How To: A trip to Bahrain for Saudi Expats

When I was working as a Nurse in Saudi Arabia, It can be stressful and my colleagues and I were desperate for a vacation even just for a while. We only had three days request off so we decided to head for Bahrain. Here are some tips for some of you, like us who were desperate to unwind from work in Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom of Bahrain is one of the neighboring countries surrounding Saudi Arabia. It is an archipelago encircling by the persian gulf. Bahrain is connected to Saudi Arabia through the King Fahad Causeway.

King Fahad Causeway

King Fahad Causeway

Being an open country nearer that the UAE, Bahrain is a popular destination for foreign workers from Saudi Arabia to visit and relax.

Here are some of the things that we did upon visiting the country.

Bahrain Entry through King Fahad Causeway

Bahrain Entry through King Fahad Causeway

Bahrain Visa:

  1. All non Bahraini citizen must have a visa upon arrival.
  2. For Foreigners with working visa in Saudi Arabia: Exit and Reentry visa is easily obtained by applying in the Embassy of Bahrain or on your employer’s government relations office.
  3. What did I do: I applied to our Government Relations Office for an exit reëntry Visa and it costs 300 SAR. It took them one day to process.

From Saudi Arabia: 

  1. Via Plane:
  • 1 hour travel time from Riyadh to Bahrain.
  • 2 hour travel time for Jeddah to Bahrain.

2. Via Bus:

  • Riyadh to Bahrain: SAPTCO bus is one of the official buses going to bahrain.The VIP SAPTCO bus is what I recommend for safety and comfort.
  • SAPTCO bus: Females are at the back area and men are on front part of the bus.
  • Note: There are certain time and schedules of travel for Bahrain route. Reservation is a must because sits are easily taken.
  •  Travel time is four hours or more.
  • One way is 150 SAR and for round trip 225 SAR
  • Schedule Vice Versa: Thursday 3:00 pm: Riyadh to Manama. Monday 5:00pm: Manama to Riyadh

3. Via Train:

While waiting for our train trip. Selfie Much?

While waiting for our train trip. Selfie Much?

  • We took the Saudi Railway Station but it was a cutting trip. The train route is not directly to Bahrain. It is until Dammam only. The train that we rode was very slow because at that time we were experiencing sand storm.
On the train, on a 7 hour trip.

On the train, on a 7 hour trip.

  • Here are the bus schedule.
  • Bus ticket prices: We took the Al Rehab class half ticket.
  • Note the arrival schedule is not always followed. We took a 1:30 pm schedule but we left Riyadh at around 2:30 pm and we arrived at Dammam at 9:30 pm.
  • There are a lot of Taxis in front of the Train station of Dammam who can drop you by the SABTCO station.

  4. SABTCO: 

  • SABTCO station is one of the official buses of Bahrain in partnership with Saudi Arabia.
  • We didn’t have any idea what to do next, we just headed to the SABTCO station hoping that there were still trip for Bahrain.
SABTCO ticket

SABTCO ticket

  • We arrived at the station 10 minutes after 10:00 pm. We inquired if there were still trips for Bahrain. The staff informed us that the last trip was 10 pm and we just missed it. The next trip will be at 7:00 am the following day. We were so disappointed and we only had two days left before work starts again. Before we ran out of hope. A life saver appeared. A bus of SABTCO arrived without any passengers. Luckily the driver was one of our “Kababayans”. He explained to us that he only went to the station just to drop something off before heading back to Bahrain and he was not scheduled for travel. We then asked him if we could come along for he was also going to Bahrain. He phone his boss and luckily his boss approved but for an extra payment of 100 SAR.
  • The fare is 50 SAR each plus 100 SAR. We were very happy because we didn’t have to spend the night in Dammam.
  • When we arrived at Al Khobar we changed our vehicle into a Toyota SUV because we were only six including the driver and a Coaster Bus is too big for us.
Enjoying our SABTCO private vehicle car

Enjoying our SABTCO private vehicle car

  • We enjoyed our trip, it took an hour to arrive in Bahrain.

To avoid our mistakes and to maximize time here are some things to remember.



