Definitive Guide to Bahrain for New Expats

Welcome to the Island of pearls, lights, sand, lovely people and the all-year-round sunshine... Welcome to Bahrain! In this guide, Josnuggles and I are going to do our best to answer the most commonly asked questions we see in Expat-blog and hope to have a definitive guide to Bahrain for New Expats.

In this post, you will find answers to subjects such as accommodation, culture, salary, locations and many, many more. We intend to keep this article current and rely on our to help us keep it up-to-date. We hope it will help you make your move to Bahrain as enjoyable and as smooth as possible, and answer some of the most commonly asked questions by expats.

Before we begin, here is the legal stuff. This guide is produced by, and is based on the experiences of many expats that have gone before you. It has no official or legal standing and its contents are the opinions of the contributor's to this website. Whilst we do our utmost to ensure the advice contained herein is correct, will not be liable for any consequences without limitation, arising from any advice, guidance or information published on expat-blog.

So, let's begin...

Instead of repeating what's already out there on the Internet about the History of Bahrain, here we would like to give a view of Bahrain for expats.

Accommodating just over a million people (majority of them expats), Bahrain is and has always been the most liberal and welcoming country in the Gulf region. You will find expats from almost every part of the world but most come from India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, the United States, France and many more countries. Despite being right in the middle of the Middle East, the country welcomes all people from all religions, including Christians, Jews and Hindus. So no matter which religion you follow, you will be made to feel welcome here.

Despite the uprising and the protests happened in 2011, the country is absolutely safe to live and work. Like in any other country, there are areas where we would not recommend expats to live in (more on that later), however vast majority of the country is safe to live, work and enjoy.

The following will include series of questions and answers we believe people ask during their move to Bahrain. We tried to put them in the same order as you will experience during your move to Bahrain so it is easier to follow.
How can I find a job in Bahrain?
There are number of recruitment websites targeting the Middle East. Bayt and Monster are some of the websites you can have a look at. Alternatively, you can visit the Jobs in Bahrain section of this forum where you can see available jobs in Bahrain. If you have a particular employer in mind, it doesn't harm to send a speculative application - in fact, some employers like this kind of approach. Make sure you include your skills, experience and ambitions in your cover letter, followed by an up-to-date CV. Other options are to post your CV online and have it open for inspection by prospective employers. All employers in Bahrain will ask for a certified (attested) copy of your examinations whether they be school or degree so don't lie on your CV. Also a very good way is to ensure you have an up to date CV on websites such as Monster, LinkedIn and Total Jobs make your details visible to prospective employers who can search then for their ideal candidate without the costs of advertising. I know many people who have gained employment in the Middle East this way.

In this forum, many questions about finding jobs in Bahrain has been answered numerous times. Please use Work in Bahrain forum to look at previous posts submitted on this topic.

I am being interviewed. What should I ask to my employer about my package?
By no means is this section a definitive list of questions you should ask to your employer during an interview, based on our experience most packages include the following in addition to the salary: Medical insurance, accommodation allowance, relocation allowance, car allowance, a flight-ticket to home (usually once or twice a year), club / gym membership and schooling. The amounts for each of these allowances really vary depending on your skill set and your level within the company so we wouldn't want to put figures for these.

Although not common, we have heard number of incidents where some dodgy companies are trying to make people come to Bahrain and work without a visa. This is completely illegal and you should be careful when it comes to choosing the company to work for. Always make your research about the company before accepting any offer. If you are in doubt, ask at the Bahrain forum for further information. On the same subject, some companies (specifically employing western consultants) will tell you that they don't need to provide you with a Bahrain visa or CPR (Residency) if they are placing you in Saudi. Whilst this is legally true, you will not be able to open a bank account, lease a car or get a mobile phone on contract. Push for your Bahraini company to apply for your residency.

What is the currency in Bahrain?
The currency in Bahrain is Bahraini Dinar (BHD / BD). The exchange rate is fixed to US Dollar and the Saudi Riyal. As of late January 2013, exchange rates for some of the popular currencies are as follows:
Unlike many other countries, 1 Bahraini Dinar is made of 1,000 fills. Although 1 fill doesn't buy you anything, to help you compare with your currency, you can buy a can of Coke for 150 fills from most shops.

