafrah Farms. I’ve seen the same farms in Bahrain before.

When it comes to agriculture Kuwait’s main problem is with irrigation, although this problem became even more acute after the invasion of Iraq, when Iraqi troops set fire to oil wells and spilled oil, creating ‘oil lakes’. Additionally, fishing and shrimping are popular in Kuwait’s territorial waters.

Mubarakiya market. Kuwait.

Arab women in a perfume store. Mubarakiya market. Kuwait.

I am most interested in tourism in Kuwait and I think that the showcase of this branch of the economy is the national airline Kuwait Airways, with which I also flew earlier. However, tourism only accounts for over 1% of Kuwait’s GDP because there are actually more entertaining and interesting destinations than the very expensive, flat and hot desert inhabited by Arabs living under Sharia law. While in Kuwait, several people couldn’t believe that I went there to travel. I didn’t see a single white tourist and the Filipinas I met told me that I liked challenges since I came there. Therefore, it is mainly regional tourism related to Islam and family tourism, also within the Arabian Peninsula region.

According to statista.com, about 3 million foreign tourists come to Kuwait every year, and according to worlddata.info, 850,000 tourists came to Kuwait in 2021, which generated revenue of about $708 million. However, I approach these data with great caution because I know Kuwait well. In my opinion, Kuwait is limited to regional/Islamic tourism and as for Europeans, these are short stopovers on the way to Southeast Asia. It seems that if someone has to wait 12 hours at the airport for the next plane, they go out to see the Kuwait Towers and the Mubarakiya bazaar to visit an exotic Arab country. However, traveling in Kuwait is not the same as in most countries, due to the climate and prices.

Reading about Kuwait, someone might think that it would be worth going there to work and earn some money. I don’t recommend it because of the extremely hot climate. About 10,000 Asian workers die each year in the Arabian Peninsula because of working in the desert. During a religious pilgrimage to Mecca in 2024, 900 people died due to the heat and these numbers are constantly growing (data from July 2024).

Education in Kuwait

Education in Kuwait is free in public schools for all Kuwaiti citizens aged 6-14. Importantly, higher education is also free and the majority of students are women. For such a small country where most of the population lives in one city; Kuwait City, Kuwait has approximately 1,300 primary and secondary schools and three universities, of which Kuwait University is the highest ranked. Kuwait also has student exchange programs with the United States and the United Kingdom and offers students scholarships to study abroad.

Kuwait also has the highest literacy rate in the Arab world and continues to improve. In 2005 the population of people who were literate and knew basic arithmetic was 94%, while in 2020 it was almost 96.5%. It is worth remembering that Kuwaitis are a minority in Kuwait, therefore illiterate people are cheap labour from the Indian Subcontinent. The literacy level in India is about 77%, in Bangladesh 74% and in Pakistan 58%.

Due to very conservative Muslim traditions, in 1996 the Kuwaiti parliament ordered gender segregation in schools. In theory men and women can study together at private universities, but this is not true. Gender segregation is defined by law in Kuwait.
(I do not intend to change Arab countries, just as I would not like them to change Europe, but I would like to express my opinion. I believe that boys and girls should have contact with each other from an early age so that they are better prepared to live in a society of women and men. Segregation by gender is also in many British schools, so it is not only the domain of Muslims.)

There is no problem with the number of schools or universities in Kuwait. The schools are well equipped and the government also offers technical studies, depending on the needs of workers in the market. The problem however is the constantly growing population, which makes many young and educated people unemployed. Between 1985 and 2005 Kuwait’s population doubled due to mass immigration. It was calculated that only 60% of the students were Kuwaitis.

An impressive mosque in Salmiya. Kuwait.

An impressive mosque in Salmiya. Kuwait.

Although Kuwait looks very good compared to most countries, it also has problems. According to the Western media (which thin they are always right), the problems of Kuwaiti education are a shortage of qualified teachers and that higher education is not up to global standards. According to Western media (mainly American and British), universities and research institutions in Kuwait lag behind in terms of innovation, quality of education and implementation of cutting-edge research.

