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Visas

Places to visit

Activities

Communications

Hotels

Import restrictions

Rental accomodation

Tourist bus

Water quality



Visas

Back to top Nationals of the Gulf Cooperation Council states (GCC -- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman) do not need entry visas. All other nationalities require entry visas. Visas can be obtained from Kuwaiti embassies and consulates or through a sponsor in Kuwait or from the Ministry of the Interior. In order to obtain a visitor's visa, the following are required: a photocopy of the passport together with a letter from the sponsor in Kuwait. Most hotels can arrange visas for their guests. The initial visa is for one month and visitors who overstay will be fined.

Places to visit

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The National Museum

Located on Arabian Gulf Street, the museum is comprised of four buildings and a planetarium. It was looted and burned by the Iraqis during the occupation. The museum included the Al Sabah Collection of Islamic Art and was acclaimed by international art historians as one of the most comprehensive collections of Islamic art in the world. Unless its treasures can be recovered, the museum is unlikely to be the fascinating place it was prior to the invasion.

Sadu House

This is located near the National Museum and is not just an exhibition of traditional bedouin weaving but also a way of keeping that craft alive. Bedu women can be seen weaving in the courtyard and courses are run. Sadu House is also an outlet for the sale of traditional weavings. The house itself is worth seeing as a rare example of a pre-oil house.

Tareq Rajab Museum

This has a large and very important collection consisting of ceramics, manuscripts, metalware, textiles, costumes and the largest collection of silver folk jewellery from the Arab and Islamic world on public display. For more information, tel: 531 7358.

Bayt Al-Bader

Situated between the National Museum and the Sadu House, this is an old house built between 1838 and 1848. It was formerly the home of the Al-Bader family and is currently used for exhibitions of local handicrafts.

Old City Wall Gates

The wall was originally built by sheikh Salim Al-Mubarak in 1922 to keep the marauding desert tribes out of the town. Although largely demolished in the 1950s, the gates are still standing at various key points in the city. All of them are on, or adjacent to, the First Ring Road.

Doha Village

This was one of Kuwait's major dhow building areas. Some dhows are still built there, including miniatures. (Dhows are boats that were used for trade before the discovery of oil).

Activities

Back to top There are a number of restaurants and cinemas in Kuwait as well as a wide variety of sporting activities ranging from water sports to bowling to horse racing to golf. Those interested in amateur theatricals will also find their interests catered for.


Communications

Back to top Local calls are free and can be made from shops or from the local telephone exchange. Overseas calls can be made from hotels or the telephone exchange. Postal services are currently being privatised. The Main Post Office is located on Fahd Al-Salem Street. It is open from 7.30am-7.30pm Sat to Thurs and from 8.00-10:00am Friday. If you receive a parcel, you will be sent a green card by the Post Office. This must be taken to the Parcel Office in Shuwaikh, at the junction of Airport Road and Jahra Road. The parcel will be opened in front of you to insure that you are not receiving any illegal items.


Hotels

Back to top Kuwait has many international hotels with excellent amenities. There are also a number of smaller hotels, so there is a complete range of facilities and tariffs to suit all needs. Advance booking and reconfirmation is strongly advised. Hotels are used as social venues providing clubs, restaurants, dinner parties etc. The local press carries details of promotions and special events. In most hotels and restaurants, a 15-20% service charge is included in the bill but an additional token tip is also usual.


Import restrictions

Back to top The following items are not allowed in Kuwait: alcoholic beverages, pork and bacon products, pigskin and of course narcotics of any kind. Videos are subject to censorship. Pornography is also banned. Restrictions are similar to those found in other countries as regards firearms and explosives. Other restrictions relate to the import of items which are produced locally in order to bolster the local manufacturing sector. If you are in any doubt, contact the Ministry of Commerce.


Rental accommodation

Back to top Foreign nationals cannot buy real estate in Kuwait. A wide variety of rental accommodation is available, ranging from studio apartments to large villas. There are a number of real estate companies specializing in real estate rentals. Leases for accommodation are often for a period of one year. At the end of that period the lease is deemed to continue on a month-to-month basis with the same terms and conditions, unless it is specifically renewed with a written agreement signed by both parties. The Kuwait Rent Law freezes your rent for five years from the signing of the lease. At the end of the five year period, the landlord is allowed to request an increase. If the landlord sells the property, it does not mean the rents are increased or that leases are cancelled. If your landlord wishes to terminate your lease, he must do so in writing, giving one of the eleven reasons set out in the rent law. The major reasons for which tenants can be evicted are: The landlord needs the property for himself or his family. The tenant has sublet the property without the landlord's permission. The tenant has carried out unauthorized or illegal activities on the premises. Non-payment of rent for more than 20 days after it is due. If the landlord wishes to evict a tenant for a valid reason, the Rent Tribunal may give the tenant up to six months in which to find other accommodation.


Tourist bus

Back to top A sightseeing service runs from Salmiya to the Kuwait Towers. The trip takes about 90 minutes and costs 250 fils.


Water quality

Back to top Virtually all of Kuwait's water comes from government-constructed sea-water desalination plants. The Iraqi occupation did considerable damage to these plants but most of them are once again fully operational. One of them was the largest in the world with a production of approximately 200m gallons of drinking water per day. Domestic tap water is not completely safe to drink. A filtration system is recommended. It is also a good idea to use filtered water for kitchen use in order to avoid staining. Bottled mineral water is readily available from all shops.