Overseas Travel Bureau


Bahrain City Break Package
Bahrain City Break Package gives you the chance to glance at Bahrain and get a general feel of the destination.

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Eid breaks Bahrain
Bahrain has the richest culture in the Arabian Gulf dating back 4000 years, as well as a modern business tourism industry.

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destination detail

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Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 islands. The country was once named Dilmun by ancient Sumerians, considered an island paradise in which there was no disease, death or suffering, and where gods resided. Although modern Bahrain has not retained such mythical status, many still flock to frolic in its heavenly shoreline, and many still perceive the country as blissful respite from less lenient Islamic countries.

However, Bahrain is still imbued with Islamic tradition. Manama, the capital, is jam-packed with majestic mosques and minarets. Some females dress in western-style clothing but immodesty is still frowned upon. It is a symbolic bridge that connects the archipelago to Saudi Arabia’s mainland.

Nevertheless, Bahrain is a wealthy country that has been unafraid to distinguish itself from other Islamic Gulf countries. Under Portuguese rule between 1521 and 1622, attacked by various tribes and groups for more than 100 years, and willingly becoming a British Protectorate between 1861 and 1971, Bahrain was ecstatic when it discovered oil in 1931. In just four decades, Bahrain’s protectorate status was relinquished and Bahrain became one of the world’s most affluent countries. Bahrain’s first independent ruler, Sheikh Isa al-Khalifa, caused controversy by bolstering Bahrain’s relationship with western countries: both British and US military forces were granted use of Bahraini ports and airfields, vital to the prosecution of the two Iraq wars and the 2002 Afghan war.

Despite the Islamic presence, about one-third of Bahrain’s population are foreign expatriates who seek that ideal blend of stability and prosperity. Perhaps this influence has shaped modern Bahrain, now rapidly modernising, full of shopping malls and restaurants. Many argue, however, that the supposed liberal outlook of the country is a sham: alcohol and casinos cannot disguise that the country is an absolute monarchy in which dissent is barely tolerated.

Regardless, visitors to Bahrain are more likely to want to revel in its antiquity, anyway. During construction of Bahrain’s causeway, thousands of burial mounds were disinterred, dating back to the third millennium BC. Bahrain is now the proud owner of the largest ancient necropolis in the world, and its foundations still rest upon the ancient city of Dilmun and the ancient civilisation that resided there.

It is exactly this blend of eastern and western cultures, this commingling of mosque and skyscraper, which draws so many to Bahrain. Perhaps its famous Tree of Life (a verdant tree blooming out of arid desert) says it all: Bahrain is full of surprises and contradictions.

General Information 
710.9 sq km (274.5 sq miles).
754,000 (UN estimate 2005).
Population Density
1060.6 per sq km.
Manama. Population: 139,000 (2003).
Constitutional monarchy. Gained full independence from the UK in 1971 (had been a British Protectorate from 1861).
The official language is Arabic. English is widely spoken.
Islam is practised by around 85% of Bahraini society (of which 60% is Shi’ite and 40% Sunni). There are also other faiths, including Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism.
GMT + 3.

June to October, hot and humid (42°C/108°F), December to April, mild (10-20°C/50-68°F). December through to March can be quite cool. Rainfall is slight and occurs mainly in winter. Spring and Autumn are the most pleasant months.
equired Clothing:   Lightweight cottons and linens from spring to autumn, mediumweight clothes from November to March. Warmer clothes are necessary in winter and on cool evenings.

Social Conventions 
Traditional beliefs and customs are strong influences and people are generally more formal than Westerners. Attitudes to women are more liberal than in most Gulf States. Homosexuality, however, is illegal. Video cassettes will be withheld on arrival at the airport. It is illegal for Muslims to purchase alcohol from retail outlets. It is acceptable to sit cross-legged on cushions or sofas in people’s homes but it is still insulting to display the soles of the feet or shoes or to accept food or anything else with the left hand. It is polite to drink two small cups of coffee or tea when offered. Guests will generally be expected to share a bedroom since guest bedrooms and privacy are almost unknown. Sports clothes may be worn in the street and short dresses are acceptable; however, revealing clothing should be avoided. Smoking is very common and cheap by European standards.
230 volts AC, 50Hz (Awali, 110 volts AC, 60Hz).
Head of Government 
Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa since 1971.
Head of State 
King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa since 1999.
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