The weather is cooling down and it’s the perfect time to plan some fun outdoors. There’s so much to do in Bahrain if you know exactly where to look. FACT has scoured the island for exciting activities.
It’s that time of the year when everything starts getting festive. The winter ushers in good vibes, putting us in the mood to get outdoorsy. The island is home to numerous initiatives and activities that will keep you busy. Whether you fancy admiring Bahrain’s mesmerising sunsets, sipping on a coffee al fresco or are looking for something more adrenaline boosting such as rowing or horse riding, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we share the most interesting things to see and do in the Kingdom over the coming months.
Bahrain Rowing & Canoe Centre
While the temperatures are dropping, there’s still time left to catch up on that last bit of fun in the water. Explore Bahrain’s rich maritime tradition with Bahrain Rowing & Canoe Centre (BRC). Established in 2016, they provide both amateur and experienced rowers with a platform to learn and compete. You can either create your own team or reach out to them and they’ll find a team to put you on. The team becomes like your family because you practice and enter competitions together. They have different types of boats that you can rent. While dragon boats are more suited for beginners, those who have a background in rowing can go for the rowing boats. If you want to level up, register for their classes, which run for an hour and a half, covering all techniques including racing. The classes are held every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoon and priced at BD5 per person. However, if you attend as a team, you will end up paying much less. BRC is a social enterprise and makes its services accessible to as many as possible. A team of 20 renting a boat, for instance, would have to pay just about 700 fils per person!
GO: Call 3558 6373 to learn about BRC’s activities and upcoming events.
Throw A BBQ Party
Head to the seaside in Juffair or Bahrain Bay and have a barbecue party. For those who prefer something low-key, cooking steaks on your front porch or terrace isn’t such a bad idea either. The whole point is to get out and socialise. There are many hotels on the island that host BBQ dinners too. The Gulf Hotel Bahrain Convention & Spa will host BBQ Master Pit American Night, a BBQ extravaganza. You can enjoy a fine selection of red meat, local American street food and brews, every Monday, from 7pm to 10.30pm. The offer is priced starting at BD18 plus tax. You could also head to Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain for a BBQ by the poolside terrace. Order your table BBQ of fine Frankfurter sausages, shish tawook, beef tenderloin and lamb chops and grill them the way you like it. The offer is priced at BD12+++ per person and runs daily from 7pm to 11pm at Palms Terrace.
GO: Call The Gulf Hotel on 1771 3000 and Mövenpick Hotel on 3364 0032 for more information and to make a reservation.
Workout In The Great Outdoors
While hitting the gym or attending a Zumba class is all good, exercising outdoors has its benefits. You’re exposed to the natural elements, which is refreshing and a welcome break from air-conditioned spaces. Bahrain has many walking tracks, including the popular 3-kilometre one in Arad near the airport, those in Juffair, Hidd and Sitra, and, most recently, the one at Um Al Hassam. Some have manual exercise equipment that you can use for free. Others rent equipment such as kick scooters. Most have a space for children to play, which is a win-win – your kids can get some movement too. Additionally, these are green spaces, which is always a plus.
Unwind Al fresco At A Cafe Or Restaurant
There’s no dearth of cafes or restaurants on the island. Many of them have exquisite outdoor areas or rooftops that come alive at this time of the year. While Bahrain spoils you for choice when it comes to F&B (food and beverage) venues, we’re specifically talking about the off-beat ones such as Darseen Cafe located at Bahrain National Museum. It has a beautiful al fresco dining area, offering a mesmerising seafront view. Being located in the same premises as the museum lends this space a certain cultural touch that you can enjoy as you tuck into rustic local dishes and international fare. Offering similar vibes is GB Cafe, a concept by Green Bar, serving Bahraini staples and contemporary dishes. Head to the outlet that’s located at Bahrain Fort. They have an al fresco dining area and it’s magical to watch the sunset from here, while the sea serenades you with the sound of the waves.
GO: Visit @darseencafebh and @greenbarcafe on Instagram for more information.
