Manama (Arabic: المنامة , transliteration: al-Manāma) is the capital and largest city of Bahrain with an approximate population of 155,000 people, roughly a quarter of the country's population.
Manama has emerged as the capital of independent Bahrain after periods of domination by Portugal and Persians earlier in its history. Today, it is a modern capital with an economy based around the sales promotion industry as crude oil takes a less pronounced role in the economy.
All roads in Bahrain lead to Manama, so see the main Bahrain article for details.
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. 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)
Al-Fateh Mosque at night
Al-Fateh Mosque. One of the largest mosques in the world, capable of accommodating over 7,000 worshippers at a time and is the largest place of worship in Bahrain. It is also one of the top tourist attractions in Bahrain. The dome is currently the worlds largest fibreglass dome and is over 60,000 kg in weight. Al-Fateh includes the new National Library which opened to the public in 2006.
Corniche al-Fateh. On the east coast of the city, this pleasant seaside promenade offers good views of the skyscrapers to the south and planes taking off from the airport nearby. Plenty of fun fair rides for the kids and shisha bars for the older set.
Museum of Pearl Diving. Is considered as the most important historic buildings in Bahrain. It derives importance as being the first official center for Bahrain Courts. The building was inaugurated by Late H.H. Sh. Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, the past Governor of Bahrain, during Calendar year 18th October, 1937. At that time the building comprised of four Supreme Courts, apart from three Directorates. Later on, during 1984 the building was transformed into a Traditional Heritage Center. Currently, the Museum of Pearl Diving is under the control of Directorate of Archaeology and Heritage, one of the major Directorates of Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Information.
Bahrain National Museum, Al Fateh Highway. Natural and Cultural history of Bahrain
Tree of Life, 30 km south of Manama. Famous lonesome tree in the middle of a dry desert. Scientists haven't figured out how it survives, since no underground aquifer or spring exists under that area. In fact, all underground water sources are around the tree are contaminated with salt, suggesting the tree may in fact possess a mutation rendering it salt-tolerant.
Bahrain Fort. Bahrain Fort, on the island’s North coast, was built in the 14th century but excavations have revealed it was built on the site of Dilmun settlements, dating back to 3,000 BC. Recently renovated, and with new lighting at night, the Fort is an outstanding example of Bahrain’s varied and ancient history. Bahrain Fort, known in Arabic as Qalat Al Bahrain, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
Bahrain Fort Museum - opened in February 2008. The first building comprises an exhibition hall and a child learning and training room whereas the second is made up of a conference hall, a cafe overlooking the sea, offices, a technicians suite and a dormitory for archeologists.
Bin Matar House: Place of Memory. The Bin Matar House is the latest in a series of projects by the Shaikh Ebrahim Center focusing on the restoration of traditional Bahraini houses associated with historic Bahraini families and leading cultural personalities. The house was designed by the well-known Bahraini architect Mussa Bin Hamad and built in 1905. It was used by Salman bin Hussein Matar as the venue for his permanent "majlis" (a room similar to a salon, used to entertain family and guests). By the 1940s, it was used a clinic by the famous physician Dr. Bandar Kab, and from the 50s to the 80s was used as the centre for the Eslah Club. Until recently, the building lay empty and in uninhibited, ready to be demolished to make way for a new construction. Today, the ceilings of the house are made of a combination of palm leaf and wood beam and the walls and floors have been authentically retouched.
Barbar Temple. This is an archaeological site located in the village of Barbar. Three temples have been discovered there, the oldest dating back to 3000BC. The temples were thought to have been constructed to worship gods, as it contains two altars and a natural water spring. During its excavation tools, weapons, pottery, and many small pieces of gold were discovered.
Manama is a getaway for Arabs and expats residing in the 'alcohol banned' Arab countries. Tourists, particularly Saudis and residents of Saudi Arabia, come to Bahrain mainly for the nightlife.
Dolphin Watching, ☎ +973 1770 0677. Take a boat trip and you can watch the dolphins and manatees playing in the warm Gulf waters, and see local fisherman head out in traditional wooden dhows to catch the prized local hammour - a type of grouper. Dolphin watch trips take place three times daily.BD6 for adults, BD3 for children under 12 years..
