souq & shopping, Bahrain
Like in all Muslim nations, Friday is the holy day of the week in Bahrain. This means that many shops will be closed and services unavailable on that day. In addition, many shops will also close at midday on Thursday and not reopen until Saturday. The only day that we spent in Bahrain happened to be a Thursday, and around noon most of the shops in the Souq began to close. Some reopened later in the afternoon, but many others didn't. Just keep this in mind if you happen to be in Bahrain during these days.
However, in a place with such extreme heat as Bahrain, you would expect life to kind of come to a standstill during the peak heat hours of midday. Best to stay indoors and relax, or better yet head to the Al Abraaj restaurant for a refreshing pomagranate juice! (see my Bahrain restaurant tip)
Go to the souk it's just amazing. I bought yards of material which was made into clothes by the tailoresses and then had to barter for a case to take it all home in - and ooooh so cheap!! The gold souk is a glittering mass of gold and silver. Again reasonably priced. Th rest of the souk is full of Eastern promise but I did resist buying a fluffy camel and a bright green plastic mosque clock. There is so much to look at and be tempted by, and I became quite good at bartering by the time I came home.
Go scuba diving with the Awali Divers fantastic day out wreck diving with 'Ace' McAlpine and his gang. Well organised and planned dives with plenty to see. Its Based at the Bahrain Yacht Club.
Fondest memory: Shisha and Turkish coffee under the stars.Open air Shisha cafes to chill out in - just blissful.
For anyone visiting Bahrain for the first time, the souq is a must see. It is located near the Manama city center right behind what was once the 'Gate of Bahrain'. In the souq, you'll find everything you could ever imagine- gold, jewelry, food, souvenirs, clothes, electronics, and so much more.
Fondest memory: When I am away from Bahrain, I miss my friends the most. I have made some wonderful friends here in Bahrain, and I truly dread the day I have to tell the goodbye one last time :-( !!
One of great things there is the workshop of the local artwork. Different shop are there demonstrating the product of their own that you may find in nowhere in the world but in that spot. Those products are what were famous in the past in Bahrain which considered now part of their cultures. You may find different vases, treasury cabinets, carpets and many things that are made of the palm trees leaf.
Fondest memory: Fondest memory are the moment that I spent in one of the vases factory in one of the villages called A'li. They make different vases and the factory is opened for tourists to watch the craftsmen working
See more of the place than I did. I know there are museums and golf courses and old forts and five star hotels in Bahrain but I just did not have time to experience much of them.
Fondest memory: I went out for a walk in the city near the hotel and did some shopping. The city was an interesting blend of old and new. Hope to go back there for a longer visit some day. This picture was taken inside of a small grocery store where the proprietor was quite friendly.
The old town souk in Manama is an amazing sight. You can buy almost anything, especially brilliant fakes of watches, clothes etc. The cloth souk is a blaze of glittering saris, all decorated with embroidery, in any colour or pattern you can imagine. Haggle for the best price! The gold souk is brilliant for really golden coloured 21 carat gold, none of the Uk's 18 carat stuff! Big & chunky seems to be the favourie here- the sort of earrings to stretch your earlobes down to your feet & huge, beautiful necklaces to make you feel like royalty! Bangles & pendants of any size & design you like, or, better still, choose your own gems & get a ring made for you personally!
The MUSEUM along the Manama seafront, is totally fascinating & most unexpected. Allow a whole day at least!
Fondest memory: When away from Bahrain, I really miss the cheap eating out & the excellent service from the waiters (usually Indian. The taxis are excellent & cheap, & usually teach me some Arabic each time I use them! They are very loyal, & if you leave something by mistake in their car, they often hunt you down to return it!
Visit the souks of course. I am repeating all others, but this is very true.
According to the good tradition of Middle East bazaars you can find there virtually everything. It is very nice to wander and watch, even if you do not intend to buy anything.
Photo: Souk street
Visit the Souq. Here the main skill to learn
is haughty disdain for the first price quoted.
Don't even ask for a discount, just say
'Last price?' If that doesn't get 15% percent
knocked off you are obviously dressed like a tourist,
complete with camera hanging round your neck,
or you have that 'I'm gullible: exploit me!'
look about you. Anyway, the golden rule is
always look scornful and turn to leave if you
really like something, then settle for about
2/3 of the first price quoted.
Favorite thing: Visit the Gold Suq -- Every town in the Gulf has a gold suq (market), but Manama's is unique: As you walk up the stairs to the building, the first thing you notice is that the steel doors are about 2 feet (60 cm) thick. Each door has the Chubb name/logo emblazoned upon it. You are, in effect, walking into a three storey vault! Not without reason, for hundreds of millions of dollars of the yellow stuff are on display here.
the gold, cloth & spices souks in manama, followed by a very cheap but excellent meal in Central cafe. If you have time go to the archeological digs at Saar.
Fondest memory: pickup taxi drivers whom I use daily are very loyal & teach me arabic words every day! they will drive me anywhere anytime, & even if I don't have change they let me pay next time!!! I once left my purse with 300 bahraini dinars in & they somehow found me & returned it & wouldn't take a tip!
Favorite thing: Visit the GOLDEN SOUK, which is the three storey building full of gold, gems and other similar staff shops. See yourself...