Bahrain Travel Guides

Bahrain is a group of islands in the Persian Gulf, nestled between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It is largely unheard of by many travellers, making it somewhat of a hidden gem. The islands are connected to Saudi Arabia by the 16 mile long Bahrain-Saudi Causeway, the construction of which has helped to make Bahrain a leading Middle Eastern tourist destination.Visit this website for further information about Bahrain

Most visitors who have experienced other Gulf States will quickly notice how liberal Bahrain is in comparison and those who are new to the Middle East will find it an easy introduction. With English widely spoken and accommodation and dining excellent value for money, the islands are fast becoming a tourist hotspot, with even the likes of Michael Jackson, Grand Prix driver Jenson Button and Shakira owning properties here.

Most visitors’ first stopover will be in the capital, Manama. Hotel prices tend to be very competitive and it is possible to get a luxurious room for a very reasonable rate. The capital offers everything from secluded resorts on the coast to bustling city accommodation in the heart of the action. With its plentiful shopping and entertainment options, as well as its ideal location, visitors will likely want to spend more than a few days in the capital.

The most acclaimed hotels in Bahrain include the Hilton and the Sheraton,of which are located in Manama and provide excellent five-star services and facilities. If your hotel budget doesn’t stretch to a room at the Hilton, you should still choose your hotel carefully based upon trustworthy recommendations, as many of the cheaper establishments in Bahrain are also serviced with “hostesses” and cabarets, meaning that you might get more than you bargained for. As a general rule, the more expensive the establishment, the less chance you have of encountering this kind of operation. Budget accommodation does not exist in the sense of backpacker-style hostels; a “budget” hotel here can mean the equivalent of a brothel.

Bahrain is a melting pot of different ethnicities and an intriguing combination of religions and so is great ground for exploration by adventurous tourists. Bahrain is accessible even to those with little knowledge of the country and visitors will find the people hospitable and welcoming, making it a great alternative to other, busier Middle Eastern destinations.Visit this website for further information about Bahrain Society

Weather

There are really only two seasons in Bahrain. The summers here are extremely hot, while the winter period offers some temporary relief with infrequent showers and cooler temperatures.

Most visitors choose to come to Bahrain in the winter season, as the summers can be scorching hot and very arid. From June to September, the heat is relentless, with the weather being particularly humid and daytime temperatures regularly reaching 38°C. It is crucial you come prepared if you plan to visit Bahrain in the summer, packing sun block, sunglasses, a hat and protective clothing. It is also essential that you book a room with air conditioning at this time of year.Visit this website for further information about Bahrain Climate

November to March is a much more pleasant time to explore the country, with daytimes being pleasantly warm, evenings mild and a small amount of rainfall. This is definitely a more suitable time to visit if you plan on bringing any children with you.

History

The island’s history dates back to the 3rd century BC, when Bahrain, then known as Dilmin, became a strategic trading centre. The islands were occupied in the 4th century by the Persians, who were briefly conquered by the Arabs in 1541 before regaining their control in 1602.Visit this website for photographs and further information about the History of Bahrain

A period of stability began in 1783, when the al-Khalifahs, who still rule today, came to power. The country won independence from Britain in 1971 after being a British protectorate for 111 years.Visit this website for further information about Bahrain Independence

Bahrain underwent a prosperous period in the 20th century due to the discovery of oil reserves in the 1930s. However, due to the reserves being much less than those of the other Gulf States, the country’s leaders have had to strive towards diversifying the country’s economy. This has been successful and Bahrain continues to reap the benefits of these efforts, with citizens being provided with free health care, education and pensions. Nowadays, Bahrain is an important financial centre.

Despite the state's financial prosperity, there have continued to be ethnic tensions between the country’s two main ethnic groups: the Shi’ites and the Sunnis. Despite being in the minority, the latter group controls most of the country and its wealth, which has caused dissatisfaction among the Shi’ites and has at times led to violent conflicts.Visit this website for further information about Bahrain Sunni Islam

During the Gulf War in 1991, Bahrain acted as a Western ally and served as a strategic air base, a role it resumed in the Iraq War in 2003. The United States Air Force continues to maintain a camp on Isa Air Base.

Sheik Hamad ibn Isa al-Khalifah, the king of Bahrain, has made steps towards the democratisation of the country through the repealing of certain draconian laws and the introduction of reforms intended to promote equality. Censorship has been relaxed, the previously stateless Bidoons have been granted citizenship and women have been permitted to vote. These changes towards a constitutional monarchy culminated in Bahrain’s first parliamentary election for 29 years in 2002.