Bahrain City Centre: Another Luxury Mall: City Centre
The shopping mall craze continues in the Middle East and Bahrain is not spared. Added in Sep 2008, City Centre is possibly a branch of other "City Centre" shopping malls around the Gulf (e.g. Doha, Dubai, etc.). This one seems larger and glitzier than your typical modest shopping malls in Bahrain, and is attached to the Kempinski hotel. It contains everything luxurious and non-luxurious, as well as some restaurants and cafés. The shopping mall is centrally located, but is nowadays probably overshadowed by the even more luxurious Moda Mall.
Bahrain Mall: Bahrain Mall
Bahrain Mall is located along the main highway. It is adjacent to Geant (another shopping mall)
They have game shops, international brands and specialty stores. This is relatively small compared to Al Seef and you can find less people coming here.
If you want to watch a movie, they have cinemas on the upper floor.
Al Seef Mall: AL Seef Mall
The famous and the largest mall in Bahrain is the Al Seef Mall . It caters to the general public whether you plan to go shopping, cinema, coffehouse or restaurants. They all have it here.
It is multi-buildings interconnected to each other.
Located at the main coastal way.
Bedouins are the traditional nomadic tribes of the Arab world, and they are famous for producing coloful and elaborate handmade crafts, especially jewelry and clothing. Although the tiny island of Bahrain does not have any native Bedouin tribes (at least I highly doubt they do), there are many shops that specialize in traditional Bedouin crafts.
What to buy: While both Bedouin clothing and jewelry are usually made from common, inexpensive materials, it is their intricate designs and detailed handiwork that make them truly fascinating. The exception is items crafted from quality Omani silver, which can be quite expensive. Overall, look for pieces that really stand out as being unique and avoid anything that looks factory made.
What to pay: Prices vary from a couple BD (Bahraini Dinars) to much more, so always remember to do comparison shopping and barter hard.Related to:
- Luxury Travel
- Arts and Culture
Spice Market in the Manama Souq
When wandering around the narrow back alleys of the Manama Souq, follow your nose to the alley lined with spice shops. These shops are not hard to spot as they all display pyramids of multi-colored spices out in front, as well as sacks of various whole spices, nuts, and dried fruits. Even if you aren't intereste in buying anything, it is some of the best window shopping in town. A feast for the eyes and nose!
What to buy: You will probably find almost any exotic spice you can think of here, and if you come from a western country then it will probably be much cheaper than you can buy back home. So I suggest that you load up on anything that you use a lot of in your own cooking.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Bahrain International Airport Duty-Free Shops: Airport Duty-Free
Even if you only have a few hours layover in the Bahrain International Airport, the duty-free shops offer a few goodies that are definitely worth picking up. It is a relatively small airport with only a handful of shops, mostly carrying the standard duty-free items seen around the world (cigarettes, perfume, liquor, chocolate). But there are also a few shops that carry local crafts and souvenirs. Besides, what else are you gonna do with all that layover time?
What to buy: A little simulated bazaar selling local crafts and souvenirs can be found in the middle of the duty-free area. Here, you can pick up middle eastern glassware, copperware, rugs, dried fruits and pasteries, houkahs and flavored tobacco, as well as my personal favorite - singing camel dolls with flashing eyes!Related to:
- Luxury Travel
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
Middle Eastern Perfumes
After gold, perfume is another popular luxury good that is widely available in Bahrain. The middle east region is known for producing a wide array of exotic perfumes, and Bahrain has no shortage of specialty perfume shops selling every fragrance imaginable. Many shops will even create a personal fragrance just for you using a blend of frangrances that you select.
What to buy: Look for perfumes containing frankincense oil, which is one of the most highly prized fragrances in the world and a specialty of the middle east region. Frankincense is an aromatic resin obtained from the tree Boswellia thurifera or B. sacra. It is also used in incense.
