• Population: 754,000 (UN, 2005)
  • Capital: Manama
  • Area: 717 sq km (277 sq miles)
  • Major language: Arabic
  • Major religion: Islam
  • Life expectancy: 73 years (men), 76 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Bahraini dinar = 1,000 fils
  • The Kingdom of Bahrain slowly unravels its vision for the future, a vision towards change by slowly and gently breaking down barriers of traditions. Bahrain directly translates to “Two Seas” or “Two Waters” but its essence is nowhere in its translation. The majestic kingdom is on an eager rush to catch up with the times as she has become the island paradise for the quintessentially stiff Saudis as she holds up a green light to most things restrained in Saudi-the bars, the discos, and the cinemas. Not just another desert, Bahrain is a quirky place to exist with its swelteringly hot weather, but, as it connects to the Arabian Peninsula by bridge, Bahrain never runs out of visitors and dwellers for what great entertainment hub it has become.

    Nonetheless, as rich as Bahrain is in modern oil-dollars, its history features a culture and civilization to par, for early as 3000 B.C.E, Gilgamesh had adventure recounts of this place that was once simply hailed the Cradle of Life. In fact, the kingdom lodges the largest ancient necropolis in the world. Besides worldly riches typical of a Kingdom, Bahrain is teeming with life, like the colony of sea birds, hundred thousands of the socotra cormorants, that settle in the intense heat of the desert to nest. For sea birds and for people alike, Bahrain is ideal because there are no predators. True to the claim, there is a very minimal incidence of crime. And if any country houses policies where woman cab drivers can work freely, such a place is worth a holiday in, isn’t it?


    The Kingdom of Bahrain (26 00 N, 50 33 E) is a 741 km2-archipelago of speckles of 33 islands that are almost microscopic on a map, located right where the primary Middle Eastern petroleum sources are. Fully aware of this, the people of Bahrain have more than quickly planned reclamation projects to increase landmass, which has come into fruition especially in the past decade. Reclamation was deemed even more necessary as almost 92% of Bahrain is low deserts with little elevations, the highest being the Jabal ad Dukhan, 122 metres above sea level right on the main island.


    The climate situation in a desert country is arid with gentle winters, sizzling hot and humid summers with a mean temperature of 35°C, periodic droughts and occasions of dust storms, and because the seas around Bahrain (Persian Gulf) are very shallow and saline, the waters heat up much quickly and provide lower levels of moisture than is required. Rainfall is very minimal as well with a maximum of 2.83 inches that most people simply cope by panting. With simple and common sense, the ideal time to visit Bahrain is during winter, or from November through March, while May to September are months that are far from tolerable.


    Politics is also hot and active amongst the 793,421 population of Bahrainis, but of this, 37.6% are not Bahrainis but Palestinians, Omanis, and Saudis, add the population of working migrants from Indians, Pakistanis, or the Filipinos. ARABIC is the official language of the state, and ENGLISH, as well as FARSI are widely spoken due to its global audience of workers. More than three-quarters of the population are Muslims,(Shiites and Sunnis) while Christians are a relatively sizeable population of 9%.


    In Manama is where most of the action is at. The best of authentic shopping and clubbing, little is known why it is called the “sleeping place”. For gold or silk carpets, most nice and shiny things are sky-high expensive like that man-made silk carpet that costs more than US$20,000 or the gold from the Bahrain Gold Souq. Although daytime in Bahrain renders less activities, Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve and the Bahrain National Museum are excellent places relax and learn new things. Possessing some of the world’s most precious pearls, the diving is made even more challenging and exciting with the possibility of finding even one of Manama’s famous pearls. Finally, Al Bokari Restaurant is a local food joint where the traveller can expect the best introduction of Bahraini cuisine right on its table, clean hands and all.

    Given these factors alone, Bahrain does not exactly have the makings for a popular holiday destination, but let it be said that this small archipelago is Saudi’s sweet little island paradise that deserves it a bit or attention from the lot of travellers who basically is in for some new adventures. Independent travel may be a hit or miss, but the poverty-stricken Bahrainis who do not benefit from the economic growth of the state has this as their chances to earn income. Ruled by a Sunni monarchy for the last 200 years, the more dominant Shiites suffer horrible discrimination that results to undeniable poverty. While the flashy lights, piercing skyscrapers and expensive cars are the major allure of these islands, the less glamorous side of Bahrain is where the people are.


    Truly, when it comes to food, world eats are well-represented at the street corners or at five-star hotels, such as Middle East, Indian, Thai, and Philippine cuisines. But first and primary to learn is the Bahraini’s traditional foods where rice plays the staple role, and khubz, the traditional flatbread is consumed widely. Fish, meat, dates are served with rice. Machboos is one of the more-renowned Bahraini dishes which basically include meat or fish served with rice. Fish from the main source, the Gulf, is very important in the Bahrainis diet cooked many ways from grilled, steamed, or fried, like British Fish and Chips. Shawarma is a filling snack of carved roasted meat wrapped in a soft pita bread.These and most Arabian foods like falafel, fried balls of chickpeas on a bread, and pastry-samboosa and qoosi, grilled lamb stuffed with rice, boiled eggs, onions, and some spices are undeniably addicting and mouth-watering.

    Josh Boorman


    Backpacking Addictz



    Twitter: @backpackaddictz

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    Joshua Boorman

    Joshua Boorman

    Founder & Editor in Chief at Backpacking Addictz
    Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.
    Joshua Boorman

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