Bahrain or officially the Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago state situated near the shores of the Persian Gulf. The territory of the country includes three large and near thirty smaller islands. There is a bridge connecting Bahrain with Saudi Arabia. The capital city is Manama.
The country has a dry tropical climate. We do not recommend travelling to Bahrain in summer as the temperatures are extremely high here. The best time for excursions is from November to February. Come here in spring if you want to spend the time on a beach.
The official language is Arabic, but the locals can also speak English, Urdu, and Farsi. The officially recognized religion is Islam.
For many tourists Bahrain is the centuries-long cultural heritage, gorgeous architecture and archaeological areas. This attracts all people to this country. In Manama and its districts, there are a lot of interesting sights. The capital city is also a sea resort and the tourists can sunbathe on the beach, play beach volleyball, besides, there are all the facilities for surfing, diving, and snorkelling.
If you are the fan of ecological tourism and love nature, you should go to the reserves in the Sakhir area and the Hawar Islands. The travellers with children can visit the Sakhir Aqua Park.
On the Al Muharraq Island, anyone can spend the time on the beach, see the local monuments, have a walk in the park, and go fishing on the lake.
You can also see interesting exposition in museums, visit the dolphinarium in the capital city and go shopping on the market.
Gulf Air offers direct flights to Manama from Moscow. British Airways and Gulf Air offer direct flights from the countries of the European Union. The tourists from Europe can also take a transit flight offered by Qatar Airways, Niki, Etihad, Emirates, Royal Jordanian, and Lufthansa. Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways fly from Kiev through Doha and Istanbul and Royal Jordanian and Gulf Air fly through Amman. The tourists from Minsk can take a transit flight offered by Etihad, British Airways, and Turkish Airlines. Air Astana, Flydubai, Air Moldova, Iran Air, and Uzbekistan Airways offer transit flights from CIS countries to Bahrain.
There are regular ferry routes from Iranian Bandar Abbas to Manama’s port.
One can take a bus to Bahrain or travel by car from Saudi Arabia along the King Fahd Causeway route across the Persian Gulf.
The EU and CIS tourists must obtain a visa to travel to Bahrain. The citizens of the Russian Federation can get a visa at the airport which allows staying in the country for fourteen days.
People from other CIS countries and the travellers who want to stay in Bahrain for a longer time must obtain a visa beforehand. They need to fill in a visa request form online on the site of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Bahrain.
A visa is valid for a month since the date of issue.
One cannot submit for a visa online if 3 days or less are left until the arrival.
The Customs legislation of Bahrain does not restrict the import and export of national and foreign currency.
The tourist can bring in Bahrain the following goods duty-free:
- a limited amount of perfume, tobacco, and alcohol;
- personal belongings, including photo and video cameras, players, telescopes, mobile gadgets, computers, and sports equipment;
- gifts and souvenirs the total cost of which does not exceed 250 Bahraini Dinars (BHD).
It is strictly prohibited to import:
- goods produced in Israel or with Israeli symbols and logos on the package;
- animals and plants;
- meat foods and plant products;
- pets without a special permit;
- any materials propagating smoking;
- drugs without a special permit.
The travellers are not allowed to export from Bahrain:
- ivory, the horns of the rhinoceros and goods made of them;
- antiquities without the permission of the authorities.
Despite the influence of the Arabic, Indian, Pakistani, Thai, and European traditions, the Bahraini cuisine preserved its own uniqueness. Due to its location, the local cuisine is rich in seafood dishes. The staple food in Bahrain is grains, dairy products, meat, vegetables, and fruits.
The only thing the tourists will not be able to try in Bahrain is pork.
The travellers can treat themselves to Dadzhadzh (chicken with tomato sauce), rice and meat Mahbus and grilled stuffed mutton Qoozi. You will also have a chance to try different versions of kebabs Tikka and shawarma with quail Samman.
Being in Bahrain, you should try steaks from the sword fish, shrimps with tomatoes, roasted Shari fish, and a fish version of Mahbusa.
Instead of bread, people in Bahrain eat big flatbread Khubz baked in special ovens.
The most popular soups are the pea, potato, meat, and rice soups.
Vegetable salads, rice and figs are served as a side dish.
Bahrain is known for its sweets. You can treat yourself to sugared fruits and nuts, Halwa Bahraini from corn, fruit jams, sherbets, baklava, and puddings.
At the end of a meal, tea, coffee or water are served. There are a lot of recipes for making coffee in Bahrain. They often brew it with rose water and cardamom.
Do not leave Bahrain without trying a local anise-flavored vodka on the grape spirit Arak.
The official currency in Bahrain is the Bahraini Dinar (BHD) which is divided into 1.000 fils. In circulation are the banknotes from 0.5 to 20 dinars and 1 to 100 fils coins.
The tourists can exchange the currency at banks, at the airport in hotels and exchange offices. The latter offers the best exchange rate.
In large cities and touristic centres, credit cards are accepted. Be aware that in many suburbs you can pay only with cash.
At banks, you can cash traveller’s checks and only large malls accept the checks. To avoid additional costs for transactions, it is better to have the checks in US dollars.
Be very attentive with the change and do not let yourself be cheated. Do not exchange the currency in poor districts.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in Bahrain
There are two UNESCO sites in Bahrain:
- The tourists who love history should visit the Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun Qal’at al-Bahrain. Only 25% of this area is studied. This place is the evidence of the life of people since the 3d century B.C. to the 16th century A.D. On the territory of Qal’at al-Bahrain, the travellers can see the remnants of public and residential buildings, temples, and fortifications. All the objects are the monuments of the ancient civilisation about which we learn from the Sumerian chronicles.
- Your trip to Bahrain will be incomplete if you do not visit the Bahrain Pearl Route. This is the trail that was used by the pearl divers. The complex includes 17 buildings in Muharraq, and the Qal’at Bu Mahir fortress in the southernmost point of the island. Among the buildings, there are the houses of wealthy merchants, warehouses, shops, and a mosque. The Pearl Route is acknowledged as an outstanding example of using maritime resources and a human interaction with nature.
In Bahrain, there are also five UNESCO candidate sites.
- Hamad town is a burial hill surrounded by a wall. On the top of the hill, there is a square tomb with built in limestone blocks.
- An example of religious architecture which is worth attention of the tourists is the Barbar Temple situated on the north of the country. It was built around the 3d century B.C. Today, there is only a limestone framework is left.
- Excursions to the Burial Ensembles of Dilmun and Tylos are arranged for the tourists. This sight includes eleven sections with the total length of 25 kilometres. Ten sections have the archaeological value and this is the old cemetery.
- Those who love nature should visit the Hawar Islands Reserve where one can see the last untouched corner of wild nature in Bahrain. The park is the habitat for tattlers and sea cows. The corals also grow there.
- The Saar Heritage Park is a must-see. There is the archaeological complex with the ruins of several settlements.
We also recommend visiting the Shaikh Isa bin Ali House, Al Jasra House, Bahrain National Museum, Oil Museum and the first oil well, and Beit Al Qur’an Museum.
Souvenirs in Bahrain
The travellers usually buy:
- oriental textile;
- spices, herbs, and sweets;
- hookah and pipes;
- national clothes;
- essential oils.