Well, if the King of Kuwait is ever criticized by the ‘progressive’ West regarding education, I suggest he should respond that in Kuwait schools do not promote homosexual degeneracy as the new normal, but traditional family and faithfulness to one’s culture. This is what the West should learn from Kuwait. In England even mathematics was called ‘racist’ because blacks were unable to pass the exams. There are no double standards resulting from political correctness at Kuwaiti universities. (I think I’ll go to university in Kuwait???)

Health care in Kuwait

Kuwait has free health care for all citizens. National medical facilities are located in every district of Kuwait, although there are also private ones. Many new hospitals were opened as part of Kuwait Vision 2035, and the new Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Hospital is considered the largest hospital in the Middle East. Kuwait has invested heavily in its health service through Covid-19, more so than neighbouring countries, making its health care perhaps the best in the region. Currently, Kuwait has 20 public hospitals and 16 private hospitals. Kuwait spends 5% of GDP on health care.

When it comes to Kuwaiti hospitals, I have personal experience. I had a bad accident at the Kuwait Towers, although I’ll spare you the full story. Anyway, I lost touch with reality for a very long time and after some time they woke me up in the hospital and even did an X-ray, even though in theory this type of examination is only for Kuwaiti citizens. It turned out that an ambulance picked me up from Kuwait Towers because the shocked Arabs were terrified of my condition and wanted me to be taken away. They didn’t know how to react. Then I ran away from the hospital in the dark, hot night because I had strange fears, but they didn’t chase me. What a day! In any case, I would like to thank the Kuwaiti health service. I am very grateful.

….. This just happened to me in front of the symbol of Kuwait and the biggest tourist attraction of this country, which is visited by the whole world! What a bad luck! They remembered me… and I know this because after a few days taxi drivers and fishermen were pointing fingers at me and asking if everything was OK. I wonder if they recorded me too?

The main diseases of Kuwaitis

Despite good health services Kuwaitis are not healthy at all, even though many diseases and deaths could be avoided by changing the way of life. Cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases caused 65% of deaths in Kuwait. Every year, cardiovascular diseases account for 31-35% of all deaths, and malignant tumours account for approximately 10-12% of deaths.

I understand that especially in a dry, hot climate Arabs are lazy and don’t want to exercise, but even running for 15 minutes every day would reduce the risk of heart disease by half. There are air-conditioned gyms in Kuwait. Kuwaitis are so lazy that they don’t even want to work at home because every family has servants from poor Asian countries, such as India or the Philippines. As soon as the sun sets, every tea shop was filled with fat Arabs, with whom I had quite a good contact with by the way.

Kuwait has the most obese people in the Arab world. 40% are very fat and as many as 77% are fat. By 2035, as many as 52% of young people in Kuwait will be fat. (Source: https://wired.me/) Unfortunately, sport and diet are hard work and an investment in yourself. However, it is so hot in Kuwait that it’s even difficult to walk and breathe. On the other hand all rooms are air-conditioned; and gyms too.

Arab man and coffee. Kuwait

A Kuwaiti Arab presenting a traditional Arabic coffee pot. Kuwait City.

Another problem in Kuwait are racing drivers, who cause an average of 300-450 fatal accidents a year, with a population of 1.5ml. Generally, on the Arabian Peninsula people drive very fast and carelessly.

Culture of Kuwait

Kuwait is a Muslim, Arab country and Islam is the official religion. However, Kuwaitis are a minority in their own country, which means that only 85% of them are Muslims. Society in Kuwait is very conservative when it comes to family life, customs, the roles of women and men in society, adherence to tradition and architecture. Kuwaiti culture has been shaped by Islam. Islam and Islamic Sharia (Islamic law) are the main sources of Kuwaiti laws and legal acts. Most Muslims in Kuwait are Sunni and the rest are Shia.

