Money & Shopping
The currency in Bahrain is the Bahraini Dinar (BD), which is divided into 1000 fils. A dinar is worth almost three dollars (US $ 2.66, to be precise, since the exchange rate is fixed), which makes it one of the strongest currencies in the world (second only to Kuwait), and this can Get used to it: Apparently, the cheap 10-dinar taxi ride is, in fact, almost $ 27 and, therefore, an extortion scam!
The dinar is a fully convertible currency, and currently there are no restrictions on its import or export. The denominations for coins are 5 fils, 10 fils, 25 fils, 50 fils and 100 fils (you rarely see 500 fil coins, but they are valid). The denominations for the banknotes are 500 fils (BD 1/2), BD 1, BD 5, BD 10 and BD 20.
The dinar is linked to the Saudi Riyal at 1:10, and rials are accepted almost everywhere at that rate, although it is likely that you will get your change in dinars and the hotels may try to get you out of a small percentage. If you are coming from Saudi Arabia, there is no reason to change your money, but try to get rid of any excess dinars before leaving the country, as they are difficult to change elsewhere, even in Saudi Arabia.
Like most Gulf countries, Bahrain is not cheap. With the recent rising costs, a decent dinner can cost around BD 4.0, and car rental at 10-20 dls / day is reasonable, but hotel prices will affect your budget: a perfectly normal room in a hotel. "You can set it back BD 50. Do not travel to Bahrain during the annual F1 race in April if you are looking for reasonable prices, since hotels will quadruple their rates. A room at the Gulf Hotel during this race could cost more than BD 300 / night.
There are several major shopping centers in Bahrain that offer international label and luxury shops, apothecaries, supermarkets, etc., as well as food courts, traditional and contemporary cafes, play areas and arcades, cinemas (3D and 2D) and even an aquatic park entrance gate.
A visit to the local souk is essential. There you can negotiate the price in "rolexes", jewelry and many other gifts. The souk is also home to many excellent tailors. If you are there for long enough (say a week), you can wear a favorite garment and "clone" it with precision in whatever material you choose from the wide range available.