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Kuwait honeymoon

Kuwait, from ancient souks to sprawling malls, from pearl divers to major oil exporters...

Tourism in Kuwait

From a nation of pearl divers and spice merchants to one of the worlds' largest oil exporters, Kuwait has undergone many exciting transformations. Kuwaiti society is truly a cosmopolitan and modern and yet it remains true to its heritage and traditions. A highly urbanised state, Kuwait offers a host of attractions and services to tourists and visitors to the country. It offers a world class experience in hospitality through its small yet strong hotel Industry.

Kuwait has a very rich cultural tradition and heritage. Visitors to the country can get a glimpse of these at the fascinating tourist attractions. The shopping experience in Kuwait, too, is very rewarding. From ancient souks to sprawling malls selling the latest consumer goods, the range and variety is huge. The transport system is ultramodern with all the latest features and facilities. Kuwaitis are warm, hospitable, friendly and helpful, which makes a visit to the country a very enriching and memorable experience.

kuwait honeymoon

Places of interest

With a history of around 400 years and a rapid pace of development, which never lost sight of its heritage, Kuwait has many historical, modern, beautiful and significant tourist spots to cater to everybody’s entertainment.

Kuwait City

A capital having numerous high-rise office buildings, luxury hotels, wide boulevards and well-tended parks with lush green gardens.

The charm of Kuwait City invites visitors and residents alike to spend hours exploring historical and cultural points of interest, all of which are situated within short driving distances from each other. Seven ring-roads encircle the city and connect wide boulevards.

kuwaitAn oasis in the desert, the city offers a fascinating blend of the old Arab world with clear evidence of a modernized Gulf state. Beginning in the 1930s, slowly at first, the city began to develop from a nomadic port town into a booming Middle Eastern metropolis.

With prosperity well in hand, the city of a large urban area has expanded its downtown area (Safat) into a network of residential and commercial communities. An infrastructure, including multi-level highways, facile movement of goods and services, and international airline connections arose in parallel conjunction with skyscrapers, homes, and population. Today a non-stop expansion continues, accommodating Kuwaitis, which constitute of about two-thirds of the country's people with foreign residents to enhance the growth of Kuwait.

Its expansion to the south has already overtaken Al-Ahmadi and to the west has nearly reached Al-Jahra.

To the south-west of Safat, lies the prominent Shuwaikh Port, the main Kuwait University campus, and a large industrial area.

Across town to the south-east and bordering on the Gulf is Salmiya, a primarily expatriate residential area where shopping is as diverse as the cosmopolitan ethnic mix.

Kuwaiti-owned villas built on government granted land occupy various corners of outlying districts. Dahiat Abdullah Al Salem, Yarmouk, and Qortuba, considered as some of the most prestigious neighborhoods, rest to the south of Safat.

National Museum

Located in Kuwait City on the Arabian Gulf Street between the Seif Palace and the National Assembly (Parliament), the Kuwait National Museum was planned by Michel Ecochard. Though the architectural project and the plans of the museum were ready in 1960, actual construction started only in 1981. It was on 23 February 1983 that two of the four buildings were inaugurated; the planetarium was opened on 16 February 1986.

The museum reflects the national identity, featuring the social, economic, political and religious life of the Kuwaiti people. Stripped and burnt by the Iraqi invaders, it houses the Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyyah (DAI) or the Al-Sabah collection of Islamic art, one of the most comprehensive collections in the world ranging from early Islam to the 18th century. Iraq has today returned over 90 per cent of the collection. A variety of scholarly and artistic activities revolve around this collection, each requiring a broad and intensive background in Islamic history. The collection itself is organised according to both historical period and geographical region. To give viewers a comprehensive look at the artefacts, the reference library and the various publications of the Hadeeth ad-Dar (the journal associated with the collection) maintain a close conjunction with the DAI.

The visitors to National Museum can also catch a glimpse of the customs, traditions and heritage. It is designed as a traditional mud house, displaying the old life in Kuwait with all its manifestations including old souk, pearl diving and ship building, ethnographic artefacts and archaeological material from excavations on Failaka Island.

Bayt Al-Badr (Al-Badr House)

An old house located next to Al-Sadu house, Bayt Al-Badr was built between 1838 and 1848. In 1968, this house was joined to the Museum of Antiquities for displaying old Kuwaiti architecture. In 1976, it became a temporary abode for the Kuwait National Museum.

Al-Badr house is considered as a model of old Kuwaiti traditions, embodying the economical and social condition of Kuwait's society in the past. It is also characterised by the architectural plan and the local construction materials that have been kept in good condition throughout the years.

It possesses a fine example of the famous front doors of old Kuwait. Local handicrafts are sometimes displayed here.

Sadu House

Kuwait's roots are entwined with both the sea and the desert. The bedouins lived a life governed by the rhythm of the seasons. A traditional craft of major importance was Sadu weaving, characterised by geometric designs woven by hand with dyed, spun and coloured wool. Sadu weaving is still alive in the nomadic culture, which gave birth to it.

