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By Rebecca Torr Ľ Just days after first arriving in Bahrain my husband presented me with a map, a set of keys and a hired car and with a grin told me to ďgo and explore!Ē
As you can imagine it was a bit daunting at first, especially because I had only ever driven in the UK and I didnít have a clue where anything was, or where to begin.
Anyway I accepted the challenge and before long I was whizzing around the island and discovering its attractions.
In fact, I know the place so well now that, to the annoyance of my husband, who has lived here several years longer than I have, itís usually me who does the navigating!
Of course being thrown in the deep end like I was wouldnít appeal to all tourists, but thankfully there are other options.
Visitors can travel around the island reasonably cheaply and easily on private tourist buses, or by taxi, and for the little more adventurous walking is always another alternative.
Unfortunately the public transport system is not very advanced in Bahrain. There are no trains, or trams, but there is a bus service that has routes in most of the major towns and villages and the standard fare is very cheap at just 50 fils.
To help you decide which mode of transport is for you, here are some of your options in more detail:
Rent A Car
If you are able to drive and like exploring, then hiring a car would be my top recommendation.
Car rental charges are pretty reasonable and almost always include unlimited mileage and insurance, in many cases they even include whatever fuel is left in the vehicle.
To drive in Bahrain you will need an International Driving Permit (IDP), or a driving license from any Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country.
Your license will also need to be endorsed by the General Directorate of Traffic, which can be done at any car rental company.
A small car such as a Toyoto Echo could set you back as little as BD10 a day, BD60 for a week, or BD170 per month.
A medium sized car such as a Nissan Sunny is a little more expensive at approximately BD13 a day, BD80 for a week, or BD190 per month.
For those who want to hire a sports utility vehicle such as a Ford Explorer, the price is about BD30 a day, BD170 per week or BD350 a month.
Petrol (gasoline) is inexpensive and comes in two grades Mumtaz (premium) and Jayyid (regular).
Driving in Bahrain
Most people drive in Bahrain and numbers are growing. According to figures from the General Directorate of Traffic in 1993 there were 152,024 vehicles on the road, but in 2003 this almost doubled to 273,230.
And with a nation thatís hooked on motor sports, itís no wonder driving has become so popular.
However, despite the increase in the number of vehicles on the road traffic jams are short lived.
The peak time on the roads is between 7.30am and 8.30am, 1.30pm to 2.30pm and 5pm to 7pm and on Wednesdays and Thursday evenings from 8pm to 11pm.