Good to know - Bahrain
Citizens of the following countries can obtain a two-week tourist visa at the entry posts on immigration at the Kingdom of Bahrain at a cost of 25 BD (about 66 USD). An extension can be obtained for another two weeks by visiting the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence (NPRA) in Bahrain. No sponsor is required. Applicants must hold valid passports (valid for at least six months from the date of departure), and those entering the country through the Bahrain International Airport must hold a return/onward air tickets.
Note that you can pay for the Visa on Arrival using Visa, MasterCard or American Express at the desk so there is no need to use the Travelex counter to exchange money which gives the usual poor airport rates. There are no ATMs available. Visitors other than the countries listed in the table must obtain an entry visa from their nearest embassy beforehand.
|Eve||Monaco||United States of America|
For citizens who are eligible to obtain the Visa on Arrival could also apply for the Visit eVisa which is an electronic visa obtained from eVisa website in advance. The application fee is 29 BD (approximately 77 USD). Applicants are required to pay the application fee by credit card. The Visit eVisa allows you to stay in Bahrain for 2 weeks (some nationalities can stay longer), for more details please visit the eVisa website
For more information on Passport, Visa & Health travel document requirements please check:
Note: If your country is not listed above, please check with your nearest Bahrain Embassy/Consulate for any updates or go to Visa to apply for a tourist visa.
Please note that visa, transit and entry requirements vary from country to country, and can change with little or no notice. The resources listed on this page are intended as a guide, but please refer to the relevant embassy or consulate of all the countries on your itinerary as well as your destination country for the most up-to-date information.
Drinking alcohol in public is illegal, and who needs to, there are a ton of pubs, clubs and restaurants that serve it. There are also off-licenses (liquor stores like African and Eastern) which sell to "non-Muslims", but you will need to have an alcohol license.
Banking hours are from 8:00 to 14:00, from Sunday till Thursday.
General shop hours are from 08:30 to 12:30 and from 16:00 to 22:00, from Saturday till Thursday.
Shopping malls are open from 10:00 to 22:00, from Saturday till Thursday and from 10:00 to 24:00 on Fridays.
The weekend is Friday and Saturday.
Bahrain features a tropical desert climate, but due to land reclamation has very few beaches. Man-made beaches at luxury hotels are nice, but only accessible for a price. Winters in Bahrain are dry and average daytime temperatures in the low 21°C, nighttime lows in the 10°C. Spring and fall are pleasant, with dry weather and nights cooling off into the 16°C after days of around 30°C. Late winter and spring are known for dust storms, which are not as severe as those found elsewhere in the Gulf are still rather unpleasant. Summertime is very hot and muggy in Bahrain, with daytime temperatures being from 38°C-49°C, and nights cooling down to anywhere from 24-32°C. The shallow waters around Bahrain are typically anywhere from 24°C in winter to 29°C in spring and fall, and usually around 32°C+ in summer. Due to the shallowness of the water, it is possible to get heat stroke while swimming.
Bahrain is one of the most tolerant countries in the Middle East when it comes to dress code. However, there are some general guidelines that should be observed by both men and women. In a nutshell whilst you are out in public you should have everything from your shoulders to knees covered- which is not hard to do. You should also not wear clothing that are too tight or see through. In general the Bahrainis are very tolerant of other cultures, but it is advisable to cover up at the public beach or swimming pool. No bikinis or short, revealing swimming outfits, in fact, it is the best to be fully clothed at a public beach. If you are at a private beach or pool (in a resort or hotel) than normal swimwear can be worn. Topless swimming/tanning is not allowed at all. Men at the beach or the pool should wear shorts; speeds are not a recommended article of beach attire in Bahrain.
American Express, Diners Club, Visa and Master Card are generally accepted in all major restaurants, hotels and shops.
Bahrain’s currency is the Bahraini dinar (BD). One dinar is divided into 1000 fils. There are 500 fil and 1, 5, 10 and 20 dinar notes. Coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500 fils. The Bahraini dinar is a convertible currency and there are no restrictions on its import or export.
Most hotels require credit card or cash deposit at check-in for incidental charges.
Tap water is desalinated sea water; therefore it is advisable to purchase bottled water. Most of the hotels are providing complimentary bottles of water every day in the rooms.
Officially 220V 50Hz. Most outlets are the British standard BS-1363 type. Generally speaking, U.S., Canadian and Continental European travellers should pack adapters for these outlets if they plan to use their electrical equipment in Bahrain.
