Camel rides, diamond facials, luxury food and more
Time Out Bahrain staff
Never again utter the phrase ‘but there’s nothing to do in Bahrain’. On the contrary the island’s bursting with fun and interesting things to do, see and explore.
So cut this out, pin it to your fridge and make banishment of boredom your mission.
1 Back a winning geegee Well OK you can’t exactly bet on the weekly horse races at the Rashid Equestrian & Horse Racing Club, Sakhir, but you can play forecast the winner and it’s a fun family day out from November to April. (17 442 666).
2 Bring on the banana boat Get together with some pals and head down to Coral Bay for a wild ride on the water. Be warned though, it can hurt like the devil if you come flying off. (17 312 700).
3 Cuddle a camel Yes, we mean that literally. You won’t find camel racing or beauty contests here in Bahrain but it’s still possible to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures. Pay a visit to the Bahrain Camel Farm on the Janaibiya Highway where foreman Karpal Singh will be happy to introduce you to his charges and you can even cuddle the unbelievably cute babies. Don’t be put off by the signs saying ‘private, keep out’, visitors really are welcome. (39 808 574).
4 Discover a wonder Take a dawn or dusk drive to find the Tree of Life, a 400-year-old mesquite tree which flourishes in the desert with no visible means of moisture. It’s about 2km from Jebel Dukan, the island’s highest peak, and is well signposted.
5 Dive for pearls In years gone by much of Bahrain’s wealth came from pearls and it’s still illegal to import the cultured variety so keen is the kingdom on these natural wonders. The Bahrain archipelago has around 400 square miles of historic natural pearl grounds so it’s no surprise that it’s the only place in the world you can undertake the PADI Pearl Diver Programme. It’s a unique course, exclusively run by R&R in Bahrain, whereby divers are educated in the history, ecology, biology and conservation of the natural pearl oyster. After attending a short theory session, divers accompany the professional instructors on two dives in one day, you’re shown how to target and select oysters and it’s finders keepers – you get to keep any pearls you find! The minimum certification requirement is Jnr. PADI Open Water Diver or equivalent rating and the course is BD100 including materials, boat transport, basic equipment rental and PADI certification. (39 671 748).
6 Feel the need for speed Get behind the wheel at Bahrain International Circuit and put the pedal to the metal on a track experience day that gives the chance to drive some seriously fast motors. (17 450 000).
7 Go wreck diving Other than reef diving the Bahrain archipelago offers a number of wreck dives including ships, planes, tugs and barges and you can expect to see all manner of marine life from barracuda and clown fish to whalesharks and even sea cows. For diving trips check out Awali Divers @ the Dilmun Club. (17 690 926).
8 Hit the beach Yes, we know Bahrain’s not exactly known for its abundance of beaches but there are a few, if you know where to look, and for the purposes of adventure, we’d suggest a daybreak barbecue at Jazayir. It’s a long way out but usually quiet early in the morning so worth it. Get on the BIC road, Gulf of Bahrain Avenue, and just keep going.
9 Hop on a Harley Well, the back seat anyway. The Bahrain Harley Owners Group meets at the Harley Davidson showroom on the Budaiya Highway on Friday mornings to ride various routes around the island. No bike? No problem, they’re open to letting associate members ride pillion. (17 599 006). 10 Marvel at grave mounds Amongst Bahrain’s most mysterious ancient remains are the burial mounds that dominate the landscape to the north of the island. Those at A’ali are a must-see for residents and visitors alike. Check out our history feature for more information.
11 Rent a tent Throughout the winter months Bahrain likes nothing better than to take to the desert under canvas, cook up a barbie and have a thoroughly good time. Join the fun. (33 453 474/33 933 855/36 993 937).
12 Ride the wild water To be frank, some of the rides at the Lost Paradise of Dilmun waterpark scare us, but then that’s not hard. Strap on your water wings and have a blast. (17 845 100).
13 Scream on a roller coaster It might not be Ferrari World but Bahrain’s Adhari Park has been eliciting excited squeals from kids and adults for years and it’s still going strong so it must be doing something right. (17 407 300).
14 Smile at a dolphin Bahraini waters are full of interesting wildlife and if, like us, you can’t bear the thought of seeing dolphins performing tricks in an aquarium, you can still get to see these jesters of the deep on a boat trip with Jarada Tours. They can take up to eight people in the boat at a cost of BD40 (total) for the first hour and BD35 each hour after that. (39 643 222).
