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Driving and Public Transports in Bahrain

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.

Written by brightonguy and Josnuggles.

Last update on 18 February 2013 10:36:11

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