Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Trip Report : Kingdom of Bahrain : July 2011

The Bahrain World Trade Center one of the tallest Building in Bahrain 
Bahrain is a archipelago about 3.5 times the size of Washington DC  and is closest to Saudi Arabia, linked through a causeway and a bridge.  The main industry is banking with a sprinkling of industries like,  petrochemical processing plants and Aluminium. Bahrain is also home of the US 5th Fleet  See the CIA World Factbook on Bahrain

This was my first visit to the Middle East. The trip from Washington DC to Bahrain was about 15 hours of flying time plus a 3.5 hour layover in Dubai. US citizens can get a tourist visa on arrival, but I had gotten one online from http://www.evisa.gov.bh/. On arrival you have to fill up a Disembarkation card at the arrival hall of Bahrain airport.. Not having been told about this on the flight, we had to make trips back and forth from immigration.
As soon as you step out of the airport, the humidity hits you and if you are wearing glasses they are foggy and take a few minutes to clear.
Having been born in India, my first impression, Bahrain resembled India but with cleaner and broader roads. With very cordial and friendly people. We visited :
Al-Fatih or Grand Mosque :  This is the largest mosque in Bahrain and is very welcoming to people of other religions to visit. The largest fiberglass dome in the world, in the prayer room, is worth a visit.  Ladies are given the abaya that they should wear within the mosque. You can also watch the prayer if you are there during prayer time.

National Museum of Bahrain : The history of Bahrain is over 6,000 years old and the artifacts and the interactive map make it a very interesting place to visit. My knowledge of the Dilmun and the burial mounds and the fact that traders came from the Indus Valley civilization several thousands of years ago was enhanced by what I learned at the museum.

Bahrain Fort : Made of limestone and clay, this was interesting because there were no sign boards explaining the history of such an important site. See more details on the fort at the Bahrain Tourism site.

Other things to see and do :

  • Bahrain International Circuit 
  • King Fahd causeway connecting Bahrain and Saudi Arabia
  • Gold Souq Bahrain 
  • Arabian food
  • Eat Street / Las Vegas Street ( a street close to the American naval base full of US fast food chains)
  • Day trips to Hawar Island
  • See some oil wells from the road

Have you been to Bahrain? What did you think?

1 comment:

JS said...

I lived in Bahrain for two years and I believe what you call Eat St./Las Vegas St is called American Alley by us and the locals.

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