15 Visit an island OK so we already live on an island, but that’s no good reason to miss out on a trip to Hawar. Take the 45-minute boat trip from the jetty at Ad Dur (take the road past the refinery at Isa Town) and you’ll find an almost desert island which is home to huge colonies of nesting birds, unique wildlife and the very passable Tulip Inn Hotel. (17 849 111).
If you want to experience an absolute desert island then you need a boat trip to Jarada, a sandspit about 18km off the coast of Bahrain which is only visible for a few hours at low tide. Jarada Tours goes there (39 643 222) or you can hire a boat from Coral Bay and take yourself. (17 312 700).
16 Catch a movie Bollywood-style Cineco at Bahrain City Centre, Seef Mall and a couple of other locations shows all the latest blockbusters. But don’t forget to check out the latest offerings fresh from Bollywood at Awal Cinema and there’re plenty of places to grab a bite nearby. (17 274 121).
17 Check out a historical icon Al Khamis Mosque is another ‘must-see’ since it’s the oldest mosque in Bahrain and one of the first to be built in the region with foundations thought to date back to 692AD. It’s recently been partially restored and is easily visible as you drive along Sheikh Salman Road in Khamis.
18 Fortress fun With an island full of history you have to visit at least one of the major forts, pretend to be a medieval soldier or just enjoy having a good look round. Check out our history feature this month.
19 Get crafty Watch local Bahraini craftspeople keeping their traditions, such as basket making and pottery, alive at Capital Mall (17 582 169) and Jasra Handicrafts Centre (17 611 900). Chat to the workers, try your hand at making something and buy something unique to take home.
20 Go plane spotting The Bahrain International Airshow might only happen every other year but it’s worth the wait with aerobatics, family entertainment and some seriously swanky planes on show. The next one’s coming up from January 16-18, 2014.
21 Pick up a pot Bahraini craftsmen still make pots in the old-fashioned way at A’ali Pottery, you can’t miss it, it’s just off Sheikh Zayed Highway and there’s a giant pot outside marking the spot. Go along in the morning and have a good nosy, you’ll see the guys at work and they’re usually happy to chat about what they’re doing.
22 Score free WIFI Getting online’s never been easier with a huge selection of coffee shops, salons and even the airport offering free WIFI. Our favourite spots are New York Coffee Shop in Adliya (17 746 974), because the staff are really lovely, and Krispy Kreme at the Al Murjan Centre in Juffair (17 827 087), a choice which should need no explanation.
23 Start your engines Bahrainis love their cars and, for us expats, the cheap petrol means this is the only place we’ll ever get to drive the gas guzzler of our dreams. Check out some seriously desirable motors at the Bahrain International Motor Show which is coming up at the BIC in December.
24 Take a road trip Admittedly Bahrain doesn’t have much in the way of road-trip territory but if, like us, you love the feel of an open car window with your music blaring, head to Durrat Al Bahrain the development of reclaimed islands at the southern tip of the kingdom. It’s about a 90-minute drive and you’ll be heading through desert landscape a lot of the way and it’s probably the furthest you’ll ever drive in Bahrain.
25 Visit the Grand Mosque You can’t live or visit in Bahrain and not take a tour of the Al Fateh Grand Mosque. Take a tour, learn about the history of Islam and marvel at the amazing architecture of one of the world’s biggest places of worship. It’s open 9am-5pm except Fridays and tours are conducted outside prayer times.
Art & Culture
26 Art for art’s sake For a small island Bahrain certainly bats above its weight in terms of art and culture with yearly festivals and the annual fine art exhibition which takes place in February. These are backed up by a number of galleries which are doing their bit to promote Middle Eastern and particularly Bahraini art. Our favourites are Albareh and Al Riwaq, in Adliya. We’re also rather taken with the new +973 gallery in Zinj which has all manner of locally produced goodies and one-offs. 27 Do it yourself Learn to make jewellery, mosaics and glass bits and pieces – perfect for pressies or keep them yourself. There are classes and walk-in sessions with expert tutors at Studio Ceramics. (17 599 026).
