Establish A New Company With One Visit

Post by Mark


I’ve been wanting to post about the Kuwait Business Center ever since I got involved in the project back in April, but I couldn’t since the project was still under wraps and when it soft launched in May, there were still a few kinks that were being worked out. But, a couple of weeks ago the Ministry of Commerce and Industry officially launched the Kuwait Business Center which is why I decided now would be the best time to write about it.


Anyone who has tried to start a business in Kuwait knows how much running around is needed. Literally. I have a friend who was opening a business and according to his iPhone, he covered the distance of 5KM just running around getting paperwork signed and stamped from one person to the next. KBC is solving all of this by shifting everything online and automating the process while also setting up a one stop shop located in Ishbilia. Now all you need to do is visit their website, apply for your company online and then once everything is approved, you head over to the KBC office in Ishbilia and get everything finalized there. Just 1 visit and just 4 days to issue a license compared to over a month and lots of running around with the old fashioned way.

There are a bunch of other benefits which I’m not sure if they’ve implemented yet or not since the information on the website is all in Arabic. But one new feature I was told about back in April was that small businesses no longer needed to rent an office space so they could get a license, instead they could now use a PO Box which would help keep their overheads low.

So if you’re planning on starting a new business, check out the Kuwait Business Center website [Here]

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Netflix US Working Again in Kuwait

Post by Mark

I stopped using Netflix awhile back since the US version stopped working with my DNS Proxy provider and the Kuwait version lacked all the real estate reality shows I enjoy watching (like Beachfront Bargain Hunt). But recently, my DNS provider Smart DNS Proxy fixed the issue and Netflix US has started working again in Kuwait. According to their support page dating September 30th:

We have restored Netflix for many of our users and are working on getting everyone back ASAP. If you see a “United States 01-10” region here, give it a try! Browsers should work without any other changes, devices may need static routes setup.

So there you have it, if you want to use the US version of Netflix in Kuwait you can now do so again. It’s $4.99 a month for the proxy account and you can get it [Link]

Update: There seems to be a bit of confusion regarding Netflix US vs Netflix Kuwait. If you aren’t using a proxy, then you’re accessing Netflix Kuwait. It doesn’t matter if you have a Netflix US account with a US credit card, if you’re in Kuwait you’ll automatically access Netflix Kuwait. Netflix Kuwait and Netflix US look exactly the same, but the Netflix Kuwait library is a lot smaller. Here is a simple test to tell which Netflix you have. Search for the show “Lakefront Bargain Hunt”. If you have Netflix US it will show up, if you have Netflix Kuwait it will tell you not found.

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Edfa3ly Update – I won’t Retract My Post

Post by Mark


I’ve never retracted a review since I started blogging over a decade ago. The most I’ve done was go back to a review and add a little note at the bottom mentioning what has changed about the place and thats about it. But, the amount of backlash I’ve gotten over my review of the US forwarding mailbox service Edfa3ly has been like no other which has made me consider retracting my original review. But I won’t and here is why.

Back in August I posted about how Edfa3ly was the cheapest way to ship lightweight packages from the States to Kuwait. Some of the advantages were the fact that they charged per 100grams, that you wouldn’t pay any US sales tax and you wouldn’t pay any local customs clearance fee. I had ordered an item from Amazon and had just paid around 500fils to have it shipped to me and it took 10 days to arrive. Two days later I posted a coupon that my readers could use to waive the international shipping fee and thats when things started going downhill.

First sign of trouble was when a reader left a message saying that once the package arrived to Kuwait he had to pay KD2 to have it delivered to his door and that he also had to pay KD5 for custom clearance. Then two more readers left messages stating the same thing. That turned out to be a temporary fuck up on Edfa3ly part but they fixed the issue.

More signs of trouble kept coming in though. A lot of readers were complaining that they couldn’t get hold of customer support. Some spent days trying to get a hold of someone to no avail. It seems people had more luck getting a response back from Edfa3ly by leaving a comment on the blog then trying to reach support through the proper channels.

Another problem was also brought to my attention. I had originally stated that you wouldn’t have to pay any US sales tax but Edfa3ly changed their policy and started charging a US sales tax. I also posted packages would take around 10 days to be delivered since thats how long it had taken mine to arrive but people started complaining how shipping was taking over 3 weeks with many going missing.

