Transportation - Get In
Citizens of following countries can obtain 14-day visa at all border stations and airports. The fee is 25 dinar or ~$66.
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland (3 months), Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom (3 months), United States, Vatican City
You can also apply in advance online for an eVisa . However this is strictly limited to citizens of certain nations. The benefit of this is somewhat unclear though, as those eligible for eVisas can also get visas on arrival; however, possessing an eVisa will likely allow you to get through Customs faster, as one wouldn't need to obtain the visa at the port of entry.
Bahrain is among the few Gulf states that officially accepts Israeli Passports (although you'll need a visa) and passports with evidence of visits to Israel.
Visa is not required for nationals of GCC member states and a short stay visa will be granted on arrival to residents of GCC member states as well regardless of nationality.
Bahrain International Airport , in Muharraq just east of Manama, is the main base for Gulf Air and has excellent connections throughout the region and to London. The airport has good duty-free shopping; a Transhotel offering beds and showers (for a fee) to those awaiting flights is currently undergoing renovation. Many residents of eastern Saudi Arabia choose to fly out via Bahrain, and Gulf Air offers shuttle services to Khobar and Dammam to cater to this market; inquire when booking.
The low cost carrier Air Arabia offers daily flights from the Sharjah Airport north of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Unlike most airports , this one is comparatively small , which is beneficial as it is pretty quick(and easy) in departure and arrival.
The Saudi-Bahraini Transport Company (SABTCO), tel. +973-17252959, runs eight buses daily from the Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) bus station in Dammam via Khobar in Saudi Arabia, across the King Fahd Causeway, to the bus terminal next to the Lulu Centre in central Manama.
The service uses comfortable aircon minibuses with a trailer for luggage. Tickets cost SR60/BD6 and can be purchased in advance, although they'll squeeze you in without a reservation if there is space. As crossing the Causeway involves two passport checks and two customs checks, figure on 2 hours for the trip, plus any traffic delays at busy times like Wednesday evenings. At congested times, buses may actually be slightly faster than private cars, as they can use separate lanes at immigration and customs.
Note that, as of 2011, Bahrain Saudi Transport & Tourism (BASATCO) offers what seems to be similar buses for a slightly lower fare of BD4, although four times a day only.
The 26-km King Fahd Causeway connects Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Rental vehicles usually cannot be taken across, but SABTCO's BahrainLimo taxis that seat up to four can take you across for prices starting from BD30/SR300. Unofficial taxis, found hanging around bus stations at both ends, can offer slightly lower fares.
Transportation - Get Around
The official rates start at ($2.65) BD 1.000 plus 0.200 Fils per kilometer. In practice, though, meters are always "broken", covered, missing or just ignored, and you'll need to agree on fares in advance. Beware that cabbies will often ask for ridiculous prices.
However, a new agreement have been reached between the government and taxis representatives on August 2008; and a growing majority of taxis now use their meters. Rates vary from 3 to 5 dinars for a ride within Manama.
The airport gives guidelines as to the official way of calculating taxi fares. Notice that an extra BD 2.000 will be added if you take a taxi waiting at the airport .
On the whole taxis offer a good service but you do encounter some bandits. Be aware when traveling from the airport to always use the white with red roof or London style taxis. Also there is a rule if the meter is not used there is no charge; hold your ground on this and call the police, and the driver will cooperate very quickly with the correct fare for the trip.
Finding a taxi can be difficult, although major hotels and malls usually have a few waiting outside. Some privately owned companies operate in the kingdom, the most popular of which are:-
Speedy Motor Service Radio-Meter Taxis SMS Radio-Meter Taxi is the oldest & most popular radio-meter taxi company in the Kingdom, and the most reliable. Advance booking of taxi is possible, and they operate a 24-hour service, 365 days a year. Call Tel: +973-17 682999
Bahrain Taxi Online Get meter taxi online within 10 minutes. Tel: +973-36688614
Bahrain Limo is the newly established Radio Meter Taxi Company in the Kingdom of Bahrain and the sister company of the transport giant "Saudi Bahraini Transport Company" (SABTCO) which provides luxurious bus and limousine services across the King Fahad Causeway.
However , there have been occasional reports of taxi drivers trying to charge overly expensive fares(like 50BD for a short trip , when it is actually 3 BD) , though they are generally rare. Sticking to the official taxi services is usually your best bet.
There are also public buses that run to many parts of the island. Bus fares are low, but understanding the system can be very confusing for visitors, due to difficulties in obtaining bus schedules and maps.
Until recently (February 2015), travelling around Bahrain by bus was virtually a nightmare and foreigners were not advised to take them. There were no buses to popular destinations and malls , and often used to come late. Waiting places were also often uncomfortable. The buses covered only about 35% of the country , and most would anyway opt for a taxi , with labourers often pooling in to buy a car.
However, things have been steadily improving since then. Since February 2015 , when a change in operators took place, the situation has considerably improved. Buses are now much cleaner, are disabled-friendly and offer free 4G internet connectivity with various other improvements. Waiting times have also improved considerably and so have waiting places.
If planning on visiting several sites, consider renting a car. Prices range from 10-20 dinar per day, but allow you freedom to drive around the island.
If arriving by the bus at the Lulu centre parking, simply turn your back from the centre's entrance, walk out of the parking, and you'll find car rentals in the group of buildings across the road. A map or a GPS is strongly advised, as road signs can be scarce , and it is not too difficult to go from one part of the country and land up in another , though fortunately the country is small.
Speed limits are generally 50 kph in the roads , and 80-100 kph in the highway. Fines for breaking the traffic law is pretty severe , though the rules are not always properly enforced.
FLIGHTS & HOTELS
- We have access to a global database of flights by 728 airlines and 200 flight booking agencies, which allows us to find flights in real time and compare them with each other.
- We collects prices at the 200 largest hotel reservation agencies and official websites of hotels. Get all prices in just one place.
- We use TrustYou™, the smart semantic analysis system, to gather reviews from many booking services (including Booking.com, Agoda, Hotel.com and others), and calculate ratings based on all the reviews available online.