The Kingdom of Bahrain is the fifth most prosperous country in the Arab region. It sits in the Persian Gulf between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. There is an extremely impressive 15 mile (24km) causeway which links Bahrain to Saudi. With abundant natural resources, the country has a stable and growing economy. The island of Bahrain constitutes 7/8th of the country’s land mass, the rest is made up of small islands, islets and artificial islands. It’s a fascinating country with many contrasts and its natural beauty attracts millions of visitors every year.
If you are considering moving to Bahrain, the various costs listed below will help you make an informed decision on what costs are involved when moving and living in this part of the world.
Quick Bahrain Facts:
- Population: 1,836,850 (2022 estimate)
- Official Language:Arabic is the official language of Bahrain. But English is spoken by many and is the compulsory second language in schools. People also speak Farsi (the official language of Iran) and Urdu (the official language of Pakistan).
- GDP Per Capita:US$23,234.71 (2021)
- Tree of Life: In the mid-1500s, one mesquite tree was planted in the desert of what is now the Kingdom of Bahrain. How this tree continues to thrive is a mystery as there are no sources of water in the area.
- Currency: Bahraini Dinar (BHD/BD). As of 2022, BD1 is to = £2.36, $2.65 (USD), €2.72, $3.64 CAD, $4.21.
1. Moving and Shipping Costs to Bahrain
Here are some sample container shipping rates to Bahrain.
|Origin Country (Port/City)||20FT||40FT|
|Andorra (Andorra la Vella)||$2,085||$2,516|
|Argentina (Buenos Aires)||$7,260||$6,930|
|Malaysia (Port Kelang)||$4,235||$8,085|
|South Africa (Durban)||$1,709||N/A|
|South Korea (Busan)||$4,358||$6,353|
|Thailand (Laem Chabang)||$5,225||$9,975|
|US (Los Angeles)||$1,450||$1,900|
|US (New York)||$2,205||$2,456|
2. Bahrain Housing Costs
There’s a wide variety of housing available in Bahrain, from fully furnished luxury apartments and studios to town houses and detached villas. Bahrain is not an expensive country when compared with Europe and other first world nations.
Monthly Rental Prices in Bahrain
- 1 bedroom apartment in City Centre: BHD250 – BHD500
- 1 bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: BHD150 – BHD450
- 3-bedroom apartment in City Centre: BHD400 – BHD900
- 3-bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: BHD300 – BHD850
- Price per square metre to buy in City Centre BHD550 – BHD1,000
- Price per square metre to buy outside the city: BHD300 – BHD850
Bahrain Housing Cost Comparison
Below are how rents in Bahrain compare with other countries around the globe.
United Kingdom is 16.29% more expensive
United States is 74.37% more expensive
Australia is 21.63% more expensive
Canada is 31.70% more expensive
Germany is 3% more expensive
France is 11.61% cheaper
Italy is 19.95% cheaper
Spain is 14.78% cheaper
How to Save on Housing Costs
- Share an apartment or house. Living with flatmates or roommates are good options to save on housing costs. Have a look at the following sites to find your perfect room or flatmate: Expatriates, Rooms & Sharing, Flat Share in Bahrain, Erasmusu, and iroommates.
- Different areas – different prices. Accommodation in Bahrain is very affordable no matter which area you choose. Adliya is a popular area of Bahrain and would suit those who enjoy living in a multicultural society with lots of nightlife. Al Hidd is great for singles and families and has undergone a significant transformation over the last few years. If you enjoy living in a gated community, then Amwaj Islands are for you. These are manmade islands that cater for everyone and even have a university. Have a look here for detailed information on the different areas to live in Bahrain.
3. Bahrain Food, Grocery and Restaurant Costs
Bahrain’s history can be seen through its food. Although the country still retains traditional foods, the different cultures that have influenced the country can be seen in supermarkets and restaurants. Fish features on all restaurant menus and, a century of British rule, has ensured that fish and chips is popular.
- Inexpensive Restaurant- BHD1.20 – BHD6.00
- Domestic beer: BHD2.00 – BHD6.00
- Coke/Pepsi: BHD0.25 – BHD0.50
- 1L of milk: BHD0.40 – BHD0.95
- Loaf of Bread: BHD0.20 – BHD0.70
- 12 Eggs: BHD0.48 – BHD1.80
- 1kg Chicken Fillets: BHD1.00 – BHD3.80
- 1kg Beef: BHD1.50 – BHD4.50
- 1kg Apples: BHD0.50 – BHD1.29
- 1kg White Rice: BHD0.40 – BHD1.20
Below is how food and restaurant prices compare with other major countries in the world.
- UK restaurants are 30% more expensive and groceries are 7.72% more expensive than in Bahrain.
- United States restaurants are 54% more expensive and groceries are 71.60% more expensive than in Bahrain.
- Australian restaurants are 48% more expensive and groceries are 59.46% more expensive than in Bahrain.
- Canadian restaurants are 80% more expensive and groceries are 56.09% more expensive than in Bahrain.