Castes are an important element of Kuwaiti society, as in all other countries. It is very important here that Arab countries and India have clearly separated castes, while in the so-called ‘democratic countries’ the main mantra is ‘equality’, which is an obvious lie. The highest caste in Kuwait is of course the Royal Family, which has absolute power over the country. Below are merchants from Kuwait, i.e. former Bedouins. These are nomadic families from the Arabian Peninsula who settled in Kuwait. One caste lower are Arabs from neighbouring countries (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar). At the end there are foreigners, but here too no one tells lies about equality. White tourists or teachers are a higher caste than cheap labour from the Indian Subcontinent or the Philippines. Origin and wealth are therefore of great importance here, even within the same castes.

Marriages in Kuwait are arranged according to the Islamic law, although traditions go much further here. A daughter needs her father’s consent and can have one husband, while a son does not need his father’s consent and can have up to four wives. Additionally, a woman cannot marry a non-Muslim, while a man can marry a non-Muslim woman so that she would then convert to Islam and give birth to Muslims. It is therefore a traditional law that exists in all Muslim countries.

In order to maintain wealth and social position marriages between cousins ​​often take place. Marriages between different families take place all the time, of course, but only between different clans of the same caste but never between different social classes. According to official data in Kuwait men and women have the same rights, including inheritance of property; but I don’t believe it!

Multigenerational families often live in houses, i.e. parents, grandparents, and even aunts and uncles live with the young people. Men mostly support families and women raise children, even though more and more women work and are also in higher education. This attachment to cultural traditions is very important in Kuwait, and which I support. Women sometimes work in offices and as teachers, but they are a minority because families expect them to be mothers and wives first and foremost.

Arab culture, just like the climate, is warmer than the European culture, but it is also associated with greater reserve. In order to show friendship, men kiss each other on the cheek, but on the other hand shows of affection between men and women is not welcome. While travelling in Kuwait I constantly saw that women wore traditional Muslim clothes (‘black sheets’) but didn’t cover their faces, what was notorious in Saudi Arabia. At the Mubarakiya market in Kuwait City I saw that women were always only in the company of their husbands and fathers, while tea houses and restaurants were only for men. There is strong gender segregation in Kuwait.

A traditional Arab fishing boat. Kuwait.

A traditional Arab fishing boat, displayed to refer to Kuwaiti traditions.

The most popular sport in Kuwait is of course football. In the Mubarakiya bazaar I met a young Saudi man holding a Saudi flag, and since I was the only white man he asked me where I was from. When I said I was from Poland he smiled at me but was also a little nervous because a few days earlier Poland had won against Saudi Arabia 2-0. There are also traditional Arab sports such as camel racing and falconry, but the latter is only for the elite.

The traditional art in Kuwait is the art of Muslim calligraphy, which I have seen before in Iran, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. I especially recommend the museum of Koranic calligraphy. As I previously wrote about Bahrain, sawt music is popular in Kuwait, and Kuwait is considered the centre of traditional music in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region.

Food will probably be not a secret to anyone. Kebabs, dates, spicy rice with chicken (like in Saudi) and fish and seafood. The national dish of Kuwait is Mutabbaq Samak, which is fried fish stuffed with onion and spices, served with boiled rice in a spiced fish broth.

To better understand the culture of Kuwait and the entire chapter on the Arabian Peninsula, I recommend my articles about all the countries of this region.

Freedom of speech in Kuwait

In Kuwait, as in every other country, regardless of the political system freedom of speech is guaranteed by the state – but only in theory, not in practice. In Kuwait, as in England, there is strong censorship of freedom of expression and the media is controlled by the government. The media that agree with the government have freedom of expression. For example Al-Watan TV was closed for “anti-government comments.” Those who had too much to say even had to flee from Kuwait, which is similar to the situation in the USA. (Do we remember the Edward Snowden case, which proved that the US spies on its own society just as much as Russia and China? Edward Snowden failed to meet community standards in ‘the most democratic country in the world’.))

In my opinion freedom of speech in Kuwait is the same as on Jewish Facebook. You must meet ‘community standards’ in order not to be blocked. The reality is that journalists, bloggers and internet activists cannot criticize the Emir of Kuwait and his family and they cannot criticize Islam. What I mean by that is that it’s the same in England where you can’t criticize the Royal Family.

