Beauty of Bahrain: Must-See Attractions and Local Experiences

With its wealth of historical landmarks and dynamic escapades, Bahrain promises an unforgettable travel experience for adventurer enthusiasts and culture aficionados alike.

The beauty of Bahrain

Nestled in the heart of the Arabian Gulf, Bahrain offers a blend of cultural heritage and inspiring modernity. This small island nation proudly boasts an interesting legacy, vibrant souks, stunning islands, renowned Formula 1 Grand Prix, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. With its wealth of historical landmarks and dynamic escapades, Bahrain promises an unforgettable travel experience for adventure enthusiasts and culture aficionados alike.

Arriving into Bahrain past midnight, we proceeded to The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, a legendary 5-star hotel established in 1969 known for its luxurious accommodations, fine dining, and event facilities. Our home for four days, we indulged in their lavish breakfast buffet before heading out to witness the beauty of Bahrain.

Interacting with Hameed Ali, GM of The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, was a delight. He highlighted the 10 signature restaurants, 3 bars, and 3 cafes in the property, serving a wide array of cuisines spanning from Italy to India. As a hotspot for Indian weddings, the hotel offers comprehensive facilities, including a ballroom accommodating up to 2000 guests and Rasoi, a fine-dining restaurant operated by the Michelin-starred Chef Vineet Bhatia.

The Gulf Hotel Bahrain, a legendary 5-star hotel established in 1969
The Gulf Hotel Bahrain

Historical Marvels:

Al-Fateh Grand Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Bahrain
Al Fateh Grand Mosque
Al-Fateh Grand Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Bahrain
Al Fateh Grand Mosque

Our first stop was The Al-Fateh Grand Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Bahrain. Opened in 1988, the mosque accommodates up to 7,000 worshippers. Its floor boasts Italian Marble, the grand central chandelier hails from Austria, doors are crafted from Indian teak wood, and hand-blown round lamps are sourced from France. Everyone is welcome to visit the mosque and experience its tranquillity.

Bahrain National Museum
Bahrain National Museum
Bahrain National Museum
Bahrain National Museum

Next, we visited the Bahrain National Museum which provides an overview of Bahrain’s extensive history, pearling occupation, archaeological wonders, and cultural evolution. The floor depicts the map of Bahrain, and the museum houses a vast collection of artifacts, including the majestic Dilmun Burial Mounds dating back over 4,000 years. The museum provides a remarkable glimpse into the soul of this enchanting land.

Bahrain Fort, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most important historical sites in the nation. Inhabited since 2300 BC, this majestic fort is a silent witness to the flow of history and the civilizations that have flourished over the millennia.

Cultural Exploration:

Bahrain encompasses a rich history in pearl diving and trading, with pearl shucking standing out as a unique activity worth experiencing. We had the opportunity to open oysters in search of natural pearls, a practice that dates back centuries and once formed the backbone of Bahrain’s economy. This hands-on activity offers a glimpse into the traditional methods used by Bahraini divers, showcasing the skill and patience required. The thrill of discovering a pearl made it a memorable and educational adventure, and, admittedly, found a few very small ones to take back home.

Manama Souq in Bahrain
Manama Souq
Shopping at Manama Souq in Bahrain
Manama Souq

The best place to shop in Bahrain is Manama Souq, a vibrant market of narrow alleys lined with decorative shops selling traditional handicrafts, spices, textiles, gold jewelry, Arabic perfumes, and lovely souvenirs. In the vicinity of the souk, we witnessed a remarkable convergence: a 200-year-old Hindu temple, a Synagogue, a Sunni mosque, and a Shia mosque – a poignant reflection of Bahrain’s rich cultural tapestry.

A’ali Pottery - Delmon Pottery
A’ali Pottery – Delmon Pottery

A’ali Pottery holds a special place in Bahraini culture, and the village boasts a stunning array of pottery, intricately designed vases, ornate lamps, and decorative tiles. Visitors can explore workshops where the art of pottery is practiced using age-old techniques passed down through generations. We unleashed our creativity by trying pottery making under the guidance of skilled artisans at Delmon Pottery.

Culinary Delights:

Bahrain Food - machboos, Karak Chai. tempting dessert, chicken rice

Bahrain has a diverse array of dishes that tantalize the taste buds. My favorite was the seafood machboos, a fragrant rice dish, and pecan date tart, a delightful dessert with ice cream. Another must-try is the local Karak chai, made with black tea, cardamom, and evaporated milk, and Arabic coffee, made from green coffee beans and cardamom. Block 338 is a lively street, home to Bahrain’s best bars and restaurants, with Coco’s café being my personal favorite. The Panam – Pecan dates tart with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce at Café Lilou is one of the best desserts I’ve ever had!

Adventure Seekers:

famous Formula 1 Grand Prix, taking place annually at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC)
Bahrain International Circuit (BIC)
famous Formula 1 Grand Prix, taking place annually at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC)
Bahrain International Circuit (BIC)

Bahrain hosts the famous Formula 1 Grand Prix, taking place annually at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC). The circuit is known for its challenging layout, long straights, tight corners, and varying elevations. We tested our skills at the Karting Circuit next door, an exhilarating experience for sports enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Suit up and hit the track!

Peaceful Retreat:

Jarada Island, a small disappearing island on the coast of Bahrain, offering an idyllic escape from the frenetic pace of city life.
Jarada Island – A vanishing Island

The place that stole my heart was Jarada Island, a small disappearing island on the coast of Bahrain, offering an idyllic escape from the frenetic pace of city life. Accessible by a scenic hour-long boat journey, the island greets everyone with the soothing rhythm of the waves and the comforting feel of soft white sand. We enjoyed a delicious BBQ lunch, and with no other visitors during our visit, the island acted as our private paradise. One of the finest nature getaway spots in Bahrain, it’s the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate the soul.

In every corner of Bahrain, there is a story waiting to be discovered, a tradition to be celebrated, and a memory to be made. From its vibrant markets and historic sites to its stunning landscapes and warm hospitality, Bahrain promises an unforgettable journey.

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Global Features July-Aug 2024

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