Bahrain

From Halal Explorer

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The Kingdom of Bahrain (Arabic: البحرين‎ , al-Baḥrayn) is a Middle Eastern archipelago in the Persian Gulf, tucked into a pocket of the sea flanked by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It displays relatively social liberalism compared with more conservative neighboring countries, where Islamic law is applied in a much stricter way. Case in point: alcohol is legal here. Although Bahrain has a heavily petroleum-based economy, its political, social and cultural peculiarities helped it develop a fairly cosmopolitan middle class and a politically conscious working class.

A string of demonstrations (culminating in the demonstrations in 2011 and the following government crackdown) exposed significant discomfort as well as sectarian and social cleavages.

Bahrain means "two seas" in the Arabic language.

Other Muslim friendly Cities in Bahrain

  • Manama GPS 26.216667,50.583333 (المنامة‎ , al-Manāma) – the capital of Bahrain.
  • Hamad Town GPS 26.112778,50.513889 (مدينة حمد‎ , Madīnat Ḥamad)
  • Isa Town GPS 26.173611,50.547778 (مدينة عيسى‎ , Madīnat ʿĪsā)
  • Muharraq GPS 26.25,50.616667 (المحرق‎ , Al-Muḥarraq)
  • Riffa GPS 26.13,50.555 (الرفاع‎ , Ar-Rifāʿ)
  • Sitra GPS 26.12,50.65 (سترة‎ or سِتْرَة , As-Sitra)
  • Juffair GPS 26.211111,50.601111 (الجفير‎)

Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in Bahrain

  • Hawar Islands GPS 25.647,50.776 (جزر حوار‎ , Juzur Ḩawār) – just off the coast of Qatar and these islands are very popular with birdwatchers.

Mosques in Bahrain

Bahrain is home to several significant mosques that hold cultural, historical, and architectural importance. Here are some of the most famous mosques in Bahrain:

Al-Fateh Grand Mosque

Located in the capital city of Manama, Al-Fateh Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world. It can accommodate up to 7,000 worshippers and features impressive Islamic architecture, including a massive dome constructed from fiberglass.

Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa Grand Mosque

This mosque, also known as the Grand Mosque of Isa Town, is named after Bahrain's former ruler, Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa. It is a prominent landmark in Isa Town and attracts worshippers and visitors alike with its beautiful design and spacious prayer halls.

Khamis Mosque

Considered one of the oldest mosques in Bahrain, Khamis Mosque dates back to the 7th century. It is renowned for its ancient architecture, including twin minarets and intricate carvings, reflecting the rich Islamic heritage of the region.

Al Hedaya Al Khalifiya Mosque

Situated in Muharraq, Al Hedaya Al Khalifiya Mosque is notable for its striking blue and white exterior, adorned with traditional Islamic patterns. It serves as a place of worship and a cultural symbol within the local community.

Al-Khamis Mosque

Another historic mosque in Bahrain, Al-Khamis Mosque is believed to be one of the first mosques built in the region. Its architecture showcases early Islamic design elements, making it a significant site for both religious and historical exploration.

These mosques not only serve as places of prayer but also stand as architectural marvels that reflect Bahrain's rich Islamic heritage and cultural identity

Introduction

Bahrain is the smallest of the independent Persian Gulf states and has often had to walk a diplomatic tightrope in relation to its larger neighbours. The country has few oil reserves, but it has established itself as a hub for refining and for international banking, while also achieving a socially liberal monarchy.

Despite being much closer to Qatar and the Hawar Islands are part of Bahrain after a long, drawn-out sovereignty dispute between the two nations.

Electricity

The standard is 220 V 50 Hz. Most outlets are the British standard BS 1363 type. Generally speaking, U.S., Canadian and Continental Muslim travellers should pack Electrical systems|converters/adapters for these outlets if they plan to use their electrical equipment in Bahrain.

Weather in Bahrain

The best time to visit Bahrain is November-March, with October and April being just bearable. Be sure to take along a sweater during December-March as evenings can be cool (~15 °C). Bahrain's summer, May-September, is very hot and humid, though occasional cool northerly winds blow to provide some relief. More frequent are the qaws and the hot, dry summer winds that can bring sandstorms.