I couldn’t retract or update the review without trying the service out again myself, so I placed an order for another cheap lightweight item, a USB charging cable for my Game Boy Advance. These were the charges:

Item Price: $4.99
Sales Tax Inside US: $0.35
Customs: $0.25
Clearance Fees: $3.32
Edfa3ly Kuwait Fees: $0.05
International Shipping Fees (1.33 dollar(s) per 100gm): $6.65 (0.5KG)

Total: $15.61
Free Shipping Discount Coupon: – $6.95

Final Amount: $8.66


Item order was placed on September 9, it arrived in my mailbox September 19, it then shipped out on September 23 and I finally got it October 6. So I ended up paying around KD1 to have the item delivered to me in Kuwait and it took 17 days to be delivered to me after shipping from the States. Thats not bad, it wasn’t an important item so I wasn’t in a rush and shipping was still much cheaper than the alternatives. If I had ordered using PostaPlus, the same item would have cost me at least KD3.5 to have it delivered to Kuwait while with Aramex it would have cost me KD4.25. Now true I had used a free shipping coupon with this order but it seems they constantly have a free shipping coupon listed on their website. One confusing aspect is why they marked my package as weighing 500grams when the item weighs just 25grams as you can see in the picture above. But since I had the coupon for free shipping I didn’t care or contact them to find out. If I was paying for shipping I would have definitely made an issue about this.


Now one final comparison. In my original review I posted a breakdown of how much it cost me to ship a Nikon Rubber Eyecup for my camera from Amazon (pictured above). The breakdown was as follows:

Item Price: $10.7
Customs Fee: $0.54
Edfa3ly Fees: $0.54
International Shipping Fees: $1.33

Total Price: $13.11

If I was to place the exact same order today and not use a free shipping coupon, the breakdown would be as following:

Item Price $10.4 (it’s 30cents cheaper now on Amazon)
Sales Tax Inside US: $0.73
Customs Fee: $0.56
Edfa3ly Fees: $0.1
Clearance Fees: $3.32
International shipping fees: $1.33

Total Price: $16.43

So while previously it cost me $2.41 on top of the item to have it shipped to Kuwait, this time around it would have cost me $6.03 which clearly isn’t as cheap but still cheaper than PostaPlus or Aramex.

So will I continue to use Edfa3ly? Yes like I have been… for really cheap small and light items that wouldn’t be worth shipping with PostaPlus or Aramex. They’re also items I don’t need urgently. For everything else I’ll continue to use PostaPlus like I have been doing. Someone emailed me telling me they ordered a Kindle with Edfa3ly, I personally wouldn’t order a Kindle with Edfa3ly. It’s more reliable to order a Kindle to my PostaPlus account and PostaPlus would also most likely be cheaper. People tend to skim through my posts no matter how short or long they are. I only recommended Edfa3ly specificaly for “tiny cheap stuff”, packages that weigh under 1/2kg. Look at what I ordered as a perfect example, a rubber eye cup for my camera that costs $10 and a tiny custom USB cable for my Game Boy that cost $5. I didn’t order a MacBook or an Xbox.

I will be placing an update under my original review mentioning the fact they now charge a US sales tax and a clearance fee, but I will not be retracting my original post since I still stand with what I originally stated. Edfa3ly are the cheapest way to ship light packages from the US to Kuwait. They are just no longer as cheap as they originally were.

UPDATE: There have been major changes to the service since this post. Edfa3ly are no longer the cheapest option to ship, they no longer charge by the 100grams and they are now more expensive than PostaPlus so I have retracted my review.

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Sheikh Jaber Causeway Project Website

Post by Mark


So turns out the Sheikh Jaber Causeway Bridge that is set to be completed in 2018 has a pretty cool website. I use the word cool here not because of the design, but because of the kind of content thats available on the site like the project map, project overview, monthly updates, images, video and more. You can even book a trip to their visitors center! Check out the website [Here]


Now here is the thing. This “bridge” is set to be completed in two years time and it already has a website yet the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre which is set to open end of this month still doesn’t have one? A bridge has a website but the cultural centre doesn’t? How does that make sense? Are there any shows that will be coming? And why is all this information so hush hush?

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Jumo Coffee Now at Al Hamra Tower

Post by Mark


With all the coffee shops popping up around Kuwait, it’s going to be pretty difficult for the different coffee shops to stick out. Jumo Coffee already have an advantage since they’ve got a great location at Sadu House but they’re also approaching the coffee scene a bit differently. Instead of just serving their coffee at their location, they’re also providing other restaurants with the ability to brew Jumo Coffee. Yesterday I found out one of those restaurants is Junkyard in the Al Hamra Tower food court.

Junkyard now has a small Jumo Coffee corner which means you can finally get a decent cup of coffee before heading to the movies. Since my office is in Al Hamra Tower, this is going to be my morning go to coffee place until Arabica opens up across the street. And to top it off, if you work in Al Hamra (like Alghanim and Ministry of Youth employees), you get a 25% discount. Just make sure you have your tower badge with you.

