The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 islands, located in the middle of Arabian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In Arabic, Bahrain is the dual form of bahr (sea), so al-Bahrayn means ‘the two seas’. It is attributed to the sweet water springs and salty water in the seas that surround the island. It has been noted to have an archeological legacy of 5000 years. Due to its strategic geopolitical location, it was at the center of major trade routes in ancient times.
Today, the Kingdom of Bahrain is a thriving nation under a dynamic constitutional hereditary monarchy, led by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister, Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, and the Crown Prince, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, as well as a Cabinet of Ministers. The vision of the leadership, and the warm hospitality of Bahrainis have made the Kingdom one of the most liberal and tolerant GCC States.
The largest and capital city in Bahrain is Manama. Manama has a metro population of about 1.4 million. It is an important center of trade and business within the Arabian Gulf.
Bahrain climate can be generally described as cool winters with sparse rainfall and hot summers with high humidity.
The winter season is from December to February with occasional rainfall. The temperatures range between 20 and 25 °C. January is usually the coolest month, and prevailing winds are North-Westerly.
The summer season from June to September is generally hot and completely dry, but humid. Temperatures average 38 to 42 °C. The dry NW wind, known locally as Al Barah helps keep humidity down and can create more pleasant conditions.
Between March and May and between October and November, the weather is normally warm and dry, with pleasant breezes and many hours of sunshine. Bahrain makes a perfect travel destination in March.
Currency: Bahraini dinar. The dinar is pegged to US dollar (1BHD =2.65 USD). Besides the airport, there are many currency exchange counters in Manama.
If you’re shopping in the souks (markets) or in smaller shops, cash is the best option. It is worth taking a combination of cash and credit cards. All major credit cards are accepted in shopping centers. However, if you are shopping in the souq and smaller shops, cash is the best option.
Arabic is the official language of Bahrain, but English is widely spoken.
Islam is the official religion of the Kingdom of Bahrain and it is embraced by the vast majority. The Kingdom is well-known for its tolerance and respect for all religions. Besides mosques, there are many other places of worship including churches and temples.
Visitors and residents are expected to respect the official religion and abide by appropriate etiquette and code of conduct.
Bahrain is one of the most tolerant countries in the region. Since Bahrain is a Muslim nation, it is respectful to dress modestly when you are out in public.
Generally, the citizens of Bahrain dress conservatively. By tradition, women wear the Abaya (long dress) and Hijab (head scarf), while men wear the Thobe (dress-like apparel) and Ghitraa (head scarf).
For visitors, you are free to wear any modest, comfortable clothing, depending on the location. Some suggestions for formal meetings:
- Men should wear formal suit, or long-sleeved shirts. No shorts please.
- Women should wear long pants or skirts that are below their knees. Sleeveless tops are not advisable.
Telephone dialing code
The main banks in Bahrain include National Bank of Bahrain, Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait, Gulf international Bank and Al-Ahli Bank. ATMs are also widespread across Bahrain, Banks are open from 7:30 to 14:00 hours (Sunday to Wednesday), and 7:30 to 13:00 hours on Thursdays.
Ensure that you check the latest entry requirement in Bahrain before your visit, by logging on to the Bahrain Embassy website of your country.
All people who wish to enter Bahrain require a visa except nationals of the GCC. Visas for Bahrain are classified into various categories like purpose of visit, sponsorship requirement, standard visa or eVisa, single or multiple entry visa etc. Visa validity varies depending on purpose of visit, and could range from 24 hours, 72 hours, two weeks to three months or six months.
For more information on visa requirements, please CLICK HERE
Once you have collected your luggage, you have to complete the Customs formalities by either going through the Green channel, if you have nothing to declare or the Red channel, if you have something to declare.
For more information, CLICK HERE
Getting around in Bahrain
Taxi travel is the most convenient option for getting around Bahrain for a few days. Ensure that the meter is visible and switched on or agree your fare with the driver before the journey begins. Reputable companies include Arabian Taxi (+973 1746 1746) and Speedy Motor Taxis (+973 1768 2999). A taxi from the airport to Manama should cost around 6 BHD (16 USD / 15 EUR).
Uber operates in Bahrain. The security of competitive, flat fares and cashless transactions make Uber a great option for visitors.
Rent a car
Rent cars are available at affordable prices at the Bahrain International Airport and at other locations in Manama. You need a valid driving license (this can be international or local), identification, and a credit card or cash deposit (some companies do not accept a deposit, so you will need to check).
Note: Vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road.
Bahrain has a public bus system linking most of the major towns and residential areas. Public buses are good for getting around Bahrain if you are on a budget. You can take the A1 bus from the airport to the center of Manama, one-way tickets cost just 250 fills (less than 1 USD / 1 EUR). CLICK HERE for more information.
Tax and Tipping
Most restaurants and hotels in Bahrain add a service charge of 10-15% to their bills. However, you may leave a tip at your discretion. Taxi drivers expect a 10% tip and porters will be happy with 200 fills per item of baggage.
Officially 220V 50Hz. Majority of outlets and hotels are British Standard (BS-1363) type. Travelers are suggested to pack adapters for the outlets and hotels if they plan to use their electrical equipment in Bahrain.
Bahrain offers excellent health care, although only nationals are given free health services. There are several hospitals and clinics located in the capital.
Visitors should however, ensure that they have a comprehensive medical insurance prior to leaving home, as medical bills will have to be paid upfront if you do not carry medical cover.
Visitors travelling from specific areas infected with yellow fever or cholera will have to produce proof of being vaccinated, and this does not apply to transit passengers or children below one year.
Things to Do in Bahrain
Bahrain is a country that prides itself in being a thriving multi-cultural hub which welcomes people from all around the world. Therefore, visitors must take the opportunity to experience the TOP 10 must Dos in Bahrain.