What you need to know before planning your trip to the Bahrain Grand Prix. This year’s race takes place on April 14-16, 2017.
The Kingdom of Bahrain is a collection of islands situated between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Known for being one of the more liberal Muslim countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (or GCC, made up of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), Bahrain offers tourists an exotic, Islamic experience with all the luxury trappings of a wealthy, petroleum-based economy.
Most visitors to Bahrain will need a visa for their trip, except for citizens of the GCC. The good news, however, is that most visitors are eligible for a visa on arrival (VOA) in Bahrain. Most travellers are granted a 14-day visa, whilst UK and Irish nationals can stay for up to three months with a VOA. To check whether you need to organize a visa in advance of your trip, head to the Bahrain eVisas site where you can apply online for yours if needed. Visas typically cost from 10-25 Bahraini Dinars (€25-60).
Language & Culture
Arabic is Bahrain’s official language, though English is a compulsory secondary language in schools and is spoken widely. Culturally, it is important to remember that this is an Islamic country and although modern and Westernized in many ways, respect must be shown to cultural practices. Visitors should make the effort to dress modestly when out and about in more traditionally Islamic areas, though it is acceptable to wear bikinis and shorts on beaches, in hotels and at beach clubs. Arrests have been made against people seen kissing in public, so avoid public displays of affection.
Bahrain has low crime and is considered to be among the safest places in the world to visit as a tourist. Unfortunately, though, petty theft, robberies and burglaries do happen, so exercise caution as you would anywhere new. Bahrain has experienced terrorist activity in recent times, as well as violent protests. The 2011 Grand Prix in Bahrain was actually cancelled due to safety concerns over large government protests. Our advice is to exercise common sense, as with traveling anywhere: stay tuned to local news, remain alert in large crowds, and stay away from demonstrations.
The currency in Bahrain is the Bahraini Dinar (BHD) which is divided into 1000 Fils. At the time of writing, 1 BHD was worth approximately 2.6 USD, 2.2 GBP and 2.5 EUR. The Dinar is pegged to the Saudi Riyal at a rate of 1:10, and if you’re coming from Saudi you can spend Riyals in Bahrain almost anywhere at this rate.
Tap water in Bahrain is not suitable for drinking, but bottled water is available widely and cheaply. Most large chain hotels will have an on-call doctor available 24 hours, and there are several hospitals in Manama (Bahrain’s capital city) where most F1 travellers stay, some 30 kilometers from the Bahrain International Circuit.
Bahrain has a hot, arid climate, but April is a great time to visit as this tends to be just before things get unbearably hot. Expect temperatures to hover around 30 degrees Celsius in April, before spiking up to 40 and sometimes 50 in July and August. Thankfully, all grandstands at the Bahrain Grand Prix are covered and the race itself takes place after dark when temperatures begin to fall.
- Time zone: Bahrain is GMT+3.
- Tap water in Bahrain is not considered safe for human consumption; bottled water is readily available and cheap
- You drive on the right side of the road in Bahrain
- In case of emergency, call 999 for Police/Fire/Ambulance
- Bahrain uses type G power sockets, just like the UK/Ireland. If you are coming from contintental Europe, the USA or Australia, you will need an adaptor
The lowdown on the trackside experience at the Sakhir Circuit for the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix, plus full weekend schedule. This year’s race takes place on April 14-16, 2017.
The Bahrain Grand Prix has been a fixture on the Formula 1 calendar since 2004. We take a look at the history and some interesting facts from the 12 races held at the Sakhir circuit to date.