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Souks (Markets)

Al Watya Souk

Al Watya Souk is located behind the Sheraton Hotel and consists of small shops selling jewellery, cheap watches and traditional Indian clothing. It is a good experience to go down to this souk in the evening just to watch the crowds.

Antique Souk

The Antique Souk is located on the right hand side of Marks & Spencer in Salmiyah. If you are interested in old Asian and Arab artefacts, then the Antique Souk is a must. It is full of trinkets, antique gems and souvenirs. Bargaining is expected; so be prepared to haggle. You can, however, also find similar furniture and artefacts in either the Friday Market, in Fahaheel or in other wooden furniture shops around Kuwait.

Fish Market

Kuwait is a good place for fresh fish and although the main supermarkets sell all sorts of fresh catch, the best place to go for a real bargain is to one of the fish markets. The two main ones are located in Sharq, next to Souk Sharq, and in Al Kout Mall in Fahaheel. The range, all of which is caught locally, is generally fresh and reasonably priced, but get there in the mornings for the pick of the catch.

Friday Market

The Friday Market (Souk Al-Jum’a) and the Second-hand Souk are side by side in an area close to Al Rai, called Khaldiyah. Located west of Road 55 it is well known to all taxi drivers and sells everything from tin pots and old TVs to carpets and trinkets. While the name suggests that it is only open on Fridays, it actually opens on Thursday afternoons, which tends to be a quieter time to visit. The market covers a large area so give yourself plenty of time to have a really good rummage. Good buys include wooden and brass artefacts, many from old colonial hotels or ships. Check that whatever you buy works before you leave as exchanges are generally not allowed.

Gold Souk

The central Gold Souk (Souk Al-Dahab Al Markazi) contains the government office where gold can be checked for purity and hallmark. The range of gold available is quite overwhelming and various styles of jewellery are on display. You can have your own design tailor-made but make sure you ask for a certificate of authenticity. Other gold hotspots to visit are Hawalli and Fahaheel. A new souk has recently opened behind the Chani Palace in Salmiyah, and it has a good range of gold items.

Old Souk

The Old Souk is located on Palestine Street, in downtown Kuwait. The area really has an authentic, traditional feel to it and there are streets of densely packed shops selling everything imaginable. The shopping area is covered and the atmosphere is full of the sights, sounds and smells of a traditional souk. It’s a good place to buy bashura (scented wood) and perfumes, and you can even design your own fragrance. Spices and gold are also very affordable. Bargaining, as usual, will generally get you the best deal.

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