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Information Travel

UK Starts Visa-Free Entry Next Month

Starting February, if you have a Kuwaiti passport you no longer require a visa to travel to the UK. Instead of the traditional visit visa, you will require an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) which costs £10 (4KD) and is valid for two years.

The UK ETA application process is straight forward and you should be able to complete the online form in a matter of minutes with the following information:

  • Personal details
  • Passport data
  • Travel information
  • Answers to some basic security questions

The only other requirements are:

  • A valid Kuwaiti passport
  • Credit or debit card to pay the UK ETA fee
  • An email address to receive notifications

Most applications will be processed within 3 days, so you can apply for it right before you trip. This move is part of the UK plan to digitize their border by 2025 and applies to Kuwaitis, GCC citizens and Jordanians.

To stay posted or for more information, follow @ukinkuwait

Categories
Information Interesting Kuwait

Visiting the Shagaya Renewable Energy Park

The Shagaya Renewable Energy Park is located around an hour and a half drive from the city and it’s HUGE. To give you some perspective, if you drove at 100KM/h, it would take you around 5 minutes to get from one end to the other. Last week I was lucky enough to get permission from KISR to visit the project and get a tour of the different renewable energy resources Kuwait is currently experimenting with.

The Shagaya Park is part of Kuwait’s vision for producing up to 15% of the energy from renewable energy sources by the year 2030. The energy park is a small-scale pilot project where three different renewable energy sources were installed with the objective so to be able to asses medium term costs and performances, and be able to make decisions on which technology to be employed in future plants. The 3 renewable energy sources installed are:

10 MW Wind Farm
10 MW Photovoltaic Plant
50 MW Concentrated Solar Power Plant

The wind farm uses wind to turn turbines to produce the energy. The photovoltaic plant uses solar panels to convert sun light into electricity. Finally, the CSP plant uses mirrors to direct sunlight onto a central tube filled with oil which then heats up water which drives a steam turbine to produce electricity. The advantage of the CSP plant which I discovered on this tour is that it can continue to produce electricity even during the night. That’s because there are two large tanks filled with 33,000 tons of molten salt that store heat during the day, and then continue to produce energy at night.

All the power generated from the park is fed back into Kuwait’s power grid. Since the park has been operational for a few years, they’ve collected enough data to decide on moving forward by expanding the Photovoltaic Plant. Kuwait uses the most amount of energy from 12PM to 4PM in the summer which is also when the Photovoltaic Plant’s generate the most electricity. This is why the government recently launched a tender to build a 1.1GW photovoltaic plant which will be installed at the park.

You can’t access the park without permission from KISR, but if you want to drive to it and check out the wind farm from outside the park, here is the location on Google Maps.

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Food Information Things to do

Dunes by Blajat Launching Next Month

Dunes is a new project by TEC located in Blajat and its going to be a beachside kashta experience.

There will be different kashta setups to pick from and they will include catering. The menu will be two kinds of cuisines catered by Meat Moot and L’ETO

You’ll be able to book a kashta through the TEC app either for the whole day, or just for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They’ll also be open daily from 10AM to 11PM.

Dunes is expected to open in the coming two weeks, to stay posted follow them on @duneskwt

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Information

Self Guided Grand Mosque Tours Now Available

Starting last week, you can now explore the Grand Mosque without a tour guide.

From Sunday to Thursday, visitors can tour the Grand Mosque without a guide from 9AM to 12:30PM and then again from 4PM to 6:30PM. No booking necessary. You just need to head to the visitors lounge, register your basic info, and pick up a badge to enter the mosque.

If you want a guided tour, both English and Arabic tours are available from Sunday to Thursday at 10AM, and then again at 5PM. No pre-booking needed and the tours are free of charge.

Dress Code: No sleeveless shirts nor shorts for men, and full-length cloaks and headscarves for women

Location: Google Maps

Instagram: @wpickw

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Information

Movies & TV Shows to Watch this Weekend

This week I started watching the animated series Scavengers Reign on HBO Max and it’s amazing. Very interesting, very creative and extremely weird. The series follows different crew members who evacuated a damaged deep space freighter and got stranded separately on a beautiful but dangerous planet. Watch it.

