Bahrain’s life revolves around water, and the country offers the mix of both Arab and Persian culture as history and way of its people. Initially, the economy of Bahrain thrived on pearl diving and fishing but today, it has boomed because of its vast oil reserves that were tapped into since the 1930s. Now, the prosperous economy of Bahrain is not solely reliant on oil but it has diversified in sectors like education and tourism, evidently making it one of the sought after destinations in the Gulf region.
Bahrain is the site of the ancient Dilmun civilization. It has been famed since antiquity for its pearl fisheries, which were considered the best in the world into the 19th century. Bahrain was one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam, in 628 CE. With a population of over 1.5 million inhabitants, Bahrain is a member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, Arab League, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Gulf Cooperation Council. The country is the third smallest country in Asia only behind Maldives and Singapore.
There are rules you have to play by if you ever find yourself in Bahrain. That’s a no-brainer, because every country has its own rules and regulations, and they protect their culture with these rules.
Below are the ultimate dos and don’ts of Bahrain which tourists and residents must strictly adhere to.
Respect their mosques
If you are to visit a mosque, things get stricter even by native standards out of respect towards the faith. So whatever you do, and however you do it must be in line with the principles, and that includes what you wear and how you wear them. You have to look presentable and no one is allowed to wear sleeveless tops or shorts inside a mosque. While you can wear shoes prior to entering the sacred place, it must be first removed before entry.
Always dress moderately in public
Although there is no mandate about what a man can wear in Bahrain apart from the idea that it has to be neat and clean. Many Bahrainis commonly appear smart-dressed sometimes for this reason.
The faith of Islam can be very strict with regards to clothing in women which concerns the length of the tops and skirts that must be worn. All parts of the body must be covered and women should endeavor to wear clothes that cover their knees.
Do ensure you embrace the culture
The smallest among the Arab countries doesn’t make the country less cultured. The truth is, Bahrain is very concerned about its principles and its culture which is why residents who aren’t natives of the country must be very cautious of the culture of the country and embrace it.
Treat the women with respect
Arab countries are fond of treating their women respectfully and if the natives treat their women respectfully, who are you not to do the same? Always ensure that wherever you are, if you find women around or if you have to deal with them one way or the other, you have to do it with utmost cautiousness.
Do not drink alcohol publicly
Just like every other Muslim country, Bahrain takes public intake of alcohol very seriously. Alcohol is not banned in Bahrain; you can only take it in licensed places and maybe in your private apartment too. Breaking this rule could earn you a week in jail plus a huge amount of money as fine.
Do not drink and drive
Bahrain is one of the few Arab countries that embrace the western culture and alcohol is not entirely banned in the country, except for public places. However, it is not tolerable to drive while you are drunk. This could attract huge punishment ranging from jail term to huge fine, or worst case, it could get you deported.
Do not disrespect the month of Ramadan
Being a Muslim country, the month of Ramadan is a big deal to the Bahrainis and such month shouldn’t be disrespected if you practice other religion. The month of Ramadan is the holy month and Muslims are expected to fast during the period from dawn to sunset. During these hours, restaurants will be closed and will only open when the fast ends for the day at sunset. It is very wise not to eat in public during these hours as it will be seen as a disrespectful act towards the holy month and this will be heavily frowned upon. The best place to eat during this period is your own apartment, and ensure you eat far away from a Muslim coworker.