Yellow fever certificate required if arriving from or transiting through an infected area.
Recommended: Cholera, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis E, Rabies, Typhoid
Once an ancient trading post on the spice route between India and Europe, famous for its abundance of fresh water and prolific pearling industry, Bahrain is now a modern business and banking hub with a diverse economy.
Reminiscent of its ancient trading heritage, Bahrain is a shopping paradise, from the great Soukh - a traditional Arab market offering gold and carpets - to a multitude of sophisticated and lively shopping malls. All wares are sold on these markets, ranging from colourful material to gold and jewellery as well as the traditional array of spices and local produce. Bartering is expected and indeed turns the whole experience of shopping into a challenge to see who can obtain the best price.
The people ;
The majority of the population are Muslim Arab Bahrainis, but other Arabs and Iranians, Indians, and other Asians make up over 35% of the inhabitants.
Islam is the religion of Bahrain and is practised by a large majority. Places of worship of other faiths do however exist on the island.
The climate is hot in summer and mild in winter. From November to April is very pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 15 to 24 degrees centigrade. Temperatures are coolest between December and March when northerly winds prevail. From July to September temperatures average 36 degrees centigrade with a high humidity factor.
Visitors to Bahrain must be in possession of a valid passport or travel document with a minimum validity of six months beyond the intended visiting period. Most nationalities do not require visa for social or business visits. For the period of the Bahrain Grand Prix procedures have been simplified and visitors to Bahrain can apply for an entry visas on the Internet or on arrival.
Credit Cards And Travellers' Cheques ;
Both forms of payments are widely accepted in hotels and most business establishments, although some smaller shops may prefer to deal in cash. Though Bahrain has a very low crime rate, it is still important to note separately the serial numbers of your traveller's cheques or credit cards and the telephone numbers to call in case of loss.
Banking Hours Commercial banks:
Saturday to Wednesday: 07h30-12h00 and 15h30-17h30
Water ; The drinking of bottled water is advisable.
The capital city of Manama may be small in comparison to other capital cities in the world, but it has a wide range of markets, shopping malls and shops, offering a variety of quality goods. A day spent exploring the maze of streets in the Soukh area of Manama may end up with a roomful of interesting purchases. The Soukh provides shoppers in Bahrain with a wide selection of items to buy but remember, bargain hard to get the best deal possible; it's all part of the fun.
The Soukh ;
No visit to Bahrain would be complete without a trip to the famous Soukh markets, with its profusion of colours, sounds, and aromas. All wares are sold, from cloth of colours and textures to gold, jewellery and perfume, as well as the traditional array of spices and local produce. Bartering is expected, and indeed turns the whole experience of shopping into a challenge to see who can obtain the best price.
Museum of Pearl Diving ;
The "Museum of Pearl Diving" building is regarded as one of the most important and historic buildings in Bahrain. Its importance derives from being the first official centre for the Bahrain Courts. In 1984, the building was transformed into the Traditional Heritage Centre. Its departments and rooms were dedicated to the display of various traditional aspects of Bahrain 's heritage.
Bait Al Qur'an ;
The House of the Qur'an was built to accommodate a comprehensive and valuable collection of the Holy Qur'an and manuscripts, a concept, which is unique in the Arabian Gulf. All visitors are welcome, and the complex comprises a mosque, a library, an auditorium, a school and museum consisting of five exhibition halls.
Arad Fort ;
This 16th century fort of Arabic construction is probably one of the first landmarks you will see upon arrival to Bahrain , due to its proximity to the airport. It has undergone extensive restoration, and is now illuminated at night, presenting a magnificent sight.
Oil Well No.1 ;
As its name suggests, this is the first oil well in the Gulf. "Spurted" on 16th October 1931, the well finally began to blow heads of oil on the morning of 2nd June 1932, to much celebration on the part of those involved in the project. It is situated below Jebel Dukhan, the Mountain of Smoke, which at a height of 134 meters (450 feet), is the highest point of the island. Its name comes from the misty haze, which frequently surrounds it on a hot and humid day.
Oil Museum ;
Situated near "Oil Well No.1" the museum was inaugurated on the 2nd June 1992 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the discovery of oil in Bahrain, the first country of the Middle East to do so, despite the pessimistic pronouncement of a leading geologist that he would "drink every drop of oil produced South of Basra". It houses some fascinating exhibits, including drilling equipment, documents, old photographs and a working model of an oil rig.
King Fahad Causeway ;
Opened in 1986, this remarkable 15.5 miles (25km) feat of engineering links Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. It is one of the most expensive bridges in the world. The causeway traverses Umm Nasan Island, which is a sanctuary for wildlife, and at the halfway point there is a facility area, including a restaurant, which you can visit even if you don't travel the whole distance to Saudi Arabia.
Ancient history would suggest that diving itself was probably born in and around the warm shallow waters of Bahrain . Recorded as far back as 5000 years ago, pearl diving has been Bahrain 's heritage for millennia, and today these same productive oyster beds (the largest of their kind in the world) continue to flourish, offering some very unique, rewarding and exciting recreational diving opportunities all year round. Dugongs (sea cows) can also be seen feeding on the sea grass in the southern waters of Bahrain during the cooler winter months.
Do's And Dont's;
When visiting Bahrain the visitors should observe the following local customs and practises:
Shoes must always be removed when entering a house or a place of worship such as mosques or temples
The right hand is always used when eating with one's hand or giving or receiving objects
The right forefinger is not used to point at places, objects or persons. Instead the thumb of the right hand with the four fingers folded under is the preferred usage