The Bahrain International Airport is located in Muharraq, 11km from Manama and 40 km from the Bahrain International Circuit, the location of the Bahrain International Motor Show. Bahrain is included in the network of many renowned airlines. You can find flights and hotels on the following websites:
These are some of the airlines that fly to Bahrain:
Gulf Air (Bahrain's national carrier), hub is Muharraq, Bahrain: www.gulfair.com
Air Arabia, hub is in Sharjah, UAE: www.airarabia.com
British Airways, hub is in London, UK: www.ba.com
Egypt Air, hub is in Cairo: www.egyptair.com.eg
Emirates, hub is in Dubai, UAE: www.emirates.com
Etihad Airways, hub is in Abu Dhabi, UAE: www.etihadairways.com
Lufthansa, hub is in Frankfurt, Germany: www.lufthansa.com
Qatar Airways, hub is in Doha: www.qatarairways.com
Your best bet is to rent a car or take taxis, depending on your preference. Rental prices are reasonable, and there is a wide choice of international as well as local car rental agencies. Taxis have to use a meter by law, and as in any other country, make sure this is done and the meter is started with the right amount. There are stickers on the passenger windows of all the taxis stating the fares.
Where to Stay
Bahrain offers a wide choice of hotels from 5-star-luxury resorts and serviced suites to basic accommodation.
Bahrain is a cozy island with a large expat community and very welcoming locals. It is a constitutional monarchy and is ruled by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, whose pictures you will see in many places along with those of the Crowne Prince and the Prime Minister of the country.
Bahrain has a desert climate, which means very hot temperatures from May until September, peaking above 40 degrees Celsius. The winters from November until February are mild with temperatures ranging from 10 -20 degrees Celsius. The Bahrain International Motor Show is deliberately held in December, since it is an outdoor event and visitors enjoy perfect temperatures at that time of year.
Bahrain has a rich history that can be explored through various sites across the Kingdom. Visit the website of the Ministry of Culture for detailed information and a list of the island's 'Top 10 Must-Do's' found under the 'Culture & National Heritage' section: http://www.moc.gov.bh/en/
Furthermore, Bahrainis enjoy shopping year-round. Visit Bahrain City Centre or Seef Mall for international mainstream brands, Moda Mall for world-renowned designer brands, Al Aali Mall for a more authentic look , or the traditional market at Bab al Bahrain to shop for souvenirs.
The currency is Bahraini Dinar, with the equivalent for cent being fils. Please note that 1 dinar equals 1,000 fils (compared to one dollar being 100 cents). The Bahraini Dinar is pegged to the US Dollar, and as of August 2016, the conversion rates are as follows:1 US Dollar = BD0.380 (380 fils), 1 Euro = BD0.430, 1GBP = BD0.490
Banking hours vary greatly from one bank to another. Your best bet is to visit a bank at a shopping mall, which usually have longer working hours than other branches. Bahrain has offices for many local and regional banks in addition to some international ones such as Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, and Citibank. Please check with your local bank about accessing your account in Bahrain before you commence your journey.
Visa, Master Card, and American Express are accepted across the islands in places such as supermarkets, hotels, major restaurants, and shopping malls. However, you will need cash for things such as taxi rides or gas stations, small cafeterias, and for buying things from small corner stores called 'cold stores', which sometimes don't have card facilities or are reluctant to use them due to the percentage they pay when using credit cards.
A service charge of 10-15% is usually included in your restaurant bill, along with a 5% government levy. This puts most people off from tipping the waiters, although you may wish to do so when receiving outstanding service . In this case it is recommended to give cash tips, even when paying by card.
Other services such as barber, porters, and taxi drivers may be tipped at your own discretion.
The country code for Bahrain is +973 (preceded by your international access code). There is no city code.
The network for mobile phones and internet connections is very good, with Wi-Fi frequently offered for free at shopping malls and coffee shops.
The country's three main telecom providers Batelco, Zain, and Viva may be accessed through roaming (check with your local provider for charges), or you may choose to buy a local pre-paid SIM card from any of those providers.
Country code: +973
Fire, ambulance, and police: 999
Traffic Police: 199
Phone directory: 181
International books, magazines, and newspapers are widely available in Bahrain's bookstores and supermarkets.
The country has only one digital cable provider, which is OSN network. It offers dozens of international TV channels and screens uncensored television shows and movies in their original language with Arabic subtitles.
Bahrain has several cinemas that screen both foreign movies from Hollywood and Bollywood as well as regional productions. Movies in Bahraini cinemas are censored to omit sensuality and sexuality.
Unless you are from a GCC country (the Gulf Cooperation Council – a political union consisting of 6 countries around the Arabian Gulf), you need a visa to enter Bahrain. Most nationalities can receive a visa upon arrival.
Please visit http://www.evisa.gov.bh/index.html for all the information you need and for an online visa application form. We recommend you use this service and book your visa before traveling to minimize waiting times at customs.
Arabic is the official language of Bahrain, with many local versions of the 'Khaleeji' dialect that is spoken in the Arabian Gulf. Official Arabic communication (including the Arabic news broadcast) is in Modern Standard Arabic.
English is widely used and understood, and street signs are in both Arabic and English. Staff across the island have good command of English. Other widely spoken languages include Urdu, a local dialect of Persian, and Hindi.
The time zone is GMT +3 and Bahrain does not practice daylight saving time.
Electricity in Bahrain is 230V and the sockets are usually for 3-pin plugs like those in the United Kingdom. Adaptors are widely available in case you have a 230V device with a different plug.
Bahrainis are fairly religious – the call to prayer can be heard everywhere 5 times per day, and many women wear the headscarf. Even some of those who don't cover their heads may wear a long, black robe out of modesty. It is therefore respectful not to wear micro minis, hot pants, belly-baring shirts, or tops with a low neckline in public.
Bahrain prides itself on a large number of state-of-the-art private hospitals that offer any health care service you can possibly think of. Please check with your insurance provider for international coverage and procedures.
Due to the very progressive mentality in the local health care industry, alternative therapies are not taken very seriously and are hard to find. However, there are some Chinese and Ayurvedic Clinics that you may consult should you prefer alternative medicine.
Bahrain has a lot to offer in terms of wellness, with some fantastic treatments at the above mentioned facilities in addition to numerous massage parlors, offering massage treatments at a much lower price than in the West.
Restaurants and Supermarkets
Bahrain offers a very wide range of cuisines at different prices. Whether it is Japanese or Indian, French or Lebanese, fine dining or fast food – you will find whatever you desire in a country where eating out several times a week is the norm. Of course, there are numerous restaurants offering local food as well.
In terms of supermarkets, Bahrain is well-stocked as well. Various large supermarket chains offer regional brands in addition to popular foreign brands mainly from the U.S., the U.K., Germany, and the Netherlands. Some supermarkets are known to carry exotic products for foreign cuisines such as Thai and Indian.
Although you may find some older articles recommending not to drink tap water, as of 2013 tap water is perfectly safe to drink. However, the taste and especially the salt content may not be to your liking.
Locals and residents therefore prefer so-called 'sweet water' for drinking purposes, which they receive in 5-gallon containers on a weekly basis. A plethora of water companies offer their products in supermarkets, including renowned international brands and cheaper local brands.