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Why Bahrain Deserves the Top Spot on Every Indian’s Travel Wishlist

January 22, 2024 06:00 pm | Updated 06:00 pm IST

Embark on an irresistible escape to Bahrain, where ancient wonders and modern allure promise the perfect holiday.

It’s a land with which India traded spices in exchange for priceless pearls over 3000 years ago. It’s a land of contrasts, where ancient forts and monuments vie for your attention alongside imposing modern skylines. It’s a place where adventure seekers, culture enthusiasts and history buffs find much to enjoy in equal measure. The Kingdom of Bahrain, a sparkling jewel in the Arabian Gulf, boasts a rich cultural tapestry woven with threads of music, cuisine and architecture, just waiting to be discovered.

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Is it any wonder why Bahrain should be at the top of every Indian’s travel bucket list? Here are 7 reasons for you to head to this mesmerising archipelago, nestled in the headwaters of the Gulf, on your next holiday.

Looking for adventure? Look no further

Bahrain offers a playground of exciting water sports like scuba diving, jet skiing, and sailing along its picturesque coastline. You can experience the adrenaline rush of the Bahrain Grand Prix at the world-class Formula 1 racetrack, or enjoy the nearby water sports at the Lost Paradise of Dilmun Water Park, the largest and most advanced water park in the Middle East. Traditional arts like falconry, horse riding, hunting, and camel racing coexist with modern pastimes in Bahrain, offering you a diverse range of activities.

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Nature lovers can venture to the heart of the island and marvel at the centuries-old Tree of Life standing tall in the middle of the desert or explore the Al Areen wildlife sanctuary, home to flamingos, ostriches, camels, and the renowned Oryx.

After a three-year hiatus due to the global pandemic, Bahrain has rekindled its cultural legacy by relaunching the annual camping season in the Sakhir desert. Beyond a winter retreat, this camping season that will last till the end of February 2024, connects with the kingdom’s Bedouin roots, offering a celebration of nature and a communal platform for families to gather under the starlit sky for barbecues and bonfires. What better way to immerse yourself in true Bahraini culture and experience life in sync with nature?

Unlock Bahrain’s Time Capsule

Bahrain’s cultural treasures, both ancient and modern, are to be seen to be believed. For history aficionados, Bahrain is a living canvas of over 5,000 years of ancient civilizations. The Bahrain National Museum is the perfect starting point, unravelling the nation’s rich history, showcasing artifacts over centuries. Majestic forts like those in Riffa and Arad, the iconic Bahrain Fort, and the restored houses of Muharraq will give you a glimpse into Bahraini life through the ages. You can get up close and personal with the rich pearling culture of Bahrain by delving into the artistry of pearl diving at the historic museum or marvel at the architectural

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prowess of Oil Well No. 1 (the first oil production well in the Arabian Gulf) and the King Fahd Causeway that connects Bahrain to Saudi Arabia.

Art enthusiasts can find much to delight them in the Bahrain National Theatre and the Bahrain Fort Art Complex, which host a myriad performances and exhibitions throughout the year. Bait Al Qur’an stands as a monumental ode to the Holy Qur’an, housing a unique collection in the Arabian Gulf. The Currency Museum unveils Bahrain’s monetary evolution, featuring rare coins, and the Stamps Museum offers a captivating display of Bahrain’s philatelic journey. These attractions collectively weave a narrative, making Bahrain a living testimony to its rich cultural heritage.

Bahrain - where modernity rubs shoulders with antiquity

In the lively capital city of Manama, tradition and modernity coexist seamlessly. There’s much to explore on the vibrant streets of Bab Al Bahrain, while you shop for spices and handicrafts at the Manama Souq, or embark on a culinary adventure at the renowned Block 338, known for its diverse international cuisines. Manama boasts a vibrant avant-garde art community alongside its historical treasures, displayed at the Bahrain National Museum.

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For those with a yen for retail therapy, there’s something for everyone. Whether you fancy upscale boutiques, cutting-edge malls, or the vibrant ambiance of traditional souks, Bahrain caters to every taste and budget.

If you lean towards contemporary shopping, Bahrain flaunts state-of-the-art malls. The Seef area boasts giants like Al A’ali Shopping Complex and Seef Mall, while Sanabis hosts Bahrain Mall and Dana Mall. Venture a bit further to the newly-unveiled Sitra Mall for a unique shopping escapade. The Bahrain City Centre Mall, a pinnacle of leisure since 2008, is a comprehensive complex featuring a shopping haven, a kids’ play area, cinemas, two hotels, and even a water park. Other central malls, such as Yateem Centre, Marina Mall, Lulu Mall, GOSI Centre, and Bahrain Commercial Complex, offer diverse wares that will leave you spoilt for choice.

To truly immerse yourself in the essence of Bahraini shopping, you should explore the traditional suqs. The Manama Suq, a bustling hub, takes center stage, while others like Muharraq Suq, the Iranian Suq in Isa Town, Suq Waqif in Hamad Town, Manama Central Market, and the Fish Market offer a delightful panorama of local trade and produce. From opulent to quaint, Bahrain’s shopping landscape ensures an unparalleled experience for every retail connoisseur.

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Bahrain & India – the cultural connect

Bahrain’s rich history spans over 5,000 years, making it a cultural and intellectual centre with a unique identity. The flavours of Bahraini cuisine, including dishes like Machboos, Harees, and Luqaimat, offer a delightful culinary journey.

Bahrain is relatively close to India, making it easily accessible for a short trip. The country offers a visa-on-arrival facility for Indian passport holders. This means that travellers can obtain a visa upon arrival at the airport, eliminating the need for pre-trip visa applications and makes planning spontaneous trips or last-minute getaways hassle-free. While Arabic is the official language in Bahrain, English is widely spoken in urban areas and tourist destinations. The presence of a significant Indian expatriate community means that Hindi is also understood and spoken in various places. The ideal time to explore Bahrain and its delights is during the winter months, from November to February.

A magical blend of time-honoured traditions and contemporary allure, Bahrain unfolds a travel experience that defies the ordinary. With its tapestry of rich cultural heritage and the warm embrace of hospitality, Bahrain beckons every Indian traveller to embark on an enchanting journey of discovery and enrichment. It’s your turn, now!

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