In Bahrain, you will see notes of 500 fills (half a Dinar), 1 Dinar, 5 Dinars, 10 Dinars and 20 Dinars. Like many other countries in GCC, most places will accept currencies from other GCC countries, particularly the ones from Saudi Arabia.

Credit Cards are widely accepted everywhere in Bahrain. Most popular cards are VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Credimax and JCB.

If you are coming to Bahrain from a non-Muslim country, you will be surprised to find that the weekends in Bahrain are Fridays and Saturdays. It will take you a good few months to get used to it so make sure you have your alarms set on Sunday mornings for work.

How much salary is a good salary in Bahrain?
Probably one of the most commonly asked questions in the forum is how much salary is a good salary in Bahrain. Well, this is a question that cannot be answered, its like saying, what's the best car in the world. for someone with a million dollars in the bank it might be a Ferrari, for someone who is on a modest income who wants to get the best mileage it may be a Toyota Prius.

The only way to answer this question is to give a broad outline of how much things cost in Bahrain, after all, we do not know what your current standard of living is.
As mentioned above, a ‘good salary' depends on your lifestyle and personal circumstances. One can find a 2 bedroom flat for 350-400 BD while the same 2 bedroom flat can be up to 750 BD in certain areas or buildings. Based on our experience, the higher your flat is in a tower-block / skyscraper, the more expensive it gets. Also, certain areas such as Seef is more expensive than the others.

But don't be put of by agents that tell you that some areas (like Saar or Tubli) are “no go” areas. This is totally untrue, you can get a very safe 4 bed villa in Saar (by the way, this is where all of the Ambassadors residencies are) with a private pool for between 1200 and 1500 BD / month. Check out Bahrain Property World.

I've been offered a job. Now what?
There are number of things you will need to do before coming to Bahrain. Most of these will be taken care of by your employer, however sometimes the employer may forget or might not be so clear on the steps that need to be taken prior to you coming to Bahrain so this section will help you with those core steps that need to be taken before your arrival to Bahrain. Always use your employer's knowledge and guidance about this before anything else as they will be the ones who know the system in Bahrain more than anyone else - however the following is helpful for you to understand the process.

You will be asked to send copies of your passport (sometimes including the stamped pages of your passport). Please note it is a known fact that if you have a stamp from Israel on your passport, you can be denied entry to Bahrain or getting a visa. If you are in this situation, please explain this to your potential employer to prevent nasty surprises. Although some people have managed to get a visa and entry to Bahrain despite having stamps from Israel on their passport, it is up to the border control officer's discretion to deny entry should he see this stamp.

The passport must have a minimum of 6 months left to run on it and also have a minimum of 3 blank pages. This is needed for your visa and entry/exit stamps at customs. If you do have a passport that has the Israel stamp or only a short while to run etc it is advisable to get a new one before commencing your trip here.

It is a mandatory requirement by the Kingdom of Bahrain government that you will need to have your health checks done in the country of origin prior to your arrival to Bahrain. Some employers don't mention this, however please make sure you clear this requirement with your employer before you come to Bahrain. The Authorised Health Centres section of the LMRA website lists the health centres Bahraini government have an agreement with. If your country is not listed on this website, then you can have your health checks done by your preferred medical organisation, however please ensure that you are checked for the right medical examination required. The details can be seen or downloaded from the LMRA website, but your employer should also guide you on this process.

Please note usually employers cover the cost of medical checks required for visa purposes, so don't forget to keep all the receipts you will have as a result of your medical checks so you can claim them back from your employer. When I had mine done back in the UK, I had to pay around £400 in total, luckily my employer reimbursed me the cost in full.

You will be given number of papers by your doctor / medical examiner and the photocopies of these will have to be forwarded to your employer so they can initiate the visa process.

You will then wait to hear back from your employer until your visa is issued. Once this is confirmed, you are then clear to start moving to Bahrain.

There will be another set of medical checks once you are in Bahrain but they will not be as exhaustive as the ones you will have completed before your arrival. These checks are required for your CPR (Central Population Registration) Card to be issued.

CPR is a very important piece of Card that every Bahraini citizen and resident must have. Without it, you don't practically exist in this country - which means you cannot open a bank account, you cannot subscribe to a mobile phone contract nor you can subscribe to broadband. The issuance of CPR can take time so this should be your first priority upon arrival to Bahrain.

