15 of the best activities to enjoy throughout the summer in Bahrain
Time Out Bahrain staff
Cool Bahrain, temperature-wise, seems a rather absurd concept, especially as the thermometer has already hit the high 30s this year. And we all know that it’s just going to get hotter as we go deeper into the summer. But for those of you who don’t have the opportunity to escape to cooler climes, all is not lost – you don’t actually have to go into hibernation for the summer months to escape the sizzling heat.
As we discovered, Bahrain has plenty of activities and venues to keep you feeling fresh throughout the scorching summer months.
Enter the ice igloo: We’re not suggesting that you go to the freezing extremes of submerging yourself in an ice bath, but a visit to the ice igloo at Al Areen Palace & Spa can potentially reduce swelling and decrease tissue breakdown, even helping to flush out harmful toxins from the body as well as cool you down. Part of the 10,000 sq m spa, which lays claim to being the largest in the Middle East, the ice igloo is a refrigerated cavern complete with buckets of crushed ice, which you’re welcome to spread over yourselves to keep cool. Beneficial or biting cold? Try it and decide. Al Areen Palace & Spa (17 845 081).
Grab your skates: You could be forgiven for thinking that ice skating would be a sport you would have to forgo in Bahrain. Thankfully this isn’t the case, and Funland on the Al Fateh Corniche provides the perfect ice skating venue. What better way to keep cool could there be than gliding and sliding along the ice? Ice hockey is also played at the rink for those that prefer something a bit more daring. Funland (17 292 313).
Visit an ice factory: Anyone who has hosted an impromptu get-together and needed lots of ice in a hurry may well know about this place – an instant cool-down courtesy of the Bahrain Ice & Drinking Water factory in Adari. It boasts its own well, distillation plant and a colossal freezer which stores gigantic blocks of ice. After being transferred to a crushing machine, the ice is ready for use and is delivered directly to your cool box by means of a chute in the outside wall of the factory. Great for a party or filling up a bath tub and jumping in, if you’re really looking to beat the heat. Bahrain Ice & Drinking Water factory (17 400 460 or 17 400 468), 500 fils per block of ice.
Bowl them over: Competition may be hot in 10-pin bowling; however, the inside temperatures of Bahrain’s 10-pin bowling alleys are always perfectly controlled with air conditioning. If you’re looking for some indoor recreation during the blistering summer months, try booking a lane where excitement strikes every time. Magic Planet, Bahrain City Centre (17 173 116) or Funland (17 292 313).
Jazz it up: Chill out at Muju’s unique jazzy brunch, every Friday from noon-5pm. An array of guest DJs and musicians adds an extra touch to the informal and relaxed surroundings, and the spectacular sea views are not to be missed. Muju Restaurant & Lounge (16 039 800).
Meet the artists: Escape the scorching sun by heading indoors and brushing up on your art skills at the same time. Al Riwaq in Adliya is a gem of a studio and has recently been refurbished. It regularly hosts exhibitions, workshops, talks and debates, film screenings and meetings for the art communities and patrons. Bahrain Writers’ Circle have their monthly meetings here, and on June 28 there will be a Bahraini Artists mixed exhibition showcasing some of the island’s best known talents. Al Riwaq also hosts Art Matters classes for kids in Seef Mall, running until July 15. Al Riwaq gallery (17 717 441).
Surprise yourself in the mall: You will be surprised if you head to Seef Mall for its special Seef Summer Surprises event, running until July 15. There are a number of family activities to enjoy here every day, such a magic shows, egg and spoon races, art sessions and live DJs, and also a raffle – get a ticket for every BD20 you spend. The events take place Sun-Thu 4pm-8pm; Fri-Sat 10am-noon, 4pm-8pm. Or head to Bahrain City Centre and join the City Walkers as they power-walk around the AC-cool of the mall. These sessions take place every Saturday, Monday and Wednesday from 9am-10am. Bahrain City Centre (17 177 771), Seef Mall (17 582 888).
