• Population: 2.7 million (UN, 2005)
  • Capital: Kuwait
  • Area: 17,818 sq km (6,880 sq miles)
  • Major language: Arabic
  • Major religion: Islam
  • Life expectancy: 75 years (men), 79 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Dinar = 1000 fils
  • The State of Kuwait is one of the richest countries in the Middle East responsible for 10% of the world’s oil reserves. That is almost 25% of the oil reserves in the entire region and 102 billion barrels more of oil reserves, which is ideally a lot for this geographically-challenged space. Kuwait seems almost microscopic in contrast to the empires of the Middle East but it is a nation independent and oil-rich no less. Famed celebrities have set foot in its glorious desert soil like the Jessica Simpson and the Pussycat Dolls for reasons save for tourism. Travel holidays, turns out, are quite a hard sell for this country without neither a proper and sufficient tourism infrastructure nor the marketing strategy to fuel it.

    And without running tourist ads, it will possibly be the traveller’s ultimate desert adventure of a lifetime. In no way is this setback related to the crazy aggression and invasion of Iraq. In fact, Kuwait remains to this day one of the most peaceful and neutral countries in the Middle East. Clearly, the world will see more of Kuwait in the coming years, aside from numerous U.S. camps, with the state’s plans for economic diversification to attract investors and tourists alike.


    Kuwait (29 30 N, 45 45 E) is a geographically small country that is more a city than a nation in terms of area, what with its teensy 17,820 km2 area. The terrain is almost entirely flat sandy dessert plains. The Arabian Desert covers largely of what is already a small landmass. Here, the highest elevation is some area 306 metres above the sea level and the lowest, the Persian Gulf (0 metres). Kuwait consists of nine islands where only 1, the Failaka is uninhabited. With less than 1% of arable land, its fields have very sparse vegetation. In stark contrast, its oil fields are among the richest with beyond a hundred billion barrels of oil in proven reserve. Unfortunately, oil and bio life don’t mix as oil spills during the Gulf War dramatically affected the marine resources of the country.


    The climate of Kuwait is dry desert, by and large. One cannot overstate how intense the summers are in these parts with mean temperatures ranging from 42-49oC. That’s 2-9 degrees higher than the maximum, the ultimate temperatures of tropical Southeast Asia, and a great bunch of people know how hot that is. Winters are cool, but rather short from December to February with temperatures dropping drastically between 10 and 30oC. To inflict more pain to injury, rain is very limited. The best time to be in Kuwait is around the spring time, particularly in March, when temperatures are of the right blend of cool and warm.


    Springs must be a wonderful time for the 1.06 million Kuwaitis and the 2.36 million non-Kuwaiti nationals, almost 68% of the overall population. A hundred thousand people in Kuwait are stateless people. Of these, 45% are Kuwaitis; Arabs are 35%, South Asians, 9%, and Iranians, 4%. The remainder is constituted by Egyptians, Syrians, Palestinians, etc.


    Kuwait is a Muslim nation, by and large, due to the sizeable denomination of Arabs and the influence of its neighbouring countries. After all, it is the Middle East. However, the sect is divided into Sunni and Shia, the major and minor factions here. In general, Muslims comprise around 85% of the population. In spite of this, a great community of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs live here too. Free practice of faith is respected, but building temples and churches is total no-no.


    ARABIC is Kuwait’s official language, but provisions are not as stringent as with religion, where signage are bilingual – Arabic and English. ENGLISH is widely spoken, and many Kuwaitis are fluent in the language owing to the English programs from as early as the first grade. The significant languages that support the immigrant population here like PERSIAN, FILIPINO, HINDI, MALAY, TAMIL, URDU, BENGALI, and so on are also widely spoken.

    Kuwait is greatly acknowledged for its rich urban charm, like the Entertainment City, the local response to Disneyland. The national symbol, according to most is this Three Kuwait Towers with three spherical structures each erected tower. These are among, if not the most important landscapes in Kuwait. One tower is a water tank, the other, an electric generator, and the topmost, a rotating restaurant.


    But, it’s the barrenness of Kuwait renders its unique appeal to the independent and new-frontier traveller. Some think, “There’s nothing in Kuwait, but sand, and more sand.” Then ingenuity hits. When one gets to looking, Kuwait is not so empty at all. More than a sand dune, Kuwait has amazing terrain challenges to offer. First off, the undulating Kazmah Desert Cliffs make a fantastic vantage point for sight-seeing. Also, it’s a marvellous terrain for a little extreme jeep or quad challenge. Or even better, the desert is like a colossal sandbox from your once young days. The uninhabited Failaka Island, on the other hand, is ideal for the Indiana Jones aficionado. This is THE place where travellers can re-enact their favourite movie scenes, and discover real archaeological sites and ruins from the Bronze Age to the Greek civilizations when Alexander the Great established this Island as Ikarus, its more renowned name.


    To commence the traveller’s adventures, or to begin, Kuwaiti food is the best escort. The traveller is certain to enjoy the food here as Kuwaitis spend a lot of time with food. As the ultimate foodies, they have no nightlife, just food- life, especially when alcohol is prohibited absolutely- no extra conditions, no permit requests. Anyway, the unbelievable diversity and flavours of the food will make one forget about alcohol for a minute, and after tasting the national speciality of chicken machbous of the best quality and consistency, you’ll understand. The incredible aroma of the sophisticated blend of spices as cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, black pepper, coriander, and paprika (the common spice mix) make this dish and many other utterly and mouth-wateringly delicious. Rice is definitely the staple. Mediterranean mezzes are also present in many places as well as specialty sandwiches and wraps, but don’t ever leave out murabyan. There are countless of restaurants to find here, but do get a little adventurous and sample some of the local holes-in-the-wall, where more often or not, the traveller will successfully find the real taste of Kuwaiti gastronomy.

    Josh Boorman


    Backpacking Addictz



    Twitter: @backpackaddictz

    Backpacking Addictz is a website set up by backpackers for the use of backpackers. On this site you will find a lot of very valuable backpacking information surrounding different destinations and countries from around the world. Also very helpful backpacking tips and travel advice on planning a budget travel and backpacking adventure. You will also find an enthusiastic and insightful backpacking blog which is regularly updated with new posts and article.

    Backpacking Addictz Backpacking Guides are a fantastic, cheap and easy way to get hold of a vast amount of backpacking information prior to setting off on your backpacking adventure.

    Joshua Boorman

    Joshua Boorman

    Founder & Editor in Chief at Backpacking Addictz
    Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.
    Joshua Boorman

    Leave A Response

    * Denotes Required Field