Categories
Travel

No Need to Buy London Underground Tickets Anymore

I’m currently in London for the week and I haven’t been here since 2022, before we got Apple Pay in Kuwait.

One cool benefit I realized I now have on this trip is that I can use the London Underground by just tapping my phone on the yellow card readers. I don’t even need to double tap the side button or even activate Face ID, I just take my phone out of my pocket, touch the yellow card reader and it automatically takes the money from my account and lets me through. It also works if you have Google Pay but I haven’t tried that.

Another cool thing I got to try on this trip is the eGate at the airport. Because I have the Canadian passport and I was alone, I was able to use the egate at passport control which meant I didn’t have to wait in any line and was through passport control in under a minute. Anyone who’s had to wait in line for an hour at LHR knows going through in under a minute is just insane.

Other than that its freezing and wet over here right now. I keep forgetting how cold it really gets outside of Kuwait and so I never pack enough winter clothes.

Categories
Data Kuwait Travel

Kuwait Airport Makes the “World’s Worst 10 Airports” List

According to an article on Arab Times, Kuwait Airport is ranked the 7th worst airport in the world according to Skytrax, the airline and airport review and ranking site. I tried to figure out how Arab Times got their top 10 list but I couldn’t figure it out, on another list also by Skytrax, Kuwait is ranked the 6th worst airport.

6th or 7th, it doesn’t matter really. Previously another airport and airline review site, AirHelp, had ranked Kuwait Airport the 2nd worst in the world, but suspiciously after that ranking, Kuwait stopped appearing on their list.

I’m traveling tomorrow with British Airways from Terminal 1 and not really looking forward to it, although truthfully, since Terminal 4 and the Jazeera terminal opened, Terminal 1 has been pretty chill. It’s just visually an ugly terminal with nothing to do once inside.

While on the subject of airports, I remember reading online somewhere that the fee for long term parking at Terminal 1 got increased from 2KD per day to 5KD per day, can anyone confirm that?

Categories
Automotive Travel

New Rules for Leaving Kuwait by Car

I recently heard that any expat wishing to travel by car outside Kuwait now requires a car “TripTik”. No idea why they announced this new rule but it basically means you need to get an additional paper now for your car before traveling.

A reader recently had to get this paper done at KIAC and this is what he shared:

There are 2 options for the TripTik, 1 month & 12 months validity. 1 Month was recently introduced by KIAC on announcement of this new rule to make it more affordable for expats, but if you travel a lot you should get the 12 months validity. The TripTik will be stamped entering and exiting the border similar to a passport.

Here is what’s required:

For 1 Month
Fee: 20KD
Deposit: 50KD that you’ll get back when you’re back from your trip
Paperwork Required: Civil ID, passport, and car registration

For 1 Year
Fee: 50KD
Deposit: 50KD that you’ll get back when you’re back from your trip
Paperwork Required: Civil ID, passport, and car registration. In addition to that you also need a Kuwaiti guarantor as well. The Kuwaiti guarantor needs to have their Civil ID as well as salary certificate.

Issuing the TripTik takes a few minutes after submitting all the correct paperwork.

In case you’re traveling by car, please double check the above information since it might change over time. You can contact KIAC on 24827524 if you have any questions or visit their website kiac.com.kw

As someone that travels often by car I’m personally really annoyed by this.

Thanks Uzair

UPDATE: According to a number of readers, they were able to travel to Saudi without requiring the TripTik. So looks like it might not be required or they haven’t started requesting them yet.

Categories
Travel

The Most Powerful Passports in 2024

The Henley Passport Index is released every year and is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). A passport is considered powerful based on how many countries people from that country can visit without needing a visa.

For 2024, Kuwait ranks 55 on the list with 102 visa-free destinations (check image below). Compared to neighboring GCC countries, Kuwait has the 3rd best passport coming in behind the UAE and Qatar.

Here are how some other countries ranked compared to Kuwait:

1 – France
4 – United Kingdom
7 – United States / Canada
11 – United Arab Emirates
53 – Qatar
55 – Kuwait
59 – Bahrain
60 – Oman
61 – Saudi Arabia
80 – India
87 – Egypt
95 – Lebanon

If you want to check out the full list, click here.

Categories
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
Art Things to do Travel

Visit the Noor Riyadh Festival 2023

Last year I visited Riyadh to check out the Noor Festival, the largest light art festival in the world. Noor means light in Arabic and last year they had 44 different light installations spread across Riyadh and some were really epic. This year the festival is going to be even bigger with over 80 artists invited to participate.