Escape to an island: Bahrain may not be well known for its beachlife, but Al Dar counters that. Just 20 minutes’ drive from Manama to Sitra fisherman’s port and a short 10-minute water taxi ride, Al Dar is the nearest island getaway in Bahrain. With its brand new chalets, it’s a great place to have fun and unwind for the whole weekend, or simply for a day trip away from the city. A range of activities are on offer to get you into the water, including pearl collecting, fishing, snorkelling and dolphin watching. Or simply opt for a refreshing dip in the sea and a soothing chilled drink and snack at the Al Dar restaurant. Al Dar Islands (17 704 600). Photo ID is needed for the coastguard, and there’s now a strict limit of 150 people per day.
Take a dip: Located on the Al Fateh Corniche, Coral Bay (formerly Beach Club) is the perfect place to spend your day. The sea lapping against the shores of the private beach, or the chilled fresh water swimming pool with its swim-up bar, are the ideal spots to relax. Plenty of watersports are on offer too, including boating and jet skiing, and there are a number of international and Lebanese dining options to try once you’ve worked up an appetite, all of course with an exceptional sea view. Coral Bay (17 312 700).
Try the new aqua spa: Due to open at the end of the month is the thalassic spa at the new Sofitel resort in Zallaq. What makes this venue stand out from the many that already pamper us in Bahrain is that it’s the first in the GCC to offer thalassotherapy – treatment using sea water. The spa complex is extensive and features 14 treatment rooms and a seawater hydrotherapy pool among other luxuries. Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa (17 636 363).
Work out in the water: This ladies-only aqua aerobics class should really be termed ‘aqua pump’. The 45-minute class gets you moving with the lively music, gets your muscles working with the resistance training, and gets your heart racing with the continual cardio routines, all in the confines of the newly opened Royal Country Club. Cost is BD3 per class for members/Riffa Views residents, BD4 per class for non-members. Call for further details and class timinings. Royal Country Club (17 750 777).
Hit the track: The new karting track at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) is open until 10pm, which means after the sun goes down the gloves and helmet come on, and you can savour the thrill of tearing round corners in the dark. There is more of an incentive to go fast too, to get more of that cold breeze rushing over you, cooling you down. The track is CIK approved (karting commission of the FIA) to Category A – which means it employs the highest safety standards possible. Peace of mind, especially if you have never tried karting of this calibre before. Bahrain International Circuit (17 450 000; www.bahraingp.com).
Take a swing: Golfing at night at the Royal Golf Club, with wavering shadows cast by the rolling fairways, adds a whole new dimension to the game. Hi-tech floodlights installed on the back nine holes of the club’s Montgomerie course, and across the whole of the par 3 Wee Monty course, means there is little chance of losing your ball – and generally, you can escape the heat and the crowds at the same time. Monday Madness night golf is a weekly event intended for more competitive golfers, and nearly always fully booked, so be sure to call in advance. Cost to take part, if you do get a spot, is BD20. The Royal Golf Club (17 750 777).
Discover new rides: In addition to the established thrills and spills, the Lost Paradise of Dilmun waterpark has a number of new attractions this year. Launch one of the all new, motorised Battle Boats and bash and bump into your friends and family. Or run, roll, flip and spin on the water without getting wet in one of the brand new Water Walkerz. For those brave enough to work up a sweat before reveling in a cooling dip, why not challenge yourself to the new climbing wall? Lost Paradise of Dilmun Waterpark (17 845 100).
Go to surf school: The Wahooo! surf school will be in session throughout June and July, suitable for kids aged eight years and above. As well as the larger surf boards, the school will also teach the use of smaller Florider body boards, and all the tricks and turns that go with them. Popular with kids, the park also offers the surf school as an option for corporate team-bonding sessions, and will even provide catering. Call for details. Wahooo!, Bahrain City Centre (17 173 000).