The Manama souk


Start at the centre of Bahrain's shopping universe - the souk

The Manama souk, located just beyond Bab Al Bahrain, is the perfect first stop. The shops, ranging from tiny open-air stalls to leading department stores, are packed with everything from clothes to electronics, tobacco to incense and antiques to gold.

The souk, with its labyrinthine lanes and alleys is best explored on foot, so if you're driving, remember to leave your car in one of the parking facilities near Bab Al Bahrain.


Add some spice to your life.

The secret of Arabic cuisine, with its heavenly taste and aromas, is the spices that go into the meal.

If you're adventurous enough to try your hand at a Bahraini recipe, visit one of the spice shops in the Manama souk. You will find yourself greeted with mounds of colourful, fragrant spices of every possible variety.

Don't be afraid to ask if you're not sure what to buy, the vendors are always more than happy to help

Let your heart soar on these magical carpets.

You will find some of the world's most beautiful carpets in Bahrain.

The carpet shops, many of them located in Manama and Adliya, carry exquisite Persian rugs as well as almost equally gorgeous (and certainly less expensive) carpets from Turkey, Afghanistan, Baluchistan and China.


Gem of a chance to own a real pearl.

While gold is hugely popular with residents and tourists alike, it is pearls which first put Bahrain on the map.

From time immemorial, the island has been known as a world class pearling centre. Bahrain's pearls are natural which accounts for their sometimes slightly irregular shapes. They also vary in colour, from cream or white to ochre or even green.

The combination of gold and pearls is truly stunning, and one which you should consider if jewellery is on your shopping list


All that glitter - don't miss a golden opportunity!

Bahrain's gold shops have always been a huge draw with visitors and it is easy to see why. The quality of the gold, excellent craftsmanship and low prices are an irresistible combination.

Unlike the West, where gold available is usually 18 carat or less, a lot of the jewellery here is either 21 or 22 carat, some even pure 24 carat gold!

The Gold Souk building near Bab Al Bahrain and the newly-opened Gold City (just a few minutes drive away) between them boast well over a hundred jewellery shops, and there are dozens of other stores in and around the area too.


Discover why a good parking spot is hard to find at Seef Mall.

One of Bahrain's most popular shopping complexes, Seef Mall combines both modern and traditional elements in its architecture.

It is also home to world-renowned stores like Debenhams, BhS and Marks & Spencer.

The excellent food court and the superb cinemas at the mall have contributed to its popularity.


Shop at an old-style souk - in air conditioned comfort.

The A'ali Mall is as good as any major shopping centre you might find in the West or Far East.

But what makes it stand out is the Souke Al Tawaweesh section, which recreates the look and feel of a traditional open air souk within its air-conditioned confines.

A glass roof, stores with old-fashioned Arabic wooden doors and carts selling souvenirs all add to the atmosphere.


Explore Bahrain's first hypermarket.

Bahrain Mall. anchored by French hypermarket chain Geant, is rapidly becoming the country's number one shopping destination. Located in the same retail district as A'ali and Seef Malls, the recently opened complex has become a magnet for both residents and tourists.

Geant alone occupies some 150,000 square feet, and has 60 check-out counters. It sells everything from electronics and fashion to household items and fresh fish.

There are 90 other stores in the mall, ranging from international concepts like Lee Jeans, Body Shop and Starbucks to local favourites like Arabian Oud and Tarbouche Express.


Visit the mall in the souk.

Yateem Centre, built in 1980, was Bahrain's first major shopping mall and is still a big draw.

Located in the heart of the Manama souk, it caters largely to the middle market.

This is a place to go to for reasonably priced fashions, electronics, footwear and even tourist souvenirs.

It also houses many jewellery stores and has recently opened a new food court.


Enjoy world-class shopping at Marina Mall.

The 35,000-square feet Marina Mall opened in 2001 at the well-known Central Market, the first of several expansion projects planned there.

The multi-storey arcade includes several mega-stores including Mothercare, Shoe Mart, Home Centre and Sarah's Secret, plus a string of privately-leased shops.


Save a buck or two at the Flea Market.

The souk al haraj (flea market) in Isa Town is a popular haunt for antique collectors and bargain-hunters. Items range from the old and unusual to the easily-available but cheap.


Go souvenir-hunting at the Tourism Directorate.

The Tourism Directorate makes it easy for visitors to shop for souvenirs - all you need to do is go to its store in Bab Al Bahrain where you will find a huge variety of traditional items. These range from replica wooden dhows to camels made of leather.


See how Duty Free makes the dinar go further.

The Duty Free at Bahrain Airport has won numerous international awards and it is easy to see why.

The relaxed setting, a choice of more than 45,000 quality items and low prices combine to make Duty Free a popular stopover for departing passengers.

You can also enter the popular car draw, with a selection of top of the range cars on offer


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One place you should never drive is in the souk, it is too crowded and almost impossible to find parking. There are big parking lots very near the souk, which are staffed by handicapped people, so you can park and do a good deed at the same time.