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Quick Facts
Governmentconstitutional hereditary monarchy
CurrencyBahraini dinar (BHD)
Areatotal: 665 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 665 sq km
note: includes 228,424 non-nationals (July 2002 est.)
LanguageArabic, English, Persian (Farsi), Urdu
ReligionShi'a Muslim 70%, Sunni Muslim 30%

The Kingdom of Bahrain is a country in the Middle East. It is an archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia.



  • Manama - Capital
Ports and harbors 
Manama, Mina' Salman, Sitrah


Bahrain is the smallest of the independent Persian Gulf states, and has often had to walk a diplomatic tightrope in relation to its larger neighbours.
The country has few oil reserves, however it has established itself as a hub for refining as well as international banking, while also achieving a liberal (by Gulf standards at least) political system.


Officially 220V 50Hz. Most outlets are the British standard BS-1363 type. Generally speaking, U.S. and Canadian travelers should pack adapters for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Bahrain.

Get in

Visas are issued at all border stations and airports to all citizens and residents of the GCC for a cost of BD2.

Citizens of most western countries can obtain two-week tourist visas upon entry for BD 5.

By plane

Bahrain is served by a single modern international airport (Code BAH) located outside the capital. The departure area features a large duty-free shopping arcade and a 'Transotel' offering beds and showers (for a fee) to those awaiting flights. The airport is the main base for Gulf Air and has excellent connections throughout the region and London.

The departure tax is BD3.

By train

There is no train service to or in Bahrain.

By car

A paved causeway links Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

By bus

Saudi-Bahraini Transport Company (Sabatco) has a regular bus service from Dahran to Central Manama

By boat

Get around

Taxi's in Manama are negotiable in price. They will ask for as much as 15 dinar ($30-$40 US) but you should not pay more than 3 dinar for a ride anywhere in the city. Hard negotiation will be necessary to accomplish this.

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.


Arabic, English, Persian (Farsi), Urdu


The Bahraini Dinar is pegged at one to ten with the Saudi Riyal to facilitate tourism. Both nation's bank-notes are accepted in Bahrain. Since the Riyal is pegged to the US Dollar, we can say the Dinar is also linked to the greenback.

One Dinar is equal to ten Saudi Riyals or to 2.267 U.S. Dollars. A U.S. Dollar is equal to 0.375 Bahraini Dinars.


Where food is concerned, a full spectrum of price ranges and cuisines can be found in Bahrain.

For food in the lower price range, the best places to go are the areas around Exhibition Avenue and Adlyia, as well as parts of Manama and the Souq. It should be noted that in Bahrain, low-prices attatched to food do not necessarily denote quality or taste, as some of the tastiest meals on the island can be had for under a Dinar. Of special note are "Habara Snacks & Fish," "Century Restaurant," and the somewhat pricier "Al-Abraaj." American fast food franchises such as Burger King and McDonalds are ubiquitous as well.

Western (mostly American) style-foods and franchises can be found around the malls and in the city center, offering food for upper mid-range prices. Restaurants carrying international foods can be found in these areas as well.

Higher priced food can end up running quite a bill in Bahrain, though the taste is very often worth it. Most upscale hotels have several restaurants, allowing you to sample things from all over the world. Of special mention are: "The Blue Elephant," a beautiful Thai restaurant near Seef Mall. "Lanterns," and Indian restaurant with great food and lovely decor next to Burgerland Roundabout. "Zahle," a tasty Lebanese place with daily buffets and live entertainment. And "Trader Vic's," a polynesian dining/drinking experience, located on the grounds of the Ritz Carlton.


Bahrain serves as a major tourist destination for Saudis and expatriates who work in Saudi Arabia. Many of them come to Bahrain for a drink (which is illegal in Saudi Arabia) or prostitution (which is illegal in both countries). Much of this traffic comes across the causeway on Wednesday night (the start of the Saudi weekend) and returns to work before Saturday morning.

Bars, pubs and clubs are plentiful and market themselves to these visitors. At least some venues encourage a segregation between Westerners and Arabs. Most places are at least somewhat mixed.

Along Exhibition Avenue is the local Hard Rock Cafe franchise, and nearby is an expatriate sports pub called Warbler's. Technically this is a private club, but the bouncers at the door seem more interested in keeping Arabs out than in checking dues cards.

The pricey Gulf Hotel offers a number of restaurants, and a mock-British pub, The Sherlock Holmes.