The main internet service provider is Batelco. There are many Wi-Fi hot spots around town, especially at Starbucks and McDonald’s and in most hotels. Prepaid Wi-Fi cards cost BD1 (two days). There are many internet centres in Manama.
Arabic is the official language, although English and Persian (Farsi) are widely spoken. Urdu, Hindi and Malayalam are also understood and spoken by Indians and Pakistanis on the island.
GMT + 3 hours, no summer time is existing therefore the time difference is 2 hours only in the summer.
In addition to the main Islamic holidays, Bahrain celebrates a number of public holidays.
New Year’s Day 1 January
Ashura Tenth day of Muharram (month in the Hejira calendar; date changeable) – Ashura marks the death of Hussein, grandson of the Prophet. Processions led by men flagellating themselves take place in many of the country’s predominantly Shiite areas.
National Day 16 December
Taking photographs of government and military buildings, palaces and police stations are forbidden. Ask local people before taking a photograph of them. It is forbidden to take pictures of local women.
Stamp for a postcard to Europe, North America and Australasia cost 150/200 fils. Letters cost 200/250 fils per 10g.
Ramadan is the name of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, it follows Shaban (the eighth month), and is followed by the month of Shawwal. It is an important period of religious significance for Muslims who observe the period with daytime fasting, worship and spiritual contemplation. Ramadan is regarded as the holiest month in the Islamic calendar because Muslims believe that the Qur'an (Koran) was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) during the month of Ramadan on the night of Laylat al Qadr. During the holy month of Ramadan it is strictly prohibited to eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight hours. Also chewing gum is not allowed. The tourists will experience some limitations in daily life and in the hotels. Hotels will have only limited options for dining, but alcohol won't be served until after Iftar. Supermarkets and service stations are open with food and drink available for purchase but consuming in public is not allowed. Food courts will be closed during the day, except in some of the Dubai free zones and at Dubai International Airport. Ramadan in 2015 is dated for: start on 19 June, ending 17 July.
The Constitution states that Islam is the official religion of the country and also provides for freedom of religion; however, there are limits on this right.
From modern shopping malls to traditional souks, it's all here. In the souks and small shops you can bargain the prices and there are discounts of between 15 - 25% paid on some goods. This does not apply for shopping centres. The most famous shopping malls are: Al Seef Mall and Dana Mall. Manama Souq is the place to go for electronic goods, bargain T-shirts, nuts, spices, sheesha bottles and a plethora of other Bahraini essentials. Souk al Qaisariya is a newly renovated collection of traditional old shops. Crafts Centre Gallery and Workshop Home are a variety of studios and workshops, promoting the contemporary revival of traditional crafts, such as weaving, palm-leaf papermaking, pottery and ironwork. Bahrain is the only country in the world to sell almost exclusively natural pearls. Pearls are something of a national icon and make a popular Bahraini souvenir. For purchasing visit Pearl Palace in Gold City.
The official rates start at (2.65 USD) 1.000 BD plus 200 Fils per kilometre. In practice, though, meters can be "broken", covered, missing or just ignored. Check the meter is working before you start driving. If it is not working, it is recommended to stop, get out and find another taxi. Otherwise, you must haggle and agree on a fare in advance. Never start driving without a metered fare, or a negotiated price. The airport gives guidelines as to the official way of calculating taxi fares. Notice that an extra BD 2.000 will be added if you take a taxi waiting at the airport.
Bahrain’s telephone country code is 973 and there are no area or city codes. The international access code (to call abroad from Bahrain) is 00. There are several help lines including local directory assistance (181) and international directory assistance (191). The Bahrain telecommunications system is run by the government monopoly, Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco). International calls from Bahrain cost 0.180 BD per minute to Europe, Australia and North America. Rates are reduced to 0.160 BD between 19.00 and 7.00 every day, as well as all day Friday and on public holidays. Local calls anywhere within Bahrain cost 20 fils per minute. Blue payphones take coins. Red payphones take phone cards, which are widely available from most grocery stores in denominations of 1, 3, 5 and 10 BD. Bahrain’s mobile-phone network runs on the GSM system through Batelco and Zain. Visitors can also purchase SIM cards for BD1, BD5 and BD10 at all Batelco and Zain outlets. Recharge cards come in many denominations up to 20 BD.