Useful Info For First Timers

What currency is used?

Bahrain’s currency is Bahraini Dinars (commonly referred to as BD) and fils. There are 100 fils to a Dinar.

What languages are spoken in Bahrain?

The local language is Arabic so learning a few words might be useful. However, English is widely spoken by locals and expats alike, and is the main language used in business, shops etc.

Are there restrictions on food and drink?

Bahraini’s tend not to eat pork or drink alcohol. It is possible to buy pork (although expensive) in special pork sections in a variety of supermarkets, however, and alcohol from specifically licensed shops and restaurants/clubs.

On which days does the weekend fall?

The Bahraini weekend is Friday and Saturday.

What is the Country Code when phoning?

If calling Bahrain the country code is +973

For International Directory Enquiries, call 191

Local Call Assistance: 100

Local Directory Enquiries: 181

Emergencies (police, ambulance, fire): 999

Where should I live?

Most of the population lives in the capital, Manama. For expat families, however, there are a few popular areas that should be explored – mainly those close to the schools. Check out Saar, Budaiya and Hamala to be in the heart of expat family life. If you like watersports and more of a holiday atmosphere with great beaches, then Amwaj Islands might be worth considering. Riffa Views is also a popular area close to the Royal Golf Club. Younger expats, without families, should look around Adliya and Juffair as they are closer to restaurants and nightlife.

Do I need a Visa?

A new policy dictates that visas will be valid for a month and can be renewed for up to three months, so business visitors and tourists will be able to spend longer in Bahrain. These can be purchased on arrival at the airport.

Anyone wishing to live and legally work in Bahrain will need to apply for the visas and permits and it is recommended that these are obtained (usually by employers) before arrival. See the LMRA website (LMRA.bh) for more details.

How hot does it get?

The Middle East is well known for being hot and dry and Bahrain is no exception. Things start hotting up in April, reaching a peak in August with temperatures easily reaching 40+ degrees Celsius (and often feeling hotter because of the humidity). By the end of October/early November, the temperature starts to drop, with January usually being the coolest month. Expect temperatures of approximately 10 or 15 degrees Celsius in the winter months, with cooler evenings. Rain is rare.

Is there a dress code in Bahrain?

There are no restrictions for expat women but it is important to be sensitive to local customs. If you are in a public place, particularly one frequented by the local population, it is polite to keep shoulders and knees covered and to dress modestly. The traditional Arabic dress is an Abaya – a full length, loose ‘robe’ that is sometimes worn by Muslim women. There is no requirement for non-Muslim women to wear an Abaya in Bahrain, and in many places shorts and t-shirts are fine.

Is Bahrain a good place to raise a family?

There are no restrictions for expat women but it is important to be sensitive to local customs. If you are in a public place, particularly one frequented by the local population, it is polite to keep shoulders and knees covered and to dress modestly. The traditional Arabic dress is an Abaya – a full length, loose ‘robe’ that is sometimes worn by Muslim women. There is no requirement for non-Muslim women to wear an Abaya in Bahrain, and in many places shorts and t-shirts are fine.

Can I drive in Bahrain?

International driving licenses are permitted and are valid for driving for a year. A Bahraini driving license can be obtained from the General Directorate of Traffic in Isa Town. Driving is on the right hand side of the road and it tends to take time getting used to the ways of other drivers! Care and caution is recommended.

What is the basic geography of Bahrain?

Bahrain is an archipelago made up of 33 islands that are located off the coast of Saudi Arabia. The 25km King Fahad Causeway provides a direct road link between Saudi and Bahrain. Bahrain’s terrain is flat, with surprisingly few beaches.

What happens in The Holy Month of Ramadan?

Bahrain’s primary religion is Islam and The Holy Month of Ramadan is a time when Muslims practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one's self on the worship of God. Dawn-to-sunset fasting is observed during the entire 29 or 30 days. Non-Muslims are expected to be respectful, especially during this time and should not drink, eat or smoke in public during daylight hours. You can, however, do so in the privacy of your home, hotel room or office. Coffee shops and restaurants will only open at night.

Iftar

Iftar, refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during Ramadan. Iftar takes place right after sunset and, traditionally, a date is the first thing to be eaten when the fast is broken.

Suhor

This is an Islamic term referring to the meal consumed early in the morning before sunrise, before fasting begins.

Eid Al-Fitr

The celebration of Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the fasting and is a time where Muslims around the world try to show a common goal of unity.