I have a job in Saudi Arabia but want to live in Bahrain.
Many expats do this, either on a daily basis or by staying in Saudi 3 or 4 days a week and returning for weekends. Either way there are some basic facts about this "commute" that need to be understood.

You will need to ensure that your employer arranges a Multi Entry / Exit Visa for Saudi Arabia. Your first entry into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has to be via an airport. This is true whenever you get a new Saudi Visa, after that you can drive over the causeway.
The drive from Bahrain to Saudi is via the King Fahd Causeway, a 25km series of bridges and causeways connecting Bahrain, just south of Saar, to Saudi Arabia at Khobar.

You will need to buy additional insurance to drive in Saudi, and in order to purchase insurance you will need a letter of authorisation from the car rental or leasing company allowing you to take the car out of Bahrain. This has to be requested when you first collect your car, and is valid for up to 3 months. Most rental companies will make a charge for this letter of up to 50BD. You will need to show this when you purchase your insurance.

Insurance can be purchased at the United Insurance booth to the right just after you pass under the Janabiyah Highway junction, heading west from Bahrain. Insurance is based on the size and value of the car you are driving, but for a small / mid-sized car such as a Toyota Corolla the fee is 4.5BD / Day, 17.5BD / Week or 47BD/ Month.

Before entering the Causeway itself, there are a set of toll booths, where you need to pay a fee to use the Causeway. This is 2BD for cars, (more for trucks and busses). This fee is chargeable each way.

After approximately 12km you come to a man-made island which houses Bahrain exit points and Saudi Entry points. This comprises a series of check points where you follow the following procedure.

Check Point 1 - Traffic: Your insurance is validated and you will be given a traffic permit (Note, the first time you use your letter of authorization it will be to be stamped by Bahraini Authorities, which involves a short walk to the traffic office)

Check Point 2 - Bahrain Passport Control: Hand over your Passport and traffic permit, your passport will be stamped.

Check Point 3 - Not sure of the purpose of this one, there is no barrier, but you have to drive past a customs man in a toll booth without showing any documentation

Check point 4 - Saudi Passport Control: Hand over Passport and traffic permit, your Passport will be stamped

Check Point 5 - Saudi Customs: You will be told to pull over into a numbered bay, park, open your trunk (boot), get out of car and hand your Traffic Permit to a customs official. Customs will either stamp your permit or search your car then stamp your permit.

Check Point 6 - Saudi Traffic: Hand your traffic permit to official, who keeps it and lets you into Saudi Arabia.

Coming back simply reverse the process, with the following differences;

At Check Point 5 you have to pay 5BD for a new Bahrain Visa each time, unless you have a Bahrain Residency Permit.

At Check Point 6 if you purchased the Insurance when leaving Bahrain, you need to use the far left booth marked “Insured Vehicles".


On a good day the process takes about 20 mins, However be prepared for this to take up to 2 hrs occasionally.

The procedure on the return back from Saudi takes longer, especially on a Wednesday evening, when this has been known to take 3 hrs.

As you can imagine a standard passport will  rapidly fill up, it is a good idea to paper clip a few blank pages together to prevent every page being used. Otherwise it can be difficult to apply for other visas where you need 2 blank pages opposite each other.

Once you have a Residency Permit you can apply for a Causeway Book which get stamped instead of your passport.

Public holidays in Bahrain
Bahrain has one of the most public holidays in the region. There are at least 15 official public holidays every year, in addition to 30 days of paid holidays you should get from your work. The public holidays that are related to the religion are based on the lunar calendar, therefore their dates change every year. As a result of this, these usually get announced just a couple of days before the actual holiday. Although it is possible to guess the approximate dates for these holidays, the definite days may vary. The Central Bank of Bahrain Bank Holidays page lists the public holidays for every year.

Special note about Ramadan
During the month of Ramadan, Muslim people do not eat nor drink between sunrise and sunset for a period of one month. During this time, it is illegal to eat, drink, chew or smoke in public places and doing so can cause serious issues. Also, all places that sell alcohol either close, or stop selling alcohol during this period. Most places, especially public authorities start working late and finish early during Ramadan. It is a good idea to stock up the freezer and cupboards before Ramadan as the hypermarket opening times will also vary during this time.