Rain is occasional and happens only in the winter season.

Travel to Bahrain

Visa & Passport Requirements to enter Bahrain

Visa policy of Bahrain - Map of visa restrictions for Bahrain. Countries in pink can travel to Bahrain visa free and countries in green can obtain a visa on arrival.

Muslims visitors of 67 countries may obtain a 14-day visa-on-arrival, while citizens of 114 countries, including all those eligible for a visa-on-arrival, are eligible to apply for a 14-day online visa. Check the web-site of the Ministry of Interior for the latest details. If your nationality is not eligible for either of these, or if you are visiting for purposes other than tourism or business, you will require a sponsor in Bahrain to file your visa application for you.

Visa is not required for nationals of GCC member states and a short stay visa will be granted on arrival to residents of GCC member states as well regardless of nationality. Qatar is an exception to this; due to the GCC diplomatic crisis of 2017, visa rules have been heavily tightened for nationals from that country.

What is the best way to fly to Bahrain

Bahrain_International_Airport_security_line

Bahrain International Airport (IATA Flight Code: BAH), in Muharraq just east of Manama, is the main base for Gulf Air and has excellent connections throughout the region and to London and to South-East Asia. The airport has good duty-free shopping; a Transhotel offering beds and showers (for a fee) to those awaiting flights is being renovated. Many residents of eastern Saudi Arabia choose to fly out via Bahrain and Gulf Air offers shuttle services to Khobar and Dammam to cater to this market; inquire when booking.

The low cost carrier Air Arabia offers daily Flights from the Sharjah Airport (IATA Flight Code: SHJ) north of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Major carriers Emirates and Etihad Airways also offer regular services from Bahrain to Dubai/Abu Dhabi/

Unlike other airports, this one is comparatively small. This is beneficial for a quick and easy departure and arrival.

Travel by Bus to Bahrain

The Saudi-Bahraini Transport Company (SABTCO), tel. +973-17252959, runs eight buses daily from the Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) bus station in Dammam via Khobar in Saudi Arabia, across the King Fahd Causeway, to the bus terminal next to the Lulu Centre in central Manama.

The service uses comfortable aircon shuttle vanes with a trailer for luggage. Tickets cost BD 6/SR 60 and can be purchased in advance, although they'll squeeze you in without a reservation if there is space. As crossing the Causeway involves two passport checks and two customs checks, figure on 2 hours for the trip, plus any traffic delays at busy times like Thursday evenings. At congested times, buses may actually be slightly faster than private cars, as they can use separate lanes at immigration and customs.

Bahrain Saudi Transport & Tourism (BASATCO) offers what seems to be similar buses for a slightly lower fare of BD 4, although four times a day only (2022).

The schedule for SABTCO in January 2011 was:

From Dammam From Khobar From Manama
07:15 08:00 07:00
10:00 10:45 09:00
12:00 12:45 11:00
14:00 14:45 13:00
16:00 16:45 15:00
18:00 18:45 17:00
20:00 20:45 19:00
22:00 22:45 21:00

How to travel to Bahrain by car

The 26-km King Fahd Causeway connects Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. SABTCO's BahrainLimo taxis that seat up to four can take you across for prices starting from BD 30/SR300. Unofficial taxis, found hanging around bus stations at both ends, can offer slightly lower fares.

Travel by boat to Bahrain

There are no official boat services between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

How to get around in Bahrain

Best way to travel in Bahrain by a Taxi

Taxi Bahrain

The official rates start from BD 1 plus 0.200 fils per kilometer. In training, though, meters are often "broken", covered, missing or just ignored and you'll need to agree on fares in advance. Cabbies will often ask for ridiculous prices. Most taxis now use their meters. Rates vary from BD 3-5 for a ride within Manama.

The airport gives guidelines as to the official way of calculating taxi fares. An extra BD 2 will be added if you take a taxi waiting at the airport.

