The Kingdom of Bahrain is a Middle Eastern archipelago in the Persian Gulf, tucked into a pocket of the sea flanked by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It's an oasis of liberalism – or at least Western-friendly moderation – among the Muslim countries of the region. It's popular with travelers for its authentic "Arabness" but without the strict application of Islamic law upon its non-Muslim minority. Case in point: alcohol is legal here. Although it has a heavily petroleum-based economy, its more relaxed culture has also made it a social and shopping mecca (so to speak), which has helped it develop a fairly cosmopolitan middle class not found in neighboring countries with just a rich elite and subsistence-level masses.

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Major cities and tourist attractions

  • Manama - The capital of Bahrain.
  • Hamad Town
  • Isa Town
  • Jidd Hafs
  • Muharraq
  • Riffa
  • Sitrah

Major Airports

Bahrain International Airport (IATA: BAH), in Muharraq just east of Manama, is the main base for Gulf Air and has excellent connections throughout the region and London. The airport has good duty-free shopping and a 'Transotel' offering beds and showers (for a fee) to those awaiting flights. Many residents of eastern Saudi Arabia choose to fly out via Bahrain, and Gulf Air offers shuttle services to Khobar and Dammam to cater to this market; inquire when booking.

Visa Requirements

Citizens of following countries can obtain 14-day visa at all border stations and airports. The fee is 5 dinar or $13.

Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, China(Mainland, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Republic of China Taiwan), Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland (3 months), Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom (3 months), United States, Uzbekistan, Vatican City

You can also apply in advance online for an eVisa [2], which costs BD 7. The benefit of this is somewhat unclear though, as those eligible for eVisas can also get visas on arrival; however, possessing an eVisa will likely allow you to get through Customs faster, as one wouldn't need to obtain the visa at the port of entry.