Again - another hint for tourists - rather than a trap. Go to the tourist office/ handicraft shop located at 'bab al bahrain' (translation: gateway to bahrain) and ask for tourist information. I went this morning and came out with 8 useful pamphlets, a decent tourist map and a lovely hard back book about Bahrain.
I suggest you take this as your first stop as it's close to the suq, pearl diving museum and the gold suq. Open 08:00-12:00 and 16:30-18:00, Saturday - Thursday.
I spent some time alone in Manama and found it very pleasant. The souk traders will of course try to sell you fluffy camels and plastic mosque clocks but are easily put off. The huge malls are expensive and not that different from UK and I avoided them, preferring to get to grips with the real Bahrain.
The Souq is arranged on a principle that may seem
strange to a westerner used to the competitive placing
of an outlet. In the Gulf, if you want to buy hardware,
you go to the hardware sectin of the market, or if you
want to buy materials, there are fifteen materials
shops placed conveniently alongside one another.
Let's face it, this must keep prices down!.
Here's a pots-and-pans shop.
the seef mall is as expensive as any shopping mall in uk or Us. don't even think about it. The Meridien Beach Resort hotel is over priced there are 3 sewerage outlets into the sea where everyone swims, even though it is the only beach for westerners in bahrain.
The gold suq - but it's wonderful. There's two places to go: in the suq itself and at city centre hotel.