What to pay: Since neither my wife nor I are into perfumes, we were only window shopping, but I have no doubt that the quality stuff costs a bundle.Related to:
- Luxury Travel
The Gold Souq: Gold and Jewelry Mall
From a shopping standpoint, Bahrain is most known for gold jewelry. The appropriately named Gold Souq in Manama is a modern, air-conditioned mall with several stories of nothing but gold/jewelry shops. Whether you are looking for contemporary or antique/Bedouin styles, this place has it all. The store owners are all friendly and speak English. Definitely a dangerous place if you're on a budget!
What to pay: Prices will vary widely for different pieces, so its best to shop around for comparison and be sure to barter for everything!Related to:
- Luxury Travel
Kazerooni Carpet Shop: Persian Carpets
The owner makes it special - he's been dealing in Persian carpets all his life and knows loads about them. The great thing about buying Persian carpets in Bahrain is that you can see all the various types in one shop (unlike Iran) and the prices are really competitive. Oh, and they really are works of art you walk on.
What to buy: Buy the one you can't live without. If you can live without the ones you see, wait, go to another shop or come back on a different day. Never buy a Persian carpet because it was the nicest one in the shop, buy it only when you can't live without it.
What to pay: Depends on the quality. Right now I'm in love with one which is BD 600 - it's a 4 x 6.
Salman or Mutahar Carpet Centre: Magic Carpets
Salman Carpet Centre - No 44, Juffair Avenue
( near Bahrain school)
Mutahar Carpet Centre - Elite 3, Next to Cinnabon , Juffair , Adliya
What to buy: Carpet sold in Bahrain come from countries like Turkey, Iran , Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The more popular one is the intricate Naheen carpet from Nain in Iran.Often include a medallion in the center of carpet , which is repeated on a floral field with floral border. Another feature is its silk outlining.
Tabriz carpet come from Tabriz in Iran also, they are usually bright red ,blue or brown with ivory colour as background.
Others from Iran includes Bokara and Qash Qai carpet from Iran , just that the design are of geometric nature rather than intricate or delicate.
What to pay: Varies depending on type you choose , give them a big slash before you settle for a carpet coz there are so many carpet centre here !Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
The Gold Souk: GOLD GOLD GOLD
The Gold Souk in Manama is the central shopping for jewelry. Many shops in close completition keeps prices low.
What to buy: Great craftsmanship on gold and silver jewelry, custom pieces available. Precious metals sold by weight, so you can really make good. Puzzle rings are very popular, especially with tri-color gold. Use a piece of dental floss to keep it together unless you have A LOT of time to figure it out. Ask the shop keeper to show you how to put it together.
The Gold Souk
Bahrain gold is usually 21 carat and hallmark; it is available in an infinite number of styles, including traditional Bedouin designs as well as the more contemporary European jewelry. If you can't see what you want, then don't worry pieces can also be made to order, although it is wise to confirm a price before the craftsmen go to work.
No Visit to Bahrain would be complete without a trip to the Souk , with its profusion of colors, sounds, and aromas. All wares are sold, from cloth of colors and textures to gold and jewelry as well as the traditional array of spices and local produce. Bartering is expected, and indeed turns the whole experience of shopping into a challenge to see who can obtain the best price. The central market, completed in 1978, provides modern facilities for trades, which were unavailable, when the market took place in the Souk. It is well worth a visit, if only to enjoy the brightly colored display of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as the scents of the herbs, nuts and spices.
The Souk: Get ready to haggle!
The Souk is where I learned the art of haggling. The shopkeeper will have an outrageous price tagged to an item. You counter with a low ball figure. He will howl with disgust and tell you that you are taking food from his children. You call him a robber instead of a merchant. This goes on until you get him down about 25% from the original price. Even though this is what it is really worth, the haggling is part of the experience. Don't try this in the upscale shops though. There the price marked is the fixed price.
What to buy: GOLD, camel bone paintings, pressed ivory, wood carvings, brass.
What to pay: As much as you are willing to part with.
Toys R Us: Toys..Toys..Toys
A shopping heaven for kids...from dolls to robots, from PSP games to DVD's name it and they all have it here.
Located within Al Seef Mall.
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