Is Bahrain safe? All you need to know

Is Bahrain safe? I was asked by a few people when I planned a trip there. 

For some reason, people often question the safety of Gulf countries, despite them being safer than most places in the world!

I recently spent two days in Bahrain, and here’s my thoughts on safety in the small Middle Eastern country. 

Is Bahrain safe? 

Yes, Bahrain is a very safe country. In fact, it’s most likely safer than wherever you’re from! 

There are a few things to be mindful of here – largely, respecting local culture – which we’ll go into in this post, but in general crime rate is low and general safety levels are high. 

So, if you’re planning a trip to Bahrain, read on for what you need to know about safety in the country!

Crime rate in Bahrain

Skyline of Manama dominated by the World Trade Center Building. The capital of Bahrain

On Numbeo, Bahrain’s crime rate ranks as “low” or “very low” in nearly all factors. 

When you compare Bahrain to the UK, the UK ranks as “moderate” for most factors, a few as “low” and a few as “high”. 

So, it’s easy to see how much less crime there is in Bahrain! 

Scams in Bahrain

There aren’t that many scams in Bahrain; sometimes, you might find fake goods at the Manama souq masquerading as “genuine” (however many stalls sell fake goods and aren’t shy about it!) and unlicensed taxis can also overcharge passengers. Use ride hailing apps like Uber or Careem to avoid this.

Road safety in Bahrain

Roads are generally good in Bahrain, and if you’re relying on taxi to get around, you shouldn’t have an issue. If you’re driving yourself, you might notice aggressive driving than you’re used to.

If you are unfortunate enough to get into an accident, you may also find that you are at fault, no matter who actually caused it. 

Personally, I wouldn’t drive myself in Bahrain – but I rarely do drive in foreign countries. 

Is Bahrain safe for women? 

A woman standing in front of a large mosque with intricate architecture and multiple arches, under a cloudy sky.

Yes, Bahrain is safe for women. 

While it’s a patriarchal society, the crime rate against women is, like the general crime rate, exceptionally low. 

I travelled in Bahrain with my partner but have been to other gulf countries (including the UAE and Qatar) alone and felt completely at ease walking around. 

That said, like many Middle Eastern countries, it’s recommended for women to dress conservatively. You don’t need to cover your head or completely cover your arms, but I’d recommend covering your legs and shoulders. Head coverings are not needed anywhere outside a mosque (if you visit a mosque and need a head covering, they’ll usually be able to provide it). 

Is Bahrain safe for LGBTQIA+ people? 

Homosexuality in itself is decriminalised in Bahrain – and in fact, it’s often thought of as the most tolerant country in the Middle East. 

However, there are some restrictions and attitudes unfortunately do remain quite homophobic. If you’re travelling as a LGBTQIA+ couple or think you can easily be identified as part of the community, I’d recommend doing some further research to identify your personal safety situation in Bahrain. 

While I’m an ally, as a straight woman it’s not my place give a definite answer! 

Terrorism in Bahrain

Terrorisim in Bahrain could happen, but it could also happen anywhere in Europe. There have been one or two attacks in Bahrain over the past 10 years, but less than London or Paris. So, if you’re happy going to Western Europe, I wouldn’t have any qualms going to Bahrain as far as terrorism is concerned.

Is Bahrain affected by the situation in Gaza?

Bahrain is a long way from Gaza, so no, it’s not directly affected by the war at all. 

Politically, Bahrain signed a 2020 agreement with Israel and the US to normalise relations but has met resistance to this since the 2023 war broke out – as the country’s population is overwhelmingly Muslim, they have an affinity to the people of Palestine. 

Bahrain’s government has been described as “walking a political tightrope” to try to please all parties. 

But you shouldn’t notice this tension on a trip here. 

Food and water hygiene in Bahrain

An assortment of Middle Eastern appetizers served in clay dishes on a woven table. The spread includes stuffed grape leaves, baba ghanoush, hummus, a rich tomato-based dip, tabbouleh salad, and crispy pita bread pieces. A plate with a fork and spoon is set to the side.

Despite Bahrain being a very developed country, you can’t actually drink the tap water. They don’t have a lot of water, and don’t treat what comes out the tap! 

