Women wear everything from bold designer clothes to head-to-toe black abayas with headscarves, while males wear T-shirts and shorts or the customary brilliant white dishdashah. Women, on the other hand, will want to avoid drawing undue attention to their midriffs. Low necklines, ironically, are less insulting. Bikinis are acceptable in hotel pools, but not at public beaches. Public nudity is strictly forbidden and will not be allowed.
If you eat, drink, or smoke in public during the holy month of Ramadan, you may be fined or perhaps imprisoned. The penalties is 100 KD (about US$350). Also, keep in mind that during Ramadan, working hours may be reduced and eateries may shut throughout the day. Most supermarkets, however, will stay open, so food may still be bought there. If you work, many companies will offer a place for Westerners to eat during Ramadan, but if they do not, it is not recommended to consume anything in the company of Muslim colleagues during Ramadan.
Avoid the following etiquette violations in Kuwait, which tourists, visitors, and expatriates working here are not exempt or excused from:
- Although Kuwait is a reasonably democratic nation, the Emir is a delicate subject.
- Do not photograph government buildings or locations near the border barrier.
- Although homosexuality is banned in Kuwait, you will often see local guys kissing when greeting one other and holding hands when strolling together, since this is not considered gay conduct.
- The public expression of affection between men and women is prohibited.