- French restaurants are 71% more expensive and groceries are 44.24% more expensive than in Bahrain.
- German restaurants are 9% more expensive and groceries are 24.10% more expensive than in Bahrain.
- Spanish restaurants are 9% more expensive and groceries are 0.2% more expensive than in Bahrain.
- Italian restaurants are 09% more expensive than and groceries are 27.05% more expensive than in Bahrain.
Bonus Tips for Cheaper Food, Restaurants and Groceries
- Know your supermarkets: Bahrain has a good selection of supermarkets and grocers. Al Jazira was the first supermarket in Bahrain to sell international brands and is very popular with expats. Alosra also sells many imported foods plus it has a great bakery. Carrefour also has supermarkets in Bahrain. Lulu Hypermarkets are another popular stop for expats both for food and a variety of other goods.
- Find Cheap Eats:Eating out in Bahrain is not as expensive as many other countries. Ask long term expats for ideas or where to go for a good, reasonably priced meal or have a look at the following sites – Cheap Eats in Bahrain, Timeout Bahrain, Cheap Eats in Manama, Banana Leaf, and Food with Shayne.
4. Bahrain Alcohol Costs
Alcohol is available at most high end hotels and restaurants for non-Muslims only. It can also be purchased at designated stores – again, only for non-Muslims.
- Bottle of imported beer at a restaurant/pub: BHD2.50 – BHD7.00
- Pint (0.5L) domestic beer at a restaurant/pub: BHD2.00 – BHD6.00
- Pint (0.5L) domestic beer at a supermarket: BHD0.50 – BHD1.00
- Bottle of imported beer at a supermarket: BHD4.00 – BHD12.00
- Mid-range bottle of wine at a supermarket: BHD4.00 – BHD12.00
How to drink for less in Bahrain
- Local papers and flyers usually provide information on cheap drinks available in supermarkets, bars, and restaurants. Keep an eye on them to get cheap drinks in stores, bars, and restaurants.
- Restaurants and bars often offer later afternoon and early evening happy hours where they offer two drinks for the price of one. Have a look at the following websites for ideas of where to go – Bahrain’s Happy Hours, , Bahrain Confidential, Local BH, and City My Way.
5. Bahrain Transportation Fares
Bahrain’s main mode of public transport is the bus. Unfortunately, many of the buses are not air conditioned and can be extremely crowded in rush hour. A fully automated metro system is in the process of being built which will be completed this year and this is fully air conditioned. The road system is excellent and most expats either hire or buy a car to get around in.
Below are some example ticket costs.
- One-way ticket (Local transport) – BHD0.25 – BHD0.50
- Monthly Pass, (Regular Price) – BHD12.00 – BHD20.00
- Taxi start (normal tariff) –BHD1.00 – BHD2.00
- Taxi 1km (normal tariff) –BHD0.50 – BHD2.00
How to save money on public transport
- Get a GO Card to save money on public transport.
- A monthly card costs around BHD12.
- Discounts for the elderly and the disabled are available through personalised GO Cards.
6. Cost of Internet in Bahrain
Bahrain is one of the countries with the highest internet connectivity in the middle east with 95% of internet users. There are many internet providers in the country who provide faster internet at affordable prices. Some of the top internet providers in Bahrain are STC (VIVA) and Zain.
7. Cost of Clothing, Personal Items, Gym and Leisure
Bahrain has a similar climate to other gulf countries with very hot summers and mild winters. Winter temperatures range from 10C to 20C. Summer temperatures range from 40C to 46C, with May and June being the hottest months. Bahrain’s desert climate means it has a very meagre rainfall, usually around 70mm per annum.
Below are some clothing prices, along with other useful prices.
- Pair of Jeans (Levi’s 501 or similar): BHD10.00 – BHD30.00
- Summer Dress: BHD10.00 – BHD40.00
- Running Shoes (Trainers): BHD25.00 – BHD50.00
- Business Shoes: BHD20.00 – BHD45.00
- Gym membership: BHD15.00 – BHD60.00
- Movie (cinema) ticket: BHD3.00 – BHD4.20
8. Cost of Owning a Car and Driving a Car in Bahrain
You will need a Central Population Register (CPR) card and a valid resident permit in order to buy or lease a car in Bahrain. These documents will automatically come with your work permit. Have a look at Gulf Labour for detailed information on buying or leasing a car. Driving can take a little getting used to as discipline on the roads is not what it should be. You will need your home country’s driving licence and an International Driving Licence for driving in Bahrain.
- Volkswagen Golf:BHD8,000.00 – BHD12,000.00
- 1 litre (¼ gallon) of gas (petrol): BHD0.14 – BHD0.20
- Other fees (if any):Insurance is between 1% and 2% of the car’s value per annum. VAT is 10% but there is no annual tax on vehicles.
Ways to save money driving in Bahrain
- Car sharing or pooling is one way to save money. Try Carpoolworld, Car Sharing, and Rideshare apps.