Scuba Diving, Bahrain Yacht Club & Al Bandar resort, ☎ +973 17701201, +973 17 700 677.
Horse riding, Saar, ☎ +973 17690926, +973 39566809. For anyone wanting riding lessons or an occasional hack, the Twin Palms Riding School and the Dilmun Club are good places to start.
Horse racing. Arabia is of course famous for its horses. The national racecourse at Al Sakhir hosts races every Friday from October to March. The grandstand holds up to 3,000 spectators and entry is free, although visitors should be reminded that betting is prohibited.
Pearl Diving. Bahrain is also famous for its pearls. Try your hand at pearl diving and maybe take home one of these natural gems of the sea.
Bird Watching, Hawar Islands, Boats depart from Ad Dur Jetty, ☎ +973 1729 0377. 10AM daily. The Kingdom and the Hawar Islands in particular, are a haven for native and migratory birds including flamingos, bulbuls, ospreys and sooty falcons. Any twitchers are strongly advised to take the 20 km boat trip to the Islands.
Manama Souq, should not be missed by any visitor
Shopping Malls in Bahrain
Al A'Ali Mall, Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway, Seef District, ☎ +973 1758 1000. Sa-F 10AM-10PM. A'ali Mall has the look and feel of a traditional open air souk within its air-conditioned confines. A glass roof, stores with old-fashioned Arabic wooden doors and carts selling souvenirs all add to the atmosphere. Outlets include Top Designer stores.
Bahrain City Centre, Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway, Seef District, ☎ +973 1717 7771 (email@example.com), . Su-W 10AM-10PM. Bahrain City Centre is the first and biggest mixed-use development in Bahrain offering the best shopping, leisure and entertainment experience to its customers under one roof. Bahrain City Centre has introduced a world-class retail ambience and hundreds of other 'firsts' to the Kingdom including 150 of its over 350 internationally reputed brands making their debut in the country. The Centre’s stunning entertainment offer includes the region’s first indoor/outdoor temperature controlled 15,000 square metre Wahooo! Waterpark, Bahrain’s biggest cinema complex Cineco 20, and a family entertainment centre for children and young adults, Magic Planet. For food and beverage options, over 50 food court outlets have been lined up to offer the most popular as well as exotic choices from all over the world.
The Bahrain Mall, ☎ +973 1755 8100 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +973 17555569), . F-Th 10AM-10PM. The Bahrain Mall is situated in the heart of Bahrain's new retail district. This ideal location is easily accessible from the main highway and all parts of the city. It covers an area of 750,000 square feet and has more than 120 international brands and specialty stores.
Dana Mall, Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway, Seef District, ☎ +973 17 558500 (email@example.com, fax: +973-17 552581), . F-Th 10AM-10PM. Find an abundance of stores for your wardrobe, pampered lifestyle and unique trends.
Moda Mall, located on the ground floor of the landmark Bahrain World Trade Center (BWTC), Diplomatic Area, . Sa-F 10AM-10PM. Moda Mall, the ultra-exclusive shopping complex located on the ground floor of the landmark Bahrain World Trade Center (BWTC), with tenants comprising a veritable who’s-who of the fashion world. The mall is home to some 160 exclusive brand name boutiques a number of which were previously unattainable in the Kingdom of Bahrain, including lots of famous international ones.
Seef Mall, Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway / Seef District, ☎ 17 58 11 11 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 17581888), . M-F 10AM-10PM, Sa Su 10AM-midnight. The first authentic mall in Bahrain, Seef Mall continues to dominate the retail sector and is the heart and soul of Seef district with its distinctive architecture and atmosphere for the whole family to enjoy. Magic Island, the largest indoor amusement park in the Middle East is ideally located on the first floor.