What currency is used?

Bahrain’s currency is Bahraini Dinars (commonly referred to as BD) and fils. There are 100 fils to a Dinar.

How hot does it get?

The Middle East is well known for being hot and dry and Bahrain is no exception. Things start hotting up in April, reaching a peak in August with temperatures easily reaching 40+ degrees Celsius (and often feeling hotter because of the humidity). By the end of October/early November, the temperature starts to drop, with January usually being the coolest month. Expect temperatures of approximately 10 or 15 degrees Celsius in the winter months, with cooler evenings. Rain is rare.

What languages are spoken in Bahrain?

The local language is Arabic so learning a few words might be useful. However, English is widely spoken by locals and expats alike, and is the main language used in business, shops etc.

Is there a dress code in Bahrain?

There are no restrictions for expat women but it is important to be sensitive to local customs. If you are in a public place, particularly one frequented by the local population, it is polite to keep shoulders and knees covered and to dress modestly. The traditional Arabic dress is an Abaya – a full length, loose ‘robe’ that is sometimes worn by Muslim women. There is no requirement for non-Muslim women to wear an Abaya in Bahrain, and in many places shorts and t-shirts are fine.

Are there restrictions on food and drink?

Bahraini’s tend not to eat pork or drink alcohol. It is possible to buy pork (although expensive) in special pork sections in a variety of supermarkets, however, and alcohol from specifically licensed shops and restaurants/clubs.

Is Bahrain a good place to raise a family?

There are no restrictions for expat women but it is important to be sensitive to local customs. If you are in a public place, particularly one frequented by the local population, it is polite to keep shoulders and knees covered and to dress modestly. The traditional Arabic dress is an Abaya – a full length, loose ‘robe’ that is sometimes worn by Muslim women. There is no requirement for non-Muslim women to wear an Abaya in Bahrain, and in many places shorts and t-shirts are fine.

On which days does the weekend fall?

The Bahraini weekend is Friday and Saturday.

Can I drive in Bahrain?

International driving licenses are permitted and are valid for driving for a year. A Bahraini driving license can be obtained from the General Directorate of Traffic in Isa Town. Driving is on the right hand side of the road and it tends to take time getting used to the ways of other drivers! Care and caution is recommended.

What is the Country Code when phoning?

If calling Bahrain the country code is +973

For International Directory Enquiries, call 191

Local Call Assistance: 100

Local Directory Enquiries: 181

Emergencies (police, ambulance, fire): 999

What is the basic geography of Bahrain?

Bahrain is an archipelago made up of 33 islands that are located off the coast of Saudi Arabia. The 25km King Fahad Causeway provides a direct road link between Saudi and Bahrain. Bahrain’s terrain is flat, with surprisingly few beaches.

Where should I live?

Most of the population lives in the capital, Manama. For expat families, however, there are a few popular areas that should be explored – mainly those close to the schools. Check out Saar, Budaiya and Hamala to be in the heart of expat family life. If you like watersports and more of a holiday atmosphere with great beaches, then Amwaj Islands might be worth considering. Riffa Views is also a popular area close to the Royal Golf Club. Younger expats, without families, should look around Adliya and Juffair as they are closer to restaurants and nightlife.

What happens in The Holy Month of Ramadan?

Bahrain’s primary religion is Islam and The Holy Month of Ramadan is a time when Muslims practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one's self on the worship of God. Dawn-to-sunset fasting is observed during the entire 29 or 30 days. Non-Muslims are expected to be respectful, especially during this time and should not drink, eat or smoke in public during daylight hours. You can, however, do so in the privacy of your home, hotel room or office. Coffee shops and restaurants will only open at night.

Iftar

Iftar, refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during Ramadan. Iftar takes place right after sunset and, traditionally, a date is the first thing to be eaten when the fast is broken.

Suhor

This is an Islamic term referring to the meal consumed early in the morning before sunrise, before fasting begins.

Eid Al-Fitr

The celebration of Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the fasting and is a time where Muslims around the world try to show a common goal of unity.

Do I need a Visa?

A new policy dictates that visas will be valid for a month and can be renewed for up to three months, so business visitors and tourists will be able to spend longer in Bahrain. These can be purchased on arrival at the airport.

Anyone wishing to live and legally work in Bahrain will need to apply for the visas and permits and it is recommended that these are obtained (usually by employers) before arrival. See the LMRA website (LMRA.bh) for more details.