“Bahrain is a veiled country of unyielding holiday potential. You can almost always plan on great weather, though the summer time will be scorching. If you like the ambiance of a big city, but the chance to get away to an arid land with miles of potentially empty coastline, then Bahrain is a great destination. The exploration of the land and the Muslim culture here is sure to be an eye opener. Bahrain is a sweet zest on the palate of holiday goers.”
Though the name may sound more Asian than Arabian, the sites to behold here are astounding, especially if you like to see live history on foot, there are all kinds of nooks and crannies to dig up the Bahrain past. Manama has probably got the best souk (outdoor market) on this side of the waters. The area is somewhat modern but the streets still have the windy zigzag feel. Head just out of this old city to the ancient capital of Bilad al-Qadim, from around 900 AD.
If you want your next vacation destination to be activities filled with flatness, then look no further than Bahrain. This flat island’s highest point is only 122 meters, though you can get a descent view from the top, it’s not like climbing a mountain. Bahrain is an archipelago, which means it has other islands to explore on foot. This is probably one of the best places to take a coastline hike—the country claims to have 160 km of coastline worth exploring—that’s 100 miles, by the way. At any rate, the southern part of the island is the least built up, and the arid landscape is good in hiking shoes or boots. A walking trip through Qal’at al-Bahrain gives a nice introduction to this country’s interesting past.
There are no real mountains to be had on Bahrain, as the highest point barely reaches over 120 meters. However, one of the best ways to get around and out of the Manama is to head south on two wheels. Some of the smaller coastal towns offer some of the best cuisine you can find in the Persian Gulf. It’s best to bring your own bike for a tour, but it is possible to rent them by the day or week in the capital.
Bahrain is an interesting place to go on a fishing trip. The waters around Bahrain are quite shallow, but include more than 300 species of fish, including tropical varies like parrot fish, angel fish, grouper, barracuda, and clown fish. There are several land reclamation projects currently underway in Bahrain, but there are also several coral reefs that lie in proximity to Bahrain Island.
If you prefer to fish sitting on the shore itself, you can sit on one of the bridges that connects to one of the islands and fish from there, or fish from one of the artificial reefs located off Bahrain. Several hotels too organize fishing packages.
For fishing gear, however, you may have to visit the local markets or souks. Although you may haul in grouper, tuna, shark or barracuda, prawns are the recommended bait for fishing in Bahrain. But, before embarking on this activity, you may have to get a fishing license.
Grouper and barracuda are probably the most fished game fish in Bahrain. A fishing tour is not only a great way to catch some big ones, but it’s a great way to see the other 33 islands making up Bahrain and its waters. It’s fairly straightforward to fish from the coast, but a tour operator will have to get you connected with a captain and boat to go out on the waters legally. If you don’t like fishing, you can always go watch camel racing.
Camel racing has come to be recognized as a serious international sport and a great tourist attraction. Events draw participants from throughout the world, and winners of races receive handsome prizes, including large cash awards. Moreover, in those Arab countries that are the sport’s core participants, such events reflect the cultural background of the local society. Traditional costumes and rituals are displayed, and the entire day of racing culminates in celebrations that evoke the customs of local peoples. These gatherings help keep local customs and folklore alive, particularly for the younger generation, in a region that is otherwise modernizing rapidly.
When visiting any Arab country, there will surely be a close encounter with herd of camels. In Bahrain, when cruising into town from the base, of when visiting the desert in Tree of Life, visitors may come across herd of camels. If interested, you may stop for photograph. The camel farm at Janabiya is the best for camel ride, and getting a ride there is possible. You may also chance upon a range of baby camels.
Bahrain's love of all things equestrian in evident at its splendid Sakhir Race Course, which has a grandstand for 3000 spectators. During the racing season, from November to May, beautiful Arabian purebreds and thoroughbreds hurdle and flat race each Friday.
Water Sports & Land Sports - Given Bahrain’s amazing coastline, it’s probably no surprise that you can find just about any water sports activity you’d like to do here. All the adrenaline rushing sports, such as parasailing, jet boat rides, windsurfing, kite surfing, water-skiing, and scuba diving, along with snorkeling, will keep you busy till the wee hours. You can even rent a yacht and take it for a sail around all 33 of the islands, if you so wish. Bahrain is a water and land paradise for holidays in the sun.
Take a dhow cruise around Manama. The usual dhow is a sailing vessel made of wood, built in traditional Arabian manner. The cruise helps visitors to enjoy the beauty of Manama Bay. When sailing down the bay, Muharraq Island and port of Mina Salman can be viewed. Visitors will be served sumptuous meal enroute, cooked using local spices, apart from being treated to live Arabic music.
There are several tour operators offering a Dhow Cruise, including packages such as dolphin-watching trip, swimming, snorkelling, and dinner cruise. The Bahrain Yacht Club also operates dolphin-watching trips. Some boat operators also run air-conditioned luxury yachts to Jarda Island.
A dhow cruise can also help in enjoying pleasures like watching the sun set, while the waters gently lap against your boat.
The summers are hot and the winters are mild. June to October is the hottest season. December to April is mild with cooler conditions from December all the way through March.
The summers can be hot, so be sure to pack appropriate clothing for hot temps. Or, just wait until the cooler months and you’re sure to have a much better time.
The traditional and customs of the Muslim religion are strong here. However, this is one of the most liberal places you might find. Be sure to dress appropriately and become aware of Muslim social practices.