Getting there & away
The Combined Shipping Company (483 0889; www.csc-kw.com; Ahmed al-Jaber St, Sharq) operates a return service twice a week from Kuwait’s Shuwaikh Port to the Iranian port of Bushehr. A one-way/return economy passage costs US$70/140; an extra US$250 is required to take a car. You can book online (www.irantravelingcenter.com).
Kuwait has borders with Iraq (currently closed to visitors) and Saudi Arabia. The border-crossing situation with Iraq changes frequently and it’s best to check with embassy officials before contemplating this option. It is certainly not currently open to the curious tourist; in fact, it’s not possible, at present, to get beyond the checkpoints on Mutla Ridge without a good reason and paperwork to back it up.
The crossings with Saudi Arabia are at Al-Nuwaisib (for Dammam) and Al-Salmy (for Riyadh). You must have a valid visa for Saudi Arabia or a transit visa, an onward ticket and a visa for your next destination beyond Saudi’s borders before you can cross the border. You cannot obtain these at the border.
Kuwait Public Transport Company (246 9420; www.kptc.com.kw) operates comfy, modern buses to a number of different destinations beyond Kuwait’s borders. Buses also operate between Kuwait and Cairo, via Aqaba in Jordan and Nuweiba in Egypt. Agents specialising in these tickets (the trip takes about two days) are in the area around the main bus station.
Modern, air-con buses, operated by the Saudi bus company Saptco (www.saptco.com.sa) and handled in Kuwait by Kuwait & Gulf Transport Company (484 9355), travel between Kuwait and Dammam (Saudi Arabia) and cost KD6.500. The trip takes six hours.
For those planning on driving through Saudi Arabia, a three-day transit visa is required. Inquire at the Saudi Embassy (240 0250; Arabian Gulf St, Sharq) for more details.
KuwaitInternationalAirport (433 5599, flight information 181) is a reasonably modern enterprise and plans are afoot to upgrade it with the building of a second terminal. Visas are obtained from a counter on the upper storey of the airport, before descending to passport control and baggage claim. Check-in time is two hours before flights are due to depart. Given the limited attractions of the airport and the heavy smoking of regional users, this can seem like a long time. Note that Gulf Air still insists on reconfirmation of tickets 48 hours ahead of departure.
Kuwait’s national carrier is Kuwait Airways (434 5555; www.kuwait-airways.com; cnr Abu Bakr al-Siddiq St & Al-Hilalli St, Safat), which flies to many destinations in the Middle East, Europe (including London, Paris and Frankfurt), Asia and the USA. It has an excellent safety record and is reliable and punctual.
Kuwait also has a no-frills, private carrier called Jazeera Airways (177; www.jazeeraairways.com; Kuwait International Airport) with flights to 30 destinations within the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.
British Airways (BA; 242 5635; www.ba.com; hub Heathrow Airport, London)
Lufthansa (LH; 242 2493; www.lufthansa.com; hub Frankfurt)
Kuwait is not a particularly cheap place to fly into or out of. The airlines and travel agents control prices tightly, and few discount fares are available. The following fares represent walk-in prices from Kuwait City with Gulf Air, one of the most flexible and comprehensive airlines in the region.