Manama Travel Essentials


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Ideal duration: 2 days

Best Time: November to February Read More

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"Old World Manama"

Manama Tourism

Manama might lack Dubai or Doha's sophistication, but therein lies its own personal charm. There is a lot more to the city than meets the eye. Manama retains a charm, very different from its Middle Eastern counterparts. Complete with divine cuisine and vivacious art and culture, the city makes for a wonderful travel destination.

Manama has paced well taking rapid strides from a pearling economy to one of the biggest oil reserves. The city boasts of some of the best hotels, shopping malls and nightlife venues. And there are the charming souqs, the craft market and the National Theatre. Manama is the homes with the traditional roofs, the delicious Machboos and Gahwa and the Bab Al Bahrain. The Bahranian city resonates candour and simplicity, attracting travelers from all corners of the world.

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Currency in Manama

Credit cards are widely accepted here, in the large department stores, star hotels. However if your shopping in the souqs you will be expected to carry cash.

Exchanging Money in Manama

Money exchange facilities are available at bureax de change, commercial banks as well as money changers found in the souqs. ATMs are available in the main town area.

Daily Budget for Manama

For a budget trip expect to spend around BHD 30 - 35. For a mid-range or luxury trip on an average you will incur BHD 70 - 110 approximately. Expenses can be curtailed by eating at the local joints, since there won't be much saving for transport.

Religion of Manama


Manama Customs

The locals in Bahrain are usually warm and friendly, hence you will be expected to be the same. Exchange greetings, while maintaining eye contact and smiling, when you meet somebody for the first time. Although Bahrain is more liberal than other cities in the Middle East, women dress conservatively, irrespective. Ensure that you dress appropriately when visiting. Religious and social customs should be observed and respected, especially during festivals. Although visitors are not expected to fast during the holy month of Ramadan, it is considered extremely inconsiderate to eat, smoke or drink in public, during this time. Tipping, though not a custom, will definitely be appreciated in hotels and restaurants.

Language of Manama

Arabic is the official language in Bahrain, while English is also widely spoken. Some common phrases: Marhabaan - Hello Shukraan - Thank You Min Fadik - Please Kam Thaman Hudha - How much is this?

History of Manama

Bahrain's history dates back to the Middle Paleolithic Age. It was the seat of the Dilmun Trading Empire till about 600 BC, thereafter it was absorbed by Babylon. Outside the Arabian mainland, Bahrain was the first to embrace Islam. Christians and Muslims coexisted harmoniously under the reigns of the Umayyad and Abbasid and Bahrain remained under Persian rule till the 17th century. The Al-Khalifa family annexed the country in the subsequent years and played a prominent role in making Bahrain one of the biggest pearl traders. They signed the Exclusive Agreement with Britain, to abstain from piracy and gain military protection from the British, in exchange of control over their foreign affairs. Eventually as the pearl market collapsed, Bahrain did not have to succumb to it as oil reserves were discovered in the country during that time. The British naval base was shifted here subsequently in 1935. Sheikh Hamad bin Ali and his son Sheikh Salman contributed to the development and modernization of the country. As a repository of oil production, Bahrain became the Gulf's main entrepot. August 1971 saw an independent country with a Constitution and elected national assembly, which was however dissolved after a year and a half. Bahrain's economy soared over the years with rising oil prices and rising demand. In 1981 along with Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and U.A.E., Bahrain formed the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC). In the recent years, with decline in oil production the economy has not only become more diversified but also less dependent on oil.

Nightlife in Manama

Bahrain is no doubt relatively more socially liberal as opposed to its other Gulf counterparts. Alcoholic beverages are legal not only for tourists, but also for local Muslims. Manama, therefore, even if not as exuberant as Dubai has a fair mix bars, pubs, lounges and nightclubs. Most of the capital city's nightlife activity is centred around the districts of Adliya, Hoora and Juffair. Establishments here stay open till early hours or morning, play from House to Latin grooves and have attractive 'happy hour' deals, while the high end hotels host live jazz nights. Typical Arabic/Lebanese restaurants play Arabic music and offer hookah, with traditional dance performances on some days. Manama's nightlife is also silhouetted by unassuming and quiet pubs to grab a couple of drinks, without the loud blare of music. However while in Manama, do not go overboard with the drinking!

Shopping in Manama

Shopaholics ahoy! With malls, outdoor souks and ofcourse, the jewellery shops, shopping in Manama cannot be skipped. Mada Mall is the place for souveniors and all the designer brands, including Armani, Gucci, Chanel etc. The Manama Souq, is an authentic shopping experience with the local flavour. Behnd the Bal Ab Bahrain, this colourful flea has spices, clothes, carpets, antiques, incense at bargain prices. However the show stealers are the gold ware, perfumes and pearls. There are plenty of jewellery and ornament stores selling gold at reasonable prices.

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Manama, Bahrain

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FAQs on Manama

What is the best time to visit Manama?

Manama witnesses very hot and humid temperatures between and September, with temperatures rising to 44ç. However during winter, the weather is quite pleasant. Temperatures do not drop very low and are just ideal to explore the city. December visits might require warm clothing.
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What is the local food in Manama?

Located in the Middle East, the local cuisine of Bahrain thus comprises typical Middle Eastern cuisine for most parts of it. While rice, kebabs and fish form the staples, olives, herbs and spices compliment the dishes. Hummus (thick paste of ground chickpeas with sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon and garlic) Falafels (mashed chickpeas formed into balls and deep fried), Shawarma and Tabouleh (a cracked wheat salad with vegetables) are the usual fare. Typical Bahraini delicacies would be Machboos (rice mixed with chicken or fish, cooked in spices and garnished with dry fruits), the Qoozi (grilled lamb stuffed with rice, eggs, onions and spices) and Muhammar (rice mixed with dates). Halwa made of corn starch, saffron, nuts and honey, is the favourite dessert. Gahwa is the local coffee, served with dates. International cuisine from around the globe, in the likes of Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Continental are all served in the numerous high end restaurants.
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What are the things to do in Manama?

The top things to do in Manama are Bahrain National Museum, Bahrain National Theatre, Qala'at al-Bahrain, Al Fatih Grand Mosque, Tree of Life, Dilmun Burial Mounds. You can see all the places to visit in Manama here

What are the places near Manama?

The top places near to Manama are Doha which is 141 km from Manama, Dubai which is located 483 km from Manama, Abu dhabi which is located 429 km from Manama, Kuwait city which is located 434 km from Manama, Riyadh which is located 427 km from Manama

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Manama Reviews

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Riyas Thamanna

on Qala'at al-Bahrain 6 years ago
In Bahrain there are not many places which has been connected to the ancient history, Bahrain fort is the first and one among them.It is a must place to visit for any one who loves history , architec (Read More)ture ..etc
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