Let me know what you watched this week in the comments below.

Movies at the Cinemas
The movies below are now showing at the local cinemas:

New This Weekend:
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (N/A)
The Sacrifice Game (5.4)

Other Movies Showing:
Boudica: Queen of War (4.4)
Invitation to a Murder (5.1)
Little Bone Lodge (6.1)
Migration (7.5)
Napoleon (7.0)
Role Play
Silent Night (5.9)
Thanksgiving (6.9)
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (6.9)
Wish (6.0)
Wonka (7.4)

The classic films below are currently showing at the 1954 Film House:
Anastasia (7.1)
Die Hard (8.2)
Die Hard 2 (7.1)

The numbers in brackets refer to the IMDB rating at the time of publishing.

Categories
Information Promoted

Promoted: Moon Laundry Premium Service

Moon Laundry is a premium laundry service that has been open since 2020 and is one of the few I tend to recognize because of their cool branding. Although they refer to themselves as a premium laundry, their prices are actually very reasonable. Their use of the word premium is because of the higher level of care and attention they give to each garment compared to your run of the mill laundry. More importantly, they also have an app.

The app is my favorite thing about Moon Laundry since it makes requesting a laundry pick up very easy. The app even has an option to let the Moon Laundry team count and sort your items after pick up so you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.

After receiving your laundry the first thing they do is conduct a thorough inspection for stains, damages, and special care requirements. If anything is found before a wash, they will contact you and let you know. They will also record any specific instruction or preferences you might have given them when requesting a laundry pick up.

The next step would be to sort your clothes based on color, fabric type, and care instructions. Any stains will be carefully pre-treated before starting the washing process. Once the items are washed, dried and ironed, they will go through one more quality control check before getting packed and sent out to be delivered to you.

If you use laundry services often then you might find their packages interesting since they offer more value at a lesser price. They also work with urgent requests so in case you forgot to wash or iron something you need urgently, they can accommodate you.

Finally, in addition to the regular laundry services, Moon Laundry also offers the service of cleaning handbags and shoes/sneakers.

If you’re looking for a convenient and reliable laundry service, then have a look at Moon Laundry. For a link to the app and more information including special offers, visit @trymoon.app

Categories
Events Information

Qout Market is Back at the JACC Gardens

Qout Market, the market that started the whole markets trend in Kuwait is back again this year with a lineup of four exciting markets for the season:

December 9th, 2023
January 6th, 2024
February 3rd, 2024
March 2nd, 2024

The first market is this coming Saturday and will be held at the JACC gardens. Qout took place at the JACC gardens last year but this year they’ve been given double the space taking up the entire gardens from front to back with more gates open to pedestrian traffic. There is also space for lots of cool special installations, a large children’s activities area and more seating compared to last year.

To celebrate Qout Market’s 10th year, they’ve also created a limited number of collectable merchandise that they’ll be selling at the front desk. Different things will be for sale at each market so pass by the front desk to check the collection out if you’re interested.

If you want to find parking at JACC, make sure you get there early in the morning. If you’re planning on heading there in the afternoon, then I’d recommend parking in Souk Al Watiya behind the St. Regis Hotel, and then walking over to JACC.

Out of respect for Palestine, there will be no live music. Full schedule, map, and general information is available  on their website qoutmarket.com

Categories
Information

Arabella Beach Hotel Opening Next Month in Al Bida’a

Arabella has gone through a major overhaul, half the place closed down and got rebuilt as a 5-star hotel while the remaining parts got a full refurbishing. The hotel called the Arabella Beach Hotel is now set to open next month and I got a tour of it back in October while it was still getting finishing touches.

I don’t think there is another hotel like it in Kuwait, there are definitely much nicer hotels in Kuwait, but I can’t think of another hotel where your hotel room is right on the sea.

The hotel has a few suites located at the far end of the hotel with just the sand followed by the sea as you can see from the picture above which I took from one of the balconies.