The hypocrisy about freedom of speech is endless in every country, so the Muslim regime is not alone. In Poland, the UK and the European Union there is a law on ‘hate speech and the promotion of totalitarian systems’, which in practice means censorship of freedom of expression. We have to agree with the invasion of coloured people and promotion of degeneracy, and we cannot talk about the criminal problems of coloureds.

In Kuwait they came up with the same thing but under a different name. In 2016 Kuwait introduced a law on ‘cybercrime’, and four years later a law on the right to access information was introduced to protect the work of journalists. It looks like you have full freedom of speech if you agree, and if you don’t, you are a ‘cybercriminal’.

It is still better in Kuwait than in Bahrain. According to Reporters Without Borders out of 180 countries and territories Kuwait was ranked 131st, probably because journalists have never been killed in Kuwait. In Kuwait all newspapers are owned by government-linked elites.

Environmental issues in Kuwait

Kuwait is one of the hottest countries in the world and many climate problems are a result of this. Kuwait is mostly desert, apart from the Al-Jahra oasis. Kuwait is very poor in water and doesn’t even have a single river, although it has several dry beds that fill with water seasonally. The Emir of Kuwait is aware of this, which is why desalination of sea water, which the Arabs started in 1951 is a matter of life and death. Unfortunately desalination of water from Kuwait’s desalination plants causes high salinity in the Persian Gulf. It contains other contaminants such as chlorine or chromium, which affects the environment in the coastal region. In other words, seawater desalination poses a huge threat to marine life.

Average annual rainfall in Kuwait is typically around 112mm per year and ranges from 75 to 150mm/year. For comparison, in Poland it is 600 mm, but in the mountains rainfall can reach up to 800 mm-1200 mm. So we see what a dramatic situation Kuwait is in when it comes to water.

Beach in Salmiya.

On the beach in Salmiya.

Additionally, Kuwait is hit by sandstorms. One year they lasted 14 days and another year only 4, but it is a serious problem that occurs in desert areas. How to survive a sandstorm? My advice is to sit down with a scarf over your face, covering your eyes, nose and mouth, cover your head with a backpack and wait. The most dangerous thing is to walk towards the storm.

Kuwait’s oil industry produces significant amounts of pollution from the burning of fossil fuels, from drilling or fracking, and from the process of exporting and storing oil. There are large oil wells in the Kuwaiti desert that are always being drilled and filled. Kuwait is working on renewable energy, but its dependence on oil is so huge that I don’t see air pollution due to oil extraction ending.

In addition, rapid industrialization and urbanization have placed severe strain on the fragile coastal environment off Kuwait’s coast. There are oil spills in Kuwait and there is a problem with industrial waste and solid waste. A 2024 study showed that 76% of solid waste in Kuwait is recycled.

Kuwait also has one more original problem, which I call the ‘tire graveyard’. Of course, the plan was to process rubber, which was not entirely successful because today there are 42 million tires in the Kuwaiti desert, while the factory is able to process 3 million tires a year.

History of Kuwait

For most people uninterested in the Middle East, Kuwait’s story began in August 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. However, I assure you that the history of this country began much earlier. (When writing about the history of Kuwait, I thought it would be a short story because the country is indeed small. Yes, it is small, but turbulent!)

In what is now Kuwait, evidence has been found that these areas were inhabited as far back as 8000 BC. These were mostly primitive tools. As in the case of Bahrain, in Kuwait between the 4th and 2nd centuries B.C. the area today called Kuwait was inhabited by the Dilmun civilization. Then from 2nd century BC The Mesopotamian civilization and merchants from the Sumerian city of Ur (today’s Iraq) began to settle on the island of Failaka. Kuwait therefore began to count as a regional trading center.

Just like every country on the Arabian Peninsula, Kuwait changed rulers. In the 4th century BC the ancient Greeks colonized the Gulf of Kuwait under the rule of Alexander the Great. The ancient Greeks called Kuwait Larissa and Failaka they called Ikaros. When I sailed to Failaka Island, I saw there, among other things, the ruins of a Greek temple, one of which is even on a Kuwaiti banknote.