So, drink bottled water or use a Water-to-Go bottle with a filter. 

Food-wise, hygiene seems good. It’s a very clean country and everything seems to be cooked well! 

Alcohol in Bahrain

You can drink in Bahrain, but only in limited areas. Don’t expect to be able to have a bottle of wine with dinner unless you’re in a hotel restaurant or somewhere that caters exclusively for ex-pats or tourists. 

Drunken public behaviour” is illegal, so if you’re obviously drunk on the streets of Manama, you could risk hefty fines or being deported. 

That said, it’d be quite hard to get drunk in Bahrain without paying through the nose – booze is expensive! 

My advice would be, if you’re planning on having more than a few drinks, to keep it to your hotel bar. 

Healthcare in Bahrain

Healthcare in Bahrain is generally very good, with some excellent international hospitals. 

However, it doesn’t come cheap – so make sure that you’re insured in case of any accidents or illnesses. 

I use and recommend SafetyWing, who offer insurance for people already on the road (you don’t have to be in your home country to start a policy) on a rolling monthly or fixed-date basis. 

Check out SafetyWing here.

Is Bahrain safe for Americans?

Yes, Bahrain is just as safe for Americans as anyone else. 

Is it safe to walk around Bahrain at night?

Probably! Personally, I don’t walk around alone at night anywhere other than my hometown and areas I know very well, but the likelihood of something happening in Bahrain is very, very low, even for solo female travellers. 

I probably wouldn’t recommend walking around at three in the morning, but if there’s anywhere where it would be safe, it’s probably Bahrain! 

That said, aside from Manama Souq, there aren’t that many places you can walk around Bahrain at night. It’s much more of a driving culture. 

Bahraini people

I found the people in Bahrain (both locals and ex-pats – around 50% of the population is from overseas) to be very friendly and accommodating. 

While the official language is Arabic, English is the lingua franca between Arabic and non-Arabic-speaking people. Everyone I interacted with spoke very good English. 

I also found everyone to be very helpful and kind, and I would have felt comfortable asking for help if needed. 

Laws in Bahrain

Sunset at the recontructed Bahrain Fort near Manama at Seef, Bahrain

Part of the reason Bahrain is so safe is because it has quite strict laws and severe penalties for anyone who breaks them. 

So, it’s important to make sure you’re aware of the laws in Bahrain to ensure you don’t accidentally break any. 

These include: 

  • very strict penalties for drug offences – in some cases, the death penalty
  • zero drink driving tolerance
  • zero tolerance for stealing
  • strict rules around getting into debt (which shouldn’t affect tourists but may affect expats)
  • technically, couples who aren’t married are not allowed to share a hotel room, although this usually isn’t enforced. Public displays of affection are also unadvisable (especially if you’re unmarried). 
  • homosexuality is decriminalised in Bahrain, but there are still laws surrounding affection and attitudes can unfortunately be quite homophobic. I recommend doing further research if you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • if you’re visiting during Ramadan, publicly consuming food during daylight hours is banned. tourist-focused restaurants will still serve during the day. 

Safety advice for travelling to Bahrain

Stay safe in Bahrain by following these tips! 

  1. Dress conservatively: Women should cover their legs and shoulders, and while there’s no guidance for men, wearing long trousers/ pants will mean you stick out less obviously as a tourist. 
  2. Read up on laws: Bahrain is quite a strict place in terms of laws. Make sure that you aren’t accidentally breaking any by reading up on them before you go.
  3. Avoid walking around alone late at night: It’s probably safe, but don’t let Bahrain lull you into a complete false sense of security – personally, I wound’t walk around very late at night anywhere!
  4. Don’t drink tap water: It always surprises me that tap water is non-potable in the Gulf countries, but I guess it’s due to how little water they have here. 
  5. Be careful in the sun: Like all countries in the region, Bahrain can be very hot and sunny. Wear suncream and a hat and drink plenty of water!

Are you ready to visit Bahrain?

Bahrain’s a small but interesting country and it’s worth a visit if you’re hopping around the Gulf region – and it’s extremely safe!

I’m posting about the country on my YouTube, Instagram and TikTok channels, so follow along for more!