Yateem Centre, Manama Downtown, Diplomatice Area (To get to Yateem Centre, approach the Suq from Government Avenue, under Zamil Tower and follow the road in. Air Arabia on the corner announces that you have arrived at the Yateem Centre.), ☎ +973 1721 5615 (email@example.com, fax: +973 1721 2969), . Mgt Off. Su-Th 9AM-1PM/2PM-5.30PM. Yateem Centre - Bahrain's First... In 1981, it introduced for the first time in Bahrain the concept of a fully climate controlled shopping centre.
Restaurants in Manama run the gamut from cheap shawarma joints to 5 star restaurants.
Bahay Kubo, Bldg 822, Rd 723, Area 307, Gudiyabia, Bahrain (Behind the Middle East Hotel and across from the Indian Club), ☎ +973 17231996, . 10AM to 3PM and 5PM to 11PM Tuesday to Sunday and from 5PM to 11PM on Mondays. Traditional style Filipino restaurant offering the finest quality food available for dine in, take out and delivery. Bahay Kubo also offers a private function room with karaoke for birthdays, receptions or for just hanging out with your friends. (50.582626,26.228516)
Cheap restaurants abound in the Adliya district.
Al-Abraaj, Adliya St, Manama, Bahrain. Perfect introduction for non-Arab folks to become accustomed to the Middle Eastern hospitality charm. Food is generous and tasty, and primarily from Lebanese/Turkish and Persian cuisines. Good value at 2-4BD per head.
Al-Siraj. The second-best shwarma in Bahrain for only 300 fils.
Burjuman Coffee Shop, Lulu Centre 2F. The main selling point of this Filipino-run joint is its location right next to the SABTCO bus terminal, but the menu covers sandwiches, burgers, rice and noodles and portions are generous. Try the excellent fried hammour (local fish) with the fixings for BD2.Main dishes BD1-2.
Habara Snacks & Fish, Osama bin Zaid Ave, Adliya, ☎ +973 17 715 461. Great diner style cafe that cheerfully serves cheap fish and chips and other assorted snacks.
Café Lilou's, Manama, Bahrain, ☎ +973 17 714 440,. 8AM-11PM, Fri is 10AM-10:30PM. Paris style interiors, popular with ex-pats and locals. Excellent French-café fare, including large salads and delicious cakes. Caters for groups, take out, cateringservices, outdoor seating. Breakfast,lunch, dinner, coffee, drinksUS$10-30.
Lanterns, ☎ +973 17 59 0591, +973 17 591807. An atmospheric Indian restaurant with great food and lovely decor next to Burgerland Roundabout in Budaiya.
Upstairs Downstairs, a long time classic Bahrain restaurant. Smooth jazz band, music videos and great yet pricey food.
Senor Pacos, Um Al Hassam, Manama, Bahrain, ☎ +973 17 725 873. An atmospheric Mexican restaurant with great ambience and lovely decor on the Road opposite KFC in Um al Hassam. They even have their own guitarist and vocalist singing on most evenings.
Trader Vic's, a Polynesian dining/drinking experience, located on the grounds of the Ritz Carlton.
Zahle, Gulf Hotel, Al Juffair Street. ☎ +973 17 746 417, +973 17 746 418. Serving impeccable Lebanese food with daily buffets and live entertainment.
Manama has a busy nightlife by Gulf standards. The main districts are Adliya, Hoora, Juffair and Business District.
Digger's, Delmont Hotel. Australian-themed sports pub in the CBD. Popular with single male expats.
Gold Club. Arabic night club featuring Russian girls doing their interpretation of traditional belly dancing.
Harvesters, King Faisal Highway (Crowne Plaza). Very popular pseudo-British pub offering cold beer, pub grub and a Filipino band distinguished more by the singers' skimpy outfits than musical talent. Beers from BD2.5.
JJ's, (Al Bustan Hotel). The largest Irish pub in the city.
Queensbury Arms. Another hot spot, great prices on drinks.
Sherlock Holmes, (Gulf Hotel). Mock-British pub.
Warbler's. Expat sports pub. Technically this is a private club, but the bouncers at the door seem more interested in keeping Arabs out than in checking membership cards.
