The lovely Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago situated on the Persian Gulf. The main island is Al Bahrayn, which is linked to many smaller islets and islands. Some travellers refer to this region as the Middle East's hidden jewel, due to its relaxed culture, great scenery and European and Western-friendly environment.
Over the past decade, it has developed into a middle-class, cosmopolitan area where individuals can enjoy an interesting and unique holiday. Although many visitors travel to the island each year, the region is not overly commercial. Its one-of-a-kind ambiance, friendly residents and warm weather make it perfect for diving, swimming, and other water sports.
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Activities and Attractions
The Bahrain Fort
The Bahrain Fort is located just off the island's north shore and can be reached from Manama City by car in approximately ten minutes. The Fort is open daily from 8 AM to 6 PM. Admission is free, which makes this an ideal attraction for those travelling on a budget. Adjacent to the Fort is a museum, which is home to a wide array of artefacts, from the ancient Dilmun era to the modern Islamic period. The museum is open from 8 AM to 8 PM and as of 2018, two dinar per person is the cost for all day admission.
Tree of Life
Another outstanding landmark travellers should visit is the Tree of Life. Such trees grow in abundance in Bahrain; however, the location of this particular landmark is unique, as it is found in the centre of a desert between Amwaj Island and Bahrain and somehow thrives amidst pumping wells and other infrastructure of the region's oil industry. A spectacular landmark worth visiting, the Tree of Life is best viewed at sunset when the surrounding desert creates a mesmerising backdrop.
Bahrain's moderate temperatures during October through March make the region ideal for beach lovers. Even in the heart of winter when the weather is a bit cooler the surrounding waters are known for their calmness and warmth. Sailing and scuba diving equipment is available at various locations along the shoreline, which most visitors find very convenient. Additionally, travellers can choose to take an excursion to Amwaj, which is a string of man-made islands in the region. Amwaj offers more beaches for both tourists and local residents who enjoy the outdoors.
Mystical Burial Grounds
Bahrain is also home to mysterious and intriguing prehistoric burial grounds. One of the most famous is found at A'ali, which is the world's largest ancient cemetery.
Camel Rides on Amwaj Island
Frequently referred to as 'ships of the desert' by local residents, camels are frequently used as a method of transportation in the Kingdom of Bahrain. However, for visitors, camel rides are a terrific, once-in-a- lifetime experience. Most camel rides are provided by experienced local residents who take tourists along side streets and low-volume highways where great scenery can be viewed. Travellers can also visit the Royal Camel Farm for shorter excursions or merely to view the animals in their natural environment and buy interesting souvenirs.
Shopping and Dining
Bahrain is a shopping mecca and visitors have their choice of several large malls as well as small shops, boutiques, flea markets and specialty stores. With the exception of product lines at chain stores and malls, prices are negotiable on most items, from designer clothes and jewellery to handmade pottery and rugs.
Bahrain also boasts an outstanding dining scene with a vast array of eateries. The main restaurant area is found in the village of Adliya, where there are cafés, fine dining restaurants, lounges and even Western fast food chains. Among popular favourites are Lilou's, Coco's Café, and Mirai, the latter of which is an Asian restaurant.
Travellers seeking a thriving nightlife should visit clubs such as Zoe's and Block 338.
The warmest months in Bahrain are May through September, with July being the hottest. From October to March the air is relatively cool, but sunshine is still abundant. There is usually always a breeze blowing from the north that can sometimes make even extremely hot days quite pleasant.
Bahrani Arabic is the region's official language; however, English is also widely spoken. English has been a compulsory secondary language in Bahrain's public schools since 1998, and therefore Westerners can typically converse with younger people when in need of a fluent English speaker.
Regardless of whether one is planning a long holiday or short getaway in Bahrain, he or she will never forget this lovely Middle Eastern kingdom.