28 Know your history Even if you’re not a history buff, a visit to Bahrain National Museum provides a fascinating insight into the island’s history both ancient and closer to today. The venue also puts on regular visiting art exhibitions, it’s currently hosting Istanbul Modern – Bahrain, a selection from the contemporary and photographic collections of Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. (17 298 714).
29 Navigate a Unesco World Heritage Site Bahrain’s got two and they both demand a visit. The Pearling Trail in Muharraq features several restored houses which tell the story of pearling in the kingdom and Bahraini history. And the Bahrain Fort, or Qal’at al Bahrain, stands on the site of the former capital of the land of Dilmun, see this month’s history feature for further information.
30 Paint the town Always fancied the role of struggling artist but not sure where to start? Try Artology in Saar which has classes for all ages. (39 789 878).
31 The writing’s on the wall If you’re visiting Al Riwaq, take a stroll in the surrounding streets, not only will you find some of the island’s best restaurants but there’s also a good smattering of street art.
32 Theatrically speaking Bahrain’s much-anticipated National Theatre opened to great fanfare at the end of 2012. Even if you don’t catch a show, the building itself is worth a visit just because it’s beautiful and, with Manama currently holding the title of Capital of Arab Tourism, we can expect some great performances throughout the year. Keep an eye on www.moc.gov.bh for coming events.
33 Write a best seller Well, maybe it won’t help you pen the latest Fifty Shades but the kingdom has the gulf’s largest and longest-running writing group, the Bahrain Writers’ Circle has monthly meetings and regular workshops to help you get started and guide you along the way. (39 574 795).
Body & Mind
34 Bag a bargain mani-pedi You don’t have to break the bank every time you break a nail, there are plenty of places around that will leave you with pretty pinkies at a pretty price. Check out Beauty Garden, behind the Al Jazeera Supermarket in Adliya where most treatments are just BD2. (17 744 730).
35 Book a spa treatment at home No time to go to the salon, then get the spa to come to you. www.themobile.spaonline.com offers all sorts of pampering treatments all performed in the comfort and privacy of your own home. (17 777 444).
36 Chill in an igloo Yes, you really can. When the weather’s hot, which is most of the time, what better way to cool down than to climb inside a giant refridgerator. OK, so it’s not actually a giant fridge, but you get our drift? The ice igloo room at Al Areen Spa is an awesome place to beat the desert heat and a quick blast comes as part of an hour’s treatment at the hydrothermal garden for BD15. (17 845 000).
37 Decorate yourself Henna is an art writ on the skin, with versions all across the world. There are numerous salons offerings henna as well as private artists who will come to your home. We like Farheen at Ladylook in Um Al Hassam. (33 839 118).
38 Diamonds are a girl’s best friend Bahrain loves luxury, so why not a facial that uses the ultimate luxury symbol, diamonds? The Ritz-Carlton Spa offers the Divine Facial Diamond Expression treatment which promises immediate results at BD120 for 105 minutes. (80 000 995).
39 Dig funky tips Never mind diamonds on the soles of your shoes, what about crystals on your toes or fingertips, or your national flag or even your own face! The nail artists at N. Spa can manage all this and more for around BD20 for hands and feet at stores in Seef Mall, (17 880 011), Tubli (17 877 233) and Juffair (17 811 633).
40 Feel a little prick Acupuncture’s supposed to be great for lots of things from weight loss to an almost face lift. We’re really not sure but if you fancy doing a Kim K, you can get the needle at the Chinese Medical Centre at Bahrain Wellness Resort. (17 795 823).
41 Get mega-clean The hammam is a bathing ritual involving special soap and a scrubbing technique that will leave your skin feeling softer than a baby’s botty. Hammam is available at spas across the island and Sparadise at Elite Resort & Spa offers the Royal Hammam using black olive soap with essential oils and a ghassoul wrap (herbs with traditional Moroccan clay) followed by a light massage for BD40. (17 313 131).
42 Have an old school shave A dying art in much of the West, here in Bahrain traditional barbers abound and you can get a proper shave, usually complete with hot towels and a face rub, for as little as BD2.500. Most don’t take appointments, you just need to turn up and wait. You’ll find a good selection in Manama Souq, beside Al Jazeera in Adliya or on American Alley in Juffair.