  1. 1 Bahraini Dinar = 10 Saudi Riyal
  2. 1 Bahraini Dinar = 2.5 US dollar
  3. Visa is very important. Non citizen of Bahrain must always have a Visa.
  4. Your passport serves as your Iqama.
  5. Always bring your Passport. Your passport is a prerequisite on purchasing your travel tickets.
  6. Bahrain accepts Saudi Riyal and US dollar for transaction.
  7. Always make reservations on your transportation especially the bus or the train.
  8. Research about the schedule of trips.
  9. Research about cheap but good hotels in Bahrain.
  10. Wear Abayas when still in KSA.
  11. Plan your trip thoroughly.
  12. A plane is faster but land transportation is cheaper.
  13. A trolley bag is more practical when your planning to do a cutting trip.



81 responses to “How To: A trip to Bahrain for Saudi Expats

  1. i enjoyed reading your post. Very informative. I am here in Jeddah and plan to travel by bus to Bahrain for the same reason.”Just to get a break” Thanks again.

  2. Thanks for the great guide! Much appreciated! My buddy and I are headed to Bahrain in a couple weekends (need to get OUT of Riyadh!) … very helpful!

  3. Great. It was very helpful. I am traveling from 28th June from UK to Saudi and then 2days going to Bahrain and back to Saudi till the 2nd of August.

  4. Hello there thanks for writing a good article like this..We are couple of guys who were planning for the same so it would really help us..

  5. Thnx for such an informative article, can u mention me some places in Bahrain where i can visit, especially some relaxed ones, what was ur experience of hotel u stayed in? i m an expat living in Dammam, is it safe to take my car there as i have heard there is some against thinking for Saudis among general public..

    • I would recommend the dilmun water park if you love swimming there are a lot of great slides. I also recommend the tree of life which is one of the oldest tree in bahrain. We are not prepared on the hotel that we stayed in and its not good. My advice is just look for a hotel in trip advisor and read the reviews. That is what I’m doing whenever I go to new places and it is better to book in advance rather than walk in. For the safety, Based on my experience I haven’t encountered any maltreatment at that time but it is still better to be careful.

  6. Thanks for this informative piece. I’ll just bookmark it right away. It’ll come in handy soon.


  8. thanx for giving us very valuable information…i m planing to go Bahrain from Jeddah via Bus..i dnt know any direct bus is availble or not…do you have any idea???

    • The SAPTCO bus is the main bus of saudi and it has VIP service going from jeddah to riyadh or riyadh to al khobar from al khobar to bahrain but there are certain schedules and it would take two days or more for travel.

  9. did you travel already? i’m planning to drive to bahrain from jeddah… if you wanna hop in let me know…

  10. Hi, we are planning to go to bahrain this coming holiday, i was just thinking of coming back to khobar is there any bus from manama to khobar? Tnx

  11. Can you tell me on which iqama profession they will allow to enter in Bahrain ( I have aamil tarkib profession in iqama)

    • What they will look for is your passport, because when I went to bahrain I surrendered my iqama to my employers so that I can have my passport. The immigration will not check your Iqama as long as you have your passport and your valid visa to go with it.

  12. kindly can u tell after entering how should i know where to go.
    and most important hotel reservation before leaving to bahrain , how u manage ? any contact person if i plan to go there , thanks in advance

    • There are lots of tourist spots at manama. Try the dilmun water park, the oldest tree. Try the holiday inn express bahrain its nice and cheap or try booking from tripadvisor.

  13. Thanks For Shear A Nice Experience With Us. I Have A Question. Where I get this Visa After Re-Exit Visa ?

  14. I have a labour visa but i am working as an engineer. Can i visit Bahrain with labour visa and labour iqama.

  15. One way is 150 SAR and for round trip 225 SAR
    Schedule Vice Versa: Thursday 3:00 pm: Riyadh to Manama. Monday 5:00pm: Manama to Riyadh – is this for VIP or Regualr bus?

  16. hi. your post was very helpful. me and my friend are from jeddah. we’re planning to travel in the next few months. i just wanna ask regarding the visa. exit re-entry for saudi was processed by your employer. but what abt the visit visa to bahrain? how dis you process that?

    many thanks. 🙂

    • You don’t need a visit visa in bahrain as long as you have a valid working visa in saudi or any other middle east country you are working. All you need to process is your exit re-entry visa and that’s it you are good to go. If you’re employer is not processing this you can go to the bahrAin embassy and apply for one but they will be needing your passport and other documents.

      • That’s very nice of you to share this. I read a document that they require your expat visa to be 6mos old before you apply for a this exit re-entry visa to bahrain. I am just on my 2 mos here in KSA – Al-Khobar specifically. So do I really need to wait 4 more months to get the same experience you had. I am just another kababayan who loves to explore. tc

      • Hi I haven’t about that requirement. What I know of is that you should have a valid visa in KSA and with that you can easily obtain an exit re-entry irregardless of how long you’ve been in KSA.

