What to do in Kuwait

August 4 2011

A friend who is there for six days asked me what to do. I could have said more, but this is what I emailed:

“Short answer is that all social life is in private places except for a) OK but never amazing (and of course alcohol-free) restaurants, b) shopping malls. The best mall for strolling in is Marina Mall, which has a marina. The poshest (where Harvey Nichols is about to open) is Avenues.

There are cafés at odd points along the waterfront, between, say, Kuwait City and Salmiya. Stop at random.

The only expedition to anywhere is to Falaika Island, which is a 40-minute ferry ride away. Few people bother to go. It has a dilapidated hotel run by a Yorkshireman and some Hellenistic rubble. Obese teenagers race buggies along a dusty beach. Rusting military hardware from the Iraqi invasion is strewn around. There’s a small pre-1991 ghost town. Not a bad place if you have a camera.

The ferry goes from the marina behind Marina Mall. Call ferryman on 2224 4988. Whether it runs at all depends on the tides. You can do it in a day or spend a night in a basic (but clean) room in the hotel.

Er … that’s it.”

2 Responses to “What to do in Kuwait”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    I added:

    “I could add smoke shisha etc in a cafe, but that’s obvious. Or go diving if you know where. There are nice people around.”

    Most food “outlets” sell fast food. The fast food franchises have a good market.

    The hotel on the island is one of the only somewhat charming buildings in the country. The Yorkshireman and his wife run it for a member of the royal family (the profits go to a charity). Falaika is completely undeveloped. You can wake up there to hear a cock crowing, which is a rare and refreshing sound in the Gulf.

  2. davidderrick Says:

    That was written for a visitor. Kuwait isn’t the worst place in the world. It even has a certain easy-going charm. But it doesn’t feel like a dynamic society, even though it is a genuine democracy, of a sort. And the hearts of half of its (non-slave) population are in London.


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