43 Let it rain OK, we can’t control the weather but we can tell you where to find rain indoors, even when the sun’s blasting down outside. Yep, it’s back to Al Areen’s hydrothermal garden where you’ll find a whole range of showers including a monsoon that’s pretty darn close to the real thing.
44 Be a shutter bug Bahrain is exceedingly photogenic and, with so many different people filling the island’s streets, you really need a good collection of snaps to show the folks back home. Head out and capture the kingdom at its finest from the souqs to the Corniche and everything in between. Start early though as rising dust and temperatures can drain Bahrain’s colours and your own enthusiasm.
45 Be the belle of the ball A dinner jacket gives even the most unprepossessing man an unfair advantage and what girlie doesn’t love the chance to dig out the glad rags and slap on the war paint? Luckily Bahrain’s got you covered with balls and formals popping up throughout the year run by the national societies and charity fundraising groups, keep your eye on Time Out Bahrain for details.
46 Get green credentials If you want to help the environment check out Environment Friends at Bahrain.Environment on Facebook, they’re a group who get involved with initiatives like recycling and marine rescue and they’re always happy to have new members.
47 Go on a scavenger hunt Geocaching is a treasure hunting hobby that’s spread around the world and it’s here in Bahrain. See our feature on page 26 for lots more detail.
48 Grow your own With a nearly year-long growing season, gardens of all sorts are a Bahrain must-try, even if you only have a balcony or a window box. Check out the garden and agriculture shops along the Budaiya Highway for plants of all kinds from blooming flowers to veggies. Check out Bahrain Garden Club for lots of hints and advice. (17 727 625).
49 Help our furry friends The island’s stray dogs and cats (and the odd donkey or two) are looked after by Tony the Dogfather at his rescue centre in Saar and the BSPCA at its new premises in Askar. Help’s always welcome. Call Tony on (39 629 889) or the BSPCA on (17 591 231).
50 Join a club Are you new to Bahrain or just bored of the same old scene? The island offers lots of groups and organisations to suit virtually any interest or background from national societies to activity groups and parents’ groups. Check out our community listings for some ideas.
51 Learn a new language We’ve found ‘Talk Arabic’, which offers free Arabic language classes and a chance to learn a bit about local culture (39 215 555). There are also various other languages on offer such as French through the Alliance Francaise (17 683 295) and very reasonably priced Spanish with Want to Learn Spanish at the Sheikh Ebrahim Centre. (38 396 273).
52 Play to the crowd If you’re a musician or singer and want to get together with likeminded folks, Bahrain Irish Society holds a monthly ‘trad seiss’ where people play traditional (and not so traditional) instruments for a couple of hours www.bahrainirishsociety.com. There’s also the Bahrain Acoustic Music Group, turn up and tune in at the twice monthly meetings at the Bahrain Rugby Club and JJ’s. This month they’re on May 3 and May 17 respectively. (39 198 302).
53 Roll the dice Get the grey matter working, have some fun and maybe make a few new friends at Bahrain Boardgame Group which meets on Wednesday nights at the Bapco Club, Awali, from 6.30pm. It’s run by Mark Hodgkinson who’s world champion at Empire of the Sun! (39 461 889).
54 Take in some Islamic history Discover Islam is a non-profit organisation that has books and classes about Islam, its history and interpretation. (17 537 373).
55 Talk the talk You may have thought you mastered this as a toddler but you could just be wrong. Toastmasters can help you gain confidence and master public speaking. There are various groups around the island. Bahrain Toastmasters meets on Tuesdays from 7.30pm at the Mercure Grand Hotel, Seef. (33 966 466).
56 Tread the boards Bahrain has an active theatre community with numerous productions from Manama Theatre Group, a kids’ theatre company, MASK, and a new group expected to be based at the new National Theatre. (39 955 973).
57 Learn to cook Bahrain has some excellent chefs and they’re not good at keeping secrets which is why lots of restaurants hold cooking classes each month to reveal the tricks of the trade. Try Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa for lessons in both Italian and Asian cuisine (17 636 414) or Cucina Italiana (17 001 317).
58 Chow down like a cowboy To say we’re blessed with good brekkie places would be a bit of an understatement but there’s really only one place to go if you want the whole US experience. Ric’s in Juffair will serve you steak and eggs or pancakes with maple syrup and bacon, together, which we find a bit odd but it seems to be popular with our Stateside cousins. (17 725 550).