Centuries passed and new wars took place. In the years around 550–330 BC the territory of present-day Kuwait came under the rule of the Akhmenids, which is also sometimes called the ‘first Persian Empire’. The Parthian Empire, also from Iran, then took control, and in 224 Kuwait became part of the Sassanid Empire, also from Persia.

Young Arab man in traditional outfit. Salmiya, Kuwait.

Young Arab man in traditional outfit. Salmiya, Kuwait.

History has shown that Persians and Arabs have always fought each other, and in 636 an important battle took place in which the Rashidun Caliphate won. This was the beginning of the Islamization era of the Arabian Peninsula, which continues to this day. Over the following centuries, Persians and Arabs fought each other, but the area of ​​Kuwait and the Arabian Peninsula were strongly influenced by Islam. At that time, the port city of Kazma on the Gulf of Kuwait, which was a trade and recreation center for pilgrims from Iraq, also constituted the unofficial border between the Caliphate and the Persian Empire.

From the 5th to the 9th century, Kuwait was also inhabited by Christians. Excavations revealed several farms, villages and two large churches dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries.

In 1521, Kuwait was ruled by Portugal for almost another century, and then it was ruled by Arabs again. Kuwait’s rulers were able to take advantage of the strategic location of this small territory at the crossroads of civilizations. Kuwait became a commercial and transit center between India, Persia, Arabia, Iraq and Oman. Kuwait also became economically stronger due to the Persian invasions of Basra (present-day Iraq). Merchants from Basra fled to Kuwait from persecution first by the Persians and then by the Ottoman Turks. Kuwait was administered by the Ottomans from 1871 to 1875.

Many envious eyes looked at Kuwait, including the Ottoman Empire and the British. In 1775, the Arabs signed a trade agreement with the British East India Company, not out of love but so that the British Navy, at a price, would protect the trade routes from Kuwait to India and Africa. Kuwait was also a recognized centre for building commercial boats and breeding and exporting horses. To this day, Arabian horses are considered among the best in the world.

There has never been peace in Kuwait, even before the oil era. In my opinion, the ruling Kuwaiti Al-Sabah dynasty did a good deal with Great Britain when Mubarak Al-Sabah asked Great Britain to station its warships at sea to protect itself from the Ottoman Empire. The British did not mind that Mubarak came to power through the murder of his brother in 1896. Getting rid of enemies from the region allowed the British Empire to take full control over Kuwait’s foreign policy. It was England who decided with whom Kuwait could do business, but in return it guaranteed Kuwait protection against internal enemies and stable borders. For Kuwait, it was a period of security, technological and cultural development. The Arabs were also fascinated by European culture and way of working.

With World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Kuwait fell into poverty, but the British in the Middle East, in their interests, defended Kuwait’s independence. Saudi Arabia wanted to take over as much of Kuwait’s territory as possible, and Iraq wanted to create one country with Kuwait. In Kuwait itself, there were even organizations that supported the merger of the two countries and even wanted to do it by force, but the Al-Sabah family and the British crushed the rebellion and Kuwait was still: ‘an independent country but under British control’.

(Today, post-colonial nations embody the British Empire only with evil, colonization and slavery, but I have many proofs that the British also did a lot of good in their colonies. Kuwait, Singapore and Hong Kong have something to be thankful for. India too! Colonization and slavery however existed since the beginning of humanity on every continent and in all civilizations, races and cultures – that’s why I protest that only Europeans are associated with these things. The Aztecs, Mayans, Arabs and African tribes had slaves and sacrificed people – but today it looks like Europeans are guilty for the sun and for the rain! Yes, Great Britain did business but without it there would be no Kuwait today and several other countries that achieved great successes thanks to the British Empire.)

1 kuwaiti dinar banknote. Failaka Kuwait.

On Failaka Island in front of a Greek pillar. In my hand I hold a 1 Kuwaiti dinar banknote with the same pillar. Alexander the Great was here.

The oil era and the Gulf War

Oil was discovered in Kuwait in 1938, and oil extraction and industrial development began after World War II. The discovery of oil was so groundbreaking for Kuwait that the entire economy grew at a very rapid pace. Large-scale drilling began in 1945 and mass commercial oil exports began in 1946. Thanks to oil extraction and export, in the 1960s Kuwait became one of the richest countries in the world per capita.