The former Holiday Inn (now rebranded as the Crowne Plaza) has a nice seafood restaurant as well a more general menu at Harvesters. In the evenings, this venue offers a better-than-average Filipino band. Also at this location is the Gold Club Arabic night club featuring Russian girls doing their interpretation of traditional belly dancing.

The Al Bustan Hotel offers two noteworthy attractions, the largest Irish pub in the city (J.J.'s) and a showroom with perhaps the best Filipino band doing covers of American rock & roll.


Nearly all of the hotels in Manama are inexpensive when compared to comparable US hotels. An excellent room at the Gulf Hotel (an extremely old and nice hotel in the area) will cost approximately 30 Dinar (Less than $100 US). Prices in the area are depressed as a result of the large number of hotels competing for clients. Many of the hotels in the city are serviced with prostitutes and cabarets. If you do not want to encounter this it is imperative that you stay in a higher class hotel. Several 'hotels' in the area are little more than brothels (ie. The SeaShell Hotel). Most if not all of the hotels offer a discount for military personnel.


Mostly public schools, but enough private schools to serve majority of overseas. Also many private universities and Bahrain University located in Sukheer next to Bahrain International Circuit.


Stay safe

Stay healthy



External links

The rest of this article is an import from the CIA World Factbook 2002. It's a starting point for creating a real Wikitravel country article according to our country article template. Please plunge forward and integrate it into the article above.


Geographic coordinates 
26 00 N, 50 33 E
total: 665 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 665 sq km
Area - comparative 
3.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries 
0 km
161 km
Maritime claims 
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: extending to boundaries to be determined
Natural resources 
oil, associated and nonassociated natural gas, fish, pearls
Land use 
arable land: 4.35%
permanent crops: 4.35%
other: 91.3% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land 
50 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards 
periodic droughts; dust storms
Environment - current issues 
desertification resulting from the degradation of limited arable land, periods of drought, and dust storms; coastal degradation (damage to coastlines, coral reefs, and sea vegetation) resulting from oil spills and other discharges from large tankers, oil refineries, and distribution stations; lack of freshwater resources, groundwater and seawater are the only sources for all water needs
Environment - international agreements 
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note 
close to primary Middle Eastern petroleum sources; strategic location in Persian Gulf, which much of Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean


note: includes 228,424 non-nationals (July 2002 est.)
Age structure 
0-14 years: 29.2% (male 97,022; female 94,605)
15-64 years: 67.7% (male 261,919; female 182,727)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 10,230; female 9,894) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate 
1.67% (2002 est.)
Birth rate 
19.53 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate 
3.95 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate 
1.09 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio 
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.43 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.03 male(s)/female
total population: 1.29 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate 
19.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth 
total population: 73.47 years
female: 75.96 years (2002 est.)
male: 71.05 years
Total fertility rate 
2.75 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
0.15% (1999 est.)
noun: Bahraini(s)
adjective: Bahraini
Ethnic groups 
Bahraini 63%, Asian 19%, other Arab 10%, Iranian 8%
Shi'a Muslim 70%, Sunni Muslim 30%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 88.5%
male: 91.6%
female: 84.2% (2002 est.)


