With a name meaning ‘Two Seas’ it is little wonder that Bahrain, an archipelago of 33 islands in the Gulf, defines itself in relation to the water that surrounds its shallow shores reflecting its unique natural combination of freshwater springs amongst salty sea beds. Bahrain is a country that prides itself in being a thriving multi-cultural hub which welcomes people from all around the world, thanks to its tolerant attitudes, economic cost of living, and abundance of educational and health facilities and services. Manama is the capital and the largest city in Bahrain. Its name is derived from Arabic, which means “the place of rest” or “the place of dreams”, and it’s home to a diverse population of over 150,000. Manama was declared as the Capital of GCC Gulf Tourism 2016 by the Ministries of Tourism of fellow GCC states.
Arabic is the official language of Bahrain, but English is widely spoken. It is used in business and is a compulsory second language in schools. The official language of Arabia Plast 2017 is English.
The official currency in Bahrain is Bahraini Dinars (BHD). It is also commonly abbreviated to BHD or BD. The Dinar subdivides into 1000 fils; fils are coins that come in 5, 10, 25, and 50. The smaller fils are rarely used. Major credit cards, including VISA, MasterCard, and American Express, are accepted at most hotels, department stores and restaurants. Paper currency comes in the following denominations: 1/2 BHD (brown/peach), 1BHD (red), 5 BHD (blue), 10 BHD (green), 20 BHD (greenish-light blue)
The Dinar to Dollar exchange rate is fixed at a rate 1 U.S. dollar = BD 0.376 which translates to approximately 1 dinar = 2.65957 dollars. Most world currencies are not pegged to the dollar, so their exchange rate fluctuates daily.
There are variations in bank opening hours throughout the region. In general, banks are open from 8am to 1pm, Saturdays to Wednesdays, when many banks re-open in the afternoon from 4.30 to 6.30pm. On Thursdays, opening hours are usually 8am to noon, and banks (like other businesses) are closed on Fridays.
Foreign currency can be exchanged from major banks and private financial institutions/outlets in Bahrain. Most of the hotels also will do currency exchange.
The issue of taxation in Bahrain is relatively straightforward. The taxes that are paid are minimal and there is no income tax system as there is in other countries such as the US or the UK. However, in the last few years a small tax has been imposed on all workers, but this is considered to be a ‘social insurance tax’ rather than an income tax.
Government offices open at 7.00 a.m. and close at 2.00p.m. Private offices tend to keep longer hours, coming back to work in the evening after an extended mid-day break. Some private businesses open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. All government offices close for the weekend from Friday to Saturday. Some offices outside the govt. sector are open on Saturdays.
Most shopping malls open from 10 a.m to 11 p.m – frequently later during weekends and public holidays. Some supermarkets are open for 24 hours whereas, the others open from 8.00 a.m- 12 a.m. Although shops and shopping centers are fully air conditioned, the cool of the evening is a favorite time for shopping. Shopping centers and most shops are open on Friday, the Islamic day of rest, but they all close for Juma (Friday) prayers from 11.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.
AST (Arabia Standard Time)
UTC/GMT +3 hours
During the summer months, stretching from April to October, afternoon temperatures average around 37-40°C. In winter, temperatures range between 10°C and 20°C.
Domestic supply is 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts)
Primary Socket Type: British BS-1363. Sockets suitable for three-pin 13 amp plugs of British standard design are the norm, however it is a good idea to bring an adapter with you just in case. Adapters can be purchased in local supermarkets. Appliances purchased in the Bahrain will generally have two-pin plugs attached.
Some hotels and shopping malls in Bahrain provide free Wi-Fi access. It is also widely available in public areas, including restaurants and cafes. However, there is a variety of internet service providers in Bahrain: Batelco, Zain Bahrain, Viva, Menatelecom, etc.
The Bahrain country code when calling from abroad is +973. There are different fixed line providers with their own prefixes: Batelco (17), Zain (136), Menatelecom (77) etc. Mobile phone numbers start with 3. The main mobile companies are Batelco with prefixes 39 or 38, Zain with 36 or 37, and Viva with 33. Calling 999, in general, will put you through to emergency services such as police, fire, or ambulance emergency.
Useful numbers include the following:
International Directory Enquiry: 191
Local Directory Enquiry: 181
Local Call Assistance: 100
Speaking clock (in English): 140
Tipping is not expected, but is a common practice. Gratuities to staff at hotels are at your discretion. Most restaurants add service charges to the bill (10%). If this charge is not included, add 10% of the total to the bill. Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped. Supermarket baggers, bag carriers and windscreen washers at petrol stations are generally given 2 BHD.
The Conference Secretariat and Organizers cannot accept liability for personal accidents, nor loss of or damage to private property of participants, either during or directly arising from Arabia Plast 2017. Participants should make their own arrangements with respect to health and travel insurance.