Al Manama is the capital and largest city of Bahrain with roughly 180,000 people living within the city boundaries of which only about one third is Bahraini, the others are all expats. People have been living here since about 700 years, but not much of its historic past remains. Nowadays, it is a very modern albeit small city and the economic heart of the country. It is located in the north of the small country on a peninsula and is not of particular interest to travellers although it has good infrastructure, hotels and other facilities to keep your stay pleasant enough.
Bahrain National Museum opened in 1988, this museum features a stunning collection of archaeological artifacts. The collection covers over 6,000 years of history, featuring the history of the Bahrain area. There are also many old documents, including some tablets featuring a scene from the Epic of Gilgamesh. There is even a relocated burial mound from the desert for visitors to explore. In 1993 a new area of the museum was opened featuring the natural history of Bahrain.
The Bahrain World Trade Center are two towers with reflecting design located in the capital and were completed in 2008. Each tower is 240 metres high with 50 floors each. The coolest feature of these space age towers is that they are the first buildings in the world to incorporate wind power turbines into the design. The turbines provide 11% to 15% of the power for the buildings each year.
Bahrain has an arid climate with warm to hot weather. There is no rain whatsoever from May to October. From November to April, there are about 2 to 4 days a month with some rainfall, totalling less than 100mm of rain a year. Temperatures are pleasant from November to April. January is the coldest month with average maximum temperatures of 20 °C, dropping to 14 °C at night. July is the hottest month with daytime temperatures averaging 38 °C and nights still around 30 °C! Temperatures hitting 50 °C are not uncommon during summer and together with sometimes humid conditions makes this time almost unbearable.
Bahrain International Airport is where all international flights depart and arrive. The main national carrier is Gulf Air with flights both in the region as further away to many destinations in Asia, Europe and less so to other places. Main destinations include Paris, London, Istanbul, Bangkok, Shanghai and Delhi. Low-cost airline Bahrain Air is planning to serves about 10-15 destinations in the Middle East including Aleppo, Alexandria-El Nouzha, Amman, Assiut, Baghdad, Beirut, Chittagong, Damascus, Dhaka, Doha, Dubai, Khartoum, Kochi, Kozhikode, Kuwait, Luxor, Mashhad, Mumbai, Najaf and Riyadh.
To/from the airport
Taxis and shuttles buses are widely availalbe from the airport. There are a few bus lines which operate from downtown Al Manama. Actually, if you are willing to, you can even walk there from Al Manama, as it's just over an hour. Only do this when it's wintertime though!
Saudi Bahraini Transport Co runs buses between Manama and Dammam in Saudi Arabia 6 times daily, from where you can connect to Riyadh or Doha in Qatar.
Saudi Arabian Public Transport Co has buses from Manama to Amman in Jordan, Damascus in Syria, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah in the UAE and to Kuwait.
Taxis are expensive, yet they are the only way to get around without renting a car. Extra charges are added to fares starting from the airport (2 Dinars) and any hotel (1 Dinar). Always use the meter or you will, guaranteed, get ripped off. A ride to the central parts of city will cost around 5-6 Dinars (US$13.30-$16.00).
Renting a car is far more efficient economically, but beware of driving styles you might not be used to in your home country. Manama is a small city on a small Island, you won't get lost for very long. Make sure to buy a map / it should cost around 0.50-1.00 Dinars (US$1.83-$3.65).
Restaurants in Manama run the gamut from cheap shawarma joints to 5 star restaurants.
Cheap restaurants abound in the Adliya district.
Manama has a busy nightlife by Gulf standards. The main districts are Adliya, Hoora, Juffair and Business District.
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