- Taxis are an option, especially if you want to save on parking fees. Try Uber and Ride Guru.
Need your car/vehicle moved to Bahrain? Then read our guide to Car Transport & Vehicle Shipping
9. Taxes in Bahrain
There’s no personal tax on income for anyone employed in Bahrain. Non-residents are subject to municipal tax which is 10% of the monthly rental amount for their property.
VAT in Bahrain is 10% on most goods and services but, like most countries, it varies and some goods are zero rated. Learn more about the various taxes in Bahrain at Tax Summaries.
10. Flight Costs from Bahrain
If you do make the move to Bahrain, here’s approximately how much it will cost to fly to other major world cities based on the lowest, one-way fares from Skyscanner as of 2023:
- London: BHD54
- Paris: BHD52
- New York: BHD128
- Toronto: BHD215
- Sydney: BHD360
- Berlin: BHD55
- Rome: BHD48
- Madrid: BHD50
Other Bahrain Relocation Tips
By now, you should have a good idea of the cost of living in Bahrain from the above costs and prices. But the following extra tips might make your move go smoothly.
11. Relocating to Bahrain Alone
Moving to a new country can be stressful and moving alone can be more so. However, the welcoming people of Bahrain will help you ease into your new life. Below are a few tips about settling in Bahrain.
- Meetups:Get in touch with like-souls through Meetup where you can join groups that enjoy the same hobbies and interests as you.
- Attend local events: There’s always something going on in Bahrain, from the Bahrain Grand Prix to religious festivals. Have a look at the following sites for inspiration –Trip Advisor, iexplore, Events in Bahrain, My Bahrain, Festivals in Bahrain, and Bahrain Calendar.
12. Moving to Bahrain with a Family
Moving abroad with a family can be challenging but Bahrain has a lot to offer and is an exceptionally welcoming country to both families and single residents. Here are a few suggestions for you to consider if you are moving to Bahrain with a family.
- New parents (or parents-to-be):Joining a group for new parents or parents-to-be is a great way to get support and to get all the information you need to settle quickly into your new life. Have a look at the following sites to find your ideal group – Expat Woman, Moms in Bahrain, Bahrain Parents, Parenting Community in Bahrain, and Play Groups for Moms & Babies.
- Live in a family-friendly area: Most areas in Bahrain have international schools, good shopping malls, playgrounds and parks for children. Saar, Manama, Amwaj Islands, Janabiyah, etc. are considered the best family-friendly areas in Bahrain.
- Find things to do with the kids:Bahrain offers a lot for kids, from amazing water parks to museums. Have a look at the following websites for ideas – Inspirock, The Lost Paradise, Kids Activities in Bahrain, Timeout Bahrain, and Fun Things for Kids.
13. Moving to Bahrain for Work
Moving to a new country for work is one of the most common reasons people choose to move. While it is possible to move without a job, it makes sense to ensure there are jobs in your field before you make the move.
There are many job opportunities in Bahrain particularly in the oil and gas sector, construction, banking and commercial, aluminium sector, tourism, education and the health sector.
Below are things to consider when moving for work:
- Salary:Salaries in Bahrain are high. The costs we outlined above should give you a rough idea of how much more you’ll need to earn to make the move worthwhile. Have a look at Payscale and Glassdoor for information on what you can expect to earn in Bahrain.
- How to find work: If you want to have a job lined up before you move to Bahrain, but aren’t sure where to begin, the following sites are good places to start: com, Visa Hunter, Internations, LinkedIn, and Monster Gulf. You may also want to Google recruiters in your industry, as they can often help land you some initial interviews as well.
14. Moving to Bahrain from Australia
Bahrain is a popular country for Aussie expats. If you are thinking of moving from Australia to Bahrain, consider the following.
- Size comparison:Australia is 10,186 times larger than Bahrain and its population is 25,739,000 whereas Bahrain’s population is only 1,748,000.
- Join expat groups: Connect with fellow Australians in Bahrain through Meetup, Internations, and Facebook.
15. Moving to Bahrain from Canada
Bahrain has a handful of Canadians living and working in the country. If you are moving from Canada to Bahrain and want to meet with fellow Canadians, consider the following.
- Size:Canada is 13,138 times larger than Bahrain. The population of Canada is 38,246,000 whereas Bahrain’s population is only 1,748,000.
- Expat groups:Meet fellow Canadians in Bahrain through Meetup and Internations.
16. Moving to Bahrain from the United Kingdom
There are around 12,000 Brits living in Bahrain at any one time. If you are moving from the UK to Bahrain and want to meet British expats, then consider the following.
- Size: The UK is 321 times the size of Bahrain and its population is 68,702,825 whereas the population of Bahrain is only 1,748,000.
- Expat groups:If you want to meet others from the UK, then go to Meetup and Internations.
Hopefully, the tips and costs above are helpful. If want to get started pricing out how much it will cost you to move to Bahrain you can start by comparing moving quotes here.