Travel to Bahrain: a country that breaks down stereotypes
About a small Arab Kingdom that claims to be the main competitor of the popular Dubai
It's funny, but the first thing you may encounter on arrival from Bahrain to one of the Moscow airports is the gaze of customs officers, who are sure to ask "How did you not get stolen?". But all this is just a stereotype: the Kingdom on the Persian Gulf is a completely different world, in contrast to radical Saudi Arabia, which is only 16 kilometers away. The main thing you want to share when you talk about Bahrain is that it is one of the most peaceful Arab countries. But about everything in order.
Despite the fact that Bahrain is the smallest and only island Arab state, there is enough space for tourism here. And although until recently only travelers from neighboring countries came here, now the situation is changing: from all over the world, curious tourists flock to the tiny but powerful Kingdom, confident that they know everything about the Arab holiday (for example, Dubai). And while Bahrain does strive to match the level of its popular neighbor, it still retains its immediate charm.
The capital of Manama is a very young resort, where wide beaches, dizzying heights and architecture of skyscrapers and world-class entertainment are just beginning to appear, so tourists come here not only in search of luxury holidays, but also contrasts. Colorful bazaars, delicious coffee, pearl jewelry and unique perfumes are the main characteristics of Bahrain.
You can get here with Bahrain Gulf Air. By the way, modern Airbus A320 aircraft will appeal even to the most desperate aerophobes. The flight staff will immediately introduce you to the main traditions of the country (for example, treat you to Arabic coffee with cardamom) and help you relax. Bahrain is worth it to start your trip with business class — after all, you are going to relax royally-so do not give up on national snacks on Board, fish and meat dishes and be sure to try the fragrant risotto. As for desserts, cheesecake here is no worse than in some coffee mania. And then-go to sleep until you Wake up in the hot sun of Manama, or watch new movies.
By the way, it is quite possible that a famous Formula 1 driver or a Hollywood celebrity will be on the same Board with you. This is because the Bahrain Grand Prix is held here every year. For the first time, one of the stages of the championship was held here in 2004, so the locals are used to people "from the big lands", and the ubiquitous Europeans do not scare them at all. Perhaps this is why the atmosphere here is unlike any other Arab country: Bahrain is not spoiled, like Dubai, by attention and Intrusive tourists. So be prepared for unexpected encounters with manamans-let the faces of many women hide behind traditional dark dresses, and men at first glance look intimidating, they all treat you with respect and warmth. Although there are some unspoken rules for visitors here too: no one will point a finger at you if you suddenly appear in the city center in short shorts, and it is still better to take light dresses and skirts below the knee, trousers, t-shirts (to cover the shoulders).
Must see your trip — Bahrain from the height of one of the rooms of the brand new Four Seasons. The hotel is located on its own island (like an oasis in the middle of the desert), and you can see it from almost any point of the city center. The building of incredible architecture excites the imagination — what is inside? The answer is a modern Palace in all its splendor. It seems that the hotel is completely transparent — this impression is created because of the huge panoramic Windows. The same effect Windows create in rooms of any category, so if you want to stay in your personal, even a small Palace, Four Seasons is the right choice. Just imagine: at night you take a bath with fragrant Hermes foam, and then drown in the most comfortable bed with a panoramic view of the sparkling city. In the morning, you will be sure to enjoy an equally Royal Breakfast: the most exotic fruits, the freshest pastries, several types of omelets, national dishes, hummus and invigorating coffee. The next stage of the program is a swimming pool with sea and city views and a light fruit cocktail.
And soon there will be a large beach with snow-white sand right on the territory of the hotel. By the way, Bahrain is another proof that with the help of the necessary resources, you can build a full-fledged settlement with modern infrastructure on an empty place.
In search of great restaurants do not need to disappear in the city, all of them are also available on site. In the Italian cafe you can try delicious gnocchi and pizza on a thin dough, if you prefer steaks-go to the floor above, and right on the roof you will find the best Asian cuisine, for which, although the American chef is responsible, there is no equal.
And now about contrasts. As soon as you leave your luxury hideout, Bahrain opens up on the other side. Thanks to the narrow streets, tiny coffee shops and shops with homemade cakes and halva (which is more like marmalade in consistency), you will remember Asia. True, next to eclectic architecture and modern museums, decorated in the Scandinavian style, there are neighborhoods that look more like unfavorable — but this is not because of poverty, but rather because of relaxation. Locals here almost do not work, investing their inheritance or savings in tourism — huge shopping malls and hotels are being built against the background of their mansions.
The center also fascinates with bright fragrant shops with incense, lamps made of Murano colored glass, fabrics, jewelry (made of pearls that have been extracted here for several centuries) and perfumes. Be sure to check out one of the branded perfume stores: first, in a variety of bottles and compositions, you will certainly find the fragrance of dreams, and secondly, it will cost half as much as in duty free. A nice bonus-at home you will not be given a pass with questions about the unusual sound of your new perfume.
To better feel the atmosphere of the country, go to the mosque — Yes, women are allowed there, but only if you dress in national dress and take off your shoes at the entrance. Although the mosque looks small on the outside, there is a lot of space inside, it is light and cool, and the walls, ceilings and floors are lined with marble. And while you are fantasizing about how the face of a woman with a fascinating look, passing by in a mysterious dress (just remember the TV series "Clone" or the good old disney Aladdin), do not forget to look around — because the magic is in the details.
During the day, the streets of Manama are deserted due to the heat (by the way, it is best to relax there in the off — season-in autumn or spring): local people move by car or by public transport, equipped with air conditioning. Therefore, if you want to take a walk, take the most powerful sunscreen, a hat and a bottle of water, because even the picturesque water sources in the form of artificial reservoirs or fountains, which are enough in the city, will not help to refresh.
So, traveling to Bahrain is a kind of experiment. Right before your eyes, one of the most popular resorts of the near future is being created, an exciting Arabic fairy tale that will appeal to both sophisticated travelers and newcomers who are just discovering the big world.