59 Dine on a budget There are few things that gladden our hearts here at Time Out like the discovery of a bargain and, since Honey’s in Manama Souq is our budget eatery of the year, it would be rude not to mention it. Yes the atmosphere’s a bit like a canteen but you’ll soon find all’s forgiven when you see the mounds of Thai-flavoured yummyness heading your way plus it’s open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday. (39 238 507).
60 Eat on the water Apparently we’re subject to a sea curfew so you can’t actually dine on the water but you can get pretty darn close to it at various beachside restaurants from Rayes at Coral Bay to La Perle at the Novotel Al Dana Resort. Favourite with us has got to be La Mer at the Sofitel. (17 636 363).
61 Eat off a banana leaf We’re all for saving on the washing up so eating your food off a banana leaf makes perfect sense to us and it also adds to the fun of an authentic South Indian meal at Natinnpurum, in the Ramee Baisan Hotel off Exhibition Road, which we’re told is like a little corner of Kerala. It’s usually full of Indian families, always a good sign, and you might have to queue. (17 290 600).
62 Have a blow out brunch If there’s one thing Bahrain does well (in fact we reckon better than anywhere else in the Gulf), it’s the big Friday brunch. Whether you want the giant buffet of the Sofitel (17 636 363) or something a little more sophisticated at Masso (17 721 061), brunch is a Friday institution not to be missed.
63 Just your cup of karak It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, excuse the pun it’s intentional, but a taste of karak is like Bahrain in a cup. A super-sweet mixture of tea and evaporated milk, you’ll find this breakfast staple at various street-side stalls, our favourite is Malik Karak in Um Al Hassam but be prepared for the almost constant traffic jam outside as customers pull up and honk their horns for service.
64 Seek out a shawarma Alongside biryani these could almost be considered the national dish of Bahrain. We’re working on our top ten but in the meantime you won’t go wrong with a visit to Shawarma Alley, also known as Osama bin Zaid Avenue, in the heart of Adliya.
65 Time for tea There’s something fantastically civilised about afternoon tea and if you’ve got visitors, it’s probably one tradition they won’t have indulged in at home (unless they’re super posh). We love the wonderful spread at TSpoon at the Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre (17 171 000) which costs around BD13.500. But if you want a real taste of old Bahrain, you can’t beat Ahmed Abdul Rahim’s Traditional Coffee Shop, open 24 hours a day in Manama Souq.
66 Tuck into a camel burger Apparently it tastes just like beef but if you want to be able to say you’ve eaten camel, check out the camel burgers at Harvesters in the Crowne Plaza, you’ll even get a T-shirt trumpeting your ‘achievement’. (17 531 122).
67 Unleash your inner carnivore Jump on the rodizio barbecue bandwagon. Based on traditional Brazilian cuisine, it’s a veritable Noah’s Ark of grilled meats often rounded off with grilled pineapple. Our options are the imaginatively named Brazil in Adliya (17 826 686), where you can dance your dinner off at the upstairs music lounge, and Brasa De Brazil in Seef where, alongside the regular beef, lamb and chicken, you’ll also be offered baby camel, ostrich and wild Australian venison. (17 582 225).
68 Bury your nose in a book Check out the kids’ library at the Pearling Trail, also the British Club has a good library for for members’ children and there’s a great kids’ section upstairs at Words on the Budaiya Highway. (17 690 790).
69 Get water safe Every year as the weather heats up we hear news of kids drowning, make sure yours are water safe with swimming lessons at The Sheraton. At BD75 for six sessions, it’s money well spent. (17 533 533). 70 Join a playgroup No matter what kind of socialisation you want from age-based groups to languages to story telling, toy swaps, coffee mornings and support groups, Mums in Bahrain have got it covered and a good deal more too. www.mumsinbahrain.net.
71 Picnic in a park Pack a snack and head to Prince Khalifa bin Salman Park where you’ll find plenty to amuse the little ones as they work up an appetite for lunch. Or for a greener alternative head to the Botanic Gardens near the end of the Budaiya Highway – take along a plant book and turn it into a learning experience.
72 Survival of the fittest Want your kids to develop a sense of healthy competition while having fun in the great outdoors? Tribal Fitness runs kids’ courses throughout the year. (39 473 710).