  17. I work in Jeddah (Indian origin boy from Europe). Anyone planning on a monthly visit ?. I would love to join and travel.

  18. Hello Spiritme, your blog is very useful. Is that possible to get a multiple entry visa as a tourist from Saudi ?

  19. Im Aiza from AlKhobar. Im an expat nurse working here and during my weekend offs. Im always going to bahrain to unwind. Its easy to go there but you have to be patient because the trip is too long. It takes like 3-4 hours before you reach bahrain. if ur planning to go there, friday early AM is the best.

    • Hi aiza, do you know any transient room near philippine embassy. I am planning to renew my passport this October. Thanks!

  20. Hi, I am a nurse in private clinic. Do I have to apply for visa in going to Bahrain. Coz I’m planning to go for 1 week vacay to bahrain?

  21. Hello mga Kabayan,
    If you wanted to travel going to Bahrain I can offer you my car in cheap price only.
    I have a 2014 model Toyota Camry. You can call me if you’re interested.(0531841812)


  22. @Backpackwanderlust : Thank you for sharing the informative and valuable information. I am travelling on coming 31st Dec.

  23. Hi , Thanks for sharing the detailed Info .
    How can we get the tickets for Saptco Buses . at its webiste its not possible to see the schedules , in Arabic it might be possible , but in English , when u click , it takes you to home page ??
    Is it possible to book the tickets online. ???

    • Hi Chandan,

      What I did is I personally booked in the station of the Sapcto Bus. You can also book online. I’m not sure with the schedule of the buses because before there are english schedules.

    • Hello everyone,
      I think I can help you if you want to travel going to bahrain. I’m a Filipino who always went to bahrain every week to drop and pick friends that needs my help. If you want me to help you, you can mail me or reply here with your number so that i can reach you.

  24. Hi, please contact below no. in DAMMAM sabátco bus stand. +966138342132, which is DAMMAM contact no. They will guide u d time….

    Arun Kumar D .G

  25. hello there. A quick question do we need to have the passport in hand while crossing the border or the iqama will do fine.??

  26. Very informative article. thanks for next week I’ll go to Bahrain by train….so your article is very helpful for me.

  27. Looking for a male travel mate to Bahrain starting today till 21 of June 2015. Anyone I can hitch with from Riyadh? Filipino only or westerners..

  28. hi thanks
    can you tell me please
    im working saudia in riyadh but my iqama professtion is labour
    now i have exit re anty visa and my passport so now i can go baharin with the labour professional or no ???
    i want go saptco bus

  29. I already hav an exit re entry visa… Now, i jst wanna ask if what are the payments do we need in the imigration in the causeway?

  30. Is the exit re entry visa and my passport are the valid documents to travel bahrain? No need for sponsor in the imigration in the cosway? Is it not illegal for crossing the country?

  31. Hi, you mention that no need to pay any amount upon arrival in Bahrain immigration, coz as far as i know you need to pay for the visit visa after they stamp it in your passport. so not only exit re-entry you need to spend, it includes also the visa payment, am I right?

    • Hi, I mentioned in my post that before you go to Bahrain you must apply for your exit and reentry visa via the gov’t relations of your employer or going to Bahrain Immigration yourself. It costs around 300 riyals before. I don’t know how much it is now. As far as it goes that’s the only visa you are going to pay. We did not pay anything for the stamping. We only showed them our passports with our exit and re- entry visa and that’s it.

  32. hi i will hopefully travel to bahrain tomorrow, how long the passport checking would take?.. is it safe to travel alone by vip saptco bus? thankyou

    • Hi, she is correct, much better for you to travel with your friends. because as far as i know the majority passenger choosing VIP are all saudi. I just want to clarify that the single exit / reentry visa cost is just only 200 riyals and that visa should be given to you by your employer.

  33. Thanks for your post, I really appreciate for sharing your experience.
    I was planning to go with my family by last week of December. I got all the answers by reading your post…
    Thanks alot…

  34. Can anyone let me know what are the good places in bahrain to visit bcoz its my Marriage 1st anniversary and it is surprise for her.

    Your Ideas are welcome…
    thank you

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    • Hello kabayan, if you need help to drop and to find a transient room maybe I can help you. You can live for awhile with my friend who’s working there don’t worry she is also our kabayan.

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