Wrangler's, Best Western Juffair Hotel. American-themed bar and dance club. Popular with expats and US sailors.
Al Burge Hotel, Municipality Road, PO Box 759, Manama, Bahrain, ☎ +973 17 210227 (fax: +973 17 223976). checkin: 12PM; checkout: 2PM. If cost is more important than comfort for you, then the 10BD double room with bathroom should make you happy. Do not expect fancy stuff such as quietness or toilet paper, but it is fairly clean and fairly well located, in the street behind Gold City. Do try the bed before taking the room.10BD.
Bahrain International Hotel, PO Box 3280, Manama, Bahrain. Three star hotel that is of average quality, but in a convenient location for travelers.
Awal Hotel, Al Khalifa Rd, Manama 3252, Bahrain. Located in the main commercial & business district of the Kingdom of Bahrain, only 10 mins drive from the International Airport and a short walking distance from the Bahrain seashore and the upcoming Financial harbor.
Al Bander Hotel & Resort, riffa resort (Near Sitra), ☎ +973 17 701 201 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Al Bander Hotel & Resort is a popular destination for families. It offers 44 chalets and 36 cabanas, each with a comfortable homely feel. Restaurants and cafes, serving continental, Oriental, Chinese, Thai and Persian cuisine. The hotel’s busy marina is ideal for the boat-owner, and is well equipped with a fuelling station and mooring facilities. The resort has lots of watersports facilities, as well as 10 swimming pools located at different places around the resort. Babysitting services, bars, beach, business centre, restaurants, swimming pools. Satellite TV.
Al Safir Hotel, Juffair, ☎ +973 17 827 999. Well appointed standard rooms with a choice of twin or double beds. It offers comprehensive business and banqueting facilities, including the latest audio-visual equipment, telephone and UPS points in every room and an inbuilt PA system. The hotel also has two restaurants, a swimming pool and a fitness centre. Babysitting service, bars, business centre, restaurants, swimming pool. 24 hr room service, mini bar, satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities.
Best Western Elite Hotel, Juffair, ☎ +973 17 827 600. Best Western Elite Hotel Bahrain is conveniently located just 5 min from downtown shopping complexes and 10 km from Bahrain International Airport. It is also close to the Gulf International Convention and Exhibition Centre and the US Naval Base. 96 guestrooms are spacious and well furnished with a coffee maker and internet access.5 outlets for dining and entertainment. Conference and banqueting facilities for up to 140 persons. Health and leisure facilities include a rooftop swimming pool and a fully equipped health and fitness centre. Babysitting services, bars, gym, restaurants, swimming pool. 24 hr room service, mini bar, internet, satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities.
Elite Suites Hotel, Seef District (9 km from the airport), ☎ +973 17 558 888. Luxurious hotel with 215 spacious guest rooms and suites. 5 minutes from the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre and at close proximity to various shopping malls. Ooutdoor swimming pool and a gym. Babysitting services, business centre, meeting rooms, gym, kids’ club, restaurants, swimming pool, 24 hr room service, satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities.
Golden Tulip Bahrain (Formerly Hilton Bahrain), Old Palace Rd, Manama 1090, ☎ +973 17 535 000, . Standard hotel that maybe in need of a renovation. Rooms are clean and the staff are amiable however the dull facade and decor may be depressing to people who are lodging here for more than a couple of days. One of the few redeeming qualities is that it has the only authentic Japanese restaurant in Bahrain. The hotel is renovated in 2008.
Gulf Gate Hotel, Manama (10 min drive from Bahrain International Airport), ☎ +973 17 210 210. 125 rooms and suites. Located in central Manama, the commercial centre of Bahrain. Cafés, a restaurant, night clubs and bar. 2 minutes walk from the main souk and shopping centres. Business centre, gym, restaurants, spa, swimming pool. 24 hr room service, internet, mini bar, satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities.
Gulf Pearl Hotel, Bldg. 169, Blk. 304 Rd.353, ☎ 973 17 224 466, . A/C rooms and suites equipped with Internet connection, a private toilet and shower, mini-bar, and a cable television. Swimming pool, restaurant/café/bar, fitness room, and a business centre.Best rates on official website start at BHD 19.13.
