Think of a great holiday place in the middle-east. Was Bahrain the first name to pop into your head? Well, from now on, it will be! Read on and discover what makes this charming kingdom of 33 islands the number 1 choice among expats in the world to live and work in—and for you, a holiday destination with several surprises!
1. Less crowded, more liberal—yet everything you want from a Gulf holiday
From the uncrowded streets and beaches to the plush malls — you can get around, shop easier, enjoy more sights in this island kingdom. Bahrain is one of the most liberal of all Arab nations, particularly for women — and world travellers feel more at home here.
There’s glitz and glamour when you look at the fast-developed Bahrain skyline — but there’s an inherent friendliness and huge pride in the Bahraini character that makes this place more chilled out, more welcoming!
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2. A 5000-year history—more heritage and culture to enjoy
Bahrain’s unique sweet water makes pearls more lustrous and bigger. About 5000 years ago, it drew traders to ‘Dilmun’ (Bahrain’s ancient name) and the National Museum re-enacts it all in dramatic tableaux today. The sound and light shows at the Bahrain Fort bring ancient legends of Dilmun to life.
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The Old City walk reveals beautiful old traditions. Also, the Grand Mosque allows people of every faith inside to worship together – this truly secular nation has many such historical treasures.
3. Blue uncrowded pristine beaches. And why the Bahrain desert scores over the others!
The Marassi beach will delight you with its pristine beauty and festive food stalls.
And then a quick drive will take you to the desert’s edge, at the Bahrain Formula 1 circuit — where the biggest international names scorch the tracks to victory. Thrills await you in a unique 4×4 Landrover ‘roller coaster’ ride —way more interesting than the usual dune-bashing.
The night desert then beckons quad-bike riding, bonfire dinners and Arabic singalongs until you stand amazed at the Tree of Life — a 400-year-old lush evergreen miracle that thrives with no source of water. Fun fact about this wonder is that it is known to fulfill secret wishes when you hug it!
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4. Bahraini cuisine – and why every traveller heads to a Haji’s breakfast
Even vegetarians are overwhelmed by the variety of a Bahraini feast. A well known ‘secret’ is the generous breakfast that opens at 5am in a bustling Manama street–at Haji’s Cafe. The food at Haji’s Cafe makes even the guests at posh hotels give up their free breakfast for this unforgettable local experience!
Bahrainis take pride in serving their unique khushari, their soft breads khubz, the flavourful Bahraini biriyani, and the melt in the mouth rice pudding, muhallabia.
The secret ingredient is often in their spices – like the unusual black lemon, and you can take these aromatic spices home from the charming Old Souk and its colourful stalls.
5. A thriving art scene and a nightlife that leaves you on a high
From the stunning murals in the Old City to the quirky wall art at the upscale Adilya’s international cafes, you’ll be astonished by the abundance of modern art everywhere.
Bahrain’s liberal outlook makes it the Arabic Las Vegas when compared to its conservative neighbours – and there’s a thriving nightlife here to make any holiday complete. A recent survey showed that the No.1 place in the world for the expats to live is Bahrain! Says a lot for its global character and of course the good life.
There are loads of shopping bargains awaiting you too at Bahrain’s Gold Souks and at City Centre Mall, and charming traditional handicrafts like lamps at the Old Souk.
Getting a visa is simple and relatively inexpensive. Indians require only an eVisa which costs 29 Bahrain dinars and takes 3 to 5 days to process. So if the middle-east is on your mind, think of beautiful Bahrain for a change and head out for a Gulf holiday with a distinctive difference.
Gulf Air flies direct to Bahrain from Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Mumbai and Delhi.
About the Author:
Indu appeared to be married to her career in Advertising, but always carried on an illicit relationship with travel writing. A top prize in a Lonely Planet contest led to recklessly quitting her cushy JWT job and joining Travel To Care, reviewing 70 eco-friendly destinations around India. A visit to Greece led to a travelogue (disguised as a romantic novel) called Runaway Writers. Indu now frequently runs away to travel, to write; in between panic attacks on whether there are enough blank pages in her passport.
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