Get Up-Close With Camels
If you’re an animal lover, then this one’s for you. The Royal Camel Farm is home to many ships of the desert; tall, with humps like sand dunes and lash-swept eyes that entice, these magnificent creatures were once a means of transportation in Bahrain. But of course, that was a lifetime ago. Today, they are used mainly for meat and milk, which is said to have beneficial properties – antioxidants, calcium and a bunch of vitamins. It’s said that you can taste the milk at the farm. It’s worth mentioning that the camels at this farm aren’t raised for meat or racing. They are, as the name suggests, all owned by the Royal Family of the Kingdom of Bahrain. You’re allowed to feed the camels, and, if you’re lucky, you could get a chance to pet a baby! Tucked away in Janabiya, the farm is open from around 7am in the morning until sunset and entry is free.
Book A Private Photography Session
Bahrain is home to some really talented shutterbugs. You could book a private session with one of them for a solo or family photoshoot over a weekend. The island is also home to some picturesque locales such as the Bahrain Fort, with its mesmerising sunsets, and Karzakan Forest, with its canopy of foliage, to name a couple. They offer the perfect set up for a prized portfolio of memories. In addition to having the photos as keepsakes, the actual shoot is also a lot of fun. That way, even if you were to leave Bahrain at some point, you would have a unique souvenir – a visual reminder of you with a slice of the island to savour. Some popular photographers that you could connect with on Instagram are @bloombysummer, @yulia.trubni.photostream and @parvathiramanandanphotography
Go Horse Riding Across The Island
Horse riding is a popular activity in Bahrain. There are many riding centres that not only conduct classes but also organise tours across the island. You could have your Hollywood moment riding into the sunset at the beach or against the backdrop of the majestic Bahrain Fort – book that photoshoot already! Kashta Tours will start horse riding class from this month for BD40 and it’s open to both children and adults. They organise tours as well, information and availability for which you can find on their website. Ghazwan Equestrian Centre also organises tours to Bahrain Fort, every day, from 8am to noon and 4pm to 8pm. It’s priced at BD6 for an hour during the week and BD8 for an hour over the weekend. If you’re a newbie and need a guide, you’ll have to pay an additional BD2. Ghazwan offers two packages: BD110, which includes 11 classes of an hour each. The price includes two extra classes plus tours so, that’s 13 in all. The other package is priced at BD60 for five classes, which includes one extra class and tour so, six in all.
GO: Visit kashtatours.com and @ghazwan.equestrian.centre on Instagram for more information.
Stroll The Souqs’ Bylanes
The souqs or traditional markets have so much to see and do. Steeped in Bahrain’s rich history and vibrant culture, they offer an immersive experience, with food, shopping and a front-row seat to locals going about their day. Head to Manama souq for a spot of Bahraini breakfast at Haji’s Cafe, a traditional eatery that’s over 100 years old. There’s no menu card here, you eat what’s served for the day. While there’s an indoor area, we recommend you dine outdoors, sat on the blue-hued traditional benches, with blackand-white photos of old Bahrain adorning the walls. While you’re there, visit the Hindu temple, one of the oldest religious places in Bahrain. The structure that stands today has been renovated but the location and vibe remain the same. It’s close to what they call the gold souq – a lane dotted by gold shops. Muharraq souq also has plenty of attractions. You can stop by the spice shops and try the traditional halwa – a gelatinous sweet that’s best eaten with gahwa or Arabic coffee. Bahrain’s famous pearling path, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, starts here. It comprises the houses of pearling merchants, is a testament to the Kingdom’s maritime legacy, and makes a great walking tour.
GO: Visit @hajiscafe on Instagram and pearlingpath.bh for more information.
Walk Strays At An Animal Shelter
The best way to get active is to have a pet. Don’t have one? Don’t worry, we got you! Or at least our furry friends over at the animal shelters do. Bahrain Animal Rescue Centre in Hamala, which used to be run by Tony Waters aka Tony the Dogfather, is always seeking volunteers who can walk the strays. Timings this month are 10am to 1pm on weekends. While it’s a great workout, it’s also an enriching experience to spend time with these beautiful beings who have nothing to offer but love and then some more. While you’re there, you could also make a pitstop at the cattery to admire the fluff balls sun bathing or pet them. The BSPCA shelter over at Askar is also a great option to explore.
