Safety Tips in Kuwait

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    NO POSTCARDS AT THE AIRPORT !!!!!

    by DAO Updated Jan 27, 2012

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    The Kuwait International Airport has a few Duty Free shops airside and a FULL shopping mall just outside customs. In fact you can even - in many instances - get a free quick visa to go into the shopping mall. At no point does a single shop sell postcards in this airport! None!

    Can anyone with half a brain spot the amazing business opportunity?

    Obviously no one here in Kuwait.

    So if you are in transit, leaving it just before you leave the country or thought you would get an early start on your postcards after arrival - Think Again! Because collectively the aiport can't see the potential.

    Anyone want to help me set up a business here?

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    Sandstorms

    by Astrobuck Written Feb 26, 2011

    Every once in a while, sandstorms will blow across the Kuwaiti landscape. Although I was only in two of these storms, they were only minor. However, be sure you wear some sort of protective eywear if you need to venture out while these storms are occurring. Also, be sure you wear a schmog or other means to ptotect your face so you will be able to breathe.

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    Respect the Country's Laws and Religion

    by KeithFitzgerald Updated Oct 2, 2008

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    Use common sense folks. Kuwait is an Islamic country and any seasoned traveler knows that regardless where you visit, you should respect the customs, laws, religion and beliefs. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited, but you don't have to look to hard to find either locally made or smuggled stuff. You will be arrested for either possession of or being intoxicated from alcoholic beverages. So, common sense...wait until you leave to consume or possess alcohol.

    Don't go walking down the street wearing revealing clothes. Although Kuwait women and men wear anything from traditional Arabic clothing to more Western styles, showing too much leg, cleavage or bare midriff is frowned upon. You'll be fine in jeans and a short sleeve, but leave the tank tops and spaghetti straps in the suitcase.

    Serious crime rate is much lower than it is in most other countries. Common sense dictates though to not walk down dark and deserted allies at 3:00 am however. Traffic offenses...well that is another issue altogether. My suggestion is to use taxi or bus travel whenever possible. You won't be in country longer than a half an hour before you either see the resultant wreckage of a high speed vehicular collision along the road or witness yourself a motorist flying by at speeds greater than 160 kph. Even though I had a Kuwait driver license during the 4.5 years I lived there, I utilized company provided transportation and drivers to travel on business related ventures and taxis (which are dirt cheap) to travel on my holidays.

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    Driving without headlights

    by finneyboy Written Jun 19, 2008

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    So you've read all the warnings about the crazy driving, and they are all 100% accurate. Even more ridiculous is the thought that it is "cool" to not drive with one's headlights on. Combine the fact that they are crazy drivers to begin with and the fact that they are now very difficult to see at night and you will get what's in the photograph provided. I just can't stress enough how important it is to check your mirrors a few times before making any moves as drivers can sneak up on you so fast and you have no idea they are there until it's too late. Oh and by the way, the accident will be your fault if you're an Ex-Pat no matter what.

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    Watch out for the camels at night!

    by finneyboy Written Jun 19, 2008

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    First of all, it's not a good thing to be driving around in the desert past dark in the first place, but sometimes you can't avoid it. You would think that it would be easy to spot a huge camel and avoid hitting it, but I can assure you that is not always the case. It can be pitch black (there are no street lights out here! and you can only see as far as your headlights illuminate) and the camel can be moving at a good rate of speed. Just slow down and take your time; if I had taken a picture of the damage a camel can do to a full-size SUV you would understand better!

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  • THE ENGLISH

    by pangtidor Written Apr 28, 2008

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    Kuwait is the Arabic country and English language is the second language which is widely spoken all around the country. The thing you have to be aware of is most of the English speakers here are not the native English speakers. If English is your mother tongue language, SPEAK SLOWLY AND CLEARLY AND USE LESS SLANGS IN KUWAIT. You may not be understood by the other people here who less exposed to the native speakers. On the other hand, you may find some difficulties in understanding the English with Asian or Arabic accent. Some workers (cleaners,porters,drivers,housemaids) or the elder ones can not speak English. Some spellings may not be correct anywhere and the good grammar will not be found easily.

