Backpacking In Bahrain

in Bahrain

Bahrain is a tiny group of islands, officially a kingdom, in the Persian Gulf. It has a well developed tourism infrastructure and industry. Since Bahrain has an abundance of coastline, it is popular with many Arab tourists living in the other Gulf states. Obtaining a tourist visa to Bahrain can be done at the airport or any port of entry and has a nominal fee for the citizens of most countries. Most travelers and backpackers to Bahrain will find it to be one of the more liberal Arab nations in many regards although it is still prudent to dress modestly and avoid showing public signs of affection.

Backpackers arriving in Bahrain will find budget accommodations difficult to find as most of the infrastructure is primarily designed for luxury travel. Many of the hotels and restaurants catering to tourists are looking for the higher-end spenders. Bahrain in general, including its capital Manama, is expensive. The local currency, the dinar is tied to the US dollar and therefore there isn’t much fluctuation in the currency. The best time to visit is during the cooler winter months, when it’s just hot, not boiling as it is during the spring and summer months.

bahrain fountain bahrain grand mosque bahrain resort

What To See

Backpackers in Bahrain will find getting around fairly easy, as most of the sites and towns are a short drive from Manama. You’ll need to be prepared to bargain though with taxi drivers, shopkeepers, and bus drivers, as is the case with many Middle Eastern countries.

  • To find out how to be a successful bargainer in a culture context, brush up with our guide to bargaining in the Middle East.

The Bahrain Fort (“Qala’at al-Bahrain”) is a free site to visit in the city and is very raw in form. There isn’t much signage and the fort can be quite deserted which makes it a fun place to wander around. Don’t hand out any money to any “tour guides” there as there aren’t any official guides posted at the fort. Most hotels offer such tourist services though if requested.

Backpackers can also try to make their way to the “Tree Of Life”, unique because it is growing out of the middle of the barren desert. It can be tricky to find it and unless you want a real adventure trying to find a taxi or driver to take you there (and bargain a good price) you’re best bet is to hire a driver in town for a slightly higher price but more reliable service.

Manama also has a great nightlife and many bars do serve alcohol, but drinking in Bahrain is expensive. You can’t leave Bahrain without making a trip and spending a few days at one of its beaches, which are pretty open and lined with resorts. Women commonly wear Western bathing suits and bikinis and shorts are OK as well for both men and women. When going back to town in Manama however, it’s typical to always wear pants (for men and women) no matter how hot the temperature and for women to have their shoulders covered (no strapless or camisoles).

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