Shopping, browsing, reading, laughing and more of online Bahrain
Time Out Bahrain staff
Did you update your Facebook status this morning, chat to your mum on Skype last night or sit down at your keyboard to do your shopping or buy tickets to the footie?
Life seems to be lived online these days and there’s no denying t’interweb’s a seriously useful place for getting info on virtually anything, making cyber friends and lots more. We’ve rounded up some of the best websites and services, blogs and downloads in Bahrain and beyond to help you stay connected.
Information and useful stuff…
www.bahrain.bh – The official page of the Bahrain e-government authority which is a great source of information on official life in Bahrain from rules and regulations to bus routes and schedules, driving licence renewal and where to find Bahrain embassies overseas. bahrainairport.com/flight-details/flight-arrivals.html - Self explanatory really, check here to find out if your visitors have arrived but bear in mind they may take a while to get through passport control. www.bahrainautoservices.com – Apparently this is the only Bahrain portal catering for private car sales online. www.bayt.com – Looking to change jobs? The Middle East’s number one employment site has lots of vacancies in Bahrain. www.evisa.gov.bh – Exactly what it says, the site where you or your visitors can check eligibility for Bahrain visas and submit an online application.
www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/nations/bahrain.php - The Library of Congress Bahrain section which has all sorts of information about the island both legal and official. www.moc.gov.bh – Specially with Manama being the Capital of Arab Tourism this year, this site’s an essential for finding out what the ministry’s got planned particularly since events are often confirmed and announced with little notice.
www.mumsinbahrain.net/home.html - A great source of info for parents covering everything from kids’ health to daycare and there’s even the Purple Club which gives members access to discounts at all sorts of services and venues.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_universities_in_Bahrain - Obviously you’ve spotted that this a Wikipedia page rather than a website but it was the most comprehensive source we could find for unis and institutes in case you or your kids are thinking of studying here on the island.
www.bh-init.com – A locally-based site stocking all manner of bits and pieces from clothing to electrical items and phones, we’re particularly taken with the flashing rollers that you attach to your shoes and there’s a good selection of novelty fun stuff and party ideas.
www.bmmishops.com – Stock up on your weekend beverages without the queue and get them delivered to your door.
www.efoodbh.com – Bahrain’s first fresh food online grocer sourcing goods direct from suppliers, locally where possible, and delivering the next day.
www.eshopbahrain.com – A locally-based site with a selection of funkyish, cheap jewellery, novelty flashdrives and lots of reasonably-priced computer games.
www.expatboxes.com/home.cfm - Yes it’s true, our supermarkets here supply just about everything a Brit expat could be missing from home but if you really want chocolate without the added anti-melting ingredient, a jar of piccalilli or, inexplicably in a country where curry is king, a jar of Sharwoods, then this one’s for you. www.gbiexpress.com – The website for Gulf Brands, more weekend brews to your door, they even have a discount card. en-bh.namshi.com - Big-name brands for adults and kids at considerable discounts with a good returns policy.
www.sukar.com – According to the blurb ‘Sukar.com is the leading online private shopping club in the Middle East, providing members-only access to fashion and lifestyle brands at up to 90 per cent off retail prices.’. There are some unbelievable offers on here and you can also check them out on the Sukar Facebook page.
www.tails.co – A site set up by a dog lover and dedicated to animal health which produces all natural dog food with locally sourced meat and vegetables and delivers it to your door, trust us, your dog will thank you. You’ll also find a section on training tips and access to advisors..
And of course there are the universal giants such as www.amazon.com and www.ebay.com but what about when you type in your delivery address and ‘computer says no’? Well that’s where mail forwarding services come in, particularly useful if you use a PO box, since no online retailer will ship to one. The answer is to sign up with Aramex’s shop and ship service www.shopandship.com which provides you with addresses for deliveries in the USA, UK, UAE and China and then delivers the goods to your door here in Bahrain. www.ushopweship.com provides a similar service a bit more cheaply but without the China delivery address.
www.connectingsingles.com – Feeling lonely in Bahrain and not loving it? Make some new friends and aquaintances via this handy, easy-to-use website. www.expats.com – Well not exactly services but a bit of everything, just go to the site, click on Bahrain and you’ll find listings of stuff for sale, services, property to rent and buy and lots more.