GO: Follow @bahrainanimalrescuecentre and @bspca on Instagram for updates and more information.
Become One With Nature
Nature lovers aren’t born, they’re raised. Get your cubs – five years or older – to spend some time giving back to the environment, with Nature Connect on November 5 from 3pm to 5pm. Needless to say, you also get a chance to learn and have fun while accompanying your kids. Organised by nature-enthusiast Dr. Anamica Bhattacharya and supported by Exchange Plants for free (EPF), a growing group of plant lovers – you can look up the page on Facebook. It’s a Big Draw event; The Big Draw Festival is the world’s biggest celebration of drawing founded by The Big Draw charity, a pioneering visual literacy charity dedicated to raising the profile of drawing as a tool for wellbeing, thought, creativity, and social and cultural engagement. You can learn more on www.thebigdraw.org
Nature Connect, an informative experience, will involve exploring desert plants, identifying animals, birds and insects, trying out various art forms such as drawing, painting and other crafts, and gardening. Different types of seeds will be distributed so your kids can grow them and, perhaps, make their own garden at home. Depending on the number of children and their ages, they will be categorised into sub groups to ensure a fulfilling experience. Nature supports our physical and mental well-being especially children’s. Additionally, it improves concentration, facilitates growth, betters vision and helps in overall intellectual development. Educator and researcher Dr. Anamica has organised a series of environmental awareness programmes on the island for the last two years. This is her third Big Draw event. Through her initiatives, she wants to send out the message that sustainability is a habit we need to practice every day.
GO: Call Dr. Anamica on 3413 6058 or visit her on Instagram @anamica_b for more information and to register.
Spin The Wheel At A’ali Pottery
Pottery is an ancient traditional art form in Bahrain dating back to the Dilmun era. If you pay a visit to the Bahrain National Museum, you’ll discover that some of the remains of pots found on the island date back to 2300 BC. A’ali village has a dedicated pottery workshop where you can see for yourself how these earthen treasures are fashioned. In fact, you could even try your hand at making one. It’s a great experience for the whole family and, after you get home, you could have a painting session together – a piece of Bahrain’s history to adorn your home. There’s a shop where you can buy a wide selection of readymade items too.
GO: Visit @pottery_alshugel on Instagram for more information.
Enjoy A Boat Ride At Bahrain Bay
Visit The Avenues Mall for a lazy brunch or early dinner. Then, head outside the mall to enjoy a relaxing ride aboard a water taxi. The view of Bahrain Bay, with luxurious buildings and the expanse of blue waters, is splendid to behold. The rides are organised between 10am to 1pm on weekdays and 10am to midnight on weekends. There’s usually a long line especially over the weekends so you may have to wait a little. The ride lasts 10 minutes and is priced at BD2 per head.
GO: Call 1715 1060 for more information.
Go Karting at BIKC
If you’re living in Bahrain, ‘the home of motorsport in the Middle East’, you simply have to experience karting at least once in your life. Bahrain International Karting Circuit (BIKC) is a premier track and the first, globally, to host a world championship-level race at night. While it has been graced by elite drivers, it’s also open to beginners who want to kick-start their racing careers, as well as those looking for a one-time adventure or some regular fun either with a team or by themselves. Adults can book a session for BD25 or BD32 – depending on the type of kart – and kids from seven to 12 years of age pay BD25. Sessions last half an hour with a break after 15 minutes. Located in Zallaq, BIKC is open throughout the week from 10am to 11.30pm and from 4pm to 11.30pm on Sundays and Monday’s. The track is booked for professionals from 4pm to 6pm, from Sunday to Thursday.
GO: Visit bahraingp.com for more information.
8 Hours Of Bahrain
Racing fans, mark your calendars for the BAPCO 8 Hours of Bahrain, which is returning for the season-ending round of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Head to Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, on November 11 and 12 for this event, which will mark the culmination of WEC’s 10th anniversary season. There will be supporting races happening in parallel such as the Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East. Tickets for 8 Hours Of Bahrain are priced at BD5 for adults and BD2.5 for kids.
GO: Visit bahraingp.com for more information.
