Ma a salama
||Mah ah sah-lah-mah||Good Bye!|
|Hal tatakallamo alloghah al Enjileziah / Alarabiah?||Hahl tah-tah-kah-lah-moh ahl-oh-gah ahl Ehn-jill-ehz-ee-ah / Ah-lah-rah-bee-ah||Do you speak English / Arabic?|
|Esmee…||Ehz-mee||My name is…|
|Hal beemkanek mosa’adati||Hahl beam-kah-nehk moh-sah-ah-dah-tee||Can you help me?|
|Abhatu an…||Ahb-hah-too ahn||I’m looking for…|
|Na’am / Laa||Nah-ahm / Lah||Yes / No|
|Assayed / Assayedah / Al Anesah||Ah-say-ehd / Ah-say-ehd-ah / Ahl Ah-ney-sah||Mr / Mrs / Miss|
|Alyawm / Al aan||Ahl-yorm / Ahl Ahn||Today / Now|
|Ghadan / Albareha||Gah-dahn / Ahl-bah-reh-ah||Tomorrow / Yesterday|
|Haza / Zalek / Huna / Hunak||Hah-zah / Zah-lek / Hoo-nah / Hoo-nahk||This / That / Here / There|
Above are a few common Arabic phrases to help you get around.
Arabic is the official language of Bahrain with Bahraini Arabic as the local dialect and most widely spoken version of the Arabic language. However, English is incredibly widespread and used among businesses and politicians frequently. Additionally many people speak Persian, Urdu, Malayalam and Hindi, with many institutions being bilingual, usually in English and Arabic.
The dominant religion in Bahrain is Islam with around 70% of them being Shia Muslims and the remainder being Sunni Muslims. However, other prominent religions in the country include Hinduism and Catholicism, making up around 10% of the population each.
Additionally, Protestantism makes up 5% of the population, Buddhists make up another 2% and similarly, another 2% are Atheist. Additionally, 1% identify as Orthodox Christians (with about 1000 members) and 1% are said to have other religious beliefs. There is also a very small, close-knit Jewish community of 36-50 people. Believers of non-state religions enjoy religious and social freedoms like any other developed country.
Museums, Galleries & Architecture
Like many other countries in the Gulf region, traditional Bahraini architecture follows an Islamic style with strong use of straight edges with repeated circular symmetry. It’s common to incorporate a wind tower into the design to help ventilate the house or building and typically features a courtyard in the centre of the structure and sometimes a couple of courtyards. The rooftops would be structured to help catch summer breezes and direct them into the house whilst featuring thick walls to keep the house warm during winter months. However, following the economic improvement of the 1970s, western-style buildings became incredibly widespread and today these are more prevalent than their old-world counterparts.
There are only few of museums in Bahrain but these two are incredibly prominent, they include the Bahrain National Museum which was opened in 1988 and serves to document Bahrain’s entire history from contemporary to ancient times as well as the natural and religious histories in the country, and the Beit Al Qaran which is dedicated to the Islamic arts and manuscripts of the Quran.
Clubs in Bahrain are few and far between but are at an incredibly high quality when compared to clubs worldwide, this is especially apparent when looking at the Bushido Lounge which utilizes an incredibly powerful oriental style, wall scrolls, imagery and heavy use of red colours to create a truly unique nightlife experience.
For a slightly smaller yet no less active venue, you’ll love the Ibrida. The club features an in-house DJ, a large dance floor and often has live music and bands play in it, the style is more of a contemporary western one and sees some of the top new international hits played all throughout the night.
Bahrain used the Bahraini Dinar (currency code: BHD) which can be divided down into 1000 Bahraini Fils. BHD 1 is equivalent to around $2.65 or £1.58.
Coins come in 5 and 10 fils amounts in Brass, 25 and 50 fils amounts in Cupro-Nickel, 100 films in bimetallic Brass and Cupro-Nickel.
Bank notes are available in 500 fils, 1 Dinar, 5 Dinar, 10 Dinar and 20 Dinar variants.
Bahrain’s main economic produce comes in the form of Petroleum exportation and exports of similar products as well as Aluminium and Textiles. In regards to oil exportation, Bahrain has seen an annual economic growth of 5.5% since 2001 and trades mainly with Saudi Arabia, India and the United Arab Emirates at 3%, 2.2% and 2% of all trades between these nations respectively.
Oil makes up 27% of all exports, but a substantial amount of trades are made up with Iron ores at 11%, as well as around 3% which are petroleum gases. Additionally, around 8.4% are refined variants of aluminium with another 8.2% as unrefined variants, 6.5% are made up of Aluminium plates and sheets, around 5% of trades are Aluminium wires of various kinds and another 5% makes up many other Aluminium products, pipes, scrap and such. The remaining 25% of trade is split fairly evenly between air conditioners, cars, minerals and chemicals, acidic alcohol, cheese, food preparation materials and women’s clothing.
Like many other Middle Eastern nations, cities are developed widely in Bahrain and thus ATMs are widespread, however, using another bank’s ATM may incur a fee for doing so.
Also similarly to other nearby Middle Eastern nations, as well as most countries in the west, Bahraini banks offer three types of bank accounts including Current Accounts, Savings Accounts and Fixed Deposit Accounts.
Current Accounts are the most flexible and usually come with an unlimited amount of free withdrawals during the day. However these accounts typically have the lowest interest rates.
Savings Accounts are more balanced out and allow less free withdrawals during day-to-day life but in return tend to offer much better interest rates.
Fixed Deposit Accounts restrict the user to a few, or only one, withdrawal a year. However, in return for this solidarity, the bank will typically offer the highest interest rates available but will normally expect regular deposits to be made into the account.
In Bahrain, there is no form of personal, corporate, withholding or value added tax at all. However, a municipal tax of 10% on the monthly rental of residential and business properties is applicable and a 5% tax on all hotel services and entertainment is also applicable. Generally speaking, a tax rate of around 5% is applied to all imported goods, but many food products, capital goods, raw materials and medicines are exempt from this.
Bahraini cuisine is limited due to the importation of most of its food, this in turn is due to limited land space, but it does grow a fair amount of dates, citrus fruits, mangoes, tomatoes, bananas, pomegranates and cucumbers. Bahraini cuisine also uses a lot of fish including the rabbitfish, bream and mackerel in their dishes. Dishes may include Khubz (a large type of flatbread often served with fish sauce) and Qoozi (grilled lamb with rice, onions, boiled eggs and spices).
Additionally, Halwa Showaiter, a jelly made with corn starch, nuts and saffron, is a popular desert in the region. Similarly popular is Gahwa, a type of coffee, which is drank throughout the region as part of a traditional welcome to a household. It’s common for open-air cafes to serve these dishes, deserts and drinks alongside Sheesha, a type of flavoured and sweetened tobacco, which is regularly enjoyed by a majority of the population.
Citizens of the following countries do not require a visa to visit Bahrain and may use National ID Cards instead:
The main phone lines in the country are Batelco, Zain (MTC Vodaphone) and VIVA.
There are over 200,000 main lines in use with over 1.1 million mobile phones active. Telecommunications use a modern fibre-optic system with a digital network for mobile services, these are linked internationally via a submarine cable to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the US as well as having a microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia and tropospheric scatter to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, as well as a single satellite earth station, all on country code +973.
The Internet services in the country have low user numbers of around 2,600 hosts and around 250,000 actual users. The country’s top code is .bh. It's important to note that outside web pages have been recently been frequently blocked following the Bahraini Uprising of 2011.
There are few Bahraini Television broadcast stations, only numbering around 5.
There are radio broadcasting stations consisting of AM 2, FM 3 and shortwave 0.
Weather & Climate
Bahrain has a very arid climate and as a result sees mild winters with extremely hot summers. Rainfall is sparsely spread and occurs mainly during the winter months, having around 2 millimetres of precipitation a day. However, in the summer months there is typically no rainfall whatsoever. As you’d imagine, the majority of sunshine hours occur during the summer, maximizing out during June at 339 hours of sunshine during the month.
