Kuwait City Gay Travel
Is Kuwait gay travel safe? wolfyy covers Kuwait travel safety, plus luxurious hotels, things to do and Kuwait gay life.
The Gay Travel Experience: Kuwait City
Traveling to Kuwait was one of the most unique experiences of my life. A trip to the Iraqi border particularly left me speechless. I wouldn’t trade the opportunity of exploring such a beautiful culture for anything.
I visited Kuwait with a few friends, including my gay college roommate. A Syracuse University alumnus hosted us for part of the trip. While I was guided by locals most of the time, I felt safe overall.
Kuwaiti people are wonderful and welcoming. I got to interact with a local woman attending university in Kuwait City. She showed me around some of the markets and was very friendly!
As a gay man in Kuwait however, there are several things you should know. Gay individuals have no rights here, as I’ll mention in the final section of this Kuwait gay travel guide. You may ask why I would want to visit such a place. My answer is that I love Arab language and culture.
Although it is unfortunate that Kuwait LGBT people cannot express themselves freely, this does not mean that there are not kind and open-minded people in Kuwait.
Gay Kuwait: Hotels & Where to Stay
I recommend staying in one of the many Kuwait City hotels near the central market area, especially if you are not renting a car.
Travelers that have never visited the Middle East before should spend enough money to ensure safe accommodations. While these hotels can be pretty expensive, they’re worth it.
Most of the city in the area around the central market is quite walkable. If you have the luxury of a car, there are many great hotels scattered all through the central city area.
Kuwait City Experiences for Gay Travelers
Walk through Safat Square, a nice place to people watch. You’ll find restaurants and stores in the plaza as well as some nice sculptures here.
There is a small fountain that lights up at night that I thought was cute. The middle of the day is hottest, so go in the morning or during sunset.
Harbor Walk is a pathway that extends out into the sea that has the best view of the Kuwait City skyline. It’s the perfect place to walk around during sunset.
The Kuwait National Museum is the perfect place to spend the hottest part of the day, where you can absorb the beautiful Arabic scripts and other archaeological pieces.
Head to Kuwait City’s Bazaars in the afternoon. These Kuwaiti markets sell all types of delicious snacks and spices. Take a stroll through Mubarakeya or Gharabally Souq street and grab some sweets.
The Highway of Death
One of the most intense things I’ve ever experienced in my life was on a journey outside of Kuwait City. My friends and I headed toward the Iraq border on Highway 80 to spend the night with an Alumnus of our university in a farmhouse she owns.
This road is known as the Highway of Death…and rightly so. If you’re looking for some intense things to do in Kuwait, this is it.
On this very sand was where Saddam Hussein led the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. In early 1991, Iraqi forces retreated into Iraq on this same highway. During their retreat, the US-led coalition bombed the entire area to pieces. Upwards of 10,000 people perished and roughly 2,000 vehicles were destroyed.
As we drove on a newly built roadway in the exact same place nearly 25 years later, black rubble traces were still visible. It made history, however terrifying, come alive for us. It was surreal to experience.
Once I reached our host’s farm, she gave us a tour of her animals, her greenhouse and cooked us a traditional Arabic dinner. We even picked some fruit!
For now, this is definitely the closest I will be able to get to Iraq. The entire experience was a bit of a thrill and certainly set the stage for the desire to travel to more astounding countries.
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Kuwait Gay Travel Safety & Tips
As a gay traveler in Kuwait, you must take certain precautions. Always respect the local culture, which you should familiarize yourself with before traveling to any Middle Eastern destination.
If you keep to yourself and do not overtly display any affection (no matter if it’s same-sex or not), there is absolutely nothing to worry about in my opinion.
It is illegal to consume, possess or sell alcohol in Kuwait. You won’t find any bars in the entire country. Alcoholic drinks aren’t even available in hotels that cater to international travelers.
It’s best to stay safe and avoid breaking these rules, as any infringement carries a hefty fine and jail sentence! Instead of drinking, find a local Shisha bar where you can try dozens of flavors.
Socially, Kuwait is generally conservative. For females, always wear clothing that completely covers the shoulders and knees. Any display of upper arms, chest, or thighs will attract negative attention. For men, avoid any graphic t-shirts that could be misconstrued as something offensive.
Purchasing travel insurance coverage is always a good idea, especially when visiting places you perceive as risky or outside your comfort zone. Trip insurance can come in handy in so many ways. I highly recommend it.
Kuwait experiences some of the most extreme heat in the world. Summer temperatures are a brutal 110 degrees Fahrenheit, so I would travel during spring or fall.
If it happens to be hot during your travels, you will notice locals avoid the outdoors during the middle of the day. The city may seem desolate, but once the sun sets, people come out for dinner, shopping, and socializing!
Lastly, if you’re seeking to connect with another LGBT individual via gay apps (like Grindr or Scruff), remember that you’ll need a VPN connection to do so. The government blocks various LGBT web content and applications.
I recommend using NordVPN for a safe encrypted connection. An app like this will allow you to download and use restricted apps and websites.
Kuwait Gay Life
Kuwait falls in line with many other Middle Eastern countries in that it provides no protections to the LGBT community. As you can imagine, being gay in Kuwait is not easy. Homosexuality in the country is not illegal per se, however, gay individuals can be prosecuted in alternate fashions.
The maximum penalty upon prosecution is a seven-year jail sentence. This law, albeit terrifying, is not known to be enforced. Please always consult your local government’s guidelines before traveling to Kuwait.
I’d like to remain hopeful that modern leaders and their royal families in Middle Eastern countries will begin to strive toward providing basic human rights to the LGBT communities in their respective countries.
We can do our part as fellow LGBT citizens of the world to hold these leaders and governments accountable for their actions or lack thereof.