Morqab Tours is excellent. See my post on them HERE listing tours and prices. Nuzha Tours offers tours of Kuwait also; however, they are not flexible when it comes to minimum numbers of people before they will do the tour. They also publish the Kuwait Zoom Magazine which has monthly updates of activities as well as maps (you can find it at the airport or Sultan Center). Nuzha Tours should (in my opinion) take over TEC (see below). I found some really cool information that the US embassy, Kuwait has put together. You can find it by clicking HERE. It was written by two women and my compliments to you, dudettes! Outstanding data.
See the Sea. Every visitor to Kuwait must see the country from the sea! There are nine islands off the coast of Kuwait: Failaka, Bubiyan, Miskan, Warba, Auhha, Umm Al-Maradim, Umm Al-Naml, Kubbar and Qaruh. Kubbar is the most popular island during the summer (packed with people and boats during the weekends -- home to the Teeny Tiny Kuwait Bathing Suit Contest every weekend at 4:30 pm), Qaruh is surrounded by a coral reef and nesting ground for sea turtles, and Umm Al-Maradim boasts phosphorescent algae. This phenomenon has been documented in other parts of the world (Florida, for example), but is not well-known in Kuwait; Any movement in the water creates tiny lights like “fairy dust”, similar to that given off by fireflies. On a starry night when the moon is full, it is magical. The water is clear enough to see the sea floor and hot as bath water in the summer. The sky is a blanket of stars and the lights from the mainland shore and the off-shore oil rigs twinkle in the distance. For a shorter trip, for 1 KD, you can catch a pontoon boat from either souq sharq (in front of Debenhams) or Sultan Center restaurants complex (next to the yachts club) which will take you on a 30 minute tour of the Kuwait Bay, complete with Kodak moments (photo ops). If it all possible, try to get to Failaka (by ferry at Ras Salmiya or Marina Crescent). It is really worth your trip - especially now, before they start developing it into "something different". The Safir Heritage Hotel is on the island if you want to stay overnight and day packages are available. Note that the island are just about the only places where you will find natural (as in “not man-made” like at the hotels), clean beaches.
I don’t think anyone should miss camping in the desert (can be a day trip) but unless you know someone with a camp, it might be difficult. You can check in Al Waseet for people who rent camps (the camping season goes through the end of March, but you have to check the newspapers to see when the Municipality ends the camping season). Nuzha Tours is probably your best bet for a 1 day camp with lunch. (By the way - none of those pictures on their website of the desert is of Kuwait!) If you don’t do any other camping, go to Mutlaa Ridge (80 N towards Iraq past Jahra - photo) for a picnic and watch the sun go down. It is so worth the drive. When it gets dark, you can see the lights of Kuwait City across the bay. I wish someone would build a (environmentally friendly/green) restaurant there someday. It is truly one of my favorite spots in Kuwait.
I took my mom to the camel markets (with Kuwaiti friends) in Salmi towards Jahra. Don't ask me how to get there again. I went gerbil hunting at night out there (again with Kuwaiti friends) and I still don’t know where the Hell we were.
I usually take my visiting friends/family to see the older, traditional places in Kuwait. I know when I first came here in 93, all I wanted to see were the old souqs - and my Kuwaiti girlfriends didn't even know how to get to them! :)
There are, of course, the usual places to take visitors. Mubarakia, which includes the gold market and "souq hareem" or women's market selling "traditional" items including my favorites like “thobe neshla” (thin, gold-thread embroidered cover for traditional dancing) and “farwa” (wool outer garment worn by men in the desert typically lined with lamb fleece), and several small carpet and Bedouin woven goods shops. Souq Al Kuwait for traditional Kuwaiti sweets and pastries. Then there's the fish market (next to Souq Sharq), Tareq Rejab Museum, the Towers (my mom calls them "the balls of Kuwait" – there are 3!). Friday Market and the tent market right next to it (you can drive through that one - just to let your people see an example of all the types of tents they sell - it is pretty cool).
You can always go to the malls; which is so ordinary that I’m only going to mention Kout -- not for the shopping, but because of the architecture, dancing water fountain, and just all-around beauty of the place. You have to take visitors to Kout if for no other reason than just to sit outside and have a cup of coffee next to that mesmerizing fountain. There is a Lebanese restaurant at the end of the mall (which I can’t remember the name of right now – I think it is Mirjian or something similar) which has good food and is very pretty. It faces the sea. Ok, I’ll mention Marina Crescent because it is also pretty and nice for breakfast or coffee (by too crazy with young people running around at night).
Several of my American newcomer friends find shopping at the co-ops fascinating (T, you need a life, girlfriend!) It is kinda interesting because you see items that you wouldn’t see “back home”. I bought several female relatives stikanas, saucers, and spoons for something like a total of 4 kd and they went bananas over them. My mother liked the co-ops too, come to think of it.
Antiques in Kuwait are mainly from the region – not Kuwait. My favorites are in the basement of the Al-Ozeina Building (downstairs from the American Beauty store) on Salem Mubarak Street in Salmiya, close to Marks & Spencer. It is easy to miss - the signage is small (photo) and easy to miss when you are driving past. Just look for the building with all the beauty supply products. There are also stores in Mubarakia and Muthanna Mall.
Muthanna also has my favorite bookstore on the basement level. They’ve got good reference books on Kuwait.
You have to take them to a traditionally Kuwaiti restaurant and I recommend Shatiya Watiya (although it is kind of hard to get to because of the construction). It is located downtown in the Behbehani houses next to the church. There is another Kuwaiti restaurant in Salmiya, Fareej Suwaileh, near Marks & Spencer, but when I went there, the service wasn’t great. Le Notre on the Gulf Road is a great place to take people at night because of the view of the Kuwait Towers.
When I first came here, I went to 2 places that were very interesting to me: The Red Palace in Jahra and The Qurain House (also known as "The Martyrs Museum"). The Red Palace is an old fort that was the scene of the famous battle of Jahra fought in 1920. I found it interesting because everything is so small. (were people that much smaller in 1920?) Nuzha tours offers visits to the Red Palace. Qurain House is probably one of the last remaining relics of the Gulf War and very emotionally moving. I cried. They have pictures and stories of the Kuwaiti resistance guys who fought and died there. Again, Nuzha offers tours there - or you can try to find it by following signs off road 208. We got lost in Qurain trying to find the house, and the young Kuwaiti guy we stopped to ask for directions took the time to drive us there, which I thought was a nice gesture.
Additional links to information on places to see in Kuwait: