With the beautiful warm blue waters of the Persian Gulf as a constant backdrop, the small country of Bahrain surely earns the descriptive tags exotic and unique. The country, measuring some 34 miles in length by 11 miles wide, is actually an island, linked by the 15-mile King Fahd Causeway to its giant neighbour, Saudi Arabia.But a second even longer causeway is planned, the Qatar Bahrain Causeway, linking Bahrain with neighbouring Qatar, often dubbed the richest country in the world. This second causeway, also known as the Qatar Bahrain Friendship Bridge, will stretch more than 25 miles and is expected to cost in the region of $5 billion.Bahrain is the perfect mix of ancient history, Arab culture and the best of entertainment and all of it so easily accessible for the millions of tourists who visit annually. Incredible archaeological sites and modern malls are part and parcel of the Bahrain experience and seem to sit so comfortably together.
Of course, the more you do and see, the more you’ll likely spend. Hey, you’re here on vacation after all. So there should be no worries about finance then. But if you do happen to run short of spending money, there are plenty of good modern banks in Bahrain with hundreds of cash machines to keep you going. The banks are certainly well used to tourists and their personal banking mores.
So what to see and do in this wonderful little country of some 1.3 million people? Depends on your interests. Ancient temples anyone? What about bargain hunting at a traditional marketplace or souq?
Fancy trying out a lap or two at Bahrain’s relatively new Formula 1 motor racing track? Heck, you’ve time to do all three!
Qalat al Bahrain
One of country’s most popular ancient attractions, the Bahrain Fort, located in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, was built on top of an artificial hill that has seen more than 4,000 years of continuous occupation. It was also the site of Bahrain’s ancient capital. Check out the fabulous museum here with its five exhibition halls and hundreds of ancient artefacts on display.
Suq al Qaisariya
Not to be missed. A traditional shopping experience like no other in Bahrain’s second-largest city, Muharraq. There’s been a souq on this site for hundreds of years. The renovated shops sell a variety of products, from pearls to spices and tea. By the way, the pearls are the real deal and not the cultured variety. Each pearl purchased comes complete with its own certificate of authenticity.
Built in 2004, the track staged the first-ever Middle East Formula 1 Grand Prix motor race. The circuit length is just over 3.6 miles and the race covers 57 laps. A visit to the circuit is not to be missed. It’s sometimes even possible to take a test drive around the track in some of the race cars.
Wine and dine in Block 338, Bahrain’s charming pedestrian quarter crammed with international restaurants, art galleries, boutiques, bars, pubs, clubs and more. You want nightlife? You got it!
Al Dar Island
A 20-minute drive from Manama and 10 minutes aboard a sea taxi takes you to the fabulous beach resort of Al Dar Island. The resort is a fun place to take the family. Dive for pearls, take a cruise to Jarada Island, try a bit of dolphin spotting, or just sunbathe all day long. It’s entirely up to you.
Click here for more information on Al Dar Island.
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