Bahrain Tourist Information - Manama Guide
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Bahrain, though a small country, each area has its own unique character. Bahrain is now, a modern developed country with widely available tourist facilities. Capital of Bahrain is Manama. Though vast majority of the Bahrain Island is a plain desert, Bahrain also has fertile strip along the north coast, with most of the oil industry concentrated near the highest point of main Bahrain Island, Jebel ad-Dukhan.
Bahrain covers an area of 48kms in length and 16 kms in width. There are 32 islands that help to make up Bahrain, with a few small islands. The King Fahad Bridge connects Bahrain to Saudi Arabia which is 25 kms away from Bahrain. Bahrain comprises more than 600,000 people with 30 percent non-Bahraini immigrants. It is believed that the first settlers of Bahrain could have arrived as early as 10,000 BC.
Bahrain is a hereditary kingdom that is governed by the Al-Khalifa family. During 2002, the country became a monarchy with a new constitution being formed. The conservative foundation of the country's laws, practices and customs is provided by Islamic beliefs and ideals.
Manama, the capital of Bahrain is a cosmopolitan city. The official language of Bahrain is Arabic, though most people speak English also. Due to oil boom in the region, Bahrain is the fastest growing economy in the Arab World as per the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia. The economy of Bahrain is dependent on oil prices, though Bahrain does not actually produce oil.
The communication network in Bahrain is well developed with unrestricted internet access in most five star and four star hotels. Bahrain also has numerous multinational firms that take advantage of liberal tax laws.
Modern medical care and medicines are available at various hospitals and health care centers in Bahrain. There are several private hospitals apart from few government hospitals. General surgery, cardiac care, gynecology, internal medicine, obstetrics, orthopedics, pediatrics and dentistry services are easily available, including the CT-scan, MRI testing and Z-Rays. Pharmacies carry wide range of medications, though prescriptions are required. Payment for medical services could be made at the time of service.
The tourist season of Bahrain is from November to February. The summer in Bahrain could be uncomfortable for tourists due to the heat and humidity.
Bahrain follows the Islamic Calendar and hence Friday is the weekly holiday, equivalent to Sunday at other places. Most businesses take a small break during the afternoon between 1pm and 3pm, and later open in the evening for business. The crime rate in Bahrain is low and rare. But petty theft, burglaries do occur. Hence tourists are urged to take necessary security precautions.
Bahrain is now a modern industrial state maintaining good standards in healthcare and education.
Fast Facts about Bahrain:
Full Name : Kingdom of Bahrain
Capital City : Manama
Time Zone : GMT/UTC +3 ()
Languages : Arabic (official), Persian (other), English (other) widely spoken
Currency : Bahraini Dinar (BD) Check Dinar currency converter
Electricity : 230V 50HzHz, British-style plug with two flat blades and one flat grounding blade
Geography: Bahrain is a group of 33 islands in the Arabian Gulf, located in between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Bahrain is the largest of all the islands with 48 kms in length and 16 kms in width and covers 586 Sq. kms. Manama,the Capital of Bahrain, is accessible from all parts of the county. Located at the center of Bahrain is the highest point, Jebel Dukhan. The main island has adequate fresh water supply that is unique in the region. There are also large date gardens in the north with other fruit and vegetable gardens
Etiquette and Customs: Bahrainis are very friendly. Greetings are given with delight and enthusiasm, with smiles and direct eye contacts. Extended family and close friends do exchange gifts on birthdays, and other celebratory occasions such as the Hajj, Eid, and Ramadan. Alcohol should never be given as a gift. Bahrainis enjoy entertaining family and friends at home, though they also socialize in clubs, restaurants and international hotels. Drinking coffee is a traditional way of Bahrain welcome, and could begin with preparation of coffee itself. They are the ideal indication about the welcome and hospitality extended to visitors by people of Bahrain. 'Sheikh' is a good title to be used for men, while 'hajji' is mentioned for those who have religious obligation. As for the attire, men usually wear good quality, lightweight, conservative suits, and women preferably should avoid wearing extremely conservative clothing. On the whole modest dressing would be best.
Hotels: As for food, a wide range of price ranges and cuisines are found in Bahrain. As for food the best places to go are areas around Adlyia, Exhibition Avenue, the Souq, and parts of Manama. American fast food franchises like Burger King and McDonalds can be found everywhere. Western foods are also available at the city center, and malls. Most restaurants in these areas carry international cuisine as well.
Driving in Bahrain
International driving permit is not required, but is welcome. Driving is quite safe in Bahrain, but maneuvering around the roundabouts could take a few trials. Strict penalties could be levied on those who drink and drive. A car could be rented from all major car rental companies.
Population in Bahrain
Bahrain’s population was recorded as 1,214,705 in 2010, with 235,108 non-nationals. Majority of the population are Arabs, while there are sizeable numbers of people from South Asia in Bahrain. Manama, the Bahrain capital is the most densely populated. Riffa and Muharraq are the other densely populated areas in Bahrain.
Islam is the official religion of Bahrain, with majority of them following Shia Islam. But, the overall percentage of Muslims in Bahrain has recently declined, due to huge influx of immigrants from non-Muslim nations. Arabic is the official language of Bahrain, although English, Urdu, Hindi and Farsi are also spoken.