Manama
Eugene Sergeev / 123RF
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Manama

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor Profile
In brief In brief

Our Editorial team's advice

Manama is distinctly modern in the business districts whereas the old districts are more traditional. You can pass through the Heritage Centre, to understand the phenomenal evolution of Bahrain since the beginning of the century, where you can visit an authentic Bahraini house. Stroll around Bab Al-Bahrain and in the narrow streets of the souk, looking for jewels or antiques. Then, to the district of Awadiya where if you look around streets 639 and 640, you will see the balconies of the harems from which the women discretely observed the street. You will also be able to see the "badgeers" there, air conditioning towers for residences. Do not miss the departure of the "dhows" in front of the Intercontinental Hotel. These boats made of teak go fishing every afternoon. They are built in the traditional fashion, with the know-how passed down through the generations. The museum of Bahrain will initiate you into the history, art, archaeology and traditions from over more than 7,000 years.

To see

The Museum of Bahrain is outstanding; you should visit it as soon as you arrive to get a good understanding of the history and culture of this small country. With this done, head out on a more in-depth discovery of its wealth: the A'Aali necropolis with 170,000 tombs, the biggest in the world; the majestic Al-Fateh Mosque, which is open to the public and offers guided tours; the Khamis Mosque, one of the oldest in the world, dating from the 7th century; and the Bahrain Fort to imagine what this kingdom was like during the mysterious Dilmun (the fabled Garden of Eden) civilisation. Once you've finished visiting all of the above, head south to the first oil well in the Gulf (dating from 1932) which is now also home to an oil museum, before venturing off to find the mystical tree of life, which stands all alone in the middle of the desert.

To do

A visit of the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix track, impressively located in the middle of the desert; fans can even try driving a Hummer on an off-road track! A trip to the islands for a relaxing day with a picnic and snorkelling; boat excursions to see the dolphins, etc. If you have children, take them to the Lost Paradise Water Park in the centre of Bahrain, near the Formula 1 circuit, to the Wahoo Waterpark (an indoor water park near Manama), or to the dolphinarium.

pros

  • +  The archaeological remains.
  • +  Sunshine and warm weather all year round.
  • +  The hospitality of the local population.
  • +  The short distances.

cons

  • -  The traffic jams.
  • -  The high price of water.
  • -  The location is unstable due to the tension between the Shia minority and the Sunni majority.

To think about

Keep in mind that in Bahrain, as in many of the Gulf States, the weekend means Thursday and Friday, when you won't find many things open! On the other hand, Saturday and Sunday are like any other weekday. In the mosque, women must cover themselves and men must wear pants.

To avoid

Avoid visiting the Tree of Life on Friday. Being a day of rest, many of the locals take advantage of the occasion to go quad biking here, ruining all the pleasure of discovering this mysterious site in silence. If you must go, go in the morning when the sun is rising or in the evening to watch the sunset.

To try

There is more to Bahrain's cuisine than just what can be found at the luxurious restaurants in the upscale hotels. The excellent variety of choices includes European, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Brazilian, Filipino, Mexican, Moroccan, Iranian and Lebanese, particularly in the capital, Manama. In short, anything you want, you will be able to find! Dishes of Arabic origin are spicy and feature lamb and chicken. Arabic coffee is extremely strong. It is often enjoyed with helwa, a typical pastry from Bahrain made using rosewater. Beer is the most common drink. To eat on the go for next to nothing, head to one of the roadside stalls and try a kubus, a kind of cheese nan made right in front of you in a traditional bread oven: a real treat!
The best Japanese restaurant in Bahrain is the Bushido, close to the Ritz Carlton Hotel in the Seef district. You will feel like you are truly in Japan in this restaurant, where the traditional architecture creates the feeling of being in a temple. The waiters wear kimonos and a superb collection of samurais is put on display for you. Sushi or teppanyaki, the excellent Japanese cuisine here is enjoyed in a traditional yet trendy atmosphere that brings to mind the concept of the Buddha bar. The restaurant also has a retractable roof, a panoramic terrace and a Japanese garden.

To bring back

You will find over 100 shops dedicated to gold and silver jewellery and ornaments on Bab Al Bahrain Street in Manama. Small bottles of rosewater and copper goblets can be found in the antique shops on the same street. You will also find Chinese porcelain and Indian fabrics. Perfumes, basketwork and local fabrics can all be found at the Central Market. If you decide to bring back a Bahrain pearl, one of most precious in the world, make sure you ask for a certificate of its authenticity.

Weather Manama

These indicators are used as a set of criteria to predict overall weather conditions in Manama . The different indicators are there to help you prepare for your trip to Manama so you can make plans based on the weather forecast, whether it be a trip to the beach, walking, visiting attractions and museums or winter sports... Here you'll find a precise, overall weather score for each week in Manama , which takes into account temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds.

Overall rating 59/100
  • Temperature indicators 2% Warning/Danger

    The maximum temperature is <24°, temperature felt between 42°C and 45°C.

  • Bad weather indicators 100% Dry / Optimal

    Little or no rain (less than 1.5mm per day).

  • Sunbathing indicators 96% Sunny / Optimal

    Sunny (over 80% sunshine).

  • Swimming indicators 94% Very pleasant / Optimal

    High air temperature (>24°C), high sea temperature (>24°C), light to moderate winds (between 7 mph and 12 mph).

  • Wind indicators 86% Light breeze / Optimal

    Optimal comfort: optimal wind speed (between 7 mph and 12 mph) in a warm environment (>24°C).

  • Humidity indicators 84% Comfortable

    Feeling of comfort due to ideal humidity levels.

Bahrain : Discover the cities