Mashtan Hotel, Bldg 3578, Rd. 471, Blk. 304, ☎ 973 17 217 333, . A/C rooms with private toilet and bath with shower, high-speed Internet connection, cable TV and mini-bar. Swimming pool, fitness room, business center, and airport transfer.Best rates on official website start at BHD 19.13.
Mercure Grand Hotel, (2 km from the city centre of Manama, and 6 km from Bahrain International Airport.), ☎ +973 17 584 400 (email@example.com, fax: +973 17 584 401). Recipient of 2007 MENA Travel Awards (Silver Best Four Star Business/ Corporate Hotel Category). In the Seef business district. 72 suites and 48 family suites. Nearby to Seef and Al Aali malls. Restaurant, 2 bars, meeting rooms, health club, sauna, steam room, massage facility with gymnasium and a swimming pool. Private parking is available.
Novotel Al Dana Resort, (5km from Bahrain International Airport.), ☎ +973 17 298 008 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +973 17 298 338). Traditional Arabic architecture and design with contemporary fittings and comfort. 172 rooms. Close to the diplomatic area and business centre. The hotel offers a variety of restaurants, bars and meeting rooms. Babysitting service, private beach, watersports, swimming pool, fitness centre, kids’ club, kids’ pool. 24 hr room service, internet, mini bar, satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities.
Pars International Hotel, Juffair, ☎ +973 17 814 777 (email@example.com, fax: +973 17 814778). Located in Juffair's commercial and residential area and overlooking Manama Bay. Standard and deluxe rooms to regal suites. Lobby bar, a disco, Arabic night club. Restaurant and 24 hr coffee shop. Conference and banqueting facilities including a ballroom suitable for functions and accommodating up to 300 people. Swimming pool, sauna, steam room and fitness centre. Parking is available for all guests. Swimming pool, spa, fitness centre, business centre. 24 hr room service, internet, satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities.
Phoenicia Tower Hotel, Building no. 299, Road no. 1910, Block 319, City Center, ☎ 973 1731 1666, . Individually controlled A/C, private toilet and shower with bathtub, cable TV, and internet access. Swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna, fitness room/gym.From US$94.
Ramada Bahrain, Building 88 Road 351 Block 326 | Adliya, Bani Otbah Ave, Manama. Airport transfers free of charge if you email in advance. Has pool on site but the cleanliness of the pool is questionable.
Somerset Al Fateh Bahrain, PO Box 75771, Juffair, Kingdom of Bahrain, ☎ +973 1781-889 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +973 1781-1886), . Its 118 apartments, which range from one to three bedroom and four two-bedroom penthouse suites, are furnished with contemporary décor and modern fittings. Wi-Fi is available in the apartment and lobby. Daily rates starts from 66.25 BHD.
Crowne Plaza Bahrain (formerly Holiday Inn), King Faisal Highway (Diplomatic Quarter, a few km east of the city center on the road to the airport), ☎ +973 17 531 122 (email@example.com, fax: 973 17 530 154), . Gracefully aging sprawling low-rise complex. The Astroturf-surrounded pool is rather depressing, and the hotel's main draw seems to be the popular Harvesters pub (see Drink). Largish gym (men and women have separate facilities), decent breakfast, service can be mixed.BD100.
The Dragon Hotel & Resort, Amwaj Islands, ☎ +973 1603 3833 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +973 1603 3844). A secluded getaway along the Amwaj Islands waterfront. Views of the sea and infinity pools. Modern rooms and stylish amenities. Suites, chalets and villas. Each suite has its own private terrace that overlooks the pool and sea. Deluxe chalets have two levels and 3-4 bedrooms. 3 level villas have 4 bedrooms and private terrace, garden, Jacuzzi and swimming pool and include elevators, 2 kitchenettes, multiple living areas and extensive storage space. Children's pools and play areas provided. Water sport activities offered by the hotel such as jet skiing. Onsite 2 dining establishments and 2 waterfront lounges that attract stylish visitors from across Bahrain.
