Kuwait Tourist Information Guide
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Kuwait, the prototypical oil-rich state, has more than ten percent of the world’s estimated oil reserves, and is a leading exporter of petroleum. Tourists, who look forward to a relaxed entry into the Muslim world, can enter Kuwait, and wander around souks, mosques and other sandy traces of ancient Bedouin days. But, behind the extravagant richness, lies the traditional values and warm Arabian hospitality.
Ramadhan is the important festival of Muslims and happens once in a year. The entire nation observes a month long fasting. Hence, certain forms of public behavior need to be observed, such as eating, drinking, or chewing gum is prohibited during daylight hours. The office and business hours and television timings change accordingly during the month.
Best time to visit Kuwait
The best time of the year to visit Kuwait, would be the months of November to April, just before or after summer, when the temperatures during the day fall below 180C and nights are cooler. During February to April, the desert is laced in transparent lime green, and the city is decorated with petunias, and gives a pleasant feel.
Fast Facts about Kuwait
Full Name : State of Kuwait
Capital City : Kuwait City
Time Zone : GMT/UTC +3 ()
LanguagesArabic is the official language, though English is widely spoken
Currency : Kuwait Dinar (KD)
Voltage is 220 Volts AC, and 50 Hz, Single Phase. The UK-type flat three-pin plugs are used, and converters are also available. European-style plug with two circular metal pins are also used.
Kuwait has cheap and well spread transport system with local and intercity buses that operate round the clock. Taxis charge a flat rate between the city and airport. Local taxis without meters are available for getting around. To hire a car, one must have an International Driving Permit.
There are about 20 hotels in Kuwait, including transit hotel at the airport. These are classified into First Class, Second Class and Deluxe. The 'Deluxe' is the best internationally. There are also furnished apartments available, most of which offer services similar to hotels, though at a cheaper rate.
Business Hours: Government offices: Saturday to Wednesday 7.30am to 2.30pm
Banking hours: Sunday to Thursday 8am to 1pm (with 24hrs ATMs)
Shops: Saturday to Thursday 9am-1pm; 4.30pm-9pm Friday: hours vary.
Driving in Kuwait, cannot be taken lightly. Though, Kuwait has modern well-lit roads, excessive speeding on primary and secondary roads, coupled with careless enforcement of traffic regulations and high density of vehicles, could often lead to fatal accidents. Visitors can drive with international driving permits issued by their respective countries during the validity of their visa. Driving without car registration documents and a license is considered illegal. Use of seat-belt is mandatory. Driving is to the right side of the road. Speed limits are posted. Driving on a right turn on a red light is not permitted, unless there is a particular lane with a yield sign. A curb painted with black and yellow, indicates no parking. Driving under the influence of alcohol, is considered a serious offence. In Kuwait, when a driver makes use of her/his high beams, it is meant as a request to shift your car to a slower lane, to allow the driver with flashing beams to move ahead.
Etiquette and Customs
Kuwaiti's are warm and hospitable, though it is considered important to follow their cultural norms. Greetings are often between members of the same sex. Though women play a great role in Kuwaiti society, than in other gulf countries, they seldom socialize in public. Westerners are greeted with a handshake. Kuwaitis respect elders, and ensures that a senior person walks through the door first, as a mark of respect.
Business attire in Kuwait is conservative. Men could wear good quality, light-weight conservative suits, while women should take care and refrain from wearing revealing or tight fitting clothing.