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  • The Electricity

    by pangtidor Written Apr 28, 2008

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    Most of the receptacles in Kuwait will be the 3 squared holes (see the picture). The voltage will be 220-240V and 50-60Hz. The buildings have big power of electricity so the brown out from the over powered appliances is less likely to be happened. Nevertheless, be careful on buying the electric appliances here. Some appliances will have huge number of power consumption. The adaptor for UK/Asian appliances with the two rounded prong plug is easy to find in Kuwait.

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  • isildur06's Profile Photo

    Taxi Drivers in difficulty

    by isildur06 Updated Apr 16, 2008

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    One evening I took a taxi from city center to Kuwait towers. Before getting into cab, I asked for the price and driver told me 4 KD. 4 seemed quite a reasonable number to me first and I said OK. (beware Kuwait dinar is a very expensive currency) During the ride I made the calculation in my head and realised I am paying almost 15 US $ for a few km's ride in an oil free country. That was unacceptable for me as being a Turkish. I was coming from the land of evil taxi drivers, with all these life experiences I should not have been ripped of like that. On the way back after some self motivation, took a cab again. Again I was told I should pay 4 KD's but I said I will pay 1.5 KD's. I got the approval and took the ride. After the half way my charming driver started to tell me in half Arabic and half English I should pay at least 3 KD's. And all the time he was saying "Ene mushkul"(I am in difficulty) Anyways after some funny struggle, and using the Islamic terminolgy "Haram" and " Helal" (money owned rightfully and sinfully) We agreed on 2 KD's. While I was leaving the taxi he was still moaning "Ene Mushkul"
    So be aware and never pay over 2 KD's for taxis.

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    Sandy days

    by isildur06 Written Apr 16, 2008

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    As Kuwait is surronded by deserts, even with small winds dust fells on the city. During these times even after short walks in the street you feel sand particles betwwen your teeth. You had better stick to indoors on such days.

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  • Rain, Another Disaster

    by pangtidor Written Feb 2, 2008

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    The rain will be in Kuwait for few times only but it is another disaster too. There are some construction sites all over Kuwait and the drainage system is bad. Moreover, many trashes just block the drainage and keep the roads covered with the water. During winter time, the raining day will head to fallen temperature on the following day. The worst thing is the rain after the sandstorm. The water drops will just carry the dirt on earth faster. Anyway, do not expect more rain in Kuwait.

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  • traffic and tickets

    by gshock Updated Jul 4, 2007

    well where do i start the traveler was write about the roads in kuwait there is very little enforcement in the law here on the highways speed limit is 120 km but on 6 ring and 7 ring highway 40 highway30 well i could name them all for you the drivers drive on them doing 160 ,180 ,190 km an hour and he's write they tailgate you this is not the place to bring your family for vacation becouse its very possible it will be the last place you visit the drivers here drive with no concern for there famileys safty or other familes and there children's safty kuwait has the 3rd most accidents per capa in auto's in the world becouse there is no traffic enforcement some drivers just think of the police as a joke they drive rite by them at 190km never slowing down theres 1 million cars and trucks registered in kuwait and 3 million traffic tickets issued that are still not payied or brought to court so the police just give up on trying to control it there is no legal enforcement on traffic vilators i work here every day we drive a gauntlet to work and back to house so its a fact not just hear say we have seen 2 or 3 wrecks a day every day for 2 years almost been hit in the rear 1000 times by speeders that run up on you if you can not get over becouse of traffic they pass you on the shoulder of the road doing 170 or faster throwing rocks all over your car they have no concern for safe driveing here so dont come unless your will is in order and your insurence is piad up to date

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    Bubyan Bridge to Nowhere

    by Hexepatty Updated Jun 15, 2007

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    I cribbed some ideas from the Loney Planet Online Guide to Kuwait. They don't mention all that much to see, but of the two "Off the beaten track" type tips... they were both WRONG. Oh So Wrong, my little Lonely Planet Peeps. I'd normally go on a tirade and say "you cost us time / money /gas, etc..." But the fact is.. uh... there wasn't THAT much to do, so the Journey THERE was far worth the fact that there was no THERE when we got there.

    Explanation: Lonely Planet says to go to Bubyan Bridge. It is a disputed island on the North North East part of the country. Disputee's include Iraq, Iran and Kuwait. I guess Kuwait figured, "if we build a bridge, surely this will tighten our claim."

