Bahrain is the smallest of the independent Persian Gulf states, and has often had to walk a diplomatic tightrope in relation to its larger neighbours. The country has few oil reserves, but it has established itself as a hub for refining as well as international banking, while also achieving a socially liberal (by Gulf standards at least) monarchy. Its economy depends to a small extent on Saudis interested in a little entertainment, not available in the strictly Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Despite being much closer to Qatar, the Hawar Islands are part of Bahrain after a long, drawn out sovereignty dispute between the two nations.
Officially 220V 50Hz. Most outlets are the British standard BS-1363 type. Generally speaking, U.S., Canadian and Continental European travelers should pack adapters for these outlets if they plan to use their electrical equipment in Bahrain.
Bahrain features a tropical desert climate, but due to land reclamation has very few beaches. Manmade beaches at luxury hotels are nice, but only accessible for a price. Winters in Bahrain are dry and average daytime temperatures in the low 70sF, night time lows in the 50sF. Spring and fall are pleasant, with dry weather and nights cooling off into the 60sF after days of around 85F. Late winter and spring are known for dust storms, which are not as severe as those found elsewhere in the Gulf are still rather unpleasant. Summertime is very hot and muggy in Bahrain, with daytime temperatures being from 100-120F, and nights cooling down to anywhere from 75-90F. The shallow waters around Bahrain are typically anywhere from 75F in winter to 85F in spring and fall, and usually around 90F+ in summer. Due to the shallowness of the water, it is possible to get heat stroke while swimming.