Country name 
conventional long form: Kingdom of Bahrain
conventional short form: Bahrain
local short form: Al Bahrayn
former: Dilmun
local long form: Mamlakat al Bahrayn
Government type 
constitutional hereditary monarchy
Administrative divisions 
12 municipalities (manatiq, singular - mintaqah); Al Hadd, Al Manamah, Al Mintaqah al Gharbiyah, Al Mintaqah al Wusta, Al Mintaqah ash Shamaliyah, Al Muharraq, Ar Rifa' wa al Mintaqah al Janubiyah, Jidd Hafs, Madinat Hamad, Madinat 'Isa, Juzur Hawar, Sitrah
note: all municipalities administered from Manama
15 August 1971 (from UK)
National holiday 
National Day, 16 December (1971); note - 15 August 1971 is the date of independence from the UK, 16 December 1971 is the date of independence from British protection
adopted late December 2000; Bahrani voters approved on 13-14 February 2001 a referendum on legislative changes (revised constitution calls for a partially elected legislature, a constitutional monarchy, and an independent judiciary)
Legal system 
based on Islamic law and English common law
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch 
chief of state: King HAMAD bin Isa Al Khalifa (since 6 March 1999); Heir Apparent Crown Prince SALMAN bin Hamad (son of the monarch, born 21 October 1969)
head of government: Prime Minister KHALIFA bin Salman Al Khalifa (since NA 1971)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch 
bicameral Parliament consists of Shura Council (40 members appointed by the King) and House of Deputies (40 members elected by restricted vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: House of Deputies - last held 31 October 2002 (next election to be held NA 2006)
note: first elections since 7 December 1973; unicameral National Assembly dissolved 26 August 1975; National Action Charter created bicameral legislature on 23 December 2000; approved by referendum 14 February 2001; first legislative session of Parliament held on 25 December 2002
election results: House of Deputies - percent of vote - NA%; seats by party - independents 21, Sunni Islamists 9, other 10
Judicial branch 
High Civil Appeals Court
Political parties and leaders 
political parties prohibited but politically oriented nongovernment organizations are allowed
Political pressure groups and leaders 
Shi'a activists fomented unrest sporadically in 1994-97, demanding the return of an elected National Assembly and an end to unemployment; several small, clandestine leftist and Islamic fundamentalist groups are active
International organization participation 
Diplomatic representation in the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador Khalifa bin Ali bin Rashid AL KHALIFA
chancery: 3502 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
consulate(s) general: New York
FAX: [1] (202) 362-2192
telephone: [1] (202) 342-0741
Diplomatic representation from the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador Ronald E. NEUMANN
embassy: Building #979, Road 3119 (next to Al-Ahli Sports Club), Block 321, Zinj District, Manama
mailing address: American Embassy Manama, PSC 451, FPO AE 09834-5100; international mail: American Embassy, Box 26431, Manama
telephone: [973] 273-300
FAX: [973] 272-594
Flag description 
red with a white serrated band (eight white points) on the hoist side


Economy - overview 
In Bahrain, petroleum production and refining account for about 60% of export receipts, 60% of government revenues, and 30% of GDP. With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Gulf. Bahrain is dependent on Saudi Arabia for oil revenue granted as aid. A large share of exports consists of petroleum products made from refining imported crude. Construction proceeds on several major industrial projects. Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of oil and underground water resources are major long-term economic problems.
purchasing power parity - $8.4 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 
4% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita 
purchasing power parity - $13,000 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector 
agriculture: 1%
industry: 35%
services: 64% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line 
Household income or consumption by percentage share 
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 
1.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force 
note: 44% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (July 1998 est.) (1998 est.)
Labor force - by occupation 
industry, commerce, and service 79%, government 20%, agriculture 1% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate 
15% (1998 est.)
revenues: $1.8 billion
expenditures: $2.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $700 million (2002 est.)
petroleum processing and refining, aluminum smelting, offshore banking, ship repairing; tourism
Industrial production growth rate 
2% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production 
5.765 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source 
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption 
5,361.45 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports 
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports 
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products 
fruit, vegetables; poultry, dairy products; shrimp, fish
$5.5 billion (2001)
Exports - commodities 
petroleum and petroleum products, aluminum, textiles
Exports - partners 
India 8.4%, US 3.9%, Saudi Arabia 3.4%, Japan 2.8%, South Korea 2.1% (2000)
$4.5 billion (2001)
Imports - commodities 
crude oil, machinery, chemicals
Imports - partners 
Saudi Arabia 28.7%, US 12.5%, UK 6.6%, France 6%, Japan 4% (2000)
Debt - external 
$2.8 billion (2000)
Economic aid - recipient 
$48.4 million (1995) (1995)
Bahraini dinar (BHD)
Currency code 
Exchange rates 
Bahraini dinars per US dollar - 0.3760 (fixed rate pegged to the US dollar)
Fiscal year 
calendar year


Telephones - main lines in use 
152,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular 
58,543 (1997)
Telephone system 
general assessment: modern system
domestic: modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly growing use of mobile cellular telephones
international: tropospheric scatter to Qatar and UAE; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; submarine cable to Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat (1997)
Radio broadcast stations 
AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)
338,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations 
4 (1997)
275,000 (1997)
Internet country code 
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
1 (2000)
Internet users 
140,200 (2002)


crude oil 56 km; petroleum products 16 km; natural gas 32 km
Merchant marine 
total: 8 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 270,784 GRT/384,561 DWT
ships by type: bulk 2, cargo 4, container 2, includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Kuwait 1 (2002 est.)
4 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways 
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 2 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways 
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2002)
1 (2002)


Military branches 
Bahrain Defense Forces (BDF) comprising Ground Force (includes Air Defense), Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Police Force, Amiri Guards, National Guard