Alcohol is Strictly Prohibited
Being in posession of alcohol on arrival or when in Kuwait is a crime. Being drunk in Kuwait is also a crime. Driving a car drunk in Kuwait is a really bad crime. Everyone you will meet will explain how to make alcohol in Kuwait, where to buy it from in Kuwait and how to smuggle it into Kuwait. These are all people who live here and know the system. They have sponsors who have considerable "wasta" (influence) to get their employees out of trouble and jail if they get caught doing something wrong. They also know where to go, how to behave and what to do to avoid getting caught. Don't make the mistake as a visitor that you know as much. Walking into your hotel drunk is enough to get you in trouble. It is not even safe to get into a taxi when drunk as taix's are often stopped at night to check the driver is working legally. Do yourself a favour and enjoy everything that Kuwait has to offer without having a drink. You can always have one on the way home on the plane. Many people think they know better, they don't.
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Driving in Kuwait
If you find yourself driving in Kuwait, the following rules of the road are useful to know: Someone coming up behind you will flash their lights meaning get out of the way. They assume that you know this and will move so do not slow down from driving at 180kms an hour. If you do not get out of the way they will either hang on to your bumper 2 inches away or get it wrong and rear end you. When you see someone flashing just get out of the way as soon as possible. There is no fast lane all the lanes can be multi purpose fast and slow lanes with faster drivers weaving across all the lanes of the road. People do not giveway to people joining a main road, so stop and wait for a gap, don't assume someone will let you out. People do not understand queuing or merging and will dive in at acute angles, be ready to stop. If you let someone in, eight cars will then try and squeeze in front of you. Speed limits are optional, everyone knows where the handfull of speed cameras are and when out of sight drive like madmen. Use defensive driving to get out of everyone's way, that is the easiest way to stay safe.
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Be very careful what you do and how you do it during Ramadan while you are in Kuwait!
At your help is the local english radio Station at FM99.7 which is reminding you about some rules and habits.
Eating (even chewing gum chewing), drinking and smoking in public is strictly prohibited in by law in the State of Kuwait and that aplies to the non muslim residents and visitors as well. Breaking the law can make you to end up with a hefty fine (aprox. 300 EUR) and/or jail!!!
Be Careful when using your Credit Card
At no time let anyone disappear to process your credit card. All of the banks in Kuwait have wireless machines to process your card. Anyone should swipe your card in front of you and get you to sign there and then, without your card leaving your sight. Credit Card Fraud in Kuwait is common, with shop and restuarant employees particularly targetting foreign visitors. If you can use cash as much as possible.
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Beware of the Animals.
The animals in Kuwait deserve respect and safe distance. While they may seem docile enough they tend to be wild compared to your dog or cat at home.
The camels are also very dangerous. We had an employee trampled one night by a herd. Fortunately he wasn't hurt bad he certainly could have been. Be careful
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A real annoyance, sandstorms are common throughout the year. They make the air seem foggy, cause allergy and usually shed the sunlight thus providing a break from the heat (which is not bad in the summer). If, like me, you're allergic to dust, take some medicine with you all the time.
It would be a severe understatement to say that driving in Kuwait can pose severe challenges to even the most experienced driver. The rate of traffic accidents per 1000 drivers is extremely high. The worst part of it is that the fatality rate is likely a multiple of most Western countries. While I was in Kuwait, five people were killed when a driver lost control of his vehicle during a street race and plowed into spectators. Notices of traffic deaths appeared in the paper every couple of days. Worst of all, the parking lots in front of police stations are generally filled with smashed up vehicles. Visitors do manage to drive in Kuwait, but the key is really to drive defensively. Police will generally not enforce speed rules or traffic laws, so the best advice is to watch out for yourself and to go with the flow of traffic. Young drivers have a tendency to hotrod and road rage, so cutting someone off or trying to race a light can have extremely unwelcome results.
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Cats! (not the musical)
I'm not sure if the "warning" section of the site is the best place to put this tip, but I suppose that there is some sort of danger involved in approaching cats. It's quite rare to see dogs in Kuwait, but you will not be at a loss to see cats. There are thousands that are what we would call strays in North America and it's actually quite an odd sight to see so many scrawny, skinny cats. Usually they are the overfed companions of lonely people that you see in residential neighbourhoods. Not in Kuwait: here, cats hunt in garbage bins, roam the beaches and seek shelter from the sun under parked cars and trucks. It is not uncommon to hear a fight or two among the strays and plenty of cats bear the scars of fights that didn't turn out all that well. The cats are not aggressive and will usually shy away from strangers, but that doesn't mean that you should approach or play with them. They are likely carriers of one illness or another and I would not like to find out what sort of shots are required after being bitten or scratched by one of them.
Aqua Park Dress Code
If you are a man you do almost what you want but women should not try to undress on a public beach or aqua park as they would do in Europe!!! Just be very conservative ... lol ... not like me here ...