www.internations.org – An online international community that’s also really useful in ‘real life’. Internations can provide invaluable information for people moving to a new country but go onto the Bahrain page and you’ll also find chats and lots of social events and groups. www.mydoorbahrain.com - A full-service, door-to-door cleaners offering dry cleaning, laundry, clothing alterations and shoe shine and repair. Always free pick-up & delivery. www.talabat.com – Order food online, the site asks you what you want to eat and where you are then brings up a list of restaurants in the area with which you can place an order. We haven’t tried this one yet but now we’ve found it, it won’t be long. www.thekissablekitchen.com – Now this we really do like. Based out of Tubli, the Kissable Kitchen makes normal-sized, home-baked cakes (rather than the giant portions favoured by lots of outlets) using healthy ingredients including flower flavours. They do a nice line in gift cakes and baskets too. www.themobilespaonline.com – Want the relaxing spa treatment without the traffic to get there. This service is perfect for pampering in your own home before a big night out or on a lazy Saturday with everything from a hair wash and blow dry at BD8 up to a clam shell massage at BD40. It would also make a great gift idea - treat a pal.
www.togetherinbahrain.com – The Bahrain equivalent of Groupon offering limited-time deals such as spa and shopping discounts, holidays and more. You need to check this one regularly to make sure you don’t miss out.
Amwaj Island Social Network – Chats, services and general info for those living in Amwaj. Got a question? Post it and someone will probably know the answer.
Bahrain Car Sales – Bargains to be had and, judging by the members page, there don’t appear to be any car dealers on there.
Bahrain Classifieds – A closed group for expats to buy and sell stuff, items and services. Posts are only kept on for three weeks and you can’t keep reposting the same things so this should keep commercials to a minimum.
Bahrain Artsy Fartsy – The group for workshops, exhibitions and all things crafty, good for meeting likeminded folk.
Cool Party in Bahrain – The page where lots of venues post news of their events, saves signing up to all the individual venue pages.
Costumes Bahrain – Fancy dress party coming up and stumped for what to wear, check this out, it’s a local business that you won’t find anywhere else.
Forcing FB to Disallow Abusive Content – This one’s close to our hearts as it’s set up by a local guy in an attempt to get rid of some of the nasty stuff that finds its way onto Facebook..
Lost, stolen and found pets in Bahrain – Exactly that, the page for anyone who’s lost or found a pet. It’s had results with getting four-legged friends back to their owners and identifying some that have been stolen and ended up dubiously ‘for sale’.
Pampered Pets Paradise – Mobile dog grooming service that we’ve heard good things of, though we’re a little concerned at the ‘free gift feather hair extensions’, we suspect the Time Out terrier would pack his Bonios and leave home.
UK in Bahrain – Not the chat page where it used to be very interesting to read the rants (this now seems to’ve disappeared) but rather the page of the British Embassy which, though stuffy, does send out some useful information, particularly in relation to the security situation.
http://mahmood.tv/ - Mahmood’s Den is ‘An Arab man’s attempt at bridging the cultural gap and trying to make a difference. Failing a lot. Succeeding once in a while’. He must be doing something right he’s just received the Outstanding Contribution to New Media 2013 award presented by the International Council for Press and Broadcasting. http://maramostafa.wordpress.com/ - Writing as Electric Firefly, this is one of our favourite blogs with lots of fashion, lifestyle, Bahrain info and just generally good stuff. Mara Mostafa http://sliceofmylyfe.wordpress.com/- A working mum’s thoughts on food and bits and pieces, but mostly food with lots of recipes, great pictures and even a culinary bucket list of things to try in 2013 (we like the sound of that). She also writes https://dazzlersdiary.wordpress.com/ which is a bit of a mish-mash of thoughts, feelings, aspirations et al and a good read. Anita Menon
http://thefitnessgrail.wordpress.com/about/ - We’ve just discovered this one and are really rather taken with it as it’s written by a personal trainer who’s also a former chubby. There’s stuff about weight loss and getting fit.
From Mohammed Zainal, responsible for social media at VIVA Bahrain
Google Hangouts – http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/ – Google Hangouts is replacing Gtalk on your aphone or tablet, with a beautiful minimal User Interface you can chat with your friends, create group conversation & turn them into a video call with up to 10 friends.
Mailbox for iOS – www.mailboxapp.com/ - An email app for iOS, it re-designs the inbox to make emails light, fast and mobile-friendly.
FlipBoard – flipboard.com – You can save anything from the web including stories, photos, audio and more, to create your own magazines to flip through it later or share with friends.
SnapSeed – www.snapseed.com/ - Best Mobile Photo App 2012. Makes any photo extraordinary and possible by allowing you to enhance, transform, and share photos with amazing effects. Available for iPhone, Android or desktop.