On the whole taxis offer a good service but you do encounter some bandits. When travelling from the airport always use the white with red roof or London-style taxis. There is a rule if the meter is not used there is no charge; hold your ground on this and call the police and the driver will cooperate very quickly with the correct fare for the trip.

Finding a taxi can be difficult, although major hotels and malls usually have a few waiting outside. Some privately owned companies operate in the kingdom and the most popular of which are:

  • Speedy Motor Service Radio-Meter Taxis SMS Radio-Meter Taxi is the oldest & most popular radio-meter taxi company in the Kingdom and the most reliable. Advance booking of taxi is feasible and they operate a 24-hour service, 365 days a year. Call +973-17 682999
  • Bahrain Taxi Online Get meter taxi online within 10 minutes. ☎ +973-36688614
  • Bahrain Limo is the sister company of the transport giant "Saudi Bahraini Transport Company" (SABTCO) which provides luxurious bus and limousine services across the King Fahad Causeway.
  • Bahrain Taxi Group Radio taxi services with more than 973 taxi drivers driving orange and white cars equipped with radio meters and most of them with credit card devices. Booking online taxi services is available and can be applied by filling the form and with placing a call to call center +973 66966976.

However and there have been occasional reports of taxi drivers trying to charge overly expensive fares (like BD 50 for a short trip, when it should be BD 5), though they are generally rare. Sticking to the official taxi services is usually your best option.

Travel by Bus to Bahrain

There are also public buses that run to many parts of the island. Bus fares are low; English-language schedules and maps are available online.

For tourists the most important route is a1 (Airport-Manama). To get to the Bahrain Fort takeAa2 from airport via Manama and get out in Seef, from there walk 2 kilometers to the fort.

How to travel to Bahrain by car

If planning on visiting several sites, consider renting a car. Prices are BD 10-20 per day, but allow you freedom to drive around the island.

If arriving by the bus at the Lulu centre parking, simply turn your back from the centre's entrance, walk out of the parking and you'll find vehicle rentals in the group of buildings across the road. A map or a GPS is strongly advised, as road signs can be scarce and it is not too difficult to go from one part of the nation and land up in another, though fortunately the nation is small.

Speed limits are generally 50 km/h in the roads and 80-120 km/h in the highway. Fines for breaking the traffic law is pretty severe, though the rules are not always properly enforced.

What to see in Bahrain

Bahrain fort closeup

The Qala'at al-Bahrain (Bahrain Fort) is located off the northern shore and is a five to ten minutes drive away from Manama city. It is restored and in good condition although it lacks furniture, signage, or exhibits. Admission is free.

Next door to the fort is a museum, completed in February 2008, which contains many artifacts ranging from the ancient Dilmun periods through the Islamic era, many of which were found at the fort and additional ruins next door. The museum is a large rectangular and white building with absolutely no signs to indicate that it is a museum. The hours are 8AM Monday - 2PM daily; admission is free.

Tree of Life, Bahrain - ജീവന്റെ മരം, ബഹ്റൈൻ 02

Tree of Life. Although trees grow in Bahrain, this one is special because it is a over 400-years tree which had survived the harsh desert climatic conditions. You need a vehicle to reach the tree, as it is far from the primary streets and not on any public transportation route.

To reach the tree, take the Zallaq Highway heading east, which becomes the Al-Muaskar Highway. You will eventually see a sign for the Tree of Life indicating a right turn. (Although the sign seems to point you to turn onto a dirt road which actually goes nowhere, do not do so, instead wait until the next intersection which is several metres ahead.) There are no signs as you travel down this road, but pay attention to a scrap metal yard on your right. Before you reach a hill which warns you of a steep 10% incline, take a right. As you continue straight down this road (including roundabouts), you has begun to see Tree of Life signs again. The signs will lead you down a road which will then be devoid of these signs, but you will eventually see the tree in the distance on the right (it is large and wide, not to be mistaken for other smaller trees along the way). You turn onto a dirt path at Gas Well #371. You can drive up to just outside of the tree, but make sure you stay on the vehicle-worn path, as turning off of it is likely to get your vehicle stuck in the softer sand.