Shop Local At The Farmers’ Market
The Bahraini Farmers’ Market in Budaiya will be back with its 10th edition in December. It’s a great place to visit and support local farmers and vendors who sell homegrown fresh fruit and vegetables and flowers. Additionally, you can shop for spices and a range of other products. This is an educational experience too with stalls explaining how to grow certain plants – aspirant green fingers, alert! The Bahraini Farmers’ Market is an activity for the entire family and your kids will love it as much as you.
GO: Visit @farmersbh on Instagram for more information.
Wen Wbkm Festival
Wen Wbkm, one of the island’s distinctive festivals will host its third edition at Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir from November 23 to December 3, from 4pm to midnight. A shopping carnival, Wen Wbkm translates to where and how much. In addition to restaurants and cafes, it features a wide range of fashion-related brands that you can explore. Additionally, there’s entertainment for the entire family, including games for children and live performances by famous traditional bands.
GO: Visit bahraingp.com for more information.
Alice In Wonderland-Themed Game
If you like solving puzzles, then don’t miss this adventure. What’s better? It’s going to be conducted outdoors, on the streets of Manama, which will transform into a giant, escape-room-style space on December 10. The event will take place between 9am and 2pm. Clued Upp Games, an award-winning creator of immersive outdoor experiences in over 1,200 locations and more than 80 countries worldwide, is organising it. All you have to do is form a team with family or friends and register. Tickets are priced at about BD25 per team, which admits up to six adults plus children. Children under 16 years play for free. However, Clued Upp doesn’t recommend more than four children per team. The idea is that Alice is trapped in Wonderland and time is running out to save her. Teams must solve clues and take on challenges that they can access on their phones, through an exclusive app. If you want to level up the fun quotient, dress up in Alice In Wonderland-themed costumes. While this is completely optional, we say, go big or go home because there are prizes to be won for Best Fancy Dress, in addition to a host of others such as Fastest Team and Pawesome Pooch!
GO: Visit www.cluedupp.com for more information.
Jointly organised by Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, The Pearling Path and Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture & Research, the first edition of Muharraq Nights is here. It will feature design, fashion, food and music across Bahrain’s historic neighbourhoods. The event will take place over two weekends: from December 1 to 3 and 8 to 10. There will be a number of indoor and outdoor venues where the festival will happen in Muharraq, including the Shaikh Ebrahim Center, Archaeologies of Green Bahrain Pavilion, which is located close to Shaikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa House, Bu Mahir fort and the public squares around these areas.
GO: Call 1729 8526 for more information.
IRONMAN 70.3 Bahrain
One of the biggest sporting events on the island, IRONMAN 70.3 Bahrain will take place on December 9. This is the fifth IRONMAN event in the Middle East and the official IRONMAN 70.3 Middle East Championship. The triathlon includes cycling, swimming and running. Athletes will manoeuvre some fast and unique courses, including a bike course that takes in part of the Bahrain International Circuit racetrack. It’s a seriously tough competition, so the participants are going to need all the support they can get. Be there to cheer them on! Or, if you’re one of the fit ones, maybe you can participate!
GO: Visit ironman.com for more information and to register.
Nasser Bin Hamad Cycling Tour
Spurred on by the success of the first edition of Nasser Bin Hamad Cycling Tour for amateurs earlier this year, Faalyat has announced the second edition, from November 3 to 5. Held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the tour will take place in Sakhir and Bilaj Al Jazayer, Zallaq. It’s spread across three days, with one sprint happening on each day. Women can participate in an exclusive race for ladies, which will take place on November 5. It’s a great opportunity for cycling enthusiasts. If that doesn’t convince you, then listen to this – there’s prize money to be won too! You can register as an individual or team; tickets start at BD10. Both GCC nationals and expats are welcome to participate.
GO: Visit www.tathaker.co for more information and to register.
Bahrain National Day
Bahrain National Day is always one of the most anticipated, yearend events. The whole island lights up and there are specific areas where you can drive to and admire beautiful decorative lighting. A fun outing and experience for the whole family. Celebrate the spirit of this island that we call home, throughout the month. There are usually events and activities that take place across the Kingdom too and fireworks displays, details still to be announced.