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Kuwait Facts

Area : 17,818 sq km (6880 sq miles).Population : 1,984,365 (official estimate 2000).

Population Density : 111.4 per sq km.

Capital : Kuwait City. Population: 28,859 (1995).

Language : Arabic is the official language; however, English is widely spoken.

Currency
The unit of currency is the Kuwait Dinar (KD): KD1 = 1,000 fils. The denominations of bank notes are: KD20, 10, 5, 1, 0.500 and 0.250; those of coins are 100 fils, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1. KD1 is equal to approximately US$3.3.

Time : GMT + 3.

International Airport
Kuwait International Airport (KWI) is 16 km south of Kuwait City. Airport information desks are located in Arrivals (tel: 180 extn. 1523) on the ground floor of the terminal building, in Departures (tel: 180 extn. 1522) and in the transit area. There are two banks, a fax and telephone office and two mobile telephone rental outlets as well as two restaurants and three cafés at the airport. There are two duty-free shops at the airport and a gift shop. There is a nursery, several prayer areas and a medical centre. There are two first-class business lounges on the first floor with fax and Internet facilities.

All major car hire firms such as Al Mulla, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty are all represented. Car hire desks are located in Arrivals. Taxis are available for hire; the taxi desk is located in Arrivals on the ground floor. A limousine service is also available from Arrivals. Buses (journey time: 30 minutes) depart every 45 minutes 0600-2300 from outside Arrivals to take passengers to Kuwait city.

The Safir Airport Hotel (tel: 472 0079) is located within the airport restricted zone, next to the east part of the runway; it can be reached by courtesy bus, but can only be used by transit passengers.

Transport
Taxis and buses run 24 hours a day. Although certain taxi fares are fixed, they are generally negotiable. As a visitor you can drive a vehicle with an international driving licence.

Weights and Measures
Kuwait uses the metric system.

Electricity
220 volts AC, 50Hz; single phase. UK-type flat 3-pin plugs are used. Converters are available.
Business Hours
Government offices: Saturday to Wednesday; 7:30 am to 2:30 pm
Banking hours: Sunday to Thursday, 8 am to 1 pm. All banks have 24-hour automated teller machines (ATMs) throughout the urban areas.
Shopping hours: Saturday to Thursday; 9 am to 1 pm and 4:30 pm to 9 pm. Friday hours vary.

Accommodation
There are more than 20 hotels in Kuwait, including the transit hotel at the airport. These are officially classified as Deluxe, First Class, and Second Class. The ‘Deluxe’ category is comparable to the best internationally. A number of buildings in Kuwait City have been converted into furnished apartments. A few of these offer services similar to a hotel but at cheaper prices.

Communications :

Telephone : Full IDD is available. Country code: 965. Outgoing international code: 00.

Mobile telephone : GSM 900 and 1800 networks. Network operators include Mobile Telecoms Co (website: www.mtc.com.kw) and National Mobile Telecommunications Co (website: www.wataniya.com).

Internet : Internet cafes throughout Kuwait provide public access to e-mail and Internet services. ISPs include Gulfnet International (website: www.kems.net/) and Global Net Kuwait (website: www.globalnet-center.com) and QualityNet (website: www.qualitynet.net).

Telegram : 24-hour telegram services are available at the Ministry of Post and Telegraph Offices, Abdullah Al Salem Square, Kuwait City, but must be handed to the post office (opening hours: Sat-Wed 0700-1400; Thurs 0700-1200).