Bahrain is a small island just northwest of Qatar where I was stationed so I figured I’d visit the weekend before I left with a friend. We booked a flight using the new Hopper app, I found it to have an easier interface than SkyScanner for $153 round trip. The hotel was booked off of TripAdvisor reviews and we decided on a rental car through Sixt for less than $15/day because we wanted to drive the country. Using a combination of Google and TripAdvisor we compiled an itinerary that included the Bahrain National Museum, Seef Mall, Tree of Life, Bahrain International Circuit and the University of Bahrain.
Checking in for our flight was easy, we grabbed a quick drink at Hamad International Airport before heading on our way for a quick 30 min hop into Manama, Bahrain.
Customs was a quick process, for military members show the ID with orders. Our friend forgot to do this and instead presented a passport which they charged him $70 and refused to refund. We grabbed up our rental car, some Bahrani Dinar (BD) and headed out the gate.
Driving in Bahrain was fairly similar to Qatar. Law enforcement was much more visible in Bahrain which led to more Western-style type of driving, meaning stopping at red lights and speed limit compliance.
The first stop was checking-in to the Intercontinental Regency Hotel located in Manama and central to most of the attractions in the region. As a Western hotel, I was impressed that they had minimum force protection measures like mirror sweeps, vehicle denial barriers and vehicle inspections prior to allowing entry. Check out the full review on TripAdvisor. The breakfast buffet is highly recommended for first time visitors as across the street is a Papa John’s, Dairy Queens and an Arabic pizza place.
The first stop for us was the Bahrain National Museum. As one of the main attractions of Bahrain (personal opinion), it had a lot to offer on the history of the country and daily life. There was also a giant map on the floor of the museum for tourists to orient themselves. There were a couple of other places to visit like the Bahrain International Circuit and the University of Bahrain but TripAdvisor can provide those locations. With our rental car, we drove the entire length of the country and it took a total of 1:30 hours round-trip. The man-made islands on the southern end of the country are inaccessible unless you know someone who permanently lives there, trust me I tried to talk my way past the guard and he wasn’t having it. I will say that the Tree of Life is probably the furthest south worth going. The tree itself is a one-time experience and you can climb it if you avoid the security guard. He sometimes hides behind the branches so do a full 360 check first.
Other than that, the only other things to check out in Bahrain are the Seef malls, indoor skydiving and the Juffair district where the bars are.
Hit me up if you want to go!