Traveling Luck for Bahrain

Bahrain is located in Middle East, archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia.

Land in Bahrain is mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment.

Bahraini land covers an area of 665 square kilometers which is 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC

As for the Bahraini climate; arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers.

Bahraini(s) speak Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu.

Bahraini National Map

Bahraini Map

Regions of Bahrain

Bahrain's small size and central location among Persian Gulf countries require it to play a delicate balancing act in foreign affairs among its larger neighbors. Facing declining oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining and has transformed itself into an international banking center. Sheikh HAMAD bin Isa Al Khalifa, who came to power in 1999, has pushed economic and political reforms and has worked to improve relations with the Shi'a community. In February 2001, Bahraini voters approved a referendum on the National Action Charter - the centerpiece of Sheikh HAMAD's political liberalization program. In February 2002, Sheikh HAMAD pronounced Bahrain a constitutional monarchy and changed his status from amir to king. In October 2002, Bahrainis elected members of the lower house of Bahrain's reconstituted bicameral legislature, the National Assembly.


Bahrain Country Profile

Petroleum production and refining account for about 60% of Bahrain's export receipts, 60% of government revenues, and 30% of GDP. With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Gulf. A large share of exports consists of petroleum products made from refining imported crude. Construction proceeds on several major industrial projects. Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of oil and underground water resources are major long-term economic problems. In 2005 Bahrain and the US ratified a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the first FTA between the US and a Gulf state.

Bahraini natural resources include oil, associated and nonassociated natural gas, fish, pearls

close to primary Middle Eastern petroleum sources; strategic location in Persian Gulf, through which much of the Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean

Bahraini religion is Muslim (Shi'a and Sunni) 81.2%, Christian 9%, other 9.8% (2001 census).

Natural hazards in Bahrain include periodic droughts; dust storms.

Travel Advice on Bahrain

Bahrain

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary.  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • You should be aware of the threat from terrorism.  Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region.  These include references to attacks on Western interests, including residential compounds, military, oil, transport and aviation interests.

  • You should review your security arrangements carefully.  You should remain vigilant, particularly in public places.

  • You should avoid all public demonstrations and gatherings in Bahrain, some of which have turned violent.

  • The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Bahrain are immigration-related offences, drink/driving arrests and child custody issues.

  • Please be aware that since September 2006, the local weekend in Bahrain changed from Thursday and Friday to Friday and Saturday.  Schools and local businesses have changed over to the new weekend.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Crime

Some 7,000 British nationals live in Bahrain, and thousands more visit each year.  Most visits are trouble free.  Although incidents are not common, female visitors should take care when travelling alone at night and are advised to use one of the reputable taxi companies.

Political Situation

Developments in Iraq and on the Middle East Peace Process continue to have an impact on local public opinion in the region. You should be aware of local sensitivities on these issues. You should follow news reports and be alert to local and regional developments, which might trigger public disturbances. You should take sensible precautions for your personal safety and avoid public gatherings and demonstrations, some of which have turned violent.

Bahrain Country Profile

Road Safety

Driving is permitted on a valid UK licence for three months, and indefinitely on an international driver's licence.

Bahrain operates a zero tolerance to drink/driving.  If you are caught you will be arrested, put into the drivers prison and your case will not be heard until the next working day.  First time offenders will have to pay a minimum £700 fine and could be banned from driving in Bahrain.  British visitors from Saudi Arabia will subject to the same punishment but with the addition of a driving ban there also.  For repeat offenders the costs and ban will be far harsher.

Sea Safety


On 30 March 2006, a Dhow capsized in Bahrain. There were 58 fatalities including 12 British nationals.  The incident is being investigated by the Bahraini authorities.  You should exercise care when travelling by Dhow, as the safety of these vessels may not be up to UK standards.  You should also ensure that life jackets are available. 

Many areas of the Gulf are highly sensitive, including near maritime boundaries and the islands of Abu Musa and the Tunbs in the southern Gulf.  Vessels entering these areas have been detained and inspected; and there have been occasional arrests.  Mariners should make careful enquiries before entering these waters or considering visiting ports.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Bahrain is a liberal state, but many Bahrainis are conservative and find revealing clothing or immoderate behaviour in public offensive.  It is best to dress conservatively except within the confines of hotels or clubs, at least until you know your way around.  Religious and social sensitivities should be observed and respected, especially during the religious festivals of the Shia community when black flags and banners may be in evidence.
You should not bring videocassettes or DVDs into the country, as these may be withheld on arrival at the airport. Be aware of significant Muslim holidays, and note that Bahrainis observe a number of religious anniversaries that may not be celebrated in neighbouring Gulf countries. It is against the law for any Muslim to purchase alcohol from retail outlets.
Homosexual behaviour is illegal in Bahrain.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

The Bahrain Embassy in London:  Bahraini representation in the UK, issues six-month visit visas for approximately 20 pounds sterling.  Three-month visas are granted on arrival for the equivalent of around 10 pounds sterling.  Do not overstay the period of time allowed on your visa.  Penalties and extension are surprisingly expensive.  Your passport should have at least six months validity when you travel.
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country, or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact the Bahrain Embassy in London:  Bahraini representation in the UK.


HEALTH

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance
Emergency medical treatment is not free.
You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date.  For further information on health, check the Department of Health’s website at:  www.dh.gov.uk


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help
You are advised to register with the British Embassy and to follow local advice issued by the Embassy and its wardens.
Always carry identification.  You might be asked to produce it at any time.