Top 10 Exciting Things To Do In Bahrain

TOP 10 EXCITING THINGS TO DO IN BAHRAIN

I want to share with you some of the amazing places and authentic experiences I personally experienced while visiting Bahrain on a fantastic ten-day trip.

There are a multitude of travel guides online listing best things to do in Bahrain but I feel these guides all seem to recommend the same touristy spots.

And so – although the top tourist sights of Bahrain are all absolutely worth seeing – I thought you might like to know about my own specially curated and absolute Top 10 Exciting Things To Do In Bahrain.

I hope you find it interesting, informative, inspiring… and exciting!

The Kingdom of Bahrain
Exciting Bahrain!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

10 DAYS IN BAHRAIN – 10 EXCITING THINGS TO DO IN BAHRAIN

The backpacking husband and I were staying just outside the cosmopolitan capital city of Manama, on the kind invitation of some dear friends, who we’d met on a trip to Maldives and who’d lived in the Kingdom of Bahrain as ex-pats for many years.

Our generous friends had made it their mission to be our local guides and had planned an immersive ten day itinerary to show us their kingdom and how this small island country is an interesting, vibrant, and booming place to live and to visit.

To give you an idea of size of Bahrain, it is quite similar in size to the Isle of Anglesey in the UK or New York City in the USA.

So Bahrain is a place you can get a great sense of if you are visiting for a few days.

Or explore quite thoroughly if you are visiting for a week or more.

Some days we ventured out far into the hot white sands of the Arabian desert.

Or we strolled over the golden sands at the beach.

We explored the luxury man-made islands at Amwaj and on other days, we immersed ourselves in the Bahraini café culture.

We drank Arabian coffee and ate succulent dates (never in equal numbers – you can have one or three, for example, but never two or four).

In the evenings, we tagged along with our friends and socialised with the ex-pat set at the Bahrain Football and Rugby Club or ventured into the city to hotels like The Sofitel or The Ritz Carlton for sundowner cocktail and a delicious dinner.

WHERE IS BAHRAIN?

Bahrain is a small island country located in the Persian Gulf. It is situated off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia and northwest of Qatar.

Historically, Bahrain was renowned for its pearl diving industry, which was one of the main economic activities in the region for centuries.

In fact, while I was in Bahrain, I was researching an aspect of the plot that is about pearl farming and pearl diving for my novel (affiliated link) Island in the Sun.

Island In The Sun by Janice Horton
Island In The Sun by Janice Horton

You can find out about my books – including my Backpacking Housewife novels – on my Books Page.

These days, Bahrain is still a meld of rich history and diverse culture, with a mix of Arab, Persian, and other influences.

It has also become a major financial centre in the Middle East.

Bahrain is proudly home to the Grand Prix, a Formula One race held annually at the Bahrain International Circuit.

See below – this is one of my Top Picks!

So, this is my Top 10 Special Things To Do In Bahrain, curated by well-connected locals and recommended by me!

1. ADMIRE THE MANAMA CITYSCAPE

Manama has an incredibly beautiful and recognisable skyline with its World Trade Centre twin-tower complex – featuring three wind turbines bridging two towers – and the prominent features of The Financial Harbour residential and commercial skyscraper buildings.

One of the more prominent structures also known for its modern design in Manama’s skyline is The Almoayyed Tower and also the sleek United Tower, characterised by its unique twisted shape.

So whether its shimmering in the daytime heat or sparkling under the Arabian night sky, there are many iconic buildings to admire that contribute to Manama’s distinctive city silhouette.

TOP 10 EXCITING THINGS TO DO IN BAHRAIN

2. DRINK A COCKTAIL AND PEOPLE WATCH AT A SUNSET BAR

We had lots of opportunity to dress up in the sultry early evenings for a cocktail at a rooftop sunset bar.

I have to admit I found people watching in Bahrain rather compulsive.

I’m normally a very low-maintenance traveller – I am the backpacking housewife after all – but, in Bahrain, I did rather indulge myself in the high life and really enjoyed being invited into a rather chic society and elegant ‘other’ world.

I was quite fascinated by all the stylishly dressed and beautiful people quaffing only the best Champagnes in our midst during our social outings.

You might be wondering about the legality of alcohol and it’s interesting to note that in Bahrain (unlike neighbouring Saudi Arabia) although not widely available to buy in shops, alcohol can be purchased by non-Muslims in hotels and some other licensed premises.

I was also quite eye-popping to see the wealth of cars in the carpark.

There were so many Lamborghinis or Maserati or Porsche!

Do note that it is illegal to drink alcohol in public and there is zero tolerance towards drink driving – even if you drive a Lamborghini.