Tourist attractions

Pearl Diving

Pearls (dana), not oil, once formed the basis of Kuwait's wealth. Now, annual pearl diving festivals help today's generation experience the excitement and hardship that their forefathers faced. Such festivals are a tribute to men who dedicated their lives to the pearling industry. The young divers make extensive preparations for the event: they train rigorously in diving and sailing; meet experienced captains and old divers who explain the intricacies of pearl diving; and familiarise themselves with the equipment.

kuwaitTraditionally, ships or dhows were prepared by first beaching them along the shore and caulking cracks with cotton dipped in shark oil. Then, a thick coating of noora (a mixture of shark oil and powder) was manually smeared over the hull, up to the water line. Dhows made of Indian teak are waterproofed with the traditional mixture of sheep's oil and lime.

The clothes of today's pearl-divers are the same as their forefathers. The wazar (a wrap-around skirt that also serves as a head wrap) is worn along with diving trunks and T-shirts. Also worn is the fotam (nose clip), dieng (neck basket) and hajer (toe anchor). During the dive, the diver is secured to the ship's railing with a rope tied around his waist. When he is ready to surface, he tugs on the rope -- which his helper must hold at all times -- and the latter then pulls up the diver. The qafal (the end) of the festival is celebrated with traditional singing and dancing.

Water Sports

For speed boating, windsurfing, jet skiing, water skiing, yachting and scuba diving, tourists have to buy their own equipment from dealers as hiring facilities are few. Boats and equipment usually have to be bought for long-term enjoyment. These dealers also have details of clubs and specialist courses available in Kuwait. Most of these sports can be enjoyed off the beaches all along the coast.

Yachting

Kuwait is a sailor's paradise. The seas offshore is seldom really rough, but there is nearly always a moderate breeze. Boats range from small sailing dinghies to large yachts. The Yatch Club has a marina with 300 fully serviced berths. Many of the sea clubs have marinas and organise sailing activities. The Kuwait Offshore Sailing Association organises races, including one from Kuwait to Bahrain.

Diving

Despite the pollution, a result of the retreating Iraqi troops setting the oil wells afire, the seas around Kuwait are comparatively clear and marine life is thriving. Scuba diving is a popular sport. Much of the activity takes place over reefs offshore and around the islands. SSAC and PADI courses are available. Al-Boom Divers offers certification through NAUI and CMAS and organises diving trips.

Trips to the Islands

Taking a boat trip to one of the islands, such as Kubbar, can be a pleasant one-day experience, with swimming and picnicking on an island or on the boat itself possibly with fish caught by trawl or line on the way out. For a few hundred KD, a dhow can be hired, including crew and all running costs, which is ideal for a small office outing or for three or four families on an outing together.

Kuwait islands

There are nine islands off the coast of Kuwait: Failaka, Bubiyan, Miskan, Warba, Auhha, Umm Al-Maradim, Umm Al-Naml, Kubbar and Qaruh.

Bubiyan, the largest island of the State, has an area of 863 sq km and is connected with the mainland by a concrete bridge. Warba, at the north extremity of the Gulf, occupies an area of 37 sq km. Miskan and Auhha lie on the north and the south of Failaka island, respectively. Located at the mouth of Kuwait Bay, a lot of Islamic antiquities have been found on Umm Al-Naml island. Kubbar and Qaruh lie at the southern end of the Gulf and have been the favourite homes for large flocks of sea birds.

Lying 20 km north-east of Kuwait city, the island of Failaka is the most beautiful and famous of Kuwait's islands. It combines the ancient history of Kuwait, dating back to the early Stone Age and the modern history of Kuwait, when the early Utubs settled in after their long journey, prior to their settlement on the Kuwaiti mainland in the late 17th century.

A 21-km submarine pipeline connecting the island to the mainland provides the inhabitants with more than 100 million gallons of sweet water every year. Parallel to the submarine water pipeline there are three submarine power cables from Kuwait City providing electrical energy to the island.

Failaka island has become a modern tourist attraction, keeping abreast of all aspects of modern progress. Every day, before the Iraqi aggression, visitors were carried from the mainland at Ras Al-Ardh (Salmiyah) to the island by ferry boats belonging to the Public Transport Company, to relax and swim in its lazuline waters. Much of their leisure time was spent at its five million sq metre tourist complex, located in the southern part of Failaka, which contains a good number of swimming pools, sports playgrounds and restaurants.

Warbah Island

Warbah Island constitutes the northernmost part of eastern Kuwait. It is composed of soft mud and gypsiferous silty sediments. It has several tidal creeks and high tide covers most of the island.

Bubyan Island

Bubyan Island lies in the Kuwait part of the Shatt Al-Arab delta at the head of the Arabian Gulf. It measures 30 kilometers wide and 40 kilometers long, with a maximum total area at mid-tide of 1400 square kilometers. It is the largest of Kuwait's islands. It is flat, low-lying, and composed of deltaic mud. About 75 percent of Bubyan stands above spring high tides. This area is sparsely vegetated, with halophytes growing in deltaic-estuarine type sabkha deposits. Small, isolated wind-shadow gypsum dunes are formed by wind drifts of gypsum grains mixed with wind-blown terrigenous sediment. Apart from these dunes the interior of the island is flat and featureless. During the winter rainstorms a network of shallow ephemeral channel-bar drainage systems may develop after heavy runoffs.

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