Although it seems like a chore to reach and the Tree of Life is worth the visit for the oddity of it. The tree is covered in graffiti, although this is not visible until you get up close. Try to make your arrival near sunset for a picturesque view of the tree and the surrounding desert.

Top Muslim Travel Tips in Bahrain

Bahrain has history dating back 5000 years, from the ancient Dilmun period through the Islamic era. The country offers three forts which have been meticulously restored and opened to the public, although a lack of signs and general promotion by the nation's tourist industry sometimes makes finding these sites difficult.

Bahrain's biggest yearly event is the Bahrain Grand Prix F1 race, held each April at the Bahrain International Circuit. Plan well in advance, as tickets sell out and hotel prices triple. Discounts are also offered to early bookers at rates of 10-30%. Tickets normally cost from BD 150 to BD 60 depending on the grandstand.

The high temperatures in Bahrain make sea activities seem extra tempting and water sports are extremely popular in Bahrain, with tourists and local residents indulging in their sport of choice all year round in the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf. Sailing and scuba diving are particularly popular.

Although a desert country, Bahrain boasts an international 18-hole grass golf course, which is about 15 minutes outside the capital, Manama. The par 72 championship course features five lakes and is landscaped with hundreds of date palms and desert plains.

Downtown Bahrain is the most popular mall in Bahrain, which includes a cinema, a water-park and a lot of western brands.

Enjoy riding a camel along a highway.

Purchase souvenirs and buy some authentic pottery at A'ali Village Pottery.

Haggle for goods at the local souk markets.

Shopping in Bahrain

Money Matters & ATM's in Bahrain

The currency in Bahrain is the Bahraini dinar, denoted by the symbol " .د.ب " or "BD" (ISO code: BHD). It is divided into 1000 fils. One dinar is worth US$2.66, as the exchange rate is fixed, making this one of the world's highest-valued currencies (second only to Kuwait). This can get some getting used to: that seemingly affordable BD 10 taxi ride is in fact almost US$27 and thus an extortionate rip-off.

The dinar is a fully convertible currency and there are no restrictions on its import or export. Denominations for coins are 5 fils, 10 fils, 25 fils, 50 fils and 100 fils (500 fils coins are rarely seen, but are valid). Denominations for banknotes are 500 fils (BD 1/2), BD 1, BD 5, BD 10 and BD 20.

Being fixed to the U.S. dollar means that it is effectively pegged to the Saudi riyal at 1:10. Saudi Riyals (SAR) are accepted almost everywhere at that rate, although odds are you'll get your change in dinars and hotels may try to screw you out of a few percent. If coming in from KSA and there's no reason to change your money, but do try to get rid of any excess dinars before you leave the nation, as they're hard to exchange elsewhere, even in Saudi Arabia.

What is the living cost in Bahrain

Like most Gulf countries, Bahrain is not cheap. With recent rising costs a decent dinner can cost around BD 5.0 and vehicle rental at BD 10-20/day is reasonable, but hotel prices will put a dent in your budget: a perfectly ordinary room in a "good" hotel can set you back BD 50. Do not travel to Bahrain during the annual F1 race in April if looking for reasonable prices, as hotels will quadruple their rates. A room at the Gulf Hotel during this race could cost you upwards of BD 300/night.

Muslim Friendly Shopping in Bahrain

See Manama for detailed shop and mall listings.

There are several major malls in Bahrain that offer international and luxury labels shops and botiques, supermarkets and so forth, as well as food courts, contemporary and traditional cafes, play areas and arcades, cinemas (3D & 2D) and even an indoor water park.

A visit to the local souq is a must. There you can negotiate the price on “rolexes”, jewellery and many other gifts. The souq is also home to many excellent tailors. If you're there for long enough (say a week) then you can take a favorite clothing item in and they will "clone" it precisely in any material you select from the huge range available.

Halal Restaurants & Food in Bahrain

See Manama for detailed restaurant listings.

