The Wilds and the Lost Paradise of Dilmun

At 11am, we left the hotel and took our lunch at a nearby restaurant.  After pasta lunch, we headed to Al Areen, an hour travel south of Manama. Together with us was another family who just arrived from Saudi Arabia. Our purpose was to go to the newly opened water park and side trip to the zoo.

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We arrived at the Al Areen Wildlife Park at 2pm with BD2 park fee. We toured the zoo and enjoyed the park’s car ride despite of hot temperature. We, most especially the kids, enjoyed seeing the animals roaming freely which are mostly found in Africa and Middle East. It was my first encounter on different types of oryx and wild jungle animals like the cheetahs, bears, giraffe, zebras, wolves, and hyenas. It was my first time on flamingos and swans too.

At 4pm, we left the zoo and headed to the nearby water park, the Lost Paradise of Dilmun. We made it to the entrance but the guard said that the park will close at 5pm. We thought that the park is still open until night. The kids’ energy dropped like fallen stars for they can’t go inside the requested water park. We decided to come back for the children’s sake.

Before we went back to our hotel, we took our dinner at the City Centre’s food court.

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LAST DAY

We checked out from the hotel and back to the water park at 10pm. The entrance fee is normally BD17 and BD8 for children below 1.2 meters. Kids below 2 years old are free. The locker is for rental at BD5 but they returned back BD2 upon the return of the lock card. The towel can be bought at BD6. Foods are not allowed to be brought inside but they have restaurants which offers tasty and delicious meals.

The Lost Paradise of Dilmun is a water themed park located in the middle of the desert and dominantly for conservative culture type of people. I never seen guests wearing bikinis unlike those at Wild Wadi in Dubai. It was very comfortable for me especially I have no guts, skin, and muscles to show off. It was the best place for small kids and family. The children was more enjoy here because there was a place intended for them with many options. The rides are also intense and we adults enjoyed it.

We left the water park and traveled to King Fahad Causeway back to Saudi Arabia at 5pm.

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Bahrain, the second time around

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Al Fateh Grand Mosque

After three years, we were back in Bahrain for an important document to be renewed from the embassy.  Visiting this small country required expats to applied re-entry visa. An amount was already spent so we decided to stay and enjoy more this open Arab country before coming back. Joining with us was our friend whose family is also here in Saudi Arabia.

We left Saudi Arabia at 10pm and arrived in the hotel in Bahrain at 1pm.

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Comfortable Bed of Ramee Palace Hotel

Location: Juffair, Bahrain

Where I Stayed: Ramee Palace Hotel

Buddies: Group (5+)

The Ramee Hotel and Palace is located in Juffair near the Al Fateh Grand Mosque. It is like a hotel apartment for each unit has a kitchen. We selected the unit with two rooms to share. The apartment was too spacious for a single family. This hotel has wide parking space. On the ground floor, there is a restaurant on the front and bars & disco pubs at the back. It should be a noisy atmosphere but we didn’t heard anything from our rooms.

At 6pm, we took our dinner at our favorite Japanese and Korean restaurant, the Arirang Edo Restaurant. We really missed the soup and the authentic taste of the menu. Though it was hard to park the car on that place, we managed to get a space. One of their staffs was outside barricading the front of the restaurant. Reserving the small space for their costumers.

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At 8:30pm, we headed to the Gulf Dolphin Resort to witness the sea lion and dolphin show for the second time. The entrance was still the same at BD4. The one-hour show was already started so we booked the next show which started at 10pm. We met again the same personalities as the animals trainers were the same. We enjoyed the show at this time because our kid interacted and appreciated it.

At 11pm, we visited our friend’s  cousin who work in The Domain, a classy hotel with a bar on the top floor. We were hesitated to enter because toddlers are with us. However, we managed to visit them at the restaurant and was introduced to their Bahraini manager. The manager was so accommodating and gladly given us complimentary cocktails to drink. We didn’t enter the bar because we were wearing short pants. A couple of alcoholic drinks satisfied our night. We were back in the hotel at 1pm.

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Next morning, we went to the embassy for our real purpose of coming in Bahrain. The transaction was so fast that we already at the hotel in less than an hour. In the afternoon, we met our friends and dined at Bahay Kubo, a Filipino restaurant serving “lechon belly”. Their pork barbecue and their desert “halo-halo” are also in demand.

Enjoying Novotel and Bahrain Museum

We checked out from Holiday Villa Bahrain Hotel and transferred to Novotel Resort to enjoy more the freedom we have in Bahrain.