The hotel is pretty small due to the location so they’ve tried to make the best of it. There are two pools, one on the ground floor right next to the beach, this isn’t for the hotel but for the gym which is going to be run and managed by a third party. The main hotel’s pool is actually on the roof and is a much nicer place to be since it overlooks the area. But, they missed a great opportunity for an infinity pool that overlooks the sea sadly.

The hotel’s main restaurant ZO Eatery is also not located in the main hotel building, but instead it’s located across the Arabella courtyard where Ora used to be located.

I was also given a tour of all the rooms. The suites were definitely nice, not that big, but plenty of space and interesting layouts with the one pictured above being my favorite. The regular rooms on the other hand weren’t as interesting, so if I was going to stay there, the suites is where I’d want to be.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the hotel is going to do, I’d imagine it might become a popular staycation location since you have a nice pool on the roof and Five Guys right at the entrance of Arabella, so everything you need.

If you want to read more on the hotel and see more photos, here is the link to their website.

Categories
Food Information

Popeyes is Coming Back to Kuwait

Popeyes, the popular fried chicken chain is coming back to Kuwait. Tanmiah, the Saudi food company that owns and operates Popeyes in Saudi Arabia announced in a press release that they will be expanding into two new markets, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Popeyes used to be open in Kuwait until they closed down back in 2014. Interestingly, we’re now seeing a trend of brands making a comeback in Kuwait with Nando’s, Magnolia Bakery, Little Caesars, and now Popeyes all reopening again. Hopefully A&W and Arby’s are next!

Categories
Information

How to Avoid the Winter Wonderland Traffic & Lines

A few days ago I visited Winter Wonderland and one decision I was glad I made was getting the ASCC x Winter Wonderland combo ticket. The ticket costs 3KD more than the usual entry ticket but allows you to park in the cultural center underground parking next door, and enter through the new gate connecting both projects together. You of course can use the same ticket to also visit the museums which is what I did since I was with a friend who hadn’t been before.

The biggest advantage of this combo ticket is you get to avoid the traffic jam on the main Wonderland entrance, as well as the queue to scan your barcode when getting in. The ASCC parking was empty with no traffic to get in or out and then the entrance to Wonderland from the cultural center was also empty. I went in and out twice and both times it was just me and my friend going through.

The park in general doesn’t seem as crowded as last year, but if you’re hesitant in visiting because of the traffic, just get the combo ticket and avoid the headache. Here is the link to their website.

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Information

Donating to Palestinian Relief Efforts with Give

Give is a local non-profit organization that aims to improve the process of donating to charities. Their online platform connects people with registered Kuwaiti charities in order to make it easier to discover what projects are available and to donate to them all from one place.

In light of the atrocities taking place in Palestine right now, Give has over a dozen Palestine missions listed aimed squarely at urgent relief efforts.

The process of donating is really simple and fast, the easiest I’ve personally ever encountered. You don’t have to create an account or input any personal information, all you have to do is select the relief mission you want to donate to, select the amount and then pay using one of the many different options available. If you have Apple Pay set up, the whole process from selecting a relief project to donating will take you less than a minute.

To donate right now to the relief efforts, just click here.

Categories
Information

Winter Wonderland Tickets Now Available

The second season of Winter Wonderland is opening its doors on October 15th, and tickets just went on sale a few moments ago.

Last year tickets were really difficult to come by so this season they increased the number of tickets available for sale everyday up to 15,000. That should hopefully solve the sparsity faced last year.

This season there are also two kinds of tickets available to purchase. The regular ticket is 5KD but there is a new second ticket option that is in partnership with Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre located next door. The new ticket costs 8KD and gives you access to both Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre and Winter Wonderland. With this ticket you also get the benefit of being able to park in the cultural centre’s underground parking.

Tickets are available now but as of this post the app and website were crashing. I’m guessing that’s due to the number of people trying to get tickets. Link

Categories
Information Promoted

Promoted: PIQR – The New Kuwait Events Management App

Two common complaints people tend to have are that there isn’t anything to do in Kuwait or they’re frustrated they found out about an event after it was already over. It’s mostly why my “Things to do this Weekend” list gained so much popularity. Then you also have complaints from people who are trying to organize workshops or events and find it difficult and frustrating to do so. This is where PIQR comes in.

