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