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| Updated on Aug 30, 2016

Desert driving and other Bahraini pleasures

Despite its reduced dimensions, Bahrain has a lot to offer regarding road trips. Its Grand Prix culture has lead to the establishment of many routes that will make an unforgettable cross-country experience. Here is our all time favorite Bahrain road trip, starting at the magnificent Bahrain Fort .

From Bahrain Fort to Durrat Al Bahrain: With approximately sixty kilometers,this route covers the Bahrain fort (Bahrain’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Royal Palace of Riffa fort and the iconic Tree of life. In our way, we will go through Jebel al Dukhan, which is the country’s highest peak and Durrat Al Bahrain, Bahrain’s most spectacular reclamation project.

Driving Directions: Start at Bahrain Fort, join Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway, at the third interchange take the exit to Riffa, on the Wali Al-Hamad Highway. Pass the clock roundabout, at the traffic lights take a right turn to Riffa Fort. From Riffa Fort, head to towards Riffa Mall and then join Sheikh Salman Highway and turn left on the Palace Roundabout all the way down to Awali roundabout and turn right and then turn left at the next roundabout and follow the signs to the First Oil Well in the Middle East. From the First Oil Well, follow the signs that lead you through the desert past Jebel al Dukhan to the Tree of Life. Follow the main road away from the tree of Life which joins King Hamad Highway. Turn right on the highway and follow it all the way down to Durrat Al Bahrain.

Visas are needed in order to visit Bahrain and, for citizens of most western nationalities, these can be conveniently obtained on arrival at Bahrain International Airport or at the border with Saudi Arabia. The cost of a three-month, multiple-entry visa, valid for stays of two weeks up to 30 days, costs BD25 (around US$66) and is payable in cash or credit card, either Bahraini dinars or major international currencies.

You can also apply for an e-visa online – follow the links on www.evisa.gov.bh – wihich allows you to avoid long arrival immingration lines. You can check your eligibility for a visa on arrival online, as there are some restrictions currently in place for certain professions and nationalities. Given the decreasing international interest about Bahrain in recent decades, tourist will be likely to be questioned about their plans and intentions when visiting the country with a short term visa permit.
Once you are in the land you can extend your visa by visiting the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports & Residents. The cost of a visa extension is currently BD5 and the government takes a minimum of 72 hours to process and approve extension requests. This new document allows you to remain in the country for two more weeks, with no exception. Foreigners who overstay are rigorously fined.

Regarding customs regulations, Bahrein is not particularly strict. Unlike in other muslim countries, the importation, purchase and consumption of alcohol is permitted. Non muslim visitors are allowed to import 1L of wine or six cans of beer duty free.   Island bahrain

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