How can I find a place to live in Bahrain?
There aren't many property websites in Bahrain, but the ones that are available are enough to give you an idea of the types of properties available in Bahrain. Bahrain Property World and Expatriates (Bahrain Housing Available Section) are a good starting point. You can also use the Housing in Bahrain section of this forum to post if you are looking for a place to rent in Bahrain or share.

As you will see when you start looking for properties, most places come fully furnished, however there are places that are semi-furnished or not-furnished. The rent usually includes the bills such as water, electricity and municipality tax so you don't have to worry about them. However, if you come across any property that doesn't include these, please ask them to be included. The key-point here is you can always bargain for what you need. Never be afraid to ask for an extra, such as satellite, Internet or more to be included in the rental amount.

Where is the best place to live in Bahrain?
This is probably the most commonly asked question in the forum. There are many different areas to live in Bahrain and each one of them suits to a different lifestyle. It is best to think whether you would like to be close to your office, the causeway to Saudi or close to all pubs and bars, or something else, and then make your house-hunting based on that. Below are some of the most popular places chosen by expats and their reasons of choosing these places?

Amwaj Islands: Located in the north-east of Bahrain, in Muharraq area, very close to the Airport. Amwaj Islands consists of a number of man-made islands. If you want to be close to the beach and enjoy living as part of a mostly western, then Amwaj Islands are for you. Amwaj is also great if you have dogs as they can play on the beach (clean up their mess) and the properties have gardens.In addition to residential areas, Amwaj Islands include number of bars and an up-market grocery store (Waitrose). The rents here are above average. If you are planning to live in Bahrain and work in Saudi Arabia (as most expats do), this place is not for you as it is right at the opposite end of Bahrain (Saudi Arabia is connected to the north-west border of Bahrain by a bridge).

Juffair / Adliya: These 2 places are located in the east of Bahrain and again, mostly occupied by expats. Juffair has more people from the United States while Adliya has more people from the United Kingdom and this has an impact on the culture of both areas. Juffair has the largest United States navy-base in the region. Both Juffair and Adliya has huge number of cafes, bars and restaurants. If you have an active lifestyle and you enjoy going out late in the evening, visiting bars and clubs and enjoy eating out, then these places are for you. The rents in Juffair and Adliya are relatively cheap compared to Amwaj Islands and Seef.

Seef / Reef Island: Seef and nearby Reef Island are one of the latest developments in Bahrain. Mostly consists of tower blocks and skyscrapers, these areas are targeting the high-earners of Bahrain. Some of the known buildings in Seef are Era Tower (the tallest building in Bahrain, residential building made of 50 floors), Abraj Lulu (3 residential towers facing each other), Ritz Carlton hotel and its compound, and the 2 biggest shopping malls (Bahrain City Centre mall and Seef Mall) in Bahrain. Seef used to house the iconic Pearl Roundabout where the centre of uprising and protests happened in 2011. Abraj Lulu towers were once the most expensive buildings in Bahrain but the impact of the protests (which happened right next to these towers, on Pearl Roundabout) can be seen in the rental prices on Abraj Lulu towers. Still, Seef has one of the most expensive rental market in Bahrain, a typical one bedroom flat will cost you somewhere between 450 - 550 and a 2 bedroom flat between 600 - 800 BD, depending on the building you choose to live.

Saar: Saar is close to the Saudi Causeway and is a lovely area to live. The community is very mixed, made up of English, American, Indian and Pakistani. The properties are also varied ranging from huge private villa's to small one bedroom flats. The rent in Saar is very reasonable.

Saar cinema is the centre of the community and plays films in many languages and with subtitles.

Saar has 2 Expat clubs, The Dilmun Club and for the families who love their sports Saar also has the Rugby Football Club. In addition Saar also has many gyms, a dance school and numerous ladies salons.

Schooling in Bahrain
There are numerous schools in Bahrain that you can choose from. You do have to contact the schools as soon as you start thinking about moving here though as they fill up very quickly. There is nothing more stressful for a parent than moving house and not being able to find a good school for their child.

There are schools for every nationality and there are a lot of bus companies that collect your child from home and deliver them to the school safely. They will also collect your child from school and drop them home at the end of the day. Most of the bus companies also offer a late collection twice a week to cover after school activities. This is included in the monthly fee. Visit the List of educational institutions in Bahrain to see the list of schools.

