Kuwait Weather – January 2017 vs Previous Years

Post by Mark

It’s been super warm all January during the daytime, I’m in a t-shirt most of the time and at night I even have the air conditioning on when I go to sleep. It feels like the warmest January ever but I just went through the Kuwait weather history on wunderground.com, and it turns out it’s just an average Kuwait January. The coldest January in the past 10 years was in 2009 and the warmest was in 2010.


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Kuwait Motor Town Race Circuit is Under Construction!

Post by Mark

Last July I posted the video below as well as renderings of the proposed Kuwait Motor Town race circuit. Not only did the project finally get a green light, but construction is already on the way and 92% of the digging has already been completed. The video below for some reason has been circling social media the past week as if its something new but it’s not new and its no longer accurate.

Kuwait Motor Town will be a world-class race tracking that will feature seven racing circuits. The track will be FIA Grade 1 circuit designed by TILKE, the same people behind a number of popular F1 tracks including Yas Marina and the Baku City Circuit. The circuit will be a state-of-the-art facility that is able to host Formula One and MotoGP races in the future.

The project is being handled by the Amiri Diwan who are behind projects like Al Shaheed Park and the new cultural centre. The circuit is expected to be completed sometime next year and will be located off highway 40, across from Ali Sabah Al Salem. [Google Maps]

The rendering on the very top of this post is currently the latest available rendering but it’s not the final one. I’m trying to get a hold of the final renderings but for now if you’d like to check out videos of the construction work and stay up to date on the project, check out the instagram account @afs_q80

I can’t believe we’re finally getting a race track in Kuwait and not just any race track but a state-of-the-art one. I guess I’m going to need to replace my Datsun with a new car I could use on open track days. This is so exciting!!!

Update: I managed to get the latest renderings of the circuit from Ali Fawaz Al Sabah (@afs_q80) who is the president of the Basil Al Sabah Motor Racing Club. These are the latest but not the final final renderings since more modifications were made. Ali and his team have been working day and night on the project for 9 years trying to get it approved. In the visuals below you’ll find the karting, moto-cross, rally-cross, super-cross, 4×4 technical and ATV circuits as well as the main F1 and Moto-GP circuits. You’ll also see renderings of the mall and hotel. Once you click on a thumbnail you’ll see the description on the bottom left of the image.

You can find the full resolution of the images above [Here]


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Soon – Free Internet Around Kuwait with Sama

Post by Mark

For the past five years, WiMD has been my home internet provider. Before they came about, the fastest connection I could get at my place was 2Mbps so I’m a huge WiMD fan and feel I owe my sanity to them. When I first met them five years ago I was told they were working on setting up a WiFI network all around Kuwait, and now that project is finally launching.

WiMD is launching a new product next month called “Sama” which will cover various areas around Kuwait providing free internet to the public over WiFi. Currently Sama is covering Souk Mubarakiya, Al Shaheed Park and around 8km of ocean front. In the future Sama will cover Al Shaheed Park phase 2, around 40km of ocean front and other various projects around Kuwait.

Sama will officially launch next month but they’re currently testing out the Souk Mubarakiya location and have given me a code to share on the blog so my readers could access the network and try it out. Here is the information required to connect to Sama in Souk Mubarakiya:

Network Name: Sama Mubarakiya
Access Code: 7550682976

This code can be accessed by multiple users at the same time and the login screen will look similar to the screenshot above, depending on the time of day you’ll see a different sky. If you do try it out please share some feedback.

Also a little bit of information. Last year WiMD bought Gulfnet and this Thursday they’re actually launching the new brand for both companies at a private press conference at the Gulfnet head quarters. So I’m looking forward to that as well.


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Avenues is Kuwait’s Top Tourist Attraction

Post by Mark

Trip Advisor released a world map highlighting every country’s top tourist attraction and according to the map Avenues is Kuwait’s top tourist attraction. The map uses data from their ‘Thing to Do’ list and Avenues is rated the highest on the Kuwait list. Check out the full map in high resolution [Here]

Thanks Mohmed


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Updated List of Speciality Coffee Shops

Post by Mark

I’ve been meaning to post this updated list of coffee shops for a few weeks now but I kept on finding out about more coffee shops so I kept postponing the post. We’ve got so many coffee shops now that we even have two different ones with the same name. I don’t think I’ve missed any places but in case I have, let me know in the comments.