On June 19, 1961 Kuwait gained full independence from Great Britain. Meanwhile Iraq still wanted to annex Kuwait to its country, justifying it by saying that it was once part of Iraq. In 1963 however, under pressure from Great Britain Iraq finally recognized Kuwait’s independence… for a while. In the same year, Kuwait became a member of the UN.

In the 1980s the stability of Kuwait was shaken due to the war between Iraq and Iran and due to terrorist attacks in Kuwait. However, the worst event was Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Saddam Hussein claimed that Kuwait was part of Iraq, although the main reason for the attack and occupation was that Kuwait was hurting Iraq’s economy because it didn’t want to reduce oil production.

Many Kuwaitis fled to Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region and formed a government in exile in Saudi. As a result the US military organized Operation Desert Storm on the 26th of February 1991, which lasted only 43 days. Unfortunately retreating Iraqi troops looted homes and businesses and caused serious damage to Kuwait’s oil industry and environment. The Iraqi army set fire to 742 of 1,080 oil wells, causing oil to spill into the desert and sea. They also took with them thousands of prisoners from Kuwait, whom they held for many years. Iraq accepted Kuwait’s independence only in 1994.

It is also worth mentioning the ‘brotherly love of Arabs for Palestine‘, which I increasingly doubt for many reasons. After Operation Desert Storm, when Iraqi forces were defeated and driven out of Kuwait in March 1991, over 287,000 Palestinians were forced to leave Kuwait due to persecution, lack of medical care and financial losses from Kuwaiti security forces.

However, I would like to add that the liberation of Kuwait by the US was not an act of grace but a well-thought-out investment. American government sources say that Operation Desert Storm (liberation of Kuwait) cost the US about $100 billion and to this day there are as many as 6 US military bases in Kuwait. This of course strengthened the position of the US, UK and Israel in the context of control of the oil industry in the Middle East and a possible war with Iran.

We saw this ‘US act of humanitarianism’ after the wars in Syria, Libya and Iraq in 2003-2011 – based on the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction… which he did not have. I am not defending any Arab country, but I very much doubt that the US would not take oil by force. I suspect however that this entire war was very destructive and unprofitable for the USA and also greatly undermined the position of the USA as the ‘world defender of democracy’, which many people still believed before the war in Iraq.

On the way to Kuwait City.

On the way to Kuwait City.

According to Harvard University and the British Guardian, the true cost of the Iraq war for the US was over $3 trillion!!!! Of course, there were huge humanitarian losses, but what America woudln’t do for ‘democracy’?
The True Cost of the Iraq War: $3 Trillion and Beyond | Harvard Kennedy School
The true cost of war | Iraq | The Guardian

Today, Kuwait is an economically stable country with an established position in the international arena.

Additional Note from the Author

When writing about economics, education, freedom of speech, social problems, culture, religion or political affairs in the countries I have visited, I do not exalt or justify European countries or other countries belonging to the Western civilization. Regardless of the political system and culture of countries, all governments are united by hypocrisy, greed and the desire to take complete power over people. It is always the same wherever I go. People in distant corners of the world complain about their governments and think that I came from the country of “freedom, democracy and prosperity”.

In the so-called “democratic countries” people do not matter. All that matters is a narrow international elite that tailors education, freedom of speech, culture, religion and the promotion of social problems to their own advantage. Through their power over global finance they control our governments and infiltrate key organizations in countries, and through control of the media and pharmaceutical companies they shape public opinion and destroy our mental health. Figureheads in high positions have power over the smallest aspects of our lives.

You can make a lot of money off healthy people who think they are sick. There is a lot of money to be made on organized religion to make the flock feel safer in the group, to have a sense of community and the promise of life in paradise after death. If you live in ignorance, they will surely tell you what you should think, so you would have even more questions, and as a result know even less.