Fees for the top end schools vary between 1,300BD and 1,700BD per term depending on age of child

Can I drive in Bahrain?
If you have your driving license issued from the European Union countries (including the United Kingdom), the United States and Australia, you can easily convert your license to a Bahraini one once you are in Bahrain. However if your driving license from India, Pakistan or number of other countries, you will need to take the entire course for driving license and then will need to take the exam. This process is extremely painful and cumbersome, so if you live in a country where you can convert your license to a Bahraini one, we would highly recommend you getting your license before you move to Bahrain. If you already have the license, have them converted to an International license if possible.

Is there a public transport in Bahrain?
Short answer is, yes but extremely limited. Long answer is, yes there are buses in Bahrain but serving only certain areas of the country and they are not reliable and not very frequent. Majority of the people who are in need of a transport use taxis in Bahrain, if they can't drive. You can call Speedy Taxi or Bahrain Taxi and give them your full address. They will come to your address and give you a call once the taxi is there. It is a good idea to speak to your employer about this before you arrive, they may be able to organise a lift to work from a colleague.

Flights to and from Bahrain
There is only one airport in Bahrain and it is called Bahrain International Airport. The airport is small and very convenient, however the quality of service and facilities after passport control are limited compared to other major airports in the world. The national airline of Bahrain is Gulf Air, flying many destinations in the Middle East and key destinations across the world. In addition to Gulf Air, many major airlines have direct or routed flights to Bahrain, such as Emirates, British Airways, Qatar Airways, KLM, Royal Jordanian, Turkish Airlines and many more.

If you are coming to Bahrain for the first time as a result of a new job, you will enter into the different queue, clearly marked as LMRA. Here, the border officer will take your photo (make sure you look good on this as this photo will be in the government database and this will be printed onto your CPR and/or driving license and many other documents. You will also be given an appointment for your health checks in Bahrain. Please ensure you keep this document safely as you will need this document during your health checks. Your employer will also ask for a copy of this document.

If you are coming to Bahrain for the first time and don't yet have your work visa or CPR you will have to fill in a disembarkation card. Most airlines hand this out on the airplane, if not then you will find them in customs. Depending on your nationality you can only remain in Bahrain for a short while on a “visit visa” then you have to leave Bahrain and come back to get it renewed. You second entry into Bahrain can be refused by customs.

Once you left the airport, right after you leave the building, you will see taxis in the queue. Taxi to Amwaj will cost about 5BD, to Seef / Juffair will be about 7 BD, to Saar will be about 10BD. You can give a tip to the taxi driver if you are happy with his service. I usually round it up to the next half BD (or to the full BD if I am in a good mood - it's your call). If you give them a good tip, they might help you carrying your luggage, however this is not guaranteed. Also only get into a taxi that has a meter. A taxi without a meter is illegal in Bahrain and the driver is probably not licenced and not trustworthy.

Please note especially if you are coming from a country where drivers are respectful to the traffic regulations, you will be surprised (or shocked) by some of the actions some drivers take. Don't panic when someone doesn't stop on the red light. Just keep calm until you get home.

Because it is a small airport, usually you do not have to be at the airport too early, otherwise you will have to wait a long time. But during busy times such as public holidays or weekends, it is better to be there early.

I am in Bahrain. Now what?
Usually companies put their employees to a temporary accommodation for a month or so until they find their permanent residence (refer to the sections above with regards to finding a property in Bahrain). In Bahrain it is common practice to pay 3 months rent in advance and then pay no rent for 3 months. This is so the landlord can do any repairs or maintenance to the property before you move in. Do not sign a property contract until the repairs and completed and the property cleaned to your standards.

I am hungry. Where can I order food from?
There are many restaurants in Bahrain that also does home delivery. Visit Bahrain Menus and download the menus of the restaurants you would like to order food from. Inside the menus, you will also find their phone numbers. You will need to give your address to them and your phone number so make sure you have them in hand before calling them. Most restaurants store these details in their database so next time you call, you don't have to give these details again as they will see which phone number you are calling from and get its address from it.

For first time orders expect to be called back by the restaurant 4 or 5 times. This is to clarify your address and make sure they know exactly where you live. They do not like the delivery men to take too long to get to you as the food will start to go cold.

