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Bahrain Guide

Driving

The Kingdom of Bahrain, comprising 33 islands in the Persian Gulf, may seem tiny when compared to neighbouring countries. But what the archipelago lacks in size, it clearly makes up for in wealth. It is, after all, one of the first Arab countries to have struck oil in this oil-rich region. Visiting the north to see the Qala'at al-Bahrain (Bahrain Fort) is highly recommended, as is seeing the centrally located Tree of Life, a huge single tree living in the middle of the arid desert.

Driving Tips for Bahrain

Roads are generally safe and in good condition. This is especially true for the more developed northern third of the main island where motorways and major roads have four to six lanes and are well maintained. In the older parts of Manama and Muharraq, however, roads can be narrow with a lot of twists and turns.

Driving licences: holders of a valid UK driving licence can drive here for up to three months, while an International Driving Permit allows visitors to drive here for up to one year.

Which side does Bahrain drive on: the right.

Speed limits:
Motorways: 62mph (100kph)
Other areas: 31mph (50kph) to 50mph (80kph)

Alcohol limits: nil compared with the UK's 0.08 per cent limit. Offenders may face imprisonment, a fine or a travel ban.

Driving age: 18 years.

Seatbelts: mandatory for the driver and front seat passenger.

Mobile phones and GPS: driving while taking a phone call is illegal. Using a hands-free kit, however, is allowed. The use of GPS is encouraged as many roads lack signage.

Cost of fuel in Bahrain: petrol and diesel are significantly cheaper here than in the UK, as in all the countries belonging to the Gulf States.

Car hire and fuel payment: many petrol stations accept payments via major international credit cards. Car hire can also be paid for by credit card.

Insurance: car hire companies usually include insurance as well as offer excess insurance. It is best to check if the insurance coverage has restrictions or limitations.

Traffic and parking: parking is available at a number of parking lots and meters; charges can be paid in cash or by credit card.


Transport

Taxis
Official metered taxis are identified by their blue-and-orange colour. Fares begin at £1.60. Although cabs are metered, drivers may sometimes insist the meter is broken or damaged. Visitors are sometimes quoted exorbitant prices. Agreeing on a fare is strongly advised before getting in the cab. Rides within the capital city of Manama typically cost between £5 and £8. The most popular and most reliable taxi operators in the kingdom include Bahrain Taxi Online, SMS Radio-Meter Taxi and Bahrain Limo.

Buses
Public buses run to and from the major towns and are the most economical means of getting around the country. The minimum fare is affordable at only £0.30 per ride. The main bus terminal is Manama Bus Station, situated along Government Avenue. Secondary stations are located in Muharraq, Isa Town and Riffa. Services from Manama run from 06:00 to 21:00. Visitors are advised to carefully study the routes and timetables as they can be confusing for the uninitiated.

Ferries
The three main ports of Bahrain are Mina Manama, Mina Salman and Mina Muharraq. There are passenger ferries linking Bushehr in Iran to Manama in Bahrain. The ride takes 16 hours and costs around £56, including two meals. The ferries are run by Valfajr 8 Shipping Company. Cruises on the Red Sea and the Gulf also call at Bahrain. Travel to the smaller islands requires chartering a traditional boat, called a dhow, or a motorboat.

Airports
Bahrain occupies a small territory and the main gateway, Bahrain International Airport, is the only airport worth noting here. It is located on Muharraq Island, a little over four miles from the capital of Manama. It receives a number of flights from the rest of the Middle East, Asia and Europe. National carrier Gulf Air has regular flights to and from London-Heathrow, as does British Airways.

Explore

Exploring Bahrain

The Kingdom of Bahrain is comprised of 33 islands which are scattered in a small area of the Persian Gulf. Most attractions here are easy to access, especially by car.

One of the main attractions is the Qala'at al-Bahrain or the Bahrain Fort, just five to 10 minutes’ drive from Manama. This stunning 16th century fort has been restored to its former grandeur and is definitely worth a visit.

Another attraction, which is really more of a curiosity, is what locals call the Tree of Life. This large centrally located tree beguiles all those who come upon it precisely because it is able to live in the middle of an arid desert wasteland.

Driving over the engineering marvel that is the King Fahd Causeway is an experience in itself. The bridge connects Bahrain to Saudi Arabia via a 75-foot wide, 16-mile long road which crosses the waterway that separates the two countries.

Pearls are a huge industry in Bahrain and the production of them sustained the country before the discovery of oil. They have since earned some merchant houses, stores and mosques of Muharraq City UNESCO World Heritage status. Visitors can learn about the history of pearl farming in the country at the Bahrain National Museum.

Weather

Bahrain belongs to a region that is particularly dry and arid. Temperatures in summer (April to October) can be unbearable, rising to 48°C at times. A hot and dry southwest wind blows sand clouds into Manama during the summer season, bringing heat haze. Winter (December to March) sees temperatures drop to 10°C. The most pleasant times to visit are February to April and October to December when the weather is not too extreme. There is no haze or stifling heat to hamper an enjoyable time in the kingdom.

Frequently asked questions

Is Carrentals.co.uk the cheapest? Yes, we offer a guarantee of the lowest price - because we compare various retailers, we can always offer you the best price in town. What do I need to do when picking up a car? To pick up your car, you will need your voucher, passport, driver's license and a credit card. It is very important that your driver's license and credit card are in the same name as the main driver. Keep in mind that the local rental company will reserve a certain amount on your credit card as a deposit. This requires the PIN code for your credit card. If your driver's license is foreign (for example, in Chinese), you must bring a translation with you. Only your original passport and driver's license will be accepted - a copy is not sufficient. Are there any additional costs? In general, our rates are all-inclusive. Should there be any additional costs, our booking department will get in touch with you before issuing the invoice. Should you object, you can always cancel your reservation with no obligations attached (at least 48 hours in advance). What kind of insurance is applicable to my car rental? In general, Liability Insurance, Fire Insurance, All-Risks Insurance and Theft Insurance are included in the cost of your rental car. What is a worry-free label? This label indicates that a rental car satisfies the following requirements: Unlimited kilometers, no excess liability (and no excess cover available), sustainable energy policy, and that the car rental company has a good reputation. Availability of cars satisfying these four requirements will speed up the selection of a suitable vehicle for you. How can I change or cancel my reservation? You can cancel your reservation through "My Account". We recommend contacting us by phone if your changes to your booking or cancellation takes place at short notice (48 hours or less). When will I get a confirmation of my booking? Most reservations will receive confirmation within minutes after payment takes place. We recommend contacting our Booking Department for last minute reservations (pick-up within 48 hours). Which car rental companies are compared by Carrentals.co.uk? at this location
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