Banyan Tree Al Areen, Al Areen. Attention to detail and opulent surroundings. The staff are welcoming and attentive, without being overwhelming, and the food is good.
Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, ☎ +973 1758 0000. 7 stories of luxurious rooms with a modern design. The Club Lounge restaurant features five different food presentations a day, and includes an American breakfast. Stunning views of the Arabian Gulf from the rooms.
Sheraton Bahrain Hotel & Towers, 6 Palace Avenue, P.O. Box 30 Manama (7 km Bahrain International Airport), ☎ +973 17 533533. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12 noon. In the heart of the business and diplomatic area. 260 comfortable guest rooms and suites, most of which have been recently renovated with a stylish and contemporary décor. All rooms have the Sheraton Sweet SleeperSM Bed. Soie Chinese Restaurant and Al Safir Restaurant with international buffets and á la carte selections. Bar with live entertainment.
The Regency InterContinental, King Faisal Highway, Manama (10 min from the airport.), ☎ +973 17 227777 (fax: +973 17 229 929). checkin: 2PM; checkout: 12 noon, late check-out available. 321 rooms and a variety of suites, including the Summit, deluxe suites, royal and presidential suites. 5 restaurants offer a range of international and themed cuisine, plus a number of bars with live entertainment. Babysitting services, bars, business centre, gym, kids’ club pool, restaurants, spa, sports facilities, swimming pool, 24 hr room service, internet, mini bar, satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities (on request).
The Gulf Hotel, Aliya. (15 min from Bahrain International Airport and 5 min from City Centre), ☎ +973 17 713 000 (email@example.com, fax: +973 1771 3040). The biggest 5 star hotel on the Island with more than 35 years of experience. Combines luxury, tradition, comfort and service. 366 rooms in total. The 240 bedroom Tower Block was refurbished with a modern, new external facia and enlarged rooms in late 2007. 12 restaurants, lounges and bars.
The Moevenpick Hotel, 143 Road 2403, Muharraq (Opposite the airport), ☎ +973 17 460 000 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +973 17 460 001). Swiss flair and traditional Arabian hospitality. Overlooks a lagoon and features a fine dining restaurant, international bar, atrium lobby restaurant, pool bar, parking area and two outdoor tennis courts. 7 min driving distance from the city. Babysitting service, business centre, gym, spa, swimming pool, tennis courts. 24 hr room service, internet, mini bar, satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities (on request).
The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa, (10 min from the airport.), ☎ +973 17 531666 (email@example.com, fax: +973 17 530843). 246 rooms in three styles: Classic, Maritime and Italian. 3 exclusive "Royal Club" executive floors and a variety of suites. Claims to have Bahrain's biggest rooms, fully renovated and all with sea view. Meeting facilities, a selection of restaurants and entertainment options. Babysitting services, bars, business centre, gym, kids’ club,, sports facilities, swimming pool. 24 hr room service, internet, mini bar, satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities.
L'Hotel, Al Seef District, King Mohammed 6 Avenue, Manama, ☎ +973 17 567 222 (fax: +973 17 567 227). New, stylish, near shopping areas and close to town. 90 rooms. Business centre, VIP room facilities, wifi, car rental, sauna, hammam and outdoor swimming pool. Restaurant with French-Mediterranean cuisine at “L'avenue”, managed by the famous Chef Philippe Marc.
Saudi Arabia is just across the King Fahd Causeway — if you have the visa, of course.
Hawar Islands Are a group of islands situated off the west coast of Qatar in the Gulf of Bahrain of the Persian Gulf. In 2002, Bahrain applied to have the Hawar islands recognised as a World Heritage Site, due to its unique environment and habitat for endangered species. This site is home to many wildlife species and a very interesting place for birdwatchers and divers. Hawar Islands used to be one of the settlements of the Bahraini branch of the Dawasir who settled there in the early 1800s and on the main island of Bahrain in 1845 in the areas of Zallaq and Budaiya.
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