73 Strut your stuff on the catwalk Newly opened TOFO ME teaches kids to embrace their creative side with instruction on fashion design and tailoring and now they’ve launched a range of children’s modelling courses too. Move over Mossy, Bahrain’s babes are on your tail. (17 180 343).
74 Take to the track All our F1 heroes seem to have started out on the karting track so give your youngsters a sporting chance at the big time with a visit to the VIVA Karting track at the BIC, you might want to have a go yourself too! (13 101 310).
Music and nightlife
75 Dance like a Cossak Well, obviously we don’t mean dance like a real Cossak, that would just be silly, but you can get down to the best of the current Russian charts and meet a few comrades at Valentino Russian Nightclub at the Ramee California Hotel. (39 051 283).
76 Dance on the sand You can’t stay in Bahrain without going to at least one party on Al Dar. The sea curfew means these are, once again, all night affairs but you won’t hear anyone complaining, they’re modelled on the Full Moon Parties of Kho Phangan in Thailand so you can’t go wrong. (39 991 377).
77 Get the giggles Check out the regular international talent at the monthly Chuckle Club outings or for home-grown fun get along to the open mic nights at Déjà Vu Lounge. (13 657 770).
78 Grab the mic If you’re still waiting for your 15 minutes, get proactive and take to the stage at one of the island’s many karaoke nights (check out our ladies’ nights and hot deals listings) or get down to Davy Crockett’s at the Diva Hotel on a Monday for live-oke, you get to join in with the band. (39 922 583).
79 Put on your boogie shoes Salsa, meringue, do the cha cha, it’s all there at Latin Quarter at the Pars Hotel. Classes are on Tuesday nights but you’ll find people doing their Latin thing most nights to the resident band. (17 814 777).
80 Shimmy to Bollywood rhythms We’re told it’s not all Jai Ho but you can expect some seriously good club mixes of traditional tunes at the Bollywood Café at the Ramee California Hotel.
81 Show your smarts Check out the many pub quiz nights plus charity quiz events, the one at JJ’s on Mondays is one of our favourites and we’re looking forward to seeing what the new DJ comes up with. (17 742 323).
Shopping and style
82 Bag a bargain Daiso at the Dasman Centre in Gudaibiya is probably the closest thing Bahrain has to a pound shop, only better. From dog leads to plant pots to funky porcelain dishes and paper fans, you’ll find crazy Asian tat alongside genuine steals. For more of the same check out the 500fils shops behind the Gosi Centre off Exhibition Road.
83 Buy local Head out to the fish market, part of the central market, for fresh fish, crabs, lobsters, crayfish, prawns and whole fish with much of the stock caught locally. It’s best to get there really early in the morning before the heat takes hold and then head across to the neighbouring fruit and vegetable market to stock up on your side dishes and dig into a spicy curry for breakfast.
84 Do your bit for charity Bahrain probably has more charity shops than virtually anywhere else in the region selling everything from designer duds to kids’ clothes and furniture. Do your bit for one, or many, of the island’s great charities and get cut price goodies at the same time. See our community listings for details.
85 Explore a souq We’re lucky to have a number of souqs, or markets, so make the most of them. The one everyone’s heard of is Manama Souq parts of which are looking quite chi-chi following a recent refurbishment but, never fear, you’ll still find all sorts of traditional goods on sale from pottery to spices, as well as the usual tat such as singing camels and mosque alarm clocks – everyone should have at least one of these! Elsewhere, check out Muharraq Souq, which is about to get a major facelift. Issa Town Market’s also back up and running after a huge fire last year, though if, like us, you don’t want to see live animals for sale (and this really is not nice as they’re often crammed in tiny cages without food or water), steer clear at the weekend. There’s also Souq Waqif which started out as an open air fruit and veg souq to satisfy the needs of Hamad Town and has evolved to become the biggest souq in the area selling all kinds of everything.
86 Get suited Why shop when you can have clothes made just for you? Head to Manama Souq for fabrics and more tailors than you can shake a perfectly cut trouser leg at. Most can copy existing items or make you something to measure from a photograph. For women’s clothes, there’s an equally good range of dressmakers around, we’re particularly fond of the creations we’ve had from Mrs Pan. ( 39 875 941).