Bahrain has an impressive dining scene, with numerous restaurants to choose from. The main dining area is Adliya, where you can take your pick among numerous cafes, trendy lounges and restaurants.

Machboos

Restaurants in Bahrain run the gamut for affordable stalls offering local food to fancy restaurants in fancy hotels. American fast food franchises are ubiquitous. Western (mostly American) style-foods and franchises can be found around the malls and in the downtown, offering food for upper mid-range prices.

There is even a popular alley in Juffair called 'Americans' Alley', this is due to the huge variety of American-based restaurants in that area.

Signature dishes

  • Machboos (commonly called Kabsa) - mainly made from a mixture of spices, Rice (usually long-grain basmati), Meat and vegetables
  • Muhammar - a sweet Rice dish which is typically served with fish

Snacks and bread

  • Samosa - a fried or baked pastry with a savory filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, lentils, ground lamb or Chicken.
  • Khubz (flatbread). Available in almost all supermarkets and cold stores.

Desserts

  • The most popular traditional dessert is Halwa Showaiter, commonly called Halwa Bahraini. It is a jelly like halwa made with corn starch, saffron and various nuts.

Coffee, called gahwa ( قهوة ) locally, is considered a part of the traditional welcome in Bahrain. It is usually poured into a coffee-pot, which is called dalla ( دلة ) in Bahrain. It is served in a small cup made for coffee called finjan ( فنجان ).

eHalal Group Launches Halal Guide to Bahrain

Bahrain - eHalal Travel Group, a leading provider of innovative Halal travel solutions for Muslim travelers to Bahrain, is thrilled to announce the official launch of its comprehensive Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Bahrain. This groundbreaking initiative aims to cater to the diverse needs of Muslim travelers, offering them a seamless and enriching travel experience in Bahrain and its surrounding regions.

With the steady growth of Muslim tourism worldwide, eHalal Travel Group recognizes the importance of providing Muslim travelers with accessible, accurate, and up-to-date information to support their travel aspirations to Bahrain. The Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide is designed to be a one-stop resource, offering an array of invaluable information on various travel aspects, all carefully curated to align with Islamic principles and values.

The Travel Guide encompasses a wide range of features that will undoubtedly enhance the travel experience for Muslim visitors to Bahrain. Key components include:

Halal-Friendly Accommodations in Bahrain: A carefully selected list of hotels, lodges, and vacation rentals that cater to halal requirements, ensuring a comfortable and welcoming stay for Muslim travelers in Bahrain.

Halal Food, Restaurants and Dining in Bahrain: A comprehensive directory of restaurants, eateries, and food outlets offering halal-certified or halal-friendly options in Bahrain, allowing Muslim travelers to savor local cuisines without compromising their dietary preferences in Bahrain.

Prayer Facilities: Information on masjids, prayer rooms, and suitable locations for daily prayers in Bahrain, ensuring ease and convenience for Muslim visitors in fulfilling their religious obligations.

Local Attractions: An engaging compilation of Muslim-friendly attractions, cultural sites such as Museums, and points of interest in Bahrain, enabling travelers to explore the city's rich heritage while adhering to their values.

Transport and Logistics: Practical guidance on transportation options that accommodate Muslim travel needs, ensuring seamless movement within Bahrain and beyond.

Speaking about the launch, Irwan Shah, Chief Technology Officer of eHalal Travel Group in Bahrain, stated, "We are thrilled to introduce our Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide in Bahrain, a Muslim friendly destination known for its cultural richness and historical significance. Our goal is to empower Muslim travelers with accurate information and resources, enabling them to experience the wonders of Bahrain without any concerns about their faith-based requirements. This initiative reaffirms our commitment to creating inclusive and memorable travel experiences for all our clients."

The eHalal Travel Group's Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Bahrain is now accessible on this page. The guide will be regularly updated to ensure that Muslim travelers have access to the latest information, thus reinforcing its status as a reliable companion for Muslim travelers exploring Bahrain.

