Arriving at my pre-booked hotel near a busy souq makes my first imprint really great! I can’t wait to discover this amazing city with all its aromas, sounds, architecture, and ethos, not to mention the multi-cultural people of Bahrain!

A tour to the Bahrain National Museum and learning about the region’s history is interesting. This is unquestionably the best place to see the history of Bahrain from the Stone Age, through antique civilisations and up to the pre-oil period. I have got my bearings and now it is time for adventure!

Like a bird

Extreme sports always excite me. I love the adrenaline rush, especially when I experience something for the first time. One of the things on my list is sky diving and trust me, you cannot resist the incredible feeling of free fall in one of the tallest wind tunnels in the world; with an overall height of 12 metres, constructed with tempered glass. I take a couple of minutes, close my eyes and imagine what it means to have wings. I have tried paragliding in Pokhra but it is totally different than this indoor sky diving! After I have selected my package, I get my flight gear ~ a flight suit to wear over my clothes, helmet, ear plugs and goggles. Simple instructions about body positioning techniques and necessary sign language are delivered before the flight. Before it’s my turn I am able to watch the other flyers inside the wind tunnel from the observation deck. Then it is time to fly! Initially, just floating in one place is tricky, but soon I am doing spins to the top of the tunnel and down again. With more experience, one can go faster and higher, plus learn fun manoeuvres…perhaps not on your first experience.

International circuit

Scattered around the island are dwellings of attention oscillating from the natural Tree of life to the man-made Lost Paradise of Dilmun water park, but for my money, the justly exciting Bahrain experience is surely a few laps around the go-karting track at Bahrain’s International Circuit, the outright peak of speed-driven experiences alluring to both first-timers, and conservative petrol heads.

The Al Sakhir Tower of the Formula One Racetrack rises over the desert like a beacon. Walking through the grandstand, I get a view of what Formula One fans see during BIC’s (the Middle East’s first Formula One site erected on a previous camel farm) adrenaline-charged races. Since I am here out of season, I get to see what a state of the art track looks like, the race control room and the highly advanced media centre. With Bahrain Grand Prix, V8 Supercar Desert 400, and drag racing, GP2, the circuit brags a Grade 1 license from the FIA. A characteristic blend of long straights and slow corners of 5.4 km (3.3 mi) round laps give a good chance to observe the racers in a selection of spots and at several speeds. I am even lucky to get a lap around the circuit. Of course, I have booked the tour online. Needless to add I also go in for the exhilarating 4 wheel Land Rover drive and it’s so much fun!

Bidding adieu

A highlight is my visit to Muharraq. On my walk, I am struck by how different this place is comparing to Manama. With its old buildings and atmospheric back streets, I am left in awe. I have coffee at a rundown old coffee shop, just looking at people playing games and doing their daily chores is amazing. I am in love with this country. The welcoming people, the wonders and with not being too touristy, it makes for a flawless setting for anyone considering a somewhat different place to visit.