Area: 750 km ²
Climate: hot and dry summers, heavy rainfall in winters
Population: 1,234,596 (est. 2011)
Government Type: Constitutional MonarchyNational Holiday:December 16 GDP: $28.275 billion (est. 2009)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $ 27,214 (est. 2009)
Information for Foreign Students in the Kingdom of Bahrain Getting There Bahrain International Airport 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. Taking photographs is prohibited in the terminals.
Obtaining a Visa 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. Bahrain is among the few Gulf states that officially accepts Israeli Passports (although you'll need a visa) and passports with evidence of visits to Israel.
Cost of Living Like most Gulf countries, Bahrain is not cheap. With recent rising costs a decent dinner can cost around BD 4.0, and car rental at BD 10-20/day is reasonable, but hotel prices will put a dent in your budget: a perfectly ordinary room in a 'good' hotel can set you back BD 100. Do not travel to Bahrain during the annual F1 race in April if looking for reasonable prices, as hotels will quadruple their rates. A room at the Gulf Hotel during this race will cost you upwards of BD 300/night.
Currency used in Bahrain is the Bharaini dinar (BD); once dinar is worth $2.66 US dollars, making this one of the world's strongest currencies.
Drink plenty of water. April through August can be very hot (up to 50 ºC) and humid. Use an umbrella to protect you from the harsh sun. It is important to stay hydrated, especially if you are outdoors during the day. Bottled water is sold practically everywhere in the city from 'Cold Stores' and small restaurants at very reasonable prices. In the souk, walking vendors offer small chilled bottles but you may end up paying more than the bottle is really worth. If you are living in Bahrain for an extended period of time, you can set up an arrangement for a neighborhood Cold Store to deliver bottled water to your flat, or sign up for water delivery through several companies on the island.
The crime rate in Bahrain is low and violent crime is rare. However, burglary, petty theft, and robberies do occur. Large demonstrations can occur at any time, can sometimes become violent but are typically NOT anti-Western. Avoid areas where crowds of people appear to be assembling.
On the whole taxis offer a good service but you do encounter some bandits. Be aware when traveling from the airport to always use the white with red roof or London style taxis. Also there is a rule if the meter is not used there is no charge; hold your ground on this and call the police, and the driver will cooperate very quickly with the correct fare for the trip. Finding a taxi can be difficult, although major hotels and malls usually have a few waiting outside. Some privately owned companies operate in the kingdom, but are twice as expensive as 'real' taxis. There are also public buses that run to many parts of the island. Bus fares are low, but understanding the system can be very confusing for visitors, due to difficulties in obtaining bus schedules and maps.