It seems that most any American who was alive during the Nineties knows about Kuwait. It is a small country located just east of Iraq and north of Saudi Arabia and is a member of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). I have made it a goal to visit all 6 GCC countries, so naturally Kuwait is on the short list. It is a short 4 hour drive from Khobar to Kuwait City. Even though the websites are very unclear about getting a visa to visit, it is a simple “On Arrival” process that is free for Americans.
The knowledge a lot of people have concerning Kuwait revolves around Desert Storm. The first thing you will learn about this country is how strong their currency is: 1 Kuwaiti Dinar is worth $3.30. I have linked the Wikipedia article about Kuwait above, so I won’t recap it. I do recommend reading about Kuwait.
My friend Sam, picked up the insurance and clearance to pass into Kuwaiti roads, so Mit and I got ready for a fun weekend. I love roadtrips, but I wasn’t sure I would get many, having moved to the Middle East, so I was excited. Once we got out of Khobar, it was pretty much a straight shot up the highway. There are some fun Camel Crossing road signs.
There isn’t much along the way to look at: a few trees, lots of camels, some powerlines, etc.
If you do decide to drive up to Kuwait ever, bring someone who speaks Arabic. They don’t understand English in the border control offices at all. We spent nearly two hours getting bad information and having to turn around, then finding out that even with an American passport, it is difficult to enter if it says you were born in Pakistan. We finally got through, and it was back to smooth sailing.
Drivers actually showed signs of self-control and restraint. They followed street signs and were somewhat polite. It was a welcome relief from the streets of KSA. We also found out that they seem to love Round Abouts. Using the GPS, every other phrase is “at the round about.”
After looking at the Marriott options, we chose the Courtyard. It was not a very cheap option, but we found that nothing was cheap in Kuwait.
From the hotel we found the top rated restaurant in Kuwait, La Brasa, very easy to access. It was just a short walk away. I have become a fan of collecting currency, so I began to hunt for an ATM. Apparently, Kuwaiti ATM’s can’t accept major American bank cards? They also all treat withdrawals as cash advances? I recommended exchanging currency at your hotel.
Finally making it to La Brasa, it was a lot smaller than we had thought. The intimacy was nice. The owner was a nice man who seems to really care about his place
We each tried the sampler meal which is all-you-eat, but it is full size steaks. It was amazing. The meat was cooked properly and seasoned well. The ram steak was delicious… Then I tried the chicken. I was blown away. It was honestly the best (non fried) chicken I have ever had.
After dinner, we walked around a little then just headed back to the hotel.
The next day, I mapped out a route to see the highlights.
These towers are the iconic picture of the Kuwaiti skyline. They are currently doing renovations to fix damage. The main tower has a restaurant in it, which will open once maintenance is finished.
The second tallest tower in Kuwait was completed after Saddam was driven out of the country (ahem, you’re welcome) in 1993. It now stands as a nice iconic picture.
This was the most highly recommended souk in the city. Overall, prices were not good and neither was the selection…. but hey, “they can’t all be winners.”
Sadly the mosque is closed for tours on Friday and Saturday, so we couldn’t go inside. But honestly, once you visit the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, it is difficult to be impressed
Solo PN came highly recommended from a friend at work. I heard it was actually good pizza. Wait, good pizza in the gulf? no way. haha. Turns out, she was correct. It is delicious.
I will give a strong recommendation to visit this place if you’re in Kuwait.
After a long day of being tourists, we loaded up and headed home. Once again… sand, camels, and sun… for 4 hours.
Overall, it was nice to visit and check this one off. But there isn’t much to do. Sadly the museums all have weird hours and are closed in the middle of the day.
So until next time.