Bahrain Travel Tips - with Wired Destinations
For visitors arriving in Bahrain and klooking for a Bahrain hotel
, no visa is required for GCC nationals (Saudi Arabia
), provided they bring all pertinent travel documents. Most other Western nationals coming to Bahrain are eligible for an "on-arrival visa" which permits them to stay for a maximum period of one week. Arrivals at the airport are often asked to show an onward or return air ticket. Airport departure fee is levied on passengers embarking in Bahrain for international travel. No vaccinations are necessary unless you are coming from an infected zone. Cholera, typhoid and yellow fever vaccinations are recommended but not required by law.
Find more information on Bahrain travel with Wired Destinations' Bahrain Travel Info
, our Bahrain Travel Guide
and Bahrain Travel Tips
. Also check out details and recommendations for Bahrain hotels, Bahrain Sightseeing and Bahrain Diving.
Israeli stamps in your passport mean you will not be admitted to Bahrain
.Whatever your national background, if you classify yourself as a journalist, writer or editor, you stand a good chance of being refused admittance to Bahrain unless the Ministry of Information is sponsoring your visa. Women travelling alone may also experience difficulty in being granted visas at the airport. The rules pertaining to unaccompanied females seem to change frequently. Older women will probably have no problem but younger ones would do well to book a room at a Bahrain hotel
and have the hotel arrange the visa.
A Bahrain hotel
can act as your sponsor. In order to arrange this, send the hotel a fax at least three weeks prior to the date you wish to arrive in Bahrain
. Include all your passport data as well as arrival and departure times and the purpose of your visit (tourism is acceptable). Hotels that can obtain visas can also get them extended.
The climate is hot in summer and mild in winter. From November to April is very pleasant, with temperatures 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 high humidity. The annual average rainfall is approximately 77 millimeters.
The Bahraini Dinar is linked with the US dollar at US= BD 0.375 and is divided into 1000 fils. Notes are available in the following denominations: 500 fils (brown), one dinar (red), five dinars (blue), ten dinars (green), and twenty dinars (peach). Coins come in units of 10, 25, 50, and 100 fils. Money can be changed easily at any commercial bank or at money changers. There are no restrictions on the import and export of currency.
Both credit cards and travelers-checks are widely accepted in Bahrain hotels and most business establishments, although some smaller shops may prefer to deal in cash.
UTC / GMT (+3 hours)
Bahrain Business Hours
Government offices: 7am-2pm Saturday to Wednesday.
Commerce: Hours vary but 08:00-15:30 or 08:00-13:00 and 15:00-17:30 are common. Five day weeks are becoming favored though many establishments still work Saturday to Thursday.
Shops and supermarkets: Many open 08:30-12:30, 15:30-19:30 six days a week. Markets and shops open Friday mornings (times vary).
Commercial banks: 07:30-12:00 Saturday to Wednesday, and for many branches, 15:30-17:30 on the same afternoons, 07:30-11:00 Thursdays.
Bahrain's telecommunications services are among the most advanced in the world with direct dialing to most countries. Postal services are speedy and reliable. Telephone Bahrain has one of the best telecommunications systems in the world. Virtually any country can be direct-dialed. From outside Bahrain, the country code is 973 followed by the local six digit number. There are no area codes or city codes. Home Country Direct services are available from any phone in Bahrain.
240Volts 50 Hertz
Arabic is the official language, although English is widely understood and is used by most businesses.
Bahrain Dress Code
Light and loose fitting clothing of natural fibers is best for the summer months. A sweater or light jacket will be appreciated during the evenings in the winter. Covering the skin from the damaging ultra-violet rays of the sun is highly recommended. Casual wear is pretty much only permitted on the beach. The appropriate dress code for Bahrain forms a very important aspect for locals. In this Muslim country everyone dresses conservatively. Women usually wear loose clothes that cover their hair, arms and legs. Bahrain’s men are not allowed to wear shorts. On the same token, sleeveless tops are a strictly forbidden. Naturally, clean attire and only a mild unobtrusive perfume is preferred. Very importantly, no one is allowed to wear shoes inside a mosque, while one is expected to talk very softly inside the holy shrine.
The Bahrain dress code has a few more rules. In traditional areas, like the markets (souks), villages and comparable areas, short skirts are improper for women. Long skirts below the knee level or even trousers are preferable. Modern western garments like tops with deep necklines are ill-advised. Therefore, women have the choice of half sleeves to the full-sleeve tops. In general, men can go less formal here, however, be sure not to wear your best clothes around here, as some places tend to get a bit dusty. In Bahrain shopping malls, all this becomes less strict; yet as for women in Bahrain, it is recommended to wear conservative styles only. Bahrain people usually dress up in shopping malls. In restaurants flashy gowns can be worn and the conservative dress rules vary from restaurant to restaurant. Rule of thumb, mind the Bahrain culture and do as the locals do, and DO NOT DRINK BOOS in public places!
As Bahrain is relatively small, it is not a difficult place to get around. There is a good bus system which links most of the towns on the island to both Manama and Muharraq. The fare is reasonable. Buses run from 5:30 or 6:30 in the morning until about 9:30 in the evening. Cars can be rented for about BD15 per day. Bahrain is the only country in the Gulf where foreign driving licenses cannot be used to rent cars. Bahraini law requires an International Driving License which must be obtained prior to arrival in Bahrain. Foreign residents in other GCC countries, however, can rent a car using the license from their county of residence. Taxis are readily available in Bahrain. For your own information, you should get a copy of the booklet Taxi Fares and Tourist Information Guide, which is available free at the tourist office. The booklet contains a complete list of the official taxi rates in both Arabic and English. However, the official fares do increase between midnight and 05:00 am, and a taxi hired at the airport normally costs an extra dinar. Unofficially, hiring a taxi by the hour costs about BD5, and for this price the driver should take you where ever you want to go and also wait for as long as you like. Generally speaking, in Bahrain and in all other Arab countries, it is a good idea to agree on the fare in advance unless the taxi has a meter.
Bahrain Health Facilities
Public and private facilities operate freely along side each other. The state run Salmaniya Medical Complex provides many of the most up to date services including organ transplantation and oncology services. The Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) hospital is renowned for its state of the art equipment and its cardiac care. Primary health care facilities are available within a short distance of all residential areas. There are numerous pharmacies and several of these are open 24 hours. Many British manufactured prescription drugs and ingredients are supplied to Bahrain and a wide choice of British branded 'over the counter' pharmaceuticals are also readily available.
The privately owned Gulf Dental Specialty Hospital opened in the year 2000 and claims to be the only one of its kind in the region. In addition to state of the art equipment and facilities there is a fully equipped operating theatre and laboratories on the premises. The new privately owned Ibn Al Nafees Medical Complex opened in February 2001 and houses more than 20 sub-specialty clinics including those for holistic medicine, especially homeopathy and naturopathy which is being practiced for the first time in Bahrain.