About eHalal Travel Group:

eHalal Travel Group Bahrain is a prominent name in the global Muslim travel industry, dedicated to providing innovative and all-inclusive travel solutions tailored to the needs of Muslim travelers worldwide. With a commitment to excellence and inclusivity, eHalal Travel Group aims to foster a seamless travel experience for its clients while respecting their religious and cultural values.

For Halal business inquiries in Bahrain, please contact:

eHalal Travel Group Bahrain Media: info@ehalal.io

Buy Muslim Friendly condos, Houses and Villas in Bahrain

eHalal Group Bahrain is a prominent real estate company specializing in providing Muslim-friendly properties in Bahrain. Our mission is to cater to the specific needs and preferences of the Muslim community by offering a wide range of halal-certified residential and commercial properties, including houses, condos, and factories. With our commitment to excellence, client satisfaction, and adherence to Islamic principles, eHalal Group has established itself as a trusted name in the real estate industry in Bahrain.

At eHalal Group, we understand the importance of meeting the unique requirements of Muslim individuals and families seeking properties that align with their cultural and religious trainings. Our extensive portfolio of Muslim-friendly properties in Bahrain ensures that clients have access to a diverse selection of options tailored to their needs. Whether it's a luxurious villa, a modern condominium, or a fully equipped factory, our team is dedicated to assisting clients in finding their ideal property. For those seeking a comfortable and modern living space, our condos are an excellent choice. Starting at US$ 350,000 and these condominium units offer contemporary designs, state-of-the-art facilities, and convenient locations within Bahrain. Each condo is thoughtfully designed to incorporate halal-friendly features and amenities, ensuring a seamless integration of Islamic values into everyday living.

If you are looking for a more spacious option, our houses are perfect for you. Starting at US$ 650,000, our houses provide ample living space, privacy, and a range of customizable features to meet your specific requirements. These houses are located in well-established neighborhoods in Bahrain, offering a harmonious balance between modern living and Islamic values.

For those seeking luxury and exclusivity, our luxury villas in Bahrain are the epitome of sophistication and elegance. Starting at US$ 1.5 million and these villas offer a lavish lifestyle with private amenities, breathtaking views, and meticulous attention to detail. Each luxury villa is meticulously designed to provide a serene and halal environment, allowing you to enjoy the finest living experience while adhering to your Islamic principles. For further details please email us at info@ehalal.io

Muslim Friendly hotels in Bahrain

eHalal maintains a list of hotels and resort in Manama.

Study as a Muslim in Bahrain

Mostly public schools, but enough private schools to serve majority of overseas. Bahrain School, Street Christopher's School educates to British GCSE, A-level and IB qualifications and has a very diverse base, with students from many ethnic backgrounds, although most British expats working in Bahrain send their children there. There are also schools (the most notable one being Indian School Bahrain mostly frequented by the children of Indian expats.

Also many private universities and the University of Bahrain is in Sakhir next to Bahrain International Circuit.

Stay safe in Bahrain

2011_Vacation_Asia_Middle_East_(Bahrain)_(5933597676)

The ordinary social crime rate in Bahrain is fairly low and violent crime is common, however burglary, petty theft and robberies do occur. Incidents of petty crime such as pickpocketing and bag snatching are reported especially in the old market areas known as souks. Most hotels have discos frequented by some unsavoury characters.

Medical Issues in Bahrain

Drink plenty of water. April through August can be very hot (up to 40ºC) and humid and can occasionally feel like 60ºC. Use an umbrella to protect you from the harsh sun. It is important to stay hydrated, especially if you are outdoors during the day. Among the best brands are Nestlé, Arva and VOSS. Bottled water is sold practically everywhere in the city from "Cold Stores" to major supermarket chains at reasonable prices. In the souk, walking vendors offer small chilled bottles but you may end up paying more than the bottle is really worth. If you are living in Bahrain for an extended period of time, you can set up an arrangement for a neighborhood cold Store to deliver bottled water to your flat, common with Nestlé, or sign up for water delivery through several companies on the island. Many cold stores (and some hotels) also deliver your goods (or food) free to your hotel or flat.

Though tap water is reported to be potable, bottled or boiled water is recommended for drinking.

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