Society

With a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-denominational society, along with a low cost of living, excellent education facilities offering curricula from around the world and high-quality healthcare, Bahrain is an attractive destination for expat families.

The Kingdom provides a holiday destination on your doorstep boasting an archipelago of 33 islands, a cosmopolitan capital city, an attractive liberal lifestyle and a rich history and culture: from historic monuments such as the Al Khamis Mosque, dating back to 692 A.D, to one of the most modern Formula One racetracks in the world at the Bahrain International Circuit.

By sea, you can sail, dolphin watch, fish, scuba dive or kite surf. On land, there are gyms, horse riding stables and sports clubs, including rugby, tennis, soccer, cricket and basketball. Furthermore, our Royal Golf Club, designed by international champion Colin Montgomerie, is a unique attraction.

In sport, our facilities are world-class. We are the home of Formula One in the Gulf, becoming the first Middle Eastern country to host a Grand Prix in 2004, and hosting the season’s opening race in 2010.

Social Etiquette

 Do I need to speak Arabic?

Not really, although learning a few Arabic words would be helpful. English is our main business language, and it is commonly spoken outside work, in all retail stores and services.

Is there much crime?

No. The crime rate is low and violent crime is rare.

Do women have to follow a dress code?

No. Women can dress as they wish, although it is polite to dress modestly in public.

Is Bahrain a conservative place?

Bahrain is known in the Gulf for being open and tolerant. Bahraini men and women socialize and congregate at local cafes and restaurants. Expatriates mix with Bahraini nationals across all social settings. And people from all over the Gulf come here to relax.

Should I be aware of any food and beverage restrictions?

Although Muslim Bahrainis generally do not eat pork or drink alcohol, supermarkets sell pork and you can buy alcohol from licensed stores, and it is available in hotels and restaurants.

Just how hot does it get?

The average temperature during summer is 37- 40°C — however most outdoor locations have shade and buildings are climate controlled. Temperatures are milder between October and May.

Can I play sport?

Sport is a major cultural pastime in Bahrain, with facilities including driving, golf, horse riding, rugby, tennis, sailing, soccer, cricket and basketball. Private resorts and clubs have beaches and pools for men and women to swim.

Living Costs

 You can choose from a range of high-quality housing at competitive rents. Utility prices are low, as are school fees and transportation.

Indices and Price Data for Bahrain vs other GCC countries:

Base city Destination cities
Bahrain Manama Abu Dhabi Doha Dubai Kuwait City Riyadh
(01 Sep 2012) (01 Sep 2012) (01 Sep 2012) (01 Sep 2012) (01 Sep 2012) (01 Sep 2012)
Mean Mean High Mean High Mean High Mean High Mean High
General index 100 115 143 96 118 110 138 100 115 94 119
Food 100 126 148 128 163 129 166 114 133 77 97
Alcohol 100 109 114 120 144 120 148
Householdsupplies 100 123 142 101 127 137 180 116 139 109 141
Personal care 100 127 163 72 96 91 123 100 132 104 144
Tobacco 100 104 104 109 134 106 129 106 106 113 153
Utilities 100 181 254 105 121 190 231 67 72 120 141
Clothing 100 120 201 70 102 79 115 120 149 112 182
Domestic help 100 59 59 81 81 70 70 52 52 92 92
Recreation 100 103 123 93 107 127 155 85 94 134 151
Transport 100 113 132 86 96 91 106 98 109 74 83
Source, EIU Cost of living indices and price data

Work & Employment

 In order to hire any foreign employee, an investor is required to obtain a work permit and residence permit for each expatriate employee. Work permits for expatriate employees are issued by the Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA).

Bahrainisation requirements apply to companies who hire ten or more expatriates. This requirement is unique to each business activity and can be viewed in LMRA’s website.

Travel & Connectivity

 Situated at the centre of the Gulf, Bahrain is well connected to the whole of the Middle East, and well positioned for travelling either to the West or the East.

Within the Gulf, Saudi Arabia is only an hour drive across the causeway, with its Riyadh commercial hub just four hours away, and Kuwait only four hours away. Destinations such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat or Doha are all just a short flight. Furthermore, within five years the new 45km ‘Friendship Causeway’ to Qatar will be built.

Our world-class Bahrain International Airport has links to more than 50 destinations worldwide, with more than 40 airlines operating flights to all the main international hubs. Gulf Air, our national carrier, operates more than 250 flights a week to Gulf destinations.

Looking to the future, we are expanding the airport, adding to its passenger and freight capacity. By 2014, passenger capacity will expand to 15 million a year, with plans in place for this to reach 27 million by 2038. The airport’s cargo facility is also set to expand to a capacity of one million tons per annum – a level comparable with London’s Heathrow Airport.

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