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Last updated : Nov 2009
Bahrain Social Profile
Bahrain Culture and Social Profile - TravelPuppy.com
Food & Drink

A wide range of eating places that serve all kinds of food, which include American, Chinese, Indian, Arabic, European, Japanese, Lebanese and Mexican are easily found in Bahrain. Arabic food is mostly spicy and powerfully flavoured.

Lamb is the main meat with turkey, duck and chicken. Salad and dips are also general. Water, arak (grape spirit flavoured with aniseed) or beer are the most basic drinks. The sale of alcohol is not supported; however, it is OK in good restaurants, nightclubs and luxury hotels for non Muslims (but not during Ramadan). There is also strong Arabic coffee and tea broadly available.

Nightlife

There are nightclubs, restaurants and cinemas with English and Arabic films in the major towns and cities.

Shopping

A large number of fashionable department stores with imported luxury items are available in Bahrain. The country's major local products are pearls. Renowned red clay pottery can be accessible from A’ali Village. Weavers can be found at the village of Bani Jamra and basket makers at the village of Jasra.

General shopping hours are from Saturday to Thursday 8.30 am to 12.30 pm and 3.30 pm to 7.30 pm.

A few shops open for a few hours on Friday mornings in souks.

Social Conventions

Bahrain is strongly influenced by traditional beliefs and customs, and people are usually more formal than Westerners. Attitudes to women are more moderate than in most Gulf States.

It is polite to drink 2 small cups of coffee or tea when offered. Guests will usually be expected to share a bedroom since guest bedrooms and privacy are almost unknown. Smoking is common and cheap by European standards.

Restrictions

Homosexuality is illegal. Video cassettes will be withdrawn on arrival at the airport. It is illegal for Muslims to buy alcohol from retail outlets.

It is welcome to sit cross legged on cushions or sofas in people’s homes; however, it is still very rude and offensive to accept food or anything else with the left hand or to display the soles of the feet or shoes.

Sports clothes can be worn in the street and short dresses are acceptable; however, they should avoid wearing revealing clothes.

Tipping

10% is expected by taxi drivers and servers, especially when service charge is not included, and is general practice. Airport porters expect 100 fils for a piece of luggage.