Bahrain is a small island country located in the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is an archipelago with Bahrain Island, the largest land mass, with Saudi Arabia, and Qatar standing as land borders after the water borders are crossed. Bahrain is the site of the ancient land of the Dilmun civilisation, and was also one of the earliest countries to convert to Islam in 628 AD. Its population currently stands at 1.3 million, living in a total land area of 780 square kilometres.
Bahrain is considered a high-income economy, although under authoritarian regime. The country is also the first post-oil economy in the Persian Gulf, and has invested in the banking and tourism sectors. Its centre, Manama, is home to many large financial structures, and is surprisingly modern as compared to the other city centres near the area.
What to see & do
SEE: Manama – literally meaning 'Sleeping Place', Manama is the complete opposite of its Arabic name, a nocturnal animal that is worth the visit. It is very much the capital that we've been expecting: the seat of the monarchy front and centre in this rather colourful city in the morning – all strength, law-enforcement, and obedience, while at night, late-night shopping escapades and clubbing goes hand-in-hand (sanctioned by the higher-ups, of course). Culture-related activities and heritage events are also very 'in' in the area nowadays, especially for its recent role as Arab City of Culture.
DO: Shopping – one of the primary things to do in Bahrain, shopping is a pleasurable and diverting activity in the area. The “shop [un]til you drop” phrase is very true here, due to the many modern malls and traditional marketplaces in the country. Buy almost anything you need – including clothes, food, unique goods, shoes, jewellery, and many other novelty items.
SEE: Bahrain National Museum – dubbed as the most popular tourism attraction in Bahrain, the National Museum is the best place to get to know the country in the perspective of the locals. Housed in a post-modern
building with landscaping that brings the waterfront location up to the windows, the exhibitions showcase archaeological finds from ancient Dilmun – from the agate and carnelian beads and earthenware burial jars down to the reproduction souq. The museum also showcases a wildlife hall and contemporary galleries filled with sculpture and paintings, as well as a very chic cafe.
DO: Water Activities, boating, and cruises – being surrounded with water and living up to its reputation of living with the 'Two Seas', Bahrain invests mainly invests on its water activities, particularly boating and cruising. Popular areas to enjoy these activities include Coral Bay, which is only a stone's throw away from Manama. Diving can also be enjoyed here.
How to get around within Bahrain
The best way to go around Bahrain is through metered taxis and car rentals. Car rentals are suggested especially if staying for longer periods of time, to lessen the hassle and the cost of hiring taxi cabs all the time. Metered taxis are best used when travelling short distances, as they may bring travellers to places quickly and efficiently. Other modes of transport meanwhile include buses, which are the cheaper alternatives, although they can be quite confusing for first time travellers, and by foot, if travelling around a certain block or city.
How to get there
The Bahrain International Airport is the main international airport in Bahrain. The airport has excellent connections throughout the region and to the United Kingdom. Airlines that travel to the destination include Gulf Air, Air Arabia, rotanajet, and flydubai.
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