Yes, its true when they say that the longest journey you make in Bahrain will be about an hour long, however, that ride would would be anything but dull, for this country's offerings are as diverse as its expatriate population.
From the sprawling streets of Bab Al Bahrain, to the tranquil and calming waves of the Al Jazayer beach, this 780 square kilometers island surprises you with all that it offers.
Although, Bahrain is an Arab country, thanks to its diverse population, the Kingdom is colored with various cultures to its core and while you are there, you get to experience diversity reflected in the cuisine, culture and architecture of this island.
My trip to Bahrain in 2016 began in the excruciatingly hot weather of July. And while I have already written about my first impressions of Bahrain, just my first week in the country involved volunteering at a special education school, visiting famous landmarks such as Al Fateh mosque and the Bahrain Fort, savoring my taste buds with traditional Bahraini cuisine like Majboos, Malghoom and Mandi, riding a horse, visiting a souq, relaxing by the beach at Marassi Al Bahrain and soaking in the contemporary art scene of Bahrain at the Al Jasra Handicraft center.
That’s what happens when you visit Bahrain. It's because this beautiful country - albeit small - has so much to offer to its visitors, which leaves one absolutely amazed.
Whether you visit the Kingdom in the winter or the summer, either way, there are some places which you shouldn't miss out on visiting. And while I can go on and on about the attractions you should check out in this island in the Arabian Peninsula, I am sure you have already done your research. So instead of rambling on about the places you should visit, I'll be talking about the things you should do instead.
So without further ado, here are 20 top things to do in this exotic country:
1. Spend the night at Al Dar Island
Al Dar Island is undoubtedly one of my favorite places in Bahrain. It's a beautiful artificial island with huts that can be rented, making it easy for people to spend a day or two relaxing at the beach.
One of my favorite things about this island was that although at day time it's crowded, by nighttime you can have the island all to yourself. That's because not a lot of people rent the huts and they tend to leave as soon as the sun sets. So for the few people who rent out the rooms or huts, they have the advantage of having it all to themselves. Volleyball ground, a bar, great music and of course the view of the ocean makes your stay worthwhile.
You can also rent jet skis for that adrenaline rush you have been wanting to get.
Although, its not always ideal to spend a night at the beach in the hot weather of July, the tent that we rented was air conditioned, which proved to be quite comfortable and it also accommodated around 50 people.
The ticket price which includes the boat ride to the island is 8 BD or $21/PKR 2200 on weekends and 5 BD or $13/PKR 1400 on weekdays.
(Note: Friday and Saturday are a weekend in Bahrain)
For the prices of huts, chalets, events and acitivities you can check out the island's official website here.
2. Watch the sunrise at the Tree of life
While most people prefer to watch the sunset, I have my experience to reflect upon so I'd suggest you to take a trip to the Tree Of Life before the sunrise. I did that just a day before my flight back to Karachi because I would have gone home disappointed if I hadn't seen it.
The Tree Of Life, is more than 400 years old and it stands 32 ft high. The reason the tree sparks an aura of mystery is that no one is certain how it survives in the midst of the desert surrounded by miles and miles of sand.
You should also pay a visit to the mountains that are encircled by caves on your way back from the Tree Of Life.
3. Haggle down prices at the Manama Souq
Souqs are a great place to purchase souvenirs or gifts for a relatively low price. Bab Al Bahrain is one of the most famous souqs in Bahrain where you can find a plethora of things to buy, from spices and gold to key chains and Turkish lamps.
The Manama Souq, although is quite different from Khan El Khalili, - the souq in Cairo, one rule of thumb, however, remains unaltered; which is to remember to haggle.
To make your time at Bab Al Bahrain memorable, make it an experience.
Drink your body weight in chai, try some melt-in-your-mouth rus gullay, and go forth with your barttering skills to the shops and buy those souvenirs for a good price!
4. Have Malghoom
Bahraini food is absolutely scrumtious but Malghoom stood out among all the cuisines I tried.
For most of us travelling to the Middle East, the humble shawarma is our first taste of the local food, though in Bahrain, you'll find amazing variations of it.
Malghoom is a fancier take on shawarma. After my first time having malghoom, I dove head first into having it as much as possible. So basically I was having a malghoom after every two days. I loved savoring the flavors, and as much as I tell you how divine it is, you have got to try it for yourself!
5. Watch the sunset over Bahrain Fort
Bahrain Fort, popularly known as Qalat al-Bahrain, is a designated UNESCO World heritage site which has been excavated slowly over the last 70 years.
My favorite part about the Bahrain Fort is that you get a contrasting view of the skyscrapers of Manama from the bare brick walls of the Fort, which speak of the beautiful tale of transformation this Island has been through.
The best time to visit the Fort in my opinion is an hour or two before the sunset because it'd be too hot to visit any sooner and later you won't be able to completely soak in its grandeur.
6. Al Fateh Mosque
Al Fateh Mosque is one of the most beautiful mosques I have seen. I visited this mosque on my second day in Bahrain, right after work. Since I wasn't expecting to visit this place, to my misfortune, I didn't take my camera. So here are a few images which I picked up from Google.
Women are allowed to enter the mosque once they have donned an abaya and men are required to wear a thawb if their clothes aren't appropriate.
The mosque is absolutely stunning from the inside and out. What I personally loved about visiting this mosque was that on our way out we were offered books and Quran Majeed which had translations ranging from Chinese to Turkish.
7. Savour your taste buds with the breakfast at the House of Balaleet
Whether it is the House of Balaleet or the Emmawash Traditional restaurant, bottom line is to try traditional Bahraini breakfast. While Traditional Bahraini breakfast consists of a number of dishes, I got to try Balaleet, Shakshuka, Khubuz, Al Lugaimat and Chai Karak.
Shakshuka and Al Lugaimat stood out for me and I highly recommend you to try it!
8. Visit the Janabiya Camel Farm
Even though, the Janabiya Camel Farm is a private property of the King, it is perfectly fine for tourists to pay it a visit.
The camels, albeit tied are pretty friendly. They are allowed to roam freely in the grounds too and for a few buck, you can interact with them.
9. Create pottery at Al'Ali Pottery Shop
From beautiful lamps to intricate jars, there is a plethora of pottery that can be bought at the Al'Ali Pottery Shop. But that's not all that you can do there.
If you are looking to get in touch with your creative side, then you can do exactly that by making pottery at this amazing shop.
10. Sky Dive at Gravity Indoor Skydiving
Adrenaline junkies can tell you what a thrill it is to skydive, but if you can't picture yourself jumping off of an airplane but still want to do something adventuruos, then perhaps the Gravity Indoor Skydiving is perfect for you.
With 12 meters of tempered glass (the tallest of its kind in the entire world), and wind speeds that can reach up to 250 kmph, the tunnel now offers one of the country’s most adrenaline-fueled thrills and allow people to achieve their childhood dream of flying.
There are plenty more things to do in Bahrain so stay tuned for the second part of the article. Also you can comment your favorite thing to do in Bahrain below and you might as well see it in the second part of the article. ^.^