    So they have this bridge to the island, and nothing is there. You just drive and do a u-turn.

    At least that is what Lonely Planet said and what I counted on! (Snicker....)

    So, we get there... and there is a baracade up. We can't go to the island. The Bridge to NoWhere is NoHappening!

    Bummed, but what the hell... it was fun finding it!

    2nd inaccuracy, my little Lonely Planet guide! They also said that on the way to the Bridge to NoWhere you will encounter a grand entrance to "Kuwait National Park" and behind the gated entrance is nothing but desert. No park... And they said it's a "must see" sight and have your photo taken there, etc...

    We didn't find it. We just found the National Reserve entrance and sign. (I'm going to take a guess that Kuwaiti's may have recently changed this sign from 'Park' to 'Reserve' cuz of the flack they were taking from tourists!)

    Anyway... I gotz da proof we found BOTH. And you know what? I don't harbor real ill will: The joy is in the journey folks. Gotta find joy in the journey....

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    Lucy and Ethel

    by Hexepatty Updated Jun 15, 2007

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    I think I (Lucy) have met my match with Quentin (Lucy). No Ethel's here... Not a good sign, right?

    That said, when Quentin prounced at 5am in the car, 'Hey - let's go to Saudi Arabia. It's only 30 miles away...' I thought it sounded like a plan.

    And yet I knew better: a) you must have a pre-arranged visa b) women must be in Burqa c) you have to be INVITED in order to get that pre-arranged visa.

    In short, you just Don't Show Up at the S.A. border and expect a warm gracious greeting. Not me in a short-sleeve dress that was barely under my knees.

    Okay... so we head south towards S.A.

    We get to the Kuwait exit formalities kiosk on the road and it dawned on me (finally!!!!): Quentin, this isn't a good idea.

    By this time he passed our passports to the Kuwait Border control and the guy took our Kuwait Visa's we paid for.

    Now I'm really bumming.

    "QUENTIN... get our visa's back"....

    The immigration man doesn't speak English and probably isn't digging me yelling much either.

    Anyway, he wouldn't give us back our visas.

    We proceed to the NEXT kiosk hopefully for some luck. The 2nd guy doesn't speak English either but he let us make a U-Turn and then Quentin went inside to the office which was half S.A. and half Kuwait.

    long story short, we got our Visa's back (Free too!) and 20 minutes later, we were back on our way.

    This time, North.

    Folks - don't try this. Unless you have a REAL Pre-arranged visa (with official invite) and women folk are properly dressed.

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    Traffic Accidents

    by american_tourister Written May 24, 2007

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    Some of the world's worst drivers are here. They are impatient, rude, and will cut you off in a heartbeat. They pass on the right or left and get right on your bumper and start flashing their lights for you to get out of the way. They dont buckle up their children and chat on cell phones incessantly while driving. They also have some of the world's highest fatality rates.

    We see these leftovers of disasters every day. The different government agencies come by and put their stickers on the cars and they stay in one place for days and weeks at times.

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  • CRAZY DRIVERS AND MOTORCYCLISTS ON THE STREETS

    by pangtidor Updated May 12, 2007

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    You have to have a healthy heart if you want to drive in Kuwait. Speeding is a trend here for the younger drivers and surprisingly for the women with the face-head cover too!! Though the maximum speed limit will be 120 kph, some roads will have slower speed limit. Kuwait has many cameras on the street to catch the speedy vehicles but many of them are not working at all. You can not guess which ones are working properly though. It may be the reason for the amateur racer on the street here to spped. Other headache on Kuwait streets will be THE CRAZY MOTORCYCLISTS. Most of the motorcyclists will be helmetless and turning the road as the circus area. They try to get attention from the others (especially women) by speeding with one wheel only on their motorcycles HELMETLESS. The patience level of the drivers is low here as you can hear many honky cars everywhere if they think you are slowing down and blocking their way.:-)) Some will just on their front lights to ask a way from you though. You will be fined for speeding, passing the red light and not using the seatbelt (for front seats only). Sadly to say, THE MANNERS ON KUWAIT ROADS WILL BE APPROPRIATE ONLY WHEN THE POLICE AND CAMERA AROUND ONLY. That is why, the high rate of traffic ACCIDENTS is not a surprise for everybody.

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Kuwait Warnings and Dangers

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