Driving standards are atrocious
New adjectives are needed to describe the terrible standard of driving here. Every day I see dangerous and reckless driving putting people's lives at risk, and it is all so unnecessary! On the 30/40 Roads or the Ring Roads, I have seen more serious wrecks in 3 months than in literally years elsewhere. The following are common: tailgating, excessive/reckless speed, lane weaving often at high speed, not using indicators, running red lights, not using seatbelts - it is normal to see kids climbing all over the back and front seats, standing in the front passenger footwell, hanging way out of windows or with heads out of sunroofs, and babies/small kids on the driver's lap. It's easier to count drivers wearing seatbelts than those who are not. Talking on cell phones while driving is standard, and no joke you even see texting while driving. Also, pulling out without looking or using mirrors, driving on the emergency lane/hard shoulder to avoid traffic queues, and aggressive harrassment of other drivers through flashing headlights or even attempting to nudge them over. The list could go on. A lot of cars have bangs/dents/scratches because few owners bother to get them repaired as they will just get banged up again, and I am told insurance companies here are a nightmare. Roundabouts can be chaotic, with cars joining feeling they have at least equal right of way as those on the roundabout. Lane markings are merely decorative for some, and pedestrian crossings without traffic lights are irrelevant. Patience is not a word you will find in a dictionary here. If it is all too much and you are rich enough, employ a driver if you live here, or alternatively find a decent taxi driver and stick with him. If you are visiting, don't rent a car unless you enjoy stress. You need to drive super-defensively and anticipate that other drivers will do exactly what common sense and traffic laws dictate they should NOT do, because they rarely disappoint you on that!
The Bad and the good Experience in Kuwait City
The Bad and the good Experience can serve as a Warning:
Every Country I want to visit i used to take Picture about the Highlights of the Land. I knew Water Tower is one of the emphasized symbols of Kuwait City. So, for me it was a must to capture it in my camera. Like a crazy addict, my boyfriend and i took this great opportunity how to go there. We strolled around downtown and asked anyone we saw on the street. They said it is 15 minutes. We walked and walked and 15 minutes has gone but until half of an hour we still didn´t arrived on our goal. On the way we took lots of architectural pictures.
After 45 minutes up to 1 hour walk we saw our destination at a distant. I found out when they said 15 minutes it means distance to go by car not by feet ;-) . I was a bit exhausted from hiking upon arriving there but very excited enough to empty my Camera film just for this Highlight. Because I left my Tripod in the Hotel I was dependent on my boyfriend´s talent in photography. Without delay I started to pose and gave him some exact instructions. When I controlled the result it was every time unsatisfying. For sure he tried almost ten times. And at this last try suddenly came two armed men rushing to us from somewhere. One of the two was too rough, strict and cruel. He spoke to us in mixed English – Arabic accent which means I should give my Camera to him. He grabbed it from me. With great surprise I asked why? They said it is a forbidden area to take Pictures. It´s a military base. They were watching us already through their telescopes. Why we kept on shooting and shooting many times and that the camera focused on the military base where the two Water Towers are located. We didn´t ever knew it before! There were no written prohibition signs. When this strict Soldier grabbed my Camera to remove the film inside I was in panic and started not only to shed the tears but I cried so loud like as if I lost a baby! Temper tantrums like a small girl crying hard. I beg many times not to destroy my films! The other soldier was a bit kind-hearted man and he convinced his fellow comrade to ignore the case. If I were to interpret his gestures it meant “these are only harmless Tourist who accidentally lost their way down here”. But the soldier was hard and very strict and loud. I almost have no more Tears to cry just to plead to be forgiven. On the other hand my Boyfriend instead of supporting my bad situation he started to giggle. He found it amusing how I reacted. Maybe he realized that my Tears were artificial. Not real anymore. Mixed emotions. At that moment I hated my boyfriend for not sympathizing me. After all I gave him the mistake. To make the story shorter the horrible Soldier became soft and gave me back the Camera with the films. He said we have to go out from this forbidden military zone and should not come back again. This happened in the year 2002.
If only I brought my Tripod with me it didn´t happened to us. From this time I never separated with my Tripod. Then I must not ask anybody to take photo from me.
Before the nightmare became perfect, on our way back to the Hotel one Ferrari Car stopped in the middle of the Street and the driver of the Car was a well -groomed young Arabian smiled at us, asked if we liked to hitch ride and can drop us then wherever we like. We accepted his offer, did entertaining conversation. He was very lovely and very friendly man, later he told us he is a son of a Sheikh. A bad turned to good experience! I, after this entire over- troubled water situation was at least enlightened and pleased about this Happy End. Come back to Kuwait? I have to think it twice.
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- Hiking and Walking
Careful where you're headed, if it's not a populated area.. After all, there was a war going on there at some point.
I got this off Lonely Planet:
"The Persian Gulf provides ample opportunities for swimming, windsurfing, sailing, snorkelling and scuba diving almost year round, though in Kuwait waterlovers better check first on the presence of mines and other explosive devices around beaches and in the water."
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I haven't gone off roading here, but I hear to take caution when doing so. It appears that there's a lot of unexploded ordinance left over from the previous war. There was actually a fatality the first week or so here from some person driving somewhere in the desert.
really boring if you planing to stay longer as there is really nothing to do. Saw beautiful coastline with nice beach but EMPTY. Anybody that fancies a drink WARNING - There is NONE and dont try to get any as you will end up in jail! Not even a drop even in duty free :)
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PADI Scuba Instructor
When in Kuwait be ware of KIM Center at the Hilton Hotel as the owner is not an honest person. While in Phuket, Thailnad he purchased an underwater video camera and left the country without paying for it. He is a thief and a liar. For more information contact me at email@example.com
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