3 years ago I was in the position many will be in now, a mixture of emotions but mostly filled with excitement. One of my biggest challenges when moving to Kuwait and even when arriving in Kuwait was not knowing what to do on the weekends. Kuwait is a small country in the Gulf that most people probably wouldn’t choose to go to as a tourist destination. Having said that there are plenty of things to do here it can just be a challenge to find exactly what it is.
I hope my list will give some of you an insight into what your weekends might look like. Note that the numbers listed below are in Arabic as well as the names of the places, something I will introduce in a later post for those interested in learning. You can find my earlier post of useful phrases to get started : )
١ Souq Al-Mubarakiya سوق المباركية
Undoubtedly one of the most authentic and liveliest places you will find on the weekends. This historic souq in Kuwait is filled with spices, sweet deserts, ancient antiques and beautiful collections of Middle Eastern scents. Souq Al-Mubarakiya is the oldest souq in Kuwait, dating back over 200 years, gives out that thriving Middle Eastern atmosphere, still preserving some buildings before the war amongst the modern architecture that you will find around Kuwait today. It used to be at the centre of trade before oil was discovered. There are one of many entrances to the souq for you to discover. Located just outside, you have a large area of outdoor seating for a variety of different restaurants besides a beautiful golden mosque. Shisha is available at one of plenty of restaurants here, usually at a much cheaper price. This place is great to find souvenirs to bring back home to your family and friends.
Keeping Kuwaiti tradition and culture, it’s a place you can come to really immerse yourself in the Kuwaiti culture and learn more about this country’s history. Here you can learn more about the traditional clothes Kuwaitis wear and how they are made in one of many shops in this souq. As you stroll around Souq Al-Mubarakiya, you will notice two types of flags. The most familiar one with the colours red, white, green and black. Each colour has a different meaning.
. Red represents the blood colour
. White represents the purity and deeds
. Green represents the for the fertile land
. Black representing the defeat of the enemy
The meaning behind these colours actually comes from a poem by Safie Al-Deen Al Hali. The other flag you may notice is the simple red background with Kuwait written in Arabic (كويت) when the British were in Kuwait, an older flag to the one just mentioned however both are seen throughout Kuwait.
٢ Kuwait Towers أبراج الكويت
Most people will recognise these famous towers in Kuwait when googling the country to see what Kuwait actually looks like. A fascinating landmark of Kuwait, these unique, modern designed towers light up at night and make the skyline of Kuwait City breathtakingly beautiful.
Built in the 1970s, you can take a lift up to the viewing platform (indoors) to have a picturesque view of the capital. There is not only a restaurant for you to dine at but a cafe in one of these towers , where it rotates around, allowing you to embrace the spectacular views of not only the city but the majestic, aqua blue sea. You can visit the towers both in the day time and at night. You do have to pay I think 3kd for just the view. It’s important to mention that there is not much shade in this area therefore walking around here (excluding actually inside the towers) is probably not the best idea on a very hot day in the summer.
٣ The beach الشاطئ
There are plenty of private beaches to choose from in Kuwait. Most expats will join a health club that has a private beach. The one I was a member at was ‘Al Corniche Club’. Personally my favourite in Kuwait however another favourite of mine would be the Hilton beach in Sabah Al Salem. Although Al Corniche club isn’t a hotel like the Hilton it has pretty much everything you would want to spend a relaxing weekend in Kuwait. A stunning private beach, meaning only members can come there and you can wear bikinis, shorts, skirts etc. It has swimming pools, a jacuzzi, table tennis, a fantastic gym with lots of classes to join as well as a restaurant, buffet and costa coffee place which is my personal favourite to go to for a mixed berry smoothie after a long hard day at the beach ;). In the costa coffee place there is a tv area with a great atmosphere when events such as Wimbledon is on. I will make a more detailed post on health clubs in Kuwait in the future. It has a great expat community feel as well as the opportunity to mix with Kuwaitis and widen your social circle here in Kuwait. There are day passes available but they are expensive and in my opinion it is well worth getting a membership for the year to be able to use this pocket of paradise as much as you want.
٤ Avenues Mall مجمع الأفنيوز
Welcome to this grand, luxurious mall in Kuwait known as the Avenues. It is the largest mall in the country, known not only for its size but the amount of wealth oozing out of not only the decor but the shops, architecture and the people itself. It’s definitely not your average mall that you might be used to back at home. It is filled with elegancy and style to a world class standard.
You are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to this mall. Located in the Rai area, it has a cinemas, shops, restaurants, hairdressers, cafes, indoor play areas, you name it, it probably has it. Due to how big this place is, it’s not uncommon to find people spending their entire day here. While I wouldn’t want to spend all my Saturday at a mall it is definitely the only mall in Kuwait I would be happy to spend hours and hours at, sitting in a cafe, restaurant, walking around the shops and taking it all in how incredible this place is. Excellent spot to catch up with friends and even has a beautiful indoor souq area to give that contrast of an international experience mixed with Middle Eastern flavour.
I’ll list some of my favourite restaurants/cafes below that you might want to check out
. P.F. CHANG’S
. Paul Cafe
. Life with Cacao
. House of Lavan
. Bouchon Bakery
The mall is split into different sections such as the gardens, the prestige area and so on. Again I’ll make a specific post about malls in Kuwait and cover in more detail all the shops/restaurants you can find, depending on what you are looking for.
٥ Diving الغوص
When living in Kuwait sometimes it can feel overwhelming being surrounded by tall buildings, frequent sand storms, city skyscrapers and you just want to escape to the mountains for a moment of calm. Though Kuwait doesn’t offer green valleys or mountainous areas it does have plenty of water sports such as diving and snorkelling.
This is a great weekend trip to do as a group and try something new. It gets you out of the city and into a place of peace and tranquility. I’m sure many will agree that being by the sea in general and listening to the waves is really beneficial for your wellbeing and a place for you to reflect and appreciate what this beautiful world has to offer.
Part 2 will be coming very soon with 5 more things to do at the weekend = )
For now, hope you are all keeping safe and well and thank you for reading my blog.