Saturday, April 10, 2010

Failaka Island

Apologies about the lack of pictures, but our battery ran out rather quickly.

At last! We visited Failaka Island about a month ago. Finding info on the ferry schedule proved quite difficult. The public ferry is run by KPTC and costs 3KD per person for a round trip. If you want to bring your vehicle it is 17KD. However, it's a small ferry so you might not be able to get on (it was full coming back for us). There is a private ferry that leaves from Marina Crescent, but it's much more expensive (includes a meal and access to the "resort"), faster, and you can't bring your car.

The public ferry schedule is variable because it depends on the tide, so your best bet is to go to the ferry office (it's at the very tip of the Salmiya pointy bit aka Ras al Salmiya) and ask for a schedule. As usual, it's hit or miss if they are open, but if you go during normal hours (9-11am probably) there will probably be someone there. Once you know the schedule, plan to be there 30 - 60 minutes early to be sure of getting on. During good seasons, maybe 1 - 2 hours early.

We were lucky as we arrived about 1 hour prior to it leaving and so we bought our tickets and got on. The ferry isn't super nice, but decent. There are a few indoor sitting areas, but they are tiny and cramped. Most everyone stayed outside for the trip as it was a nice cloudy day. Coming back it was much more oppressive, but got better once we got under way.

The island itself is...well...small, dusty, dirty, composed mostly of bombed out, bullet riddled buildings. There are a few small nice-ish areas, one major hotel/resort with some rather sad facilities. I'm not trying to poo-poo the place, just being honest. We had an ok biryani meal at a restaurant and then tried to walk the open grounds of the resort, but were turned away because we came on the public ferry. Then we met someone we knew who talked to someone in charge and presto...we could walk around. We tried to go to the horse stables to have Rowan ride a horse (he's ridden a camel and an elephant, but never a horse) but they were closed. (at 11am...didn't open til 4pm, but the ferry left @ 3pm????) So we went to the "zoo" which consisted of several enclosures with sad looking, half crazy animals. Then we tried to have some shisha and tea...the shisha was terrible. Rowan played at the post-apocalyptic run-down playground and then we decided to head for the port.

Alexandrian Ruins: So...there are supposed to be some greek ruins from Alexander's time on the island. It's advertised as one of the main things to see on this island, and we were excited to see them. However, turns out the ruins are fenced off and you need a letter from the Museum of Kuwait to be able to access them. Needless to say, we saw nothing.

Got back on the crowded return boat and made it home in time for dinner.

All in all, it was worth going one time, but unless you've got some sort of special event planned (i.e. Paintballing or a covert luau {don't ask}, or enjoy the limited recreational activities offered by the resort) I'd say it's only worth one visit.


April said...

Thank you so very much for this post. I have lived in Kuwait a year and have been trying to decide whether or not I should take my kids out there. Now I think I'll just visit with my husband, since there would be nothing for the little ones. I had heard there were camel rides, but you didn't mention that was an option. I would love to do camel riding in Kuwait, do you know of a place to do that? The Kuwait zoo?

Thank you!

hanovstar said...

i appreciate this honest post! i was planning a trip to failaka, when i got to kuwait this summer.. now i think i would rather do something else! and April, about the camel rides, you can do that in Jahara, Fahaheel or Ahmadi!