Amo Cafe
Arabica
Awake Coffee
Black Coffee
Bon Coffee
Boost Cafe
BRW
But First Coffee
CAF
Caffeine
Caveman Coffee
Cova Specialty Coffee
Cropped Coffee
CRL Bar
Days*Cafe
Dose Cafe
Etsi Kafe Lab
Force Bar
Grace
His Majesty
Jumo
Keys Coffee Shop
Kôfē – Espresso Bar
Let’s Coffee
Majnoon Qahwa
Mood Coffee Bar
Muse Coffeesphere
Muse Espresso Bar
New Brew Coffee
Not Just Coffee
Pause Coffee
Perhaps Some Coffee
Pirate Cafe
Richard’s Coffee
Savage Coffees
Seven Grams Coffee Lab
Shots
Shuwaikh Coffee
SIP
Street Cafe
The Breeze Cafe
Three and Barista
Toby’s Estate
Vibes Coffee
Vol 1
Wish Cafe

Most of the places above opened up in the past 6 months or so. Insane.


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Jahra Bridge Now Open

Post by Mark

The huge bridge that connects Kuwait City to Jahra is now open. Last week I was heading back from Sabbiya to Kuwait City and got on the newly opened Jahra bridge and damn did it save me so much time. I think I probably saved anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes just because of the bridge. It’s super long and flies over all the small roads, traffic lights and roundabouts that you would usually have to take. Only downside at the moment is that the bridge ends as a two lane road outside of Cozmo/McDonalds Kaifan, so there was a bit of traffic at the end as the cars funneled, but the amount of time I saved still made up for it.

Oh and just a small note, there are no speed cameras on the bridge at the moment.

Update: Ok so you need to watch out for the parked speed cameras like the one pictured below. (Thanks Forzaq8)


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Kuwait is Super Kind to Strangers

Post by Mark

The Charities Aid Foundation released their yearly World Giving Index and Kuwait scored pretty high in the “Helping a stranger” category coming in 3rd place world wide. Overall though Kuwait barely made it in the top 20 coming in 19th place mostly because of a really low score in the “Volunteering time” category (83rd place). You can check out the full index at the CAF website [Here]

Spoiler: Myanmar came first overall.

Thanks Omair


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Sabah Al Ahmad City Cultural Centre

Post by Mark

Not to be confused with the Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Center, the Sabah Al Ahmad City Cultural Centre will be located in Sabah Al Ahmad City and feature the following:

– 2 theaters (700 seat & 250 seats for all sorts of theatrical productions)
– 200 seat Conference center with flexibility for hosting conferences with different capacities
– 250 seat Recital hall for music performances
– Children culture center with many cultural activities for children including a 150 seat theater
– Amphitheater for outside performances
– Museum
– Art gallery for hosting art exhibitions
– Library
– Book exhibition for hosting book fairs
– Cultural café
– Oasis: a green air-conditioned large space for public gathering

I originally posted about Sabah Al Ahmad City Cultural Centre back in 2012, but the project disappeared until it was brought back to life last month. It seems Al-Diwan Al-Amiri have taken over the project and its now expected to be completed mid 2018. Al-Diwan Al-Amiri are behind some of the biggest projects in Kuwait like the recently opened Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Center. Check out some of the renderings below:

Thanks q8-msc


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48 Hours in Kuwait

Post by Mark

A reader recommended I put together a list of places which visitors to Kuwait could check out on a short trip. It was pretty difficult to put the list together since I didn’t want to make the list too long but also struggled with places like Al Shaheed Park (Would tourists want to visit a park?). With that in mind, below is the list of my recommendations. If you have better suggestions which I’m sure you do, let me know in the comments and I might add it to the list.

Places to Visit

Kuwait Towers: I like standing under the towers and looking up more than I like going up to the towers. The observatory deck might be worth checking out if you’re interested in seeing the Kuwait City skyline although I personally don’t think it’s that great of a view. The windows are also usually dirty and at night you can’t see anything outside because the observatory deck is too brightly lit on the inside. The restaurant in the Kuwait Towers isn’t that bad, but there are better places to have a meal.

Water Towers: I recommend the water towers in Adailiya since they’re located inside the park and so you can walk up to them very close. They were also recently painted so they’ll look good in photos (pictured above).

Maritime Museum, Modern Art Museum, Dickson House and the Amricani Cultural Center are all located right next to each other so you can cover them all in 2-3 hours easily since neither of them is that big. [Link]

Souk Mubarkiya: A must visit place if you’re looking for an old traditional market.