We are all deceived, no matter what race or culture we are. Tragically however, based on my observation I came to the conclusion that most people are too immersed in the prose of life, too simple and too destroyed by the avalanche of lies to be able to cope with the truth. Many people don’t care about the truth either because lies are sweet and truth is bitter. When the belly is full and crude entertainment is provided, the truth could shatter a false sense of security. Others however, those more intelligent and interested in the world live in fear of: an Islamic or Zionist regime, a communist or fascist dictatorship, or a liberal-democratic totalitarianism where patriotism is illegal. Each of these systems requires victims, and where there are no problems and enemies, a given regime will create them by itself.

Travel does educate but I’ve noticed that those who don’t travel and who are not interested in the world like me, have problems understanding people educated by travel experiences; because they consider distant countries, their cultures and customs through the prism of their own. Those who think that we are all equal and believe in the naive fairy tale of a ‘global village’ are inspired by communism; but they don’t understand it.

If at least 10% of my readers can understand what I’m talking about, there is hope for improvement. These 10% are feared by the global elite. Imagine how people would react if the mainstream media around the world admitted that most studies have no value and that most higher education was created only to put young people into slavery through debt, from the very beginning. Poor they are already, but would they still at least feel educated? Imagine how quickly their self-esteem would collapse?!

Map

Location

, Kuwait, Compass Travel Guide

Practical information

Tourist Visa: I got a free Kuwait visa at the land border with Saudi Arabia. The formalities could have been shorter but in the end I got a visa. The proof of granting a Kuwaiti visa is the so-called ‘blue paper’ with all the information about the foreigner. It is necessary to keep it because hotels like to look at it. It is needed for check in. Unfortunately it was taken from me on departure.

The visa can also be obtained at the airport and is valid for 90 days. The list of countries in this category is provided on the Kuwait Embassy website: https://www.kuwaitembassy.us/page/evisa-application. You can also apply for the same visa before arriving in Kuwait, but I don’t see the point if it’s only a tourist stay.

Safety: Kuwait is safe for tourists. People were always peaceful, helpful and honest. I have a good opinion of them. However, no country is completely safe, what has nothing to do with people. In my opinion, in the summer the hot climate of Kuwait is very dangerous because at 50°C the heat becomes toxic and there is no air. I travelled all over Kuwait and it was always safe.

Some sources warn to stay away from the border with Iraq and Saudi Arabia but in my opinion this is nonsense. I personally crossed the land border between Saudi and Kuwait and then hitchhiked to Kuwait City. In the desert, in cities, day or night it was safe. I didn’t cross the border with Iraq.

Reliable sources say that until recently there were about 2 million anti-personnel mines in the Kuwaiti desert. The Kuwaiti government has removed about 1.6 million mines and is still looking for another 400,000 mines. Beaches in Kuwait City, Salmiya and Failaka Island are safe. Kuwaiti authorities suspect that mines may be particularly present in the Sabah Al-Ahmad Nature Reserve.

Getting around the country: There is a network of buses in Kuwait. There is a bus connecting Kuwaity City to Salmiya, buses inside Kuwait City, and also a bus from Fahaheel to Kuwait City. From my experience however I know that the best, fastest and most reliable are taxis. They are also cheap because Kuwait is a country drowning in oil. It is true that a bus ride inside Kuwait City costs only 250 fills, but for tourists who don’t know the connections it is a problem.

I recommend taxis, especially that Kuwait is expensive and therefore the waste of time costs more than a taxi. However, if someone is in Kuwait longer I advise to get to know several bus routes. I used them several times and I never got lost.

For taxis from Salmiya to Kuwait City (about 10km) I paid 4-5 dinars. On average, for transport within Kuwait City it is 2 dinars. From the border with Saudi to Salmiya I hitchhiked and a few times someone gave me a lift, so hitchhiking sometimes works too. Kuwaitis realize that being lost in the desert and being unfamiliar with the terrain is an unpleasant situation. For a taxi from Salmiya to the airport I paid 7 KD, although the prices end at 10 KD.

In all the countries of the Arabian Peninsula I always recommend renting a car. Then you can visit more distant places, such as Wafrah Farms near Saudi (107 km), and the Sabah Al-Ahmad Nature Reserve (61.5 km). A litre of petrol in Kuwait, depending on the type is around 100 fils or about 26 pence.

