|What to pack, what not to
Whether you are a tourist or a business visitor, the Gulf paradise of Bahrain promises a great time. Take a few moments though, to check you have everything you need before taking that flight.
Visas: All visitors, with the exception of Gulf nationals, need visas to enter Bahrain.
Tourist visa applications are processed quickly at Bahrain embassies. Citizens of select countries may also obtain one on arrival at entry points - either Bahrain Airport or the King Fahad Causeway from Saudi Arabia.
Authorities will insist on your having confirmed onward bookings, so have all your papers in order!
Business visas must be applied for in advance from the nearest Bahrain embassy. These are valid for upto two weeks, but can be extended on arrival.
Health requirements: A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for visitors from infected areas.
What to pack: A lot depends on when you have planned your visit for (See weather report). 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, sunscreen, 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 or jerseys!
October-November and April-May are generally the most pleasant months, with temperatures in the low 20s.
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.
Customs allowances: Duty Free allowance for travellers visiting Bahrain includes the following:
- 400 cigarettes
- 50 cigars
- 250gm tobacco
- 6 beers
- 1L spirits
- 8oz perfume
There is a Duty Free shop in the Arrivals area (right after you clear Immigration) which stocks the most popular items from the bigger Departures Duty Free shops. These include leading brands of perfumes, alcohol and cigarettes, and at prices that are among the lowest in the world.
Buying from Duty Free is something you should consider if you would rather not lug heavy bags around until you land in Bahrain.
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 many exchange houses, and most world currencies are accepted.
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