• South Korea!

    South Korea: Seorak-san National Park. Go Now!

    South Korea
    From vibrant cities like Seoul, to quiet mountain tops, like Seorak-san National Park, South Korea has it all. Begin Your Journey!

  • Kuwait!

    Kuwait: Kuwait City. Go Now!

    Kuwait
    Tucked away in the Middle East, Kuwait is pivotal in the region and an anomaly in the desert environment. Explore Kuwait!

  • Maldives!

    Maldives: Beach in the Maldives. Go Now!

    Maldives
    This low-lying archipelago is a tourist destination due to its many impressive beaches and crystal-clear waters (pictured). Explore the Maldives!

  • Thailand!

    Thailand: Grand Palace in Bangkok. Go Now!

    Thailand
    Thailand is known for its beautiful beaches, but the city of Chiang Mai is a cultural center and Bangkok (pictured) is a thriving urban capital. Begin Your Journey!

  • Tajikistan!

    Tajikistan: A yurt in the mountains. Go Now!

    Tajikistan
    The high mountains have mysteries around every turn, including yurts (pictured), a home for the nomadic people. Go Now!

Social Life in Bahrain

Behavior

How most Bahrainis behave and the expectations for how foreigners must behave is deeply rooted in the people's Islamic faith. It is also improper for a man to touch a woman, even holding your spouse's hand or offering to shake the hand of a person who is of the opposite sex can be considered inappropriate to a conservative Muslim, but in Bahrain you'll rarely encounter this issue from the locals.

Also due to Islam, pork products and alcohol are forbidden in Bahrain; however the country is aware of foreign interest in these items so they can be found with a bit of searching. Alcohol can be purchased at any "foreigner" hotel restaurant or bar, however outside of hotels there are no bars or pubs and alcohol cannot be bought for home consumption unless you're a foreigner residing in the country, in which case you can purchase a certain amount of alcohol each month. Pork can also be bought at certain stores by foreign residents, but it is not sold in restaurants, not even in restaurants catered to foreigners.

In addition to following the dress restrictions mentioned below and following the local dining etiquette (see our Bahrain Dining & Food Page), the most important behavioral restrictions tend to be common sense. Avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, religion, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart. Also try to avoid being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or getting noticeably drunk in public.

Dress

As a Muslim country, there are a number of religious laws which should be obeyed by everyone in Bahrain, although few foreigners seem to actually follow them. A large percentage of the local population is foreign, many of whom come from Europe, North America, India, and the Far East, so local religious dress and dietary restrictions have little meaning to these non-Muslims.

The locals dress very conservatively as they cover themselves entirely with loose fitting clothing so they reveal nothing. The men generally wear all white, including a white keffiyeh or head scarf. Foreign men are not required to imitate this local dress, although men are expected to cover up, meaning everything from the elbows and ankles up should be covered. The local women tend to wear black with a hair covering, but rarely do women in Bahrain cover their faces.

Despite these rules, which any culturally sensitive visitor should follow, the locals are quite forgiving. Generally speaking, the locals dress one way and most foreigners dress in whatever way they want. Most visitors and tourists to the country wear shorts and short sleeve shirts, which the locals are tolerant of, especially on beaches and in resorts. Although following local dress isn't necessary, covering up is greatly appreciated and respected by the local population and by visitors from neighboring Muslim countries. However, there is no expectation that foreign women cover their hair.

This page was last updated: December, 2013