After arriving at Kuwait International Airport and getting my Kuwaiti Visa, I headed to the Salmiya District where I booked into the Ibis Salmiya Hotel on Salem Al Mubarak Street. Salmiya district is on the east side of Kuwait City and lies right on the Arabian Gulf. It’s worth a leisurely stroll and at least a day to check out some of these sights in Salmiya. I didn’t do anything too over the top or strenuous to be honest and I don’t care either. I’ve been fed up recently about going to places “just to say you have seen them” so this was a leisurely wee dander rather than a quest to “tick off all the amazing things in Salmiya”. These are six things you might want to check out when you are in Salmiya.
1. Salmiya Marina
Yachts, dhows and all sorts of boats grace the Marina here in Salmiya. There are also ferry services to other parts of Kuwait including Failaka Island. International departures head from the bigger port in Shuwaikh, where you can get a boat to Bahrain and Iran.
2. Arabian Gulf Street
Arabian Gulf Street spans the length of road right adjacent to the Gulf. Its wide promenades are often graced by joggers, casual walkers and speeding cars. It’s a long way to walk to Kuwait City downtown though, especially in the heat but realistically you can as the road runs alongside the Gulf for miles and miles.
One important thing to note is that 1/3 of all deaths in Kuwait are road related. The roads in Kuwait are dangerous and with lots of speeding cars so take good care, and if you have the patience, just wait at the traffic lights for the walking green man.
3. Shopping Malls
I didn’t buy anything because I’m way too much of a budgeter for that, but whatever you want, you can find it here in the many and various swanky shopping malls.
The shopping centres nearest my hotel were adequate but the biggest one is the Marina Mall. There are lots of cheap tea and coffee shops around too, and even the ugly brand name chains from USA like MacDondilds, Burgered King and StarredBux.
Also please note that you should be very careful when taking photographs in Kuwait – especially try to avoid photographing women in public whether they are wearing veils/hajibs or not. Respect the local culture.
4. Scientific Centre
The Scientific Centre is a building down by the Gulf in the shape of a massive sail. Here you will find the Middle East’s largest Aquarium, where shark feeding can be witnessed and they have giant spider crabs (almost 4 metres long leg to leg!!).
Also in the Scientific Centre is an IMAX cinema and a mini museum and discovery centre for children.
Admiring the varying styles of the Mosques in Salmiya including one which sits right on the Gulf on Arabian Gulf Street.
6. Beit Lothan Cultural Centre
A cool centre to check out is the Beit Lothan. It’s an arty, cultural centre to promote the work of Kuwaiti and Gulf artists and craftspeople through regular exhibitions. It is housed in a 1930s house that was originally the home of the country’s late emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah. Apart from cultural activities, the centre also acts as a conduit for the energies of Kuwaiti youth. It offers a range of courses, including crafts, photography, poetry, drawing and painting. It’s right opposite the Marina and less than 10 minute walk from my hotel.
That quick six should keep you going in Salmiya, but just relax and enjoy it at your leisure. It’s very different to the big downtown buzz of central Kuwait City.
By the way I had typed up a much longer article on here but the computer deleted it so apologies if this seems short – no way am I typing the whole thing again when I’m trying to destress. Here are some of my videos from backpacking in Salmiya: