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Housing and Lifestyle

Kuwait - Housing and Lifestyle

 

What is living in Kuwait really like? Below is a general overview, to give you a short summary of things to expect from life in Kuwait, from housing options to the more general daily routine. 
 
Housing


Accommodation in Kuwait tends to be easy to find, as two thirds of the population are expats and new housing developments are being built all the time. Many people live in apartments, ‘floors’ – a type of apartment given this name because it occupies an entire floor – or larger villas.
 
It’s important to note that traffic congestion can be a cause for concern in Kuwait, so it is probably best to establish how far away from work (or your children’s school if applicable) you are prepared to be before settling on an area.

Regardless of accommodation type or location, most housing options will have at least one en suite room for domestic staff. Some accommodation will be in purpose-built campuses, which are complete with communal facilities including swimming pools, tennis courts and gyms. Many also boast restaurants and shops. 

In terms of costs, a three-bed apartment can average around £1,200 per month, not including utility bills. Prices will increase if the property is closer to a city centre – particularly Al Ahmadi and Kuwait City. Some landlords require three to six months’ rent upfront to secure the property. 

Whilst it’s possible to buy a house in Kuwait, this is uncommon as it’s only possible to be a homeowner as long as you remain in the country. Many expats prefer to rent so that they can leave Kuwait if and when they choose, without having to sell their property. 

Lifestyle

The Kuwaiti lifestyle is one that appeals to many, but there are a few distinct cultural differences to living in the western world that ought to be taken into account before making the decision to relocate. 

The working week runs from Sunday to Thursday, with most companies operating between 08:30 and 18:00, often with an extended lunch hour. Most shops and businesses are closed outside of these times, and almost everything is closed on a Friday, the holy day. Standard opening hours are reduced even further during the holy month of Ramadan. 

  • The Muslim faith influences much of the Kuwaiti way of life. Muslims pray five times each day, and the mosques issue a call to prayer through public address systems at the selected times. 
  • Similarly, the calendar is also based around Islam’s religious events; the main public holidays are around Ramadan and Hajj – the dates of which vary each year. You would be expected to use your annual leave to celebrate Christmas and Easter (although the international schools do have breaks at these times). 
  • For both genders, it is up to the individual to wear what they choose, but if your knees and shoulders are not covered when out in public you are likely to be stopped in the street and advised to change. Just bear in mind this is a Muslim country, so no tight or revealing clothes are appropriate. Similarly, shorts will be frowned upon. In private areas you are free to wear whatever you like.
  • Any public displays of affection are advised against, as the consequences can be severe. It is also illegal for unmarried couples to live together. 
  • Alcohol is strictly illegal in Kuwait; you can’t buy it for personal consumption, nor is it available in hotels or restaurants. The penalties for smuggling alcohol, or being found with it in your possession, can include deportation. 


Entertainment

The expatriate community is tight-knit and very good at making its own entertainment. Cinemas, cafés and restaurants are plentiful, and there are many events and parties to attend. Many of the campus-based communities also organise special themed nights. 

There’s also a natural tendency to outdoor activities, thanks to the warm and dry conditions for much of the year. A number of outdoor activities such as camel riding and water sports are on offer in Kuwait, though many people opt to simply relax on the beaches in their spare time.

In addition, there are numerous shopping malls and retail endeavours, as well as a number of cultural landmarks and attractions – ensuring there’ll be plenty to keep you, and any visitors you’re sure to get, entertained for a long time.

Weather

The temperature in Kuwait varies from an average of 15°C in the winter months to about 40°C in the summer. The humidity that comes with the heat is generally less intense than in the other countries in the Persian Gulf, but still many people retreat indoors at the height of summer; if not for the heat, then for the increased risk of dust storms at this time. Rainfall is infrequent but will occur in winter. 

You are the only person who can decide if relocating to Kuwait is suitable for you. But if you are open to experiencing a different and exciting culture, then it could be an incredible experience – especially knowing that English is widely spoken here. Moving to Kuwait could also allow you and your family to live closer to your cultural heritage if you’re of an Islamic origin.

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