With Bahrain gaining in popularity as a tourist destination, many tour operators have begun offering package deals with charter flights and hotel stay. Check with your travel agent, there are some real bargains to be had!

Travelling right: How to
have a good vacation

SO there you are, all ready for what you hope will be a vacation to remember.

Before you start out, though, ensure you have everything to make it so. It is not unusual for travellers ­ who often are too caught up in work until the day they are flying ­ to forget to carry essential documents.

A greater percentage of tourists than you might believe also fail to find out enough about the country they are going to visit and stuff their bags with things they will never need.

So join us while we guide you through what should make it to your travelling gear ­ and what shouldnt.

Check your papers! Unless you are a Gulf national, it is likely that you will need a visa to enter Bahrain. Although exceptions are sometimes made for certain nationalities, it is best to check with the nearest Bahrain embassy before you travel.

Tourist visa applications are processed quickly at embassies, or if you wish you could obtain one on arrival at entry points ­ either Bahrain Airport or the King Fahad Causeway from Saudi Arabia. Visas cost BD10 (US$26.50) for 72 hours or BD15 ($40) for seven days.

Check your passport ­ does it have only weeks to run? If so, try and have it renewed before you fly out.

Authorities in Bahrain will insist on confirmed onward bookings, as well as a valid visa for your next destination, so have all your papers in order!

Business visas must be applied for in advance from the nearest Bahrain embassy. These are valid for up to two weeks, but can be extended on arrival.

A healthy warning... Visitors from areas prone to yellow fever must note that they will have to produce a vaccination certificate.

What to pack ­ and what not to: A lot depends on when you have planned your visit for. June to September are hot, so you would be well advised to take a lot of cottons or other light wear. Also throw in a pair of sunglasses and a hat ­ being out in direct sunlight can be quite disconcerting in the summer.

In the winter months ­ usually stretching from late November to early March ­ the mercury can dip quite dramatically (night temperatures of 10C are not uncommon), so better pack some light woollens!

October-November and April-May are generally the most pleasant months, with temperatures in the low 20s. (Click here to check this week's forecast).

Bahrain is a conservative society, and visitors, especially women, are expected to respect local sensibilities by dressing modestly in public places. While miniskirts and swimwear are acceptable at pools and beaches, women should avoid revealing dresses and short skirts while on the roads.

What you need not bother packing are food items (leading international brands are freely available), film rolls, tapes for your video camera or even perfumes, alcohol and cigarettes (all available at the Arrivals Duty Free).

Cash or cards? All major credit cards, including American Express, Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted. While shopping, however, you might find paying cash gets you better bargains, especially at smaller establishments.

Cashing travellers cheques or changing money is easy. There are dozens of exchange houses, and most world currencies are accepted.

Bahrain's national currency is the Dinar, with each dinar divided into 1,000 fils. The dinar has been officially pegged to the US dollar at the rate of $1 = BD0.378 (378 fils). Before you pull out that calculator, the conversion works out to BD1=$2.65.

Currency can be changed at the airport, hotels, banks and the many exchange houses. Rates at exchange houses are generally better than you might get at the airport or at hotels.

Many shops will accept Saudi riyals at the rate of 1:10, the dinar being the stronger currency.

There are no restrictions on currency movement in or out of the country.

To check the current value of the Bahraini dinar against your currency, click here.










Bab Al Bahrain (which literally translates to Gateway to Bahrain) forms the entrance to the Manama souk (market) and is one of the country's best known landmarks

Weather forecast

Currency converter

Bahrain embassies