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Topics include Dining Scene, Bahrain: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Bahrain is a fantastic place to vist but one question that gets
asked time and time again is "what is the best way to get around in
Bahrain?". The answer to this question all depends on what you are
looking to do during your trip. If you are going to spend a lot of time
exploring the island and are comfortable driving in the Middle East
then your best bet is to hire a car.
If you are planning to stay in and around the city centre then hiring a car can be a nightmare due to traffic congestion. Public transport is pretty much non existent in Bahrain so your best plan of action is to use taxis as and when needed.
As you will quickly find when hailing a cab in Bahrain, if you say
nothing to the driver he will not mention payment until you reach your
destination. The driver will (9.5 times out of ten) come up with a
price, without consulting any kind of meter, that can be up to ten
times over the price of what it should be. By law, taxis in Bahrain
have to use a payment meter and if they do the cost is extremely cheap.
What tends to happen is that the cab driver will hide the meter
(usually with a box of tissues) so that if he gets pulled over he can
reveal the meter the to curious officer. Some don't even go to
this trouble and will not even turn the meter on.
There a couple of very good cab companies in Bahrain that abide by the law and use the meters every time but these oufits are so good that they are always booked many hours in advance. So here are a couple of pointers to adhere to when you have to hail a street cab.
Do your best not to travel alone, Bahrain is a very safe place but this is a "rule of thumb" for all countries you visit.
This is the most important tip, always insist that the driver turns the meter on before you start the journey. He will allways try to get out of this request by a number of means such as offering you a better deal than the meter or that it is broken. Do not accept any of his "kind" offerings as all he is trying to do is avoid turning the meter on. Street taxis are ten-a-penny in Bahrain so if he refuses full stop to put the meter on jump out and hail another cab (this can happen on numerous occasions).
As mentioned above, there have been siutations where people being ripped off by as much as 10-15 times the amount they should have paid. Street cab drivers prey on tourists new to the area but if you insist on them turning the meter on you will not get stung by these guys.
see table of taxi fares. Also, if meter not working 'the ride is free' (says the government).
Renting a car is also cheap and probably better if u're going to be around quite a lot.