Bahrain Shopping Tips by Rodan44
Bahrain Shopping: 17 reviews and 17 photos
Trisanna at a Bedouin Craft Shop
Bedouins are the traditional nomadic tribes of the Arab world, and they are famous for producing coloful and elaborate handmade crafts, especially jewelry and clothing. Although the tiny island of Bahrain does not have any native Bedouin tribes (at least I highly doubt they do), there are many shops that specialize in traditional Bedouin crafts.
What to buy: While both Bedouin clothing and jewelry are usually made from common, inexpensive materials, it is their intricate designs and detailed handiwork that make them truly fascinating. The exception is items crafted from quality Omani silver, which can be quite expensive. Overall, look for pieces that really stand out as being unique and avoid anything that looks factory made.
What to pay: Prices vary from a couple BD (Bahraini Dinars) to much more, so always remember to do comparison shopping and barter hard.
Directions: Adliya, just west of the Grand Mosque
Theme: Local Craft
Spice Shop in the Manama Souq
When wandering around the narrow back alleys of the Manama Souq, follow your nose to the alley lined with spice shops. These shops are not hard to spot as they all display pyramids of multi-colored spices out in front, as well as sacks of various whole spices, nuts, and dried fruits. Even if you aren't intereste in buying anything, it is some of the best window shopping in town. A feast for the eyes and nose!
What to buy: You will probably find almost any exotic spice you can think of here, and if you come from a western country then it will probably be much cheaper than you can buy back home. So I suggest that you load up on anything that you use a lot of in your own cooking.
Directions: Manama Souq (central market)
Theme: Food and Drink
Bahrain Int'l Airport Duty-Free
Even if you only have a few hours layover in the Bahrain International Airport, the duty-free shops offer a few goodies that are definitely worth picking up. It is a relatively small airport with only a handful of shops, mostly carrying the standard duty-free items seen around the world (cigarettes, perfume, liquor, chocolate). But there are also a few shops that carry local crafts and souvenirs. Besides, what else are you gonna do with all that layover time?
What to buy: A little simulated bazaar selling local crafts and souvenirs can be found in the middle of the duty-free area. Here, you can pick up middle eastern glassware, copperware, rugs, dried fruits and pasteries, houkahs and flavored tobacco, as well as my personal favorite - singing camel dolls with flashing eyes!
Directions: Bahrain International Airport departures terminal
Theme: Local Craft
Perfume Shop, Manama Souq
After gold, perfume is another popular luxury good that is widely available in Bahrain. The middle east region is known for producing a wide array of exotic perfumes, and Bahrain has no shortage of specialty perfume shops selling every fragrance imaginable. Many shops will even create a personal fragrance just for you using a blend of frangrances that you select.
What to buy: Look for perfumes containing frankincense oil, which is one of the most highly prized fragrances in the world and a specialty of the middle east region. Frankincense is an aromatic resin obtained from the tree Boswellia thurifera or B. sacra. It is also used in incense.
What to pay: Since neither my wife nor I are into perfumes, we were only window shopping, but I have no doubt that the quality stuff costs a bundle.
Directions: Several high-end perfume shops can be found in the Manama Souq, or you can simply pick some up in a duty-free shop in the airport.
Bahrain Gold Souq, Manama
From a shopping standpoint, Bahrain is most known for gold jewelry. The appropriately named Gold Souq in Manama is a modern, air-conditioned mall with several stories of nothing but gold/jewelry shops. Whether you are looking for contemporary or antique/Bedouin styles, this place has it all. The store owners are all friendly and speak English. Definitely a dangerous place if you're on a budget!
What to pay: Prices will vary widely for different pieces, so its best to shop around for comparison and be sure to barter for everything!
Directions: Inside the Manama Suoq (central market)
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