Shopping in Bahrain

Bahrain City Centre

Bahrain is filled to the brim with hypermarkets and shopping Malls. In my personal opinion there are way too many.

Food Shopping: I am giving a very basic guide to food shopping and again this in my personal opinion. Best places for pork are Waitrose and Alosra. Alosra sausages are awful though and taste like washing up liquid. Waitrose is slightly more expensive but the quality is perfect.

Al-Jazeera also has a pork section but those hypermarkets are very dirty and personally I avoid them.

For everyday shopping Lulu hypermarkets are fantastic - their roasted chicken on the hot counter is lovely. Their fresh fruit, veg, fish and meat are excellent too.

Geant hypermarket also is well known for their fresh produce (inside Bahrain Mall)

Carrefour hypermarket is huge (inside City Centre Mall) but their fresh produce is awful and is usually ruined/gone off by the time you get home. The fish and meat counters have a very strong smell and everyone knows that fresh fish and meat should have no smell to it.

All hypermarkets stock wheat free produce and organic foodstuffs for people with specific dietary needs so don't worry that you won't be able to buy what you need.

There are a lot of market stall holders selling fruit and veg on the side of the road. Visit quite a few before you make up your mind. Where I live in Saar there are quite a few of these stalls but only one has freshly picked produce every day.

Clothes Shopping and General Shopping: City Centre Mall has 3 floors of shops that can keep you busy for days. On the top floor there is also a huge cinema, a waterpark, tenpin bowling and a huge food court.

Seef Mall is smaller and has a good variety of shops and a food court and 2 cinemas

Bahrain Mall is quite small in comparison but again has a food court and a lot of nice shops (also has a post office)

Dana Mall has a cinema, lulu hypermarket and a few shops. A lot of the Mall has empty shops

Moda Mall is the designer boutique Mall where you can find all your designer clothes and accessories.

There are many, many more Malls in Bahrain and I've only covered a few in the centre.

If you have any further questions about shopping, visit Shopping in Bahrain forum to see previously asked questions or create a new topic for yourself if your question has not been answered before.

Is alcohol legal in Bahrain?
Short answer is, yes. Long answer is, when it comes to consuming alcohol, Bahrain is probably the most accepting country in the region. Buying and storing alcohol is completely legal and you do not need any special permission to do so. There are limited places to buy alcohol but the cheapest place to buy alcohol would be the duty-free shop at the airport. At Bahrain Airport, you can buy 1 litre of alcohol + 12 cans of beer and 400 cigarettes per person and we recommend doing so if you are a drinker because the price of alcohol in the country is relatively expensive.

You will not be able to buy alcohol in supermarkets or corner-shops, however there are number of places that are licensed to retail alcohol. The places where you can buy alcohol are: Gulf Brands International, African & Eastern and BMMI. These companies also deliver which is useful if you do not drive or work long hours. In addition to those, most bars, clubs and restaurants sell alcohol but nearly all of them has to be as part of hotels. Outside hotels and clubs, it is almost impossible to find alcohol.

Despite the fact that alcohol is legal, you are not allowed to drink alcohol on the streets or in public areas except the ones mentioned above. Being drunk in public places is also not legal but can potentially cause an issue if you are disturbing others. So, always be respectful to each other and drink responsibly.

One other thing to note is that gents can't get into some nightclubs without a female companion. May be worthwhile making friends with the ladies if you wish to go clubbing or make yourself known to the entry staff and be good friends with them.

I need a new mobile number. Where can I get one?
The biggest mobile network operators in Bahrain are Batelco, Zain and VIVA. They offer numerous packages for different needs. In Bahrain, packages are split as post-pay (contract) or pre-pay (pay-as-you-go). If you are going to get a post-pay package, you will need your CPR number. Otherwise, you can get a pre-pay account with your passport. The pre paid sims have a lot of packages that can be applied. For example with Batelco, if you have a Blackberry you can pay 10BD a month and have unlimited data. This is done by having enough credit on your phone and sending a text with ABBU to 4554 (to activate) then monthly when you top your phone up you text RBBU to 4554 (to renew) whichever phone company you choose to join make sure you ask them about all the packages available. Write them all down and make good use of them.