Monira Al Qadiri (@moniraism), the Kuwaiti visual artist whom I’ve previously featured on the blog before is one of the artists invited to take part in the festival this year which starts on November 30th and continue till December 16th.

Visiting the different light installations is free and finding them is easy using the festival app.

If you’ve never been to Riyadh it’s a fun road trip if you want to drive down. Any resident of Kuwait can also apply for a Saudi tourism eVisa no matter of your nationality. There is a lot to do in Riyadh in terms of things to see and restaurants to experience. Last year I went for one night only because there were a handful of light installations I wanted to see but it was really hectic and I wished I stayed a night longer. You can do it in just a night if you really want but two nights would be much better experience.

For more information on the festival, visit @noorriyadhfestival or riyadhart.sa/en/noor-riyadh

Categories
Travel

Fly to Barcelona Direct for just 99kd

Kuwait Airways recently launched three weekly non-stop flights to Barcelona. I just checked the ticket prices and they start at 99KD. The flight time is 7 hours going, and 6 hours coming back.

Barcelona is one of my favorite places since the food is great, the city is not too expensive, and there is so much to see and do. If you’ve never been I highly recommend it. Here is a link to my Barcelona Guide.

Categories
Travel

Fly to Abu Dhabi for only KD19.950

Etihad Airways have a ridiculous promotion right now. A return flight from Kuwait to Abu Dhabi is only KD19.950 including tax. It’s 8KD to go there and 12KD to come back which is so cheap! This doesn’t include any checked baggage but if you’re going for a weekend you can just fly with your carry on.

There is UFC 294 taking place in Abu Dhabi this weekend which is why I think they have this promotion. Even if you don’t end up going to the @ufc event there is still a lot to do and see in Abu Dhabi.

Categories
Travel

High-speed Rail from Riyadh to Kuwait City Approved

A few days ago Saudi Arabia approved a major high-speed rail link that will connect Riyadh and Kuwait City together. This rail link shouldn’t be confused with the metro project and instead is meant to connect Kuwait with the rest of the GCC via rail. Source

I actually watched a TikTok video recently of someone who took the train from Riyadh to a city near the borders with Jordan. The train carried cars and passengers so once he got to the last stop, his car got unloaded from the train and he continued his journey to Jordan by car. I hope the train linking Kuwait and Riyadh also carries cars since it means we potentially could easily transport our cars around the region to speed up road trips. I’ve been wanting to do an Oman road trip for example but it’s around a 16 hour drive, not worth it unless I’m planning to spend a couple of weeks in Oman.

Categories
Travel

No More Direct Flights to Armenia

Back in July, the Armenian national carrier, Fly Arna started direct flights to Kuwait twice a week. I got excited because the flight from Kuwait to Armenia was only 2 hours long and ticket prices started at 82KD which made it very accessible.

Last week I decided I’d book a flight for the end of the month and when I went to their website I couldn’t find Kuwait. They had even removed the image posted above from their Instagram account. Turns out they canceled the route due to lack of interest.

I found that really weird, obviously it’s going to take time for people to find out there are now direct flights to Armenia and then plan their trips. Now the next best flight is a connecting flight that’s over 5 hours long which sucks.

Categories
Travel

KLM to Suspend Kuwait – Amsterdam Flights

Since Kuwait Airways upgraded their planes and moved to T4, I’ve stopped flying other airlines and I guess so did a lot of other people because starting October 29th, KLM are dropping their Amsterdam to Kuwait route because it’s no longer profitable.

I used to use KLM to fly to Amsterdam but wasn’t a big fan since it was an overnight flight which meant I needed to sleep on the plane but I remember they used to be one of the cheapest options available especially when heading to the US.

The last flight to Kuwait leaves Amsterdam on October 28th, after that your only way to fly to Amsterdam directly is with Kuwait Airways. Source

Categories
Travel

Paris Guide: Eat, Drink, See and Sleep

I spent the last week in Paris and I know this sounds cliche, but it’s one of my favorite cities. There is a lot to see and do and its always changing so it never gets old. Here is a quick guide of some of my favorite spots:

Eat
For the best croissant without waiting an hour in line, head to the 2018 winner, La Maison d’Isabelle. If you want a quick and easy bite, Dumbo for smashed burgers or JANET by Homer for the best pastrami sandwich and hotdog ever. If you’re in République, MR. T has a great lunch menu while Candelaria is a taco place with a hidden speakeasy in the back. Mokonuts is my favorite restaurant in Paris run by a husband and wife. Kodawari Ramen is a great ramen spot that looks like a Japanese fish market with fake props and sounds. Cheval d’Or for Chinese food with a twist and finally, Glace Bachir for ice cream.