The Avenues Mall: I know its a mall but it’s a great one and in the summer it’s probably the best place to go if you want to shop. You’ll find everything there from high end designers to IKEA and a ton of different places to eat at.

Al Shaab Gate: There are a few old city gates left but I’d recommend visiting the one adjacent to Al Shaheed Park since the area around it was recently renovated.

Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre: Beautiful architecture and a large garden with an animated musical fountain to check out. If you’re lucky there might be an event or show taking place during your visit so check their website for tickets. There are also restaurants located at the centre in case you want to have a meal there.

Restaurants

Cocoa Room: My favorite breakfast place and is usually always busy.

Street by Al Makan: Good food, gets pretty busy at night mostly with a younger crowd, located in a trendy area. Also walking distance to Souk Mubarakiya. Pass by Vol.1 located under it for coffee after dinner.

Solo PN: A very popular pizza place thats always busy. Recently won an award for the 3rd best pizza in the world.

Al Shemam: Located right in the middle of Souk Mubarakiya next to the vegetable market. Has great grills (fish, meat and poultry) but is also a pretty ghetto looking place so not for the squeamish (pictured above).

Freej Suwaileh: A very popular and affordable Kuwaiti cuisine restaurant that’s open till 5AM.

Dar Hamad: A high end Kuwaiti cuisine restaurant with a beautiful interior.

Events

There are always events taking place so if you’re looking for one to go to during your visit, make sure you check out the events page [Here]

Off the Beaten Path

Friday Market: A large flea market that takes place on Fridays, usually gets really packed and you can find lots of random things for sale there from old gaming systems to washing machines and furniture. Although you might be tempted, avoid the animals section.

Salem Mubarek Street: A street stretching out around 2KM filled with shops on both sides. Used to be extremely popular in the 80s and early 90s (pictured above).

Al-Rehab Complex: If you’re into video games you’ll love this complex since the mezzanine floor and basement are filled with video game shops. By filled I mean every single shop there is a video game shop, easily over 50 shops.

Ice Skating Rink: Popular in the 80s and early 90s but not very popular nowadays. Worth checking out if you’re looking to cool off during the hot summer months.

House of Mirrors: The House of Mirrors belongs to Lidia al-Qattan, the widow of Khalifa al-Qattan, a renowned Kuwaiti artist. She started decorating one small wall with mirrors and through time more and more walls were decorated until the whole house inside and out was covered with mirrors.


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Detailed Tour of the New Kuwait Airport

Post by Mark

If you’re curious to know more about the new Kuwait Airport thats being built, you can watch presentation above (in Arabic) where the presenter takes the audience on a very thorough tour of it. Since its a slideshow and around 20 minutes long most people will find it pretty boring so I’ve taken the liberty to write down some of the highlights:

– Airport will take 6 years to construct
– Entrance to the airport will be from the South, from Subhan
– Transparent LED screens will be used at check-in counters (when screens are off they’re transparent)
– Business and first class passengers have their own entrance
– The airport ceiling was inspired by old Al-Andalus architecture on how to bring day light in
– The same holes in the ceiling that bring day light in during the day, at night have bright projectors inside to mimic day light. So even at night you’ll get the impression there is daylight coming in
– First impression for visitors is important so the arrival area was heavily worked on to make the impression a good one. There will be lots of daylight, large open spaces and even waterfalls in the arrival area
– There will be 37 airplane gates
– 5,200 parking spots


Old airport on the right vs the new airport on the left

– Airport is Metro ready
– Airport will also be future expansion ready. They will build a tunnel for an Automated People Mover (a computer controlled transit system) that will end up connecting to a future terminal when the time comes to build it
– The new airport level of service will be ranked “A” (Excellent). This grade is given based on various factors including the distance between gates, the amount of time you wait at the check-in counters, immigration, security etc..
– Current airport is made to handle 7 million passengers but over 11.5 million passengers use it hence why the level of service is so low
– You can check-in 30 minutes before departure because their baggage boarding system is very efficient and fully automated from the check-in counter to the plane
– On arrival, first bag will be out in 10 minutes after the plane lands while the last bag will be out in 25-30 minutes
– Minimum connect time for transfer bags is 45 minutes
– The new airport will be one of the few world wide with a LEED Gold ranking. Meaning it will be a very green sustainable building. The roof for example will be composed of solar panels that will power around 10% of the airports power while rainwater will also be collected and there are other green features as well

Lots of details as I mentioned so if you’ve got 20 minutes to spare check out the presentation. Also looks like the Metro project is still alive! [YouTube]


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