The peak of the summer season is between June and September and sees temperatures rising to an average of around 38 degrees Centigrade (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) but has been known to soar up to 46.7 degrees Centigrade (116.1 degrees Fahrenheit) as early as May.
Winter is typically around December to February and it’s normal to see temperatures drop to around 14.1 degrees Centigrade (57.4 degrees Fahrenheit) but temperatures plummeting to 2.7 degrees Centigrade (36.9 degrees Fahrenheit) have been recorded in January.
Overlooking the Arabian Gulf and sitting firmly on the beautiful beaches of Zallaq, the Sofital Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa Luxury Hotel features a brilliant blend of Arabic and French art styles and holds 262 rooms, each coming with a large balcony with stunning sea views, as well as a ballroom, a private island, a pool, a water-sports club and several restaurants and bars.
Based right next to the country’s oldest market, Bab Al Bahrain, as well as the Bahrain Gold Souk, the Bahrain Intercontinental Hotel & Resort features an outdoor pool, spa treatments and three restaurants, and also is only ten minutes away from the nearest airport. The hotel itself incorporates a neo-Arabian style with deep red-brown furniture combined with blue and white architectural styles.
The Domain overlooks the nearby coastline and is known to cater to the business district nearby, the hotel contains over 131 rooms and suites across 36 floors and offers not only a full valet parking service but a butler service, spa and fitness facilities and an indoor rooftop infinity pool with a retractable roof for when the sun is out and the heat gets turned up a notch.
Located on the northern coastline and secluded from its peers, the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa features beautifully furnished rooms which include a twice-daily housekeeping service, a laundry service, 24-hour in-room dining, an interactive LCD multilingual plasma TV, on-suite bathrooms, high-speed internet access and a wonderfully ecstatic view of the shimmering blue Bahrain coastline itself.
Moving over to Manama, the Baher Mariott Executive Apartments are only 10 minutes away from the closest airport and offers extremely large one, two and three bedroom apartments, all fitted with high-quality furnishings, a dedicated office area, a full-sized kitchen, wireless internet and a safe. The hotel also offers dedicated housekeeping, 24-hour security and room services as well as a safe and access to a rooftop pool and fitness area.
15 minutes’ drive away from the nearest airport, the Best Western Olay Suites Hotel features a hundred varied rooms and suites, featuring LCD TVs, a mini-bar, Wi-Fi Internet and a tea & coffee maker. The hotel itself includes two restaurants, a bar, a coffee shop, a health club, a sauna, a rooftop swimming pool and room service for all prior mentioned food outlets above.
Coming complete with a full free buffet breakfast, free parking and free Wi-Fi, the Windsor Tower Hotel Manama actually holds its own nightclub, pool and two restaurants within its walls and includes 78 guest rooms, each fitted with a tub and shower, a refrigerator and a TV but also includes additional 24-hour room service. The hotel is located very close to some of Bahrain’s cultural districts and is only around a mile away from the country’s National Museum and Theatres.
The Movenpick Hotel in Bahrain is considered a true paradise and is rated the only five-star hotel in the entirety of Muharraq, Bahrain. The hotel has been around for over ten years and features a swiss architectural style with a contemporary flair, entailing well-furnished but warmly-toned rooms coming with a range of features including air-conditioning, TVs, a minibar, hair dryers and safes in every room as well as Wi-Fi across the hotel.
Crystal clear waters, a cooling sea breeze and a view that’ll take your breath away, sound like your cup of tea? Then perhaps you’ll like The Dragon Hotel and Resort which features all of this and more! The hotel has been designed to reflect the appearance of a sleeping dragon and features a range of villas, suites and chalets developed with a contemporary art style and furnishing array in mind, each one has been produced to optimize its inhabitants experience during their stay in Bahrain.
With over 80 chalets and cabanas, the Al Bander Hotel and Resort has been designed with a distinctive Arabian stylization in mind and features a complimenting colour scheme and furnishing array to match. On a practical level, the hotel entails five restaurants, two outdoor pools, a marina and a wide range of leisure and sporting groups and activities for guests of all ages.
