If you’ve lived in Kuwait long enough, you know every adventure is one adventure to live. Upon spring’s return, my friends and I decided to go on a one-day trip to Failaka Island, 20 kilometres off the coast of Kuwait City.
What is so special about Failaka Island? Well, first it’s the only inhabited island around and second, time literally froze since the end of the Gulf War.
Ok, it sounds a bit dramatic put like that. Parts of the island have been rehabilitated and the Heritage Village has become a quite popular touristic destination with nice and cosy facilities, a small museum, a restaurant, a café and a pool if sandy beaches give you itches. And guess what? You can even stay the whole weekend if you’d like.
Also, what is pretty cool is that everything is about 10 minutes away. If you’re not too tired, you can even pedal boat or enjoy a
very short camel or horse ride.
Back to the most interesting part: Failaka’s war wounds are still visible anywhere you go. During the invasion, the Iraqis seized and depopulated the island which was then used for target practice. 2,000 people were forced to leave everything they had behind and join the mainland. Believe it or not, beaches were completely mined but thankfully, they have all been removed.
Partly destroyed and defaced by bullet holes, the old English school and most of the houses have been left empty, slowly decaying and taken over by nature. To be honest, it’s a very impressive sight which helps put things into perspective. Could you just for a minute imagine what people have gone through? At some point, I could almost hear ghostly voices, families and kids playing around unaware of what was lying ahead of them.
The tank graveyard is another sight to see! Since the end of the war, tanks and other military gear have been left behind, slowly swallowed by time and sand.
Last stop on the tour? The camel farm! Clearly, they’re used to visitors as they were not at all afraid of us and even willing to pose for pictures (Beth, you will always be in my heart). I had never seen camels so close before, but not wanting to end up with drool all over my face either, I kept myself at a reasonable distance.
Nevertheless, all good things must come to an end. 5 pm on the dock, we had to sail back to reality. What an incredible journey into time!
If you are living in the Middle East and are interested in a day trip to Failaka Island, Ikarus Marina Mall will be your best chance to get there. Day pack including the round-trip to the island, provided lunch, pedal boat, camel or horse ride, island bus tour: KD28.