Failaka Island : Forsaken Memoirs

As we continue our quest to explore and look for fascinating places in Kuwait, we finally get our feet on board of one of the Catamarans from Marina Crescent to bring us to  Failaka Island. If you have your own boat then you can freely reach the island. There are only 2 options  for visitors to reach Failaka , You can either sail on board the ferry of the Kuwait Public Transport Company (KPTC), which also allows  to transport your  vehicles on board. This ferry trip usually takes about 90 minutes or a little longer and the ticket costs KD 5 roundtrip per person and about KD 30 per vehicle. A second option is the ferry boats of a private company which sails from the Marina Crescent and costs KD 15 per person. On board of this boat, a passenger can reach Failaka in around 40 minutes. We opt for the 2nd option.

Watching the sun go down in Failaka

Failaka Island is located in the northern part of the Persian Gulf, approx. 20 km off the coast of Kuwait City. Don’t get me wrong , Failaka is not the hip island destination. Right now, it mainly attract visitors because of its Historical significance. A visit to this place can give you the traditional past of Kuwait with structures dating back to the Bronze Age Dilmun civilisation with more ‘recent’ events such as the 17th century settlement of the Utubs. If you are a war history buff , then a visit to this place might interest you. Rundown buildings and houses with bullet shots is a common sight . It’s like walking into a ghost town .

Memoirs of war in Failaka

When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Iraqi forces expelled the civilian population and mined the beaches. After Iraq was expelled from Kuwait in 1991, the Kuwaiti government resettled the island’s population on on the mainland of Kuwait and compensated the locals for their property. The island has been cleared of mines, and it has been used for military exercises. Many Kuwaitis fish there and some former residents visit occasionally, but special permits are required.

A Vandalized wall in Failaka Island

Failaka is a floating desert. Once i reached the place i wondered why an oil-rich country like Kuwait afford to let this land goes to waste. If I have a billion KD  I want to buy this land and turn it into something else. It’s sad to see that  it’s deteriorating. The remaining structures are poorly maintained. If this place indeed have a rich significance in Kuwait’s Heritage, then why they are not treasuring this. Soon, time will steal the charm of this place. Nowadays, this place has become home to most camels . Although this is one of the typical visitor’s destination in Kuwait, still,less effort has been seen in promoting the tourism in this place.

A war tank used during Iraqi invasion

If you step on Failaka island, its for sure that you will take memories with you. Once you see the abandoned town, the hotel lying in ruins , war tanks debris ,and the sprawling barren landscape, you could have an idea how the inhabitants feel whenever they would see their former dwellings. Even their memories are buried there .But wouldn’t it be better if you see hope on this place? War is over , but this place never recover.

Abandoned hotel

The day tour includes sightseeing on key sights such as the Heritage Village, Camel farms, the remnants of war where you can see old debris of tanks used { which best described as a junk yard } and a coaster driven tour of the whole town. You can see the bullet shots from the walls of  the bank and other establishment. At midday, a buffet lunch served in a big tent which is quite nice. It brings out the ambiance of traditional Arabic feast inside the tents.

Travel Tip !

  • If you want to visit Failaka , check out  Aware Center’s events & schedule,  they  often arrange special tours for this. If you live in Kuwait, you can just head on to Marina Crescent and look  for the trip itineraries & schedule. Recommended time to go in Winter months where the temperature is nice to stay outside.
  • Failaka is a total laid back island. Don’t put your expectations high. Bring enough cash if you plan to get some souvenirs or eat in the restaurants.
  • Delays on the ferry schedules & pick up times oftentimes have a lag so be prepared. We were delayed to embark in our boat  last time because it was low tide.
  • Although this is a family friendly destination but i don’t recommend bringing a baby in Failaka because really, there’s nothing quite new here to entice your baby.


A visit to Failaka is a change from the normal life in the city. If you want a short breather and you have free time to kill, then it’s one of the things you could check out while in K-Town.

Thanks  for stopping by !

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