When travelling to Bahrain, it’s a good idea to learn a bit about the customs and religious practices before entering the country. This will allow travellers to have an enjoyable vacation without worrying about offending anyone or getting themselves into trouble. Learning a bit about the Bahrain nightlife and making some plans about where to go is also a good idea since there are many restaurants and clubs to visit, and you’ll want to make sure you hit the good ones for the best experience.
Bahrain is a socially liberal state, but many Bahrainis are conservative. Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they don’t offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan and Shia religious festivals. Bahrainis observe some religious anniversaries that may not be celebrated in neighbouring Gulf countries.
Dress conservatively in public places, especially religious sites.
Don’t bring video cassettes or DVDs into the country. They may be withheld on arrival at the airport.
Homosexual behaviour is illegal.
Always carry identification. You might be asked to produce it at any time.
Travel on the main routes during daylight hours is generally orderly. There are some police checkpoints on some area. In September 2012 the Ministry for the Interior issued a warning about explosive devices on major highways. Don’t approach or touch any suspect item; move away from it and call the police on 999 or 8000 8008.
Protests take place regularly, and may include attempts to disrupt traffic, burning tyres, throwing Molotov cocktails and the possible use of improvised explosive devices. There are sometimes clashes between government security forces and protesters. While there have been no direct threats or attacks on Foreign nationals so far, you should be aware of your surroundings, take care in public places and on the roads, and avoid village hotspots. If you encounter a large public gathering, leave the area immediately.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Fortunately, the crime rate is very low in Bahrain. But, it is still advisable to take certain safety precautions while enjoying Bahrain. Keep valuables locked up, as theft occurs there just as it does everywhere. Around 50% of total population are expatriates, who live in Bahrain, and thousands more visit each year. Most visits are trouble free. Female visitors should take care when travelling alone at night. You should use one of the reputable taxi companies.
You should have valid driving Licence to drive in Bahrain, you should get an International Driving Permit. Bahrain operates a zero tolerance to drink-driving. If you are caught you will be arrested and put in the drivers prison. Your case will not be heard until the next working day. First time offenders will have to pay a minimum BD.1000 fine and could be banned from driving in Bahrain. Visitors from Saudi Arabia will subject to the same punishment but with the addition of a driving ban there also. For repeat offenders the fine and ban will be more serious.
You may face lengthy security checks on arrival at Bahrain airport.
Although alcohol is available at Bahrain airport, security officers and airline staff deal firmly with passengers believed to be drunk - even those who are in transit through the airport. You may be denied boarding, detained and fined.
Take care when travelling by Dhow. The safety of these vessels may not be up to standards. Make sure life jackets are available.
Many areas of the Gulf are highly sensitive. Vessels entering these areas have been detained and inspected, and there have been occasional arrests. Make careful enquiries before entering these waters or visiting ports.
Regional tensions may affect your route. Vessels operating in the Gulf of Oman, Northern Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and Bab El Mandeb regions may be at increased risk of maritime attack.
You must have legal status in Bahrain when you leave. You may be prevented from leaving Bahrain if you are subject to a travel ban, involved in legal proceedings, have unpaid debt, or are a child subject to a custody dispute. You can be fined if you overstay or fail to extend your legal residency.