Drink
Araku, Noir and Partisan for proper coffee. Keep (Café Kitsuné as backup in case you aren’t close to the other three options.

See
For art, Fondation Cartier, Fondation Louis Vuitton and Palais de Tokyo. Sandqvist is my favorite backpack brand and they have a large store in Paris. Do Shinzo for sneakers, Yvon Lambert for art & design books and Deyrolle for the coolest taxidermies. Visit WHITEbIRD and Mad Lords for jewelry and Modes and Tom Greyhound for fashion. Finally, don’t leave Paris without using a vintage Fotoautomat booth.

Sleep
I love staying at The Hoxton in Paris. If you have a car there is a multistory parking lot across the street while the Metro station is just a 2 minute walk. The area isn’t busy with tourists and the hotel is also always poppin since the restaurants and bar are popular.

Categories
Travel

Athens Guide: Eat, Drink, See and Sleep

Dexamenes Seaside Hotel

Last week I flew to Athens for a quick getaway and I fell in love with the city. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid in the 80s so it was basically my first time. The ticket was around 140KD on Kuwait Airways, and it was a short 3 1/2 hour flight so I definitely want to go back again. Below is a quick guide of all the favorite spots I found which I think you’d also like:

Birdman

Eat
I had my best meal at Cherchez La Femme (@kafeneioncherchezlafemme), a small cafe serving greek food in tapa sizes so you can mix and match. Sushimou (no insta) was a great (and affordable) sushi bar serving an omakase menu. The owner and masterchef (@thalis) was named the world’s 100 top chefs. Do Birdman (@birdmanathens) for a Japanese grill with great music and drinks or their sister location Ekiben (@ekibenathens) for a quick bite. For breakfast go to the picturesque cafe Minu (@minu.athens). Head to Wild Souls (@wildsoulsgr) to pick up gifts for friends, and if you’re there in the summer, go to Oggi (@oggiathens) for the best gelato.

ANÄNA Coffee | Food

Drink
Dope Roasting Co (@doperoasting), Anana (@ananacoffeefood), Motiv (@motivathens) and Behold Theman (@behold_theman) were my favorite coffee shops. If you want a place to sit in a garden and enjoy a few drinks, six d.o.g.s (@sixdogsgr) was super chill.

See
KORI (@kori.gr) have lots of beautiful jewelry and ceramic pieces by Greek designers and artists. DangerousMinds (@dangerousminds.gr) if you’re looking for streetwear while Eating +he Goober (@eatingthegoober) is a very cool greek contemporary clothing brand. The Naxos Apothecary (@thenaxosapothecary) is a Greek fragrances and body creams store which is their equivalent to Aesop. Finally, visit the hidden but very scenic neighborhood of Anafiotika which surprisingly isn’t overrun by tourists.

the foundry suites

Sleep
There were a lot of great hotel options but I ended up staying at The Foundry Suites (@thefoundrysuitesathens), a hip boutique hotel with just 12 rooms in a neighborhood full of cafes and antique stores and is not busy with tourists (@perianthhotel was my Plan B). I also spent a night at the Dexamenes Seaside Hotel (@dexamenes) which I would highly recommend. Technically not in Athens because it’s over 3 hours away, but definitely worth it. Rent a car and drive, the road is chill and very photogenic.

Like all my travel guides, this is a curated list with most places being off the beaten path and not packed with tourists. Use it to supplement your own things to do list. Also with some restaurant you need to book in advance so keep that in mind. Also in case you missed them, check out my previous travel guides for Barcelona and Istanbul.

Categories
Travel

New Dining Area in Terminal 4

Theres now a new dining seating area in the Kuwait Airway terminal T4. It opened on the ground floor across from Shake Shack and is meant to serve everyone and not a specific restaurant.

One thing I’d love to see at T4 is an automated bag drop off station. It’s super easy to print out boarding passes from the various machines around the airport but if you’re carrying any sort of luggage that you need to check in, you still end up having to wait in a long line with people who haven’t checked in.

Categories
Travel

Armenia Now Just a Quick 2-Hour Flight Away

The Armenian national carrier, Fly Arna now flies direct to Kuwait twice a week. The flight from Kuwait to Armenia is only around 2 hours long and ticket prices start at 82KD.

I went to Armenia back in 2020 and loved it although I might be a bit biased since I’m half Armenian. The food was amazing, there was a lot to see, and the city gave off a great vibe. I’d put a travel guide together although I’m not sure it would be accurate since I went just pre-Covid so might have to head there again for a few days again just to revisit some places.

If you’re looking for a new, interesting and close destination to fly to, this is it. To book a ticket or check the prices, visit flyarna.com