• Lebanon!

    Lebanon: House in Byblos. Go Now!

    Lebanon
    This country is home to a wide range of people from conservative Muslims and Christians to liberals who embrace the changing world. Explore Lebanon!

  • Bangladesh!

    Bangladesh: Traditional houses. Go Now!

    Bangladesh
    This low-lying country has historic ties to India and Pakistan, but today maintains a wholly unique culture. Explore Bangladesh!

  • Indonesia!

    Indonesia: Lombok. Go Now!

    Indonesia
    This archipelago nation is culturally diverse from big cities to isolated islands. Begin Your Journey!

  • Mongolia!

    Mongolia: Desert. Go Now!

    Mongolia
    This vast country has a culture that spans past and present... a nomadic life shifting to a modern & sedentary society. Begin Your Journey!

  • Kyrgyzstan!

    Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Mountains. Go Now!

    Kyrgyzstan
    The mountains, including the Tian Shan Mountains (pictured), give Kyrgyzstan a unique culture, partially formed from this isolation from the mountains. Go Now!

Social Life in Kuwait

Behavior

How most Kuwaitis behave and the expectations for how foreigners must behave is deeply rooted in the people's Islamic faith, but today there is great freedom on how to act and behave. Sometimes single women travelers are looked at oddly by conservative Muslims and for these same people it is also considered improper for a man to touch a woman, even holding your spouse's hand or offering to shake the hand of a person who is of the opposite sex can be considered inappropriate to a conservative Muslim. However, in Kuwait you'll rarely encounter these issues.

Additionally, Islamic law forbids pork products and alcohol; however there is little worry about adhering to these rules since neither is available anywhere in Kuwait. You should note that attempting to take either into the country is also strictly forbidden so don't try to smuggle any pork or alcohol into the country as punishments can be severe.

Dress

The dress in Kuwait is somewhat divided as modern western-styled clothing can be seen as can more conservative Islamic-inspired clothing and more traditional Kuwaiti clothing. The traditional clothing in Kuwait for women tends to include long pants, a long robe on top, of which there are numerous varieties, a scarf called a malfaa, a headdress called a shila, a facial covering, and the abaa, which is a large black piece of clothing that entirely covers a woman and her other clothing. For men white pants were the norm as was a large robe and full body covering called a deshdasha, although numerous other robes and shirts also existed. Men also tended to wear a hat of some sort as well as a jacket or vest.

This traditional dress is similar to how many people on the Arabian Peninsula dress today and in the past, but today most men on the Arabian Peninsula wear a white and red checkered cloth on their heads called a keffiyeh, which is generally loose-fitting and the bottom is often tossed over the top to be a bit cooler; this is similar to the dress of Saudi Arabia.

Today the people of Kuwait wear whatever they feel most comfortable in. For some this is western clothing, for others the traditional clothing mentioned above, and for many women today clothing similar to that mentioned above, but without the face covering and more colorful and decorative. In fact many people regularly switch clothing depending on their personal tastes or the situation; many professionals wear western-styled clothing to work, but more traditional clothing in the home.

As a visitor to Kuwait, you are not expected to wear the local dress, but you are expected to cover up. This means both men and women should have long pants and long-sleeved shirts on at all times, although most Kuwaitis are forgiving of mistakes. Few foreign women cover their hair and there is no expectation that foreign women do so, but in a mosque or with more conservative Muslim company it is a good practice.

This page was last updated: December, 2013