Cocktails at sunset in Manama Bahrain by Janice Horton

3. GO SHOPPING TO A SOUQ OR A MALL

There is a certain freedom that exists in Bahrain that attracts many shoppers from neighbouring Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia, which is connected to Bahrain by the incredible (25 km long) King Fahd Causeway known locally as the Road of Death!

I’m told that the name comes from the fact that the bridge is treated as a speedway between Saudi and Bahrain at weekends with many Saudi’s heading over to enjoy Bahrain’s more tolerant attitudes to social activities and cheaper shopping!

I (mostly) window shopped in many of the wonderful air-conditioned malls which have lots of familiar western outlets like Marks and Spencer.

In the Souks, we browsed in and out of exotic perfume shops amongst rich and heavenly Arabian fragrances with prices that made your eyes water.

I noticed that lots of Bahrain ladies, while dressed in their abaya – some of them hemmed with sparkling gems – seemed to be absolutely drenched in these amazing perfumes and they would smell divine as they wafted past me.

Shopping in the Mall in Bahrain by Janice Horton

4. TOUR THE INTERNATIONAL F1 TRACK

We drove out to take a look at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The racetrack is famously known as the host for the first ever Formula One event held in the middle east.

Construction started in late 2002 with a challenging sixteen-month deadline to get the facility ready.

The circuit now attracts tens of thousands of visitors to each race event.

Here I am standing in the vast sand car park outside the stadium!

Janice Horton at The Bahrain International F1 Track

5. VISIT AMWAJ ISLANDS

The Amwaj Islands of Bahrain are really interesting and located near the northeast coast.

They are a beautifully designed man-made archipelago of islands connected by canals and known for their luxury residential properties.

Residents here enjoy waterfront living as well as a range of amenities including shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, and marinas for their boats and yachts.

It’s really interesting to spend a few hours there just to go for a stroll and indulge in the luxury of it all!

The Amwaj Islands of Bahrain. Photo by Janice Horton

6. SEE THE TREE OF LIFE

This is actually my number one of so many wonderful experiences in Bahrain.

Not only do you have to drive through an Arabian desert, when you do find it, it is breathtakingly stunning – and completely unexplainable – how one centuries old tree can survive and indeed thrive in a place where nothing else can!

See my full post for more info on visiting this Tree of Life in Bahrain.

Janice Horton at The Tree of Life in Bahrain

7. GO FOR A WALK ON THE BEACH

There are several public and private beaches in Manama. We spent a lovely evening walking on the golden sands and watching a sunset from Jarada Beach.

We also spent a wonderful day at luxurious Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa Resort with its fabulous private beach and huge lagoon style pool which is open for both guests and day visitors.

Janice Horton on a beach in Bahrain

8. PLAY GOLF AT THE ROYAL GOLF CLUB

If you’re a golfer then you’d absolutely want to play a round at The Royal Golf Club.

Opened in 2010, the stunning eighteen-hole course was designed by Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, Colin Montgomerie’

He also designed the par nine hole “Wee Monty” course.

Both courses are open to the public as is the driving range.

Other amenities include a golf academy, shop, café, lounge and restaurant.

Bahrain Royal Gold Club. Photo by Janice Horton

9. VISIT THE MARINA

Bahrain Marina provides berthing facilities for yachts and boats.

The marina development, like the Islands of Amwaj, contribute to the architectural landscape of Manama as a significant development in a prime location.

The Bahrain Marina has landscaped promenades and parks, luxury residential towers, cafes, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, theatres, event spaces, and all in a vibrant waterfront environment.

Again, it is wonderful to observe and to enjoy with a cup of morning coffee.

But what about at sundown? Ah, this leads me nicely to my number ten!

Janice Horton at Bahrain marina

10. DON’T MISS A MANAMA SUNSET

Whether you choose to watch from a beach or a bar the sundown here is intense.

The sun sets early in Bahrain and there are many great spots to watch it sink through the horizon and to celebrate another beautiful day in Bahrain.

The colour is so strong and the glow so vibrant that I’ve stored it in my memory as one of the most stunningly beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.

Sunset over Manama Bahrain by Janice Horton

Of course, I need you to know that I’m aware not everyone in Bahrain is wealthy, lives in a gated villa with a private swimming pool, owns a yacht in the marina, or parks their sports car outside the Ritz Carlton.

But we were staying with friends and it’s the world I saw and experienced during my visit.

It was a huge privilege and quite an eye-opener to witness ex-pat life in Bahrain and we consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to have friends who are so generous and who welcomed us into their world – another world – albeit for a while.

Have you ever been to Bahrain?

If not, is Bahrain a place you’d like to visit?

Where did you see your most beautiful sunset?

Tell me in the comment box!

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