PIQR is a newly launched social media app that allows people to find and attend various events like concerts, workshops, seminars, and more. From the other end of things, it also allows people and brands to organize and host their own events.

Hosting your own public or private event through the app is very simple to set up. If you’re a business planning an opening for a new store, you can easily create and promote the event using the app and extend the invitation to the public. Alternatively, if you’re organizing a birthday celebration for just you and your friends, you can set up a private event within the app and invite only the people you know.

As an event host, you’ll discover a variety of useful features such as the capability to effortlessly check people in and out of your events, as well as the option to send invitations to your followers. As a user, you’ll appreciate the ability to share tickets and invitations with friends, and you’ll love the convenience of having your unique QR code serve as your entry pass to all the events you’ve booked for.

The app just launched so it’s slowly starting to fill up with events but the more people use it the more useful it will become. If you want to download the free app, head over to @getpiqr for the link.

Categories
Activities Information

Blajat have Reduced their Prices

The Blajat project has been open for a couple of days only and they’ve already gone and reduced their prices. There was a lot of backlash on social media over their pricing structure so my guess is that might have played a roll in this. Whatever the reason is, here are the old and new prices for comparison:

Sunbeds
Old Price: 8KD
New Price: 5KD

Beach Cabanas
Old Price: 45KD (up to 4 people)
New Price: 25KD

White Floating Cabanas
Old Price: 45KD (up to 6 people)
New Price: 25KD

White Floating Pool
Old Price: 10KD
New Price: 6KD

Kuwait TAG Obstacle Course
Old Price: 7.5KD
New Price: 6KD

Kids Water Park
Old Price: 5KD
New Price: 5KD (didn’t change)

They also added two more activities:

Beach Volleyball – 5KD an hour
Bossaball – 24KD an hour (up to 10 people)

I passed by earlier this morning just as they were opening to check the project out and it’s pretty nice. There was chill background music playing, the sand looked super clean (no idea about the water), there’s now a proper walkway and the whole project looked well put together.

But there were two things I didn’t like. The first is that you’re not allowed to walk your dogs on the walkway and the second is no bicycles. The first I kinda can understand but the no bicycle thing is a bit weird since there was plenty of space to build a bike path.

If you haven’t passed by to check it out, you should, even if you aren’t planning to swim. @blajatkw

Categories
Information

Salmiya Blajat Project Launching Tomorrow

TEC have been really active with new projects lately and they just announced on Instagram that tomorrow they’ll be opening their Blajat project to the public.

The Blajat project is located in Salmiya and runs the distance from the Bida’a roundabout all the way down to Showbiz. It’s being launched in phases and the first phase has now just been completed.

The Blajat project includes a revamp and refurbishment of that whole strip of coastline with new facilities and ameneties added that include:

– A free public beach
– Rentable sunbeds
– Private cabanas on the beach
– Private cabanas out in the water
– An inflatable water park
– Restaurants and cafes
– A brand new walkway

The regular sandy beach is free to use and there is no entry fee. For the activities and facilities you’ll have to buy tickets through their website or soon to launch TEC app. You’ll also be able to purchase tickets at their ticket booth on location.

Since it’s a public beach it will be mixed-gender and open to everyone.

As for the restaurants and cafes, there will be a bunch of cool brands including Bakehaus, McDonalds, KDD, Subway, Roto and Dhahia Juice.

I’ll post more photos and more accurate information as I get access to them, but for now you can follow the Blajat instagram account @blajatkw and keep reloading their website blajat.kw till it goes live.

Update: So I got the prices and they are the following:

Sunbeds – 8KD per person
Beach Cabanas – 45KD (up to 4 people)
White Floating Cabanas – 45KD (up to 6 people)
White Floating Pool – 10KD per person
Kuwait TAG Obstacle Course – 7.5KD per person
Kids Water Park – 5KD per person

Update2: The website is now live and contains all the details! blajat.kw