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Comfortable bed of Novotel Al Dana Resort Hotel

Location: Manama, Bahrain

Where I Stayed: Novotel al Dana Resort Hotel

Buddies: Family

The reception area is part of my dream house. I booked on this hotel a month ago through their website, so we availed a promo of free breakfast. I was shocked on its normal price as seen in the room price brochure. I paid half of the price. They gave us the room overlooking the sea and the Bahrain museum.

Novotel al Dana Resort Hotel is on the right side of Hamad Causeway when going to the airport after the Bahrain Museum. The hotel has its own pool and beach. The room is so spacious with an old style design. We’re surprised for a music playing when we entered our room.

A 15-minute walk from the hotel entrance is the Bahrain Museum. From the room’s window, the museum is just a few meters but when we walked, it took us for more than half an hour. The museum is open up to 8pm.

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We entered the museum at 6pm with an entrance fee of one dinar. The museum is the short way if you want to know the history, cultures, and traditions of  Bahrain. The museum offered a lot of knowledge about this country. From the wedding rituals up to burying of dead. The museum is nice but there was no guide offering assistance to enlighten us. What we needed was fast and good reading comprehension to understand all descriptions written on every display . We stayed in the museum for an hour and went back to the hotel for our dinner.

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The hotel offered buffet style of breakfast, lunch and dinner. The price varies. On dinner, the buffet costs BD11 per head and lunch is BD7. Breakfast mostly are free.

Conclusion. Bahrain is the smallest country in the Middle East. However, it has something big to offer to tourists like us and with family. It’s not cheap considering taxes paid in hotel reservations.

The taxi is available and cheap looking because of low numbers read in the meter. The taxi flag rate varies from BD1 to BD1.2 depending on the location you’re coming from. The currency conversion confused and surprised us that we have no longer money in hands. The highest bill note I have during this travel is only BD1. Saudi Riyals is widely used here, so it’s not necessary for us, staying in Saudi, to change money.

Bahrain is open for other cultures. Despite of being a Muslim country, there are other religions too. The stores are open during Salah time. However, the Shariah law is still strictly implemented.

Bahrain is a great country with hospitable locals. There are still more attractions I missed to visit.

 

Off Road to Bahrain

Bahrain is the closest open country from the eastern region of KSA. A weekend gateway for both Arabs and expats from Saudi Arabia who are longing for a few breezes of cultural freedom.

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At 3pm, we left Jubail going to Bahrain . We’re lucky that the queue in the immigration is not too long. Somebody told us that so many locals flock to Bahrain during weekend especially Thursday night up to Friday. The immigration is in the middle of the bridge connecting the two Arab countries.

We arrived in our hotel at 5pm which I booked in Agoda. The hotel is just at the back of the Holiday Inn in Hoora Exhibition Road.

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Comfortable Bed of Holiday Villa Hotel

Location: Manama, Bahrain

Where I Stayed: Holiday Villa Hotel

Buddies: Family

The receptionist gave us the room on the 16th floor which has a great view of sea and part of the city. Holiday Villa Hotel is a new hotel as what the local said. A little walk in front of Holiday Inn is the taxi terminal. So this is the best place if you come to Bahrain for enjoying the city life.

We directly headed to Sacred Heart Cathedral for the 5:30pm mass. The mass is already half way when we arrived. We met our friends whose working in Bahrain and gladly introduced us to this small country. We dined in Swan Lake, a known Thai and Filipino restaurant in the city proper. We ordered pork menu for we’re craving for it. A sip of coffee at New York Coffee shop continued our bonding.

The next morning, we visited the city’s known mall, City Centre. It’s huge but it still small if compared to malls in Philippines. However, we have not known that we spent our three hours walking inside this mall. It has its own attractions. Aside for being a mall, it has a hotel and a water park.

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PARK and SHOWS. A 10-minute walk from the hotel crossing the pedestrian bridge is the marina bay area which has an amusement park and a dolphin show theater. We bought a ticket for a dolphin show for BD4 per head which will start at 6:15pm. The first show is the sea lion. The biggest sea lion that I’ve seen so far doing the same tricks. Although the language used in the show is Arabic, but it seems we understand animal gestures.

The next show is the dolphin tricks. The area is too small for a big mammals. The dolphin can do more when it’s in the big pool. Since most of the audience are kids, the facilitator mostly drawn more attention from them. The show ended on a picture taking with the dolphin. At this time, the audience are dry. The dolphin jumped up and landed on the dry stage. For the sake of picture, the dolphin sacrificed.

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DINING. There are so many great restaurant near the hotel in Hoora. We’ve discovered the Arirang Edo Restaurant, a Japanese and Korean cuisine. We have a great time enjoying our Korean meal with Japanese sushi. They also gave us a special room near the  kitchen, and we have a chance to witness one of their chief while preparing sushi.