Prices: (for 2022 when 1KWD = £2.64). In other words welcome to Kuwait; in the country with the most powerful currency in the world which is more than 2.5 times more expensive than the British pound. It’s a shock! The purchasing power of the Kuwaiti dinar is therefore enormous wherever Kuwaiti Arabs go. The Kuwaiti dinar is so strong because of its vast oil and gas reserves. The largest banknote is 20 KWD, while in England it is GBP 50, and in Poland as much as 500 PLN ! There are also 1/4 and 1/2 dinar notes; and what’s unique 1 dinar is divided into 1000 fils and not 100. Kuwait is so rich that there isn’t even an income tax and there is no VAT.

Kuwait Towers

Kuwait Towers; the symbol of the State of Kuwait.

But let’s move on to the prices. There is no doubt that hotels are the most expensive. I paid 20 dinars for the cheapest possible hotel, even though the starting price was 25 dinars. The conditions were great, breakfast included, close to the centre and by the sea. But I couldn’t do that for a long time, that’s why soon I luckily found a bed at someone’s private house for 11 KWD (£29). It’s not expensive for Kuwait but if I had to pay 50-60 pounds for one night in every country I’ve been to, my travels would end quickly. Fortunately Kuwait is small and many places of interest are close to each other.

I will add that in Salmiya by the sea there is a hotel for 92 dinars per night (243 pounds).

I discussed transport prices in the section above: moving around the country. I think that for Kuwait taxis and even more, the buses are priced affordably. Hotel prices in Kuwait are unprepared to accommodate budget travellers. For example in Dubai there are hotels where a night costs $25,000 a night but there are also dormitories in the suburbs where a night costs 10 pounds.

Food is the cheapest in Kuwait. You can eat something tasty for 1-2 dinars. Coffee and tea in the bar costs 0,5 dinar. On the other hand if someone wants to drink coffee in the best bar of Salmiya port, the price is 3.5 KWD. It seems that London is ‘cheap’. In a nice Persian restaurant I paid only 3,5 dinars for a good meal, although there are places where you can pay only 1.5 KWD for grilled meat or kebab. Shopping at the bazaar is not expensive.

I paid 10 dinars for a return ferry from Salmiya to Failaka island. The entrance to the famous Kuwait Towers observation point costs 3 KWD but it’s a symbol of Kuwait so it’s worth it. The ticket to Salmiya Aquarium cost me 2 KWD. I paid 1,25 dinars at a hairdresser from Bangladesh. All in all the prices of the hotels are the most painful and the rest is affordable considering it’s Kuwait.

Climate: Kuwait is one of the hottest countries in the world. It’s a dry hot desert climate. In July the temperature in Kuwait City easily reaches 45°C. Kuwait also recorded one of the highest temperatures in the world: 53.2°C. Even in October the temperature in Kuwait City ranges from 31°C to 38°C on average. When traveling in Kuwait you should wear a hat and glasses, drink water as a preventive measure and use sun creams. A European cannot imagine what the heat is like in Kuwait, Saudi, India, Pakistan and many other countries.

“At 50°C – halfway to the boiling point of water and more than 10°C above healthy body temperature – the heat becomes toxic. Human cells begin to boil, blood thickens, muscles tighten around the lungs, and the brain becomes clogged with oxygen. “

 

The Guardian

Construction workers from the Indian Subcontinent don’t work in Kuwait between 12 and 4 because it is too dangerous. The same should be considered when traveling. In Kuwait it’s sometimes so hot that birds fall dead into the desert and small fish by the shore appear on the surface upside down. If someone wants to visit Kuwait I recommend the period from October to February, although November is better. Annual rainfall is on average only 112mm, although only 34mm of rain falls annually around the airport. Almost the whole of Kuwait is covered with hot desert, except for the Al-Jahra oasis. It is also very hot there but at least wetter. Kuwait does not have a single river, although there are several valleys that temporarily fill with water after scanty rainfall in the winter season.

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