Gay community in Bahrain
As with every country in the region, homosexuality is illegal and any activities that represent homosexuality in public places should strictly be avoided. Although this said, it is very common to see men walking along holding hands, hugging each other and kissing on the cheeks. This is not homosexuality, this is mutual respect and friendship. There are places where gay community hang out but again, these places cannot advertise themselves as gay-friendly.

Community clubs in Bahrain
There are number of members-only clubs in Bahrain. Some of them are members only while others are open for all. Some of the most popular clubs are below:
- British Club
- Dilmun Club
- Rugby Football Club
- Country Club
- Coral Bay
- Yacht Club

I have more questions
Sure, please create a new topic in Bahrain forum and feel free to ask your questions. We will do our best to help.

Countless hours have been spent for the creation of this article and we got advice from many of our friends made via this forum. But, most importantly, I wouldn't have been able to create this article without Josnuggles' help. She contributed to every subject of this article and shared her knowledge and experience. I also thank Julien for providing such an amazing platform for us all expats to share and learn from each others' experience.

I hope you enjoyed our article and it answered some of the questions you may have in mind about Bahrain.

Thank you for reading.

It's really great guide and will be very helpful for the people who wants to move to Bahrain.

Special thanks to both of you, Josnuggles and Brightonguy.

PS : It's better to change this postings status to sticky, if you don't mind.

Hi Jo,

An excellent piece of work by any standards. You are to be congratulated for your effort.

I don't know if you had already seen my "Gringo's Survival Guide for Brazil" and got the idea from there or not, but this is exactly what I have been suggesting Animators do for a very long time now. Regardless of where the idea came from it doesn't take away from the good you've done for the entire expat community. Not one little bit.

I can see that you too have the Expat-blog Spirit deeply engrained within your soul and that the choice to have you join our ranks was right on the mark.

On behalf of the entire Animation Team, deepest thanks. Hope to see more of these terrific things coming from your corner of the world.

Warmest regards,
William James Woodward - Brazil Animator (but to you, just James your buddy)

Hello William,

Thanks for your lovely comments. To be honest I haven't seen your guide before. I started to write this guide about 3 weeks ago but then decided to ask Jo as well as her contributions to the forum have been valuable. We then worked together on a shared document, amended the content almost on a daily basis - and this has been the outcome. In addition to Jo and I, there have been many friends who suggested topics to include into the article so it evolved to this final version.

I believe the best thing about this article will be a guide for expats to follow. We wanted to maintain a hierarchy of events in the same order as they will happen if you are thinking of moving to Bahrain, so someone can follow it as a step-by-step guide.

brightonguy and Jo

thanks for a great effort


Nawafo wrote:

brightonguy and Jo

thanks for a great effort


Thanks Nawaf

It's been hard work but very rewarding

Jo & Brightonguy ... You have done a great job, very well done  :thanks::one

Very Helpful, Thanks

Great information jo and brightonguy, thanks for your effort, I'm sure many will find it very helpful as there is not a lot of info out there about moving to Bahrain.

Thanks silver :)

As you have recently completed your move to Bahrain, don't hesitate to get in touch with Jo or I if you need to have any further information added to the guide. We already have a few additions in-mind but we're always welcome to creative ideas.

Waw... Great... sooo much in detail..... :o

Thanks ;)

Couldn't agree more - A very well written guide by Jo & Brightonguy
(they deserve alot of credit for this - Julien, can we have a clapping icon please :D ) You can tell by the views it gets too, one of the highest. ;)

I feel Bahrain is up there along with other last ;)
Well done Jo & Brightonguy!

jazzy851 wrote:

Couldn't agree more - A very well written guide by Jo & Brightonguy
(they deserve alot of credit for this - Julien, can we have a clapping icon please :D ) You can tell by the views it gets too, one of the highest. ;)

I feel Bahrain is up there along with other last ;)
Well done Jo & Brightonguy!

Thanks Jazzy,

You have been a great help on the forum to many people too and this is one of the reasons this website works so well, thanks for all your efforts

Jo & B, thanks a bunch, this is a very very useful article. I will be moving  to Bahrain early September, and this article has addressed most of the questions I had in mind as well as a heads up on what to expect and things to prioritise.



mohok wrote:

Jo & B, thanks a bunch, this is a very very useful article. I will be moving  to Bahrain early September, and this article has addressed most of the questions I had in mind as well as a heads up on what to expect and things to prioritise.



