Bahrain at a Glance
Bahrain – which means “Two Seas” – was once viewed by the ancient Sumerians as an Island Paradise to which the wise and the brave were taken to enjoy eternal life. Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 islands in the Arabian Gulf, situated between Saudi Arabia’s east coast and the Qatar peninsula. It was one of the first states in the Gulf to discover oil and to build a refinery. Until independence in 1971, Bahrain was virtually a British protectorate. The country has been headed since 1783 by Al Khalifa Family, the present Head of Kingdom is His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Six months validity passport is required by all. Visas are required by all except nationals of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE. Other passport holders should apply for a visa in advance at the nearest Bahrain Embassy. The visa fees vary depending on length of stay.
Official Title: Kingdom of Bahrain
National Day: December 16
Population: 1,234, 596 (UN, 2010)
Area: 717 sq km (277 sq miles)
Language: Arabic is official, English, Urdu, Farsi are widely used
Religion: Major is Islam but other faith are respected
Currency: Bahraini Dinar
Exchange Rate: $1 = BD 0.378 or BD1 = $2.65 (Fixed)
Currency can be exchanged at Airport, Banks and Exchange houses. Presently there are no restrictions on currency movement in or out of the country. Credit cards are widely accepted. Most Bahrain businesses work a five and a half day week, from Saturday to Thursday, with Friday the weekly holiday.