87 Go for gold Nothing says luxe like a custom piece of jewellery and, here in Bahrain, it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Head to Gold City, the area of newer gold shops on the edge of Manama Souq, or the streets surrounding it, which make up the old gold souq. Gold prices fluctuate so make sure you haggle, haggle, haggle and then you’re in the right place to find someone to make up those purely personal earrings you’ve been hankering after or set that great stone.
88 Then get booted You’ve got the tailor-made threads, why not go the whole hog and have shoes made too? There are various shoe makers around the island, we particularly like Ahmed at the Phonecia Centre in Adliya – though he’s not always the quickest. (39 039 767).
Sport & Outdoor
89 Become a Bahrain kingpin Aside from the somewhat less-than-hygienic shoes, bowling’s a wonderfully fun way to indulge in some healthy competition and mild exercise without breaking a sweat. There are various bowling alleys around and we particularly like the one at Magic Planet in Bahrain City Centre. (17 173 113).
90 Brush up on your birdie Play true desert golf on the oiled sand ‘greens’ at Awali Golf Club, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Visitors can play a round for BD7.5 and lessons, with a PGA instructor, are available at BD13 for 30 minutes or BD60 for five sessions. (17 756 770).
91 Captain your own ship Hit the high seas with sailing lessons at Bahrain Yacht Club, courses are available for all ages and ability levels and you don’t have to be a member. (17 700 677).
92 Cheer on the national team There aren’t too many places you can get to watch the national football team as easily as here in Bahrain. They usually play at the National Stadium near Isa Town, tickets are free or ridiculously cheap and the atmosphere’s always electric. Keep an eye on the sporting press for matches coming up.
93 Get in the saddle We’ve told you about horse racing but there are also plenty of options if you want to get in the saddle yourself. We’ve heard good things about Muharraq Horse Riding School where you’ll find equines of all sizes from Shetlands upwards and even some camels. They also have a small animal park and some of the horses are recovering rescue sso it’s a cause close to our hearts. (39 858 770).
94 Get out your paddle There are lots of places around the islands to rent a kayak, pick one up and try a trip to one of the close off-shore islands such as Sheikh Ebrahim Island, a small sand spit with a shrine, visible from the mainland off the coast at Askar. Or take to the inland waterways at Amwaj where Tribal Fitness does stand-up paddle board tours taking in the canals and beaches. (39 453 710).
95 Go fly a kite Or more specifically, have a go at kite surfing which takes the old phrase to a whole other level. Kite surfers can be spotted at various beaches around the island, the one next to Tala in Amwaj is particularly popular. It’s a fun sport to watch and if you want to try your hand coaching is available through Skate Shack. (17 697 176).
96 Gone fishing Thanks to the sea curfew, you can’t go off for the all nighter with the boys and a well-stocked cooler, but there’s nothing to stop keen fishermen and women taking to the waves during the day. Hire a boat and a captain from Coral Bay and get out on the water. (17 312 700).
97 Join a team Bahrain has loads of sports teams and groups, more, in fact, than even we know about, and many don’t mind if you’re a complete beginner. From ice hockey, in which our local team excels, to netball, football, rugby and cricket, there’s something for pretty much everyone. See our sports listings for details.
98 Nominate your pocket If you want to climb to the top of Bahrain’s snooker and pool ranks, or just fancy knocking round some balls, check out Jimmy’s in Adliya. It’s cheap and friendly and a great place to while away a few hours. (17 716 147).
99 Ride the Zamboni Some of us at Time Out Bahrain had youthful visions of becoming an Olympic figure skater. To channel your inner Evan Lysacek a visit to the rink at Funland on the Corniche is cheap at BD2.5 per person including skate hire and great family fun. (17 292 313).
100 Run this town Whether you’re a marathon veteran or a jogging novice, running’s a great way to get outside and get to know the island. Bahrain Road Runners www.bahrainroadrunners.com has regular meets throughout the year and there are a couple of hash groups too, check out www.bahrainhash.com.
101 What about wakeboarding Get towed along behind a boat and ride the wake! Sounds difficult but we’re told it’s not that hard. Give it a try at Coral Bay from BD15 for 30 minutes plus BD10 for a lesson if you don’t already know how. (17 312 700).