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Hessah Al Mubarak Real Estate Development Project

Post by Mark


Back in April I noticed a large area of land was being cleared opposite The Green Island on the Gulf Road. The area turned out was being prepped for a new real estate project by KIPCO and a few days ago they launched the project officially with press releases and interviews. KIPCO are aware of how unique and rare this plot of space is which is why they will be setting an example with the high level of planning and construction and from what I’ve read and seen, looks like they’re on track. They’re basically building a whole neighborhood from the ground up. This was my favorite bit from the press release:


The land plot measures 227,066 sqm, of which close to 50% is dedicated to public services and amenities. This includes gardens, open public spaces, urban plazas, streets, multi-story public parking and utilities. Gardens and green areas across the project have been allocated 23,400 sqm. [Source]


Finally someone is doing it right and based on the photos it looks like there will also be sidewalks. You would think sidewalks would be something common but just try walking around a residential neighborhood like Salmiya or Salwa, no sidewalks to walk on.. at all. Also good to see lots of space being utilized for gardens and public spaces. In the 80s when I was a kid, me and my friends used to play in empty sand lots in our neighborhoods, football, marbles, whatever but today kids don’t have those spaces. All the empty plots have either been replaced with towering buildings or are filled with cars so it’s great that KIPCO are putting aside 50% of the land for public services and amenities.

Check out the video of the project below which should give you a much clearer overview of the whole project.

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Latest on the Cultural Centre

Post by Mark


I dropped by the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre late last week to check out the progress. On this latest trip I passed by the fountain area which I wasn’t aware of previously. It wasn’t in the original renderings and the area has a large fountain in the middle surrounded by 18 restaurants and shops. On top of the restaurants is a walkway which reminded me of the High Line in New York since it was surrounded by greenery and pools of water. The high path overlooks the fountain area and leads all the way to the back of the four main structures. I shot a video of the fountain area which you can see in the video below.

I’m trying to get a list of all the places that will be opening up there but still haven’t received them yet. One source of mine has informed me the soft launch is now on October 15th. Even though there is still lots of work taking place near the fountain area, the main buildings are basically done. I walked into one of them and it was sparkling clean with workers busy still cleaning. Another contact of mine also involved in the project has denied they will be soft launching on October 15th and instead plans are still underway for an October 31st launch. We’ll have to see which one turns out to be right.

I don’t have any information on what performances will be taking part at the Cultural Center nor do I even know if there is a website for it. If I find out anything I’ll surely post it.

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Jumo Now Permanently at Sadu House

Post by Mark


Back in August I posted about the Jumo Coffee Shop that was a temporary pop up in the open courtyard inside the Sadu House. The setup was meant to be temporary until end of August before they moved to their permanent location, a small room also inside the Sadu House but not nearly as pretty or spacious. The temporary setup ended up extending beyond the original deadline and now they’ve gotten approval to remain there permanently.

So if you’re looking for an independent coffee shop with a beautiful setup to chill at in the evenings (or during the day) then check them out. They’re open daily from 7AM to 10PM and 3PM to 10PM on weekends. Here is their location on [Google Maps] and their instagram is @jumocoffee.

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New Tavola Location

Post by Mark


Tavola is one of my favorite kitchen related stores since they carry a number of great brands like WMF, Wilton, Zwilling J.A.Henckels, Le Creuset, Cuisine Art, Bodum, Peugeot mills and Joseph Joseph. The only issue I had with them was that they were located in the industrial area of Shuwaikh past highway 60 and so getting there was always a journey.


But, just before the Eid holidays Tavola opened a new much larger location in Tilal Complex, which is also in Shuwaikh but an easier location to get to. The new location is divided into two floors with all their brands located on the lower floor while the top floor is dedicated to their Wilton baking products as well as two large rooms where they hold baking workshops.

If you want to know what brands they carry the full list is available on their website [Here]. On the other hand if you want to know more on their baking workshops they’re posting the schedules up on their instagram account @tavolakuwait

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Why Kuwait is the “Worst Country for Expats”

Post by Mark


Last week I posted about the Expat Insider survey that revealed Kuwait as the “Worst Country for Expats“. A lot of people agreed with the findings but a lot of people were also up in arms about it. But, I don’t think many people actually took the time to go through the survey and understand how Kuwait ended up at the bottom of the list. So what I’ve done is create a cheat sheet of a sort. I went through the 188 pages of the survey and picked out all the areas were Kuwait performed the worst in and I’ve listed them below. Once you see the breakdown the whole thing starts to make a lot more sense.

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