That's fantastic news.  Glad we could help.

Hope the move goes smoothly for you


Reading comments like this make us think Jo and I have achieved our objective on this article - which was to address the most commonly asked questions while you are considering moving to Bahrain / or when you are in Bahrain.

There are many other questions that could be covered as part of this topic - so we would really appreciate if you have any questions that you think will be suitable for this article. Please note, articles like this should not get into extremely specific situations, but rather it should cover subjects which will be suitable for most.

Once again, thank you all for your appreciation.

millie grazie!really great and helpfull artcle.

Great guide, well done. I've been here for the last year and this guide is still helpful. One thing to note is that I hire a brand new Chevrolet from Adliya car rental for 155bd month. I know many people ask about hiring cars and this was the cheapest I found after many months of research :)
I'm heading to Qatar soon but would like to thank everyone here for such wonderful help whilst I've been here.

this is a really good article and itself shows how much hard work has been done to make stangers familiar with Kingdom of Bahrain. I will surely recommend this. Well done.

Jo & B thanks alot. Such a wonderful and helpful article. I am coming to bahrain at the end of this month

Excellent for a person thinking about moving from Egypt. Thanks

Very thorough guide, that has been very helpful. Thank you.

What are the other information you would like to see in this guide? Do you feel any areas that needs updating? Please let me know and I will do my best updating the guide.

Animal Care, Animal boarding, postal service

Anything else anyone?

You know when the teacher asks if there's any more questions and you raise your hand? well my hand is up! :up::P:lol:

Erm, how about a short few lines on the Emergency services here in Bahrain + numbers? So for example, i didnt know when i first arrived here the traffic police was different to the police.
It would be good to know the emergency number(s) as not all countries have 999 (US have 911) for clarity i feel its worth publishing the Bahrain one for the newbies...

I dont want to go too indepth with this, however i stumbled across this website that may be worth putting up ? What your thoughts?

If you choose to list it, it can be summarized..

Link for Emergency helplines in Bahrain

Hope this is ok and others will find it useful?

Thanks Jo and Brightonguy for keeping the Bahrain guide up to date and useful for others..

best of luck.. :)

Jaz :top:

Really these information are amazing and fully illustrating every hint and point to those living in Bahrain and new expats

MaNY Thanks   to both of you, Josnuggles an :heart: d Brightonguy..I :heart:  have been living in Bahrain for 25 years but new some more facts for the first time at least in the eyes of others.

Accept all my best regards and my willingness to help any body any time  for free

Thanks advisor. Really appreciate it :)

Many thanks dear Brightonguy for your kind quick response

I do think to provide your magnificent site a translated copy of that Guide ( Guide for New Expats)in Arabic .

If you feel it will be interesting just let me know.
I can translate all that topic in few hours perfectly well.

Hello everyone, Is there any update to the guide?  its been a year now.  Or things are more or less same, in terms of cost of living and major rules & regulations?

Things are still the same. There are some missing bits on the guide but in terms of the information provided, it is still the same.

Hi Both,

I just wanted to say thank you, I am addicted to your blog. I think that what you are both doing is invaluable to us newbies and sometimes to the not so newbies!

Big thank you ,


dear Bettyheart,

glad your liking it :) the feeling is mutual, so much useful information. Thanks to everyone for sharing.


real thanks,  very useful.

:) Thanks, great guide and helpful to us.

Preferable if this post goes sticky please.

Hello Superboo,

It is already sticky :)

Stodds wrote:

My boyfriend has just taken a job in Bahrain so this is a very useful guide for me. Thank you! I would appreciate an additional section about unmarried couples though - I'm conscious that extra marital relations are illegal but i would like some insight as to how strictly they uphold that law.

Lots of unmarried couples live together, it isn't supposed to happen but it does. Problem is your boyfriend can't sponsor you to live here so you will have to remain on a visit visa or get yourself sponsored by getting a job or going to college (or getting married)

Thank you for the great effort,

Kindly allow me to inquire about how to figure out company or sponsor creditability,

Sponsors commitment? Company Size? etc.

As this is a very know issue in Saudi Arabia.

Thank you