Children are typically no harder to bring into the country than adults and will require:
Across Bahrain today, over 4300 classes are run publically with a fairly even split of around 62000 male students to around 63000 female students. Out of the total amount of around 125000 students, around 62000 of them are Primary students, around 32000 are Junior Highschoolers and around 31000 are Secondary students. With such large investments into the education sector, the literacy rate of the entirety of Bahrain is at around 95% and around 3% of GDP comes from education expenditure.
Today the country also is host to a range of higher education institutes including the Bahrain Polytechnic, the Gulf Polytechnic, the University College of Art, Science and Education, the College of Health Sciences and the Arabian Gulf University. Many of these institutes have been built in the last couple of decades. These institutes, as well as the education sector in Bahrain in general, are moderated by the Quality Assurance Authority for Education and Training.
Applicants who wish to work in Bahrain will require a Masters or a Bachelor’s of Education Degree as well as a degree in line with the subject you wish to teach, with a teaching qualification (PGCE) and must have obtained these qualifications in the West (i.e. US, UK, Canada, Australia). Additionally, you need to be a native speaker of English and must have 2 years of experience.
It’s important to note that candidates with international experience and/or a TEFL, CEFL, Delta or other similar qualifications will have a huge edge.
Always ensure to check our guide on VISA & Work Permit Restrictions.
Luxuries in Bahrain are expensive with a litre of Beer costing around BHD 1.30 ($3.50 or £2.10), a pack of cigarettes going for around BHD 0.90 ($2.40 or £1.40) and a bottle of mid-range wine costing BHD 9.80 ($26.00 or £15.60).
Meanwhile, food costs are more reasonable with a meal at a restaurant ranging between BHD 2.00 and BHD 17.50 ($5.30 to $46.40 or £3.20 to £27.80), a litre of water costing BHD 0.45 ($1.19 or £0.71), a litre of milk costing BHD 0.51 ($1.40 or £0.81), 500g of bread going for BHD 0.32 ($0.85 or £0.51) and twelve eggs costing around BHD 0.77 ($2.00 or £1.20).
Finally, housing costs are similar, with a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre going for BHD 340 ($900 or £540) a one-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre going for BHD 270 ($720 or £430), a three-bedroom apartment inside of the city centre costing around BHD 750 ($1,990 or £1,190) and a three-bedroom apartment away from the city centre costing about BHD 590 ($1570 or £940).
Considered to be the best social club in the world by the UK Telegraph in its ‘Best of British’ 2010 awards, The British Club allows its members access to a bar, two pools of varying sizes, a play area for children and several dining options.
Coral Bay has its own water-sporting club as well and allows members to take short boat trips, half and full day boat charters, jet skiing, water-skiing and banana boating as well as Diving and caters for members of all skill ranges and ages.
The Dolphin Resort provides daily shows for 15 minutes at a time and offers participants the opportunity to swim with the dolphins, making it a perfect educational tool for children and adults alike.
Stepping out of the water, Funland has its own Bowling Centre and this is used as a social hub by expatriates and nationals alike. Additionally, the centre has its own skating rink with an ice disco.
Other activities include Al-Reem Tours and Al-Badr Travels which allow you to visit these areas and see the beautiful wildlife of the Hawar Islands, the stunning slopes of the mainland desert and travel on the ocean waves through fishing trips.
In the old market areas especially, petty crime is minimal and on the whole the crime rate of Bahrain is extremely low. However, incidents of violent crime are slowly increasing and there are small underground drug and human trafficking incidents as well, however, around 65% of these crimes are not committed by Bahraini nationals. Bahrain was rated a 5 on a scale of 0 to 10 (with 0 being the most corrupt and 10 being most transparent) by Transparency International and 46th most corrupt country by the Corruption Perceptions Index 2007 out of 179 countries, with the most corrupt countries at the top of the list. Additionally, threat of terrorism is a concern as well but terrorist attacks are rare at most.