Are you planning to visit Bahrain? Recently I explored this small country in the Arabian Gulf for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. To stay in touch and to make traveling in Bahrain much easier Traveltomtom recommends you buying a prepaid sim card for Bahrain on arrival or an e-sim card to save money on high roaming costs.
In this guide I will tell you everything you need to know for buying a Bahrain sim card: the best 4G/5G network, up to date sim card as per August 2023, available data packages, where to buy a sim card, my recommendation, a vlog with my experiences and information about international and e-sim card for Bahrain.
Traveling is my biggest passion and that is how I ended up in Bahrain, country no. 120 on my journey to visit every country in the world. Because buying a prepaid sim card is the first thing I do in a new country you can already find almost 200 prepaid sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: Paris, London, Israel, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Jeddah, Oman, Pakistan, Europe, USA, Muscat, Dubai and many more.
Why buying a sim card for Bahrain
Trust me, life without a working data connection on your phone gets a lot more complicated. It is not the end of the world, but navigating on Google Maps, ordering a taxi, finding nearby restaurants or sending a message on WhatsApp is suddenly not possible anymore without data on your phone.
To avoid high roaming costs Traveltomtom recommends buying a local prepaid sim card. In Bahrain it is simple, fast and pretty affordable.
Also a reminder that free public WiFi is no guarantee it is working or that the signal is strong enough to reach your hotel room for example. Also public WiFi is an UNSECURED connection and in these cases it is advised to use a VPN.
In case you don't want to swap physical sim cards then you can either look into an e-sim card for Bahrain (more about it below) or get yourself a portable WiFi device. Check the following link for a review of pocket WiFi's compared to local sim cards.
Traveltomtom recommends an STC sim card for Bahrain. They have some of the best prepaid sim card deals and also the strongest 4G/5G network. For $20 you get 22.5 GB data.
Another great way to stay connected is a global sim card with data. These sim cards allow free roaming in multiple countries and some are great for traveling to Bahrain. Check out my comparison of the best global sim cards in 2023 and pick the one that suits your trip.
However, the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Bahrain in 2023 is an e-sim card.
Best e-sim cards for Bahrain
The mobile internet providers in Bahrain also provide e-sim cards, but they charge extra for an e-sim card and you can only get them on arrival in their stores. STC and Zain both charge 3.125 BD ($8.3 USD) and Batelco even 8 BD ($21.2) extra just for activating a Bahrain e-sim card instead of a physical prepaid sim card.
Therefore when looking for an e-sim card for Bahrain Traveltomtom recommends to order an e-sim card for traveling in Bahrain on the internet.
Check out the following Bahrain e-sim card plans that you can order directly online:
- 1 GB for 7 days = $6 USD
- 3 GB for 30 days = $12 USD
- 5 GB for 30 days = $18 USD
Click on the link to order your Bahrain e-sim card directly online or to find more detailed information. With an e-sim card you keep your phone number from home.
You can also still order a physical sim card for Bahrain and get one shipped to your home address before your trip. Click on the link to see all the Bahrain sim card deals online. For example 6 GB data for 10 days = $19.90 USD.
Where to buy a prepaid sim card in Bahrain
The most convenient place to get a local sim card in Bahrain is at the new international airport on arrival. It is very simple and as soon as you walk into the arrival hall you will see the mobile internet provider shops on your right hand side.
To make it even easier for you I recorded a vlog from my experiences buying a sim card at Bahrain Airport.
The stores are open 24 hours and you can pay by credit card. If for some reason you missed the opportunity to buy a sim card a Bahrain International Airport then check out any of the bigger malls and locate the nearest mobile phone store through Google Maps.
Mobile internet providers in Bahrain
There are 3 main mobile internet providers in Bahrain: Zain, Batelco and STC. All of them sell prepaid sim cards for tourists with monthly plans.
You will find their stores on the airport as well as in the bigger shopping malls across Bahrain. May you run out of balance or credit then you can top up very easily by buying credit in any random phone store.
For buying a sim card in Bahrain you need to bring your passport. In the store they will take a copy or a photo of your passport page and your new Bahrain sim card will be registered on your passport number. You will also have to give your fingerprint.
Another very important thing is that your mobile phone needs to be unlocked, if your phone is locked the Bahrain sim card won’t work in your phone. Unlock your phone before your trip to Bahrain. If you are unsure contact your provider.
When you buy a prepaid sim card in Bahrain then expect: plug and play! Prepaid sim cards are instantly activated and work automatically once you put them in your phone.
Prices sim cards in Bahrain
All providers sell prepaid sim cards with data packages that are valid for 1 month. Unfortunately you can not find data packages valid for 1 week. The prepaid sim cards are free if you purchase one of the below packages. With all the Bahrain prepaid sim cards a hotspot is available!
Info and prices below are updated in August 2023 and prices are in Bahraini Dinar: $1 USD = 0.38 BHD and 1 BHD = $2.65 USD. Yes that is right, the Bahraini Dinar is much stronger than the USD.
They keep it very simple at Zain and they only offer 2 prepaid sim card packages, valid for 1 month.
- 8 BD = 24 GB + 200 minutes - $21
- 10.5 BD = 100 GB data only - $28
Batelco has 5 prepaid sim card deals, 2 data-only and 3 data + calling packages, all valid for 1 month.
- 7 BD = 8 GB data + 500 minutes - $18.5
- 10.5 BD = 12 GB + 800 minutes - $28
- 7.35 BD = 10 GB data only - $20
- 10.5 BD = 100 GB data only - $28
- 8 BD = 10 GB data + 35 GB social media + 80 minutes + free international minutes*
* for example, India: 600 minutes, Pakistan: 360 minutes, UK & USA: 257 minutes, etc. see for more details photo above.
At STC they also offer only 2 prepaid sim card packages valid for 1 month:
- 7.5 BD = 22.5 GB + 200 minutes - $20
- 10.5 BD = 100 GB data only - $28
Best 4G/5G network in Bahrain
Yes, there is 5G in Bahrain and it is widespread around the country. Especially in the touristy areas where you will find the best things to do in Bahrain. During my trip to Bahrain I constantly enjoyed a 4G or 5G signal with my STC sim card.
Let’s have a look at the 4G/5G coverage maps for Bahrain based on the data collected by nPerf.
Zain 4G/5G network coverage map
Batelco 4G/5G network coverage map
STC 4G/5G network coverage map
From the above mobile internet coverage maps we can see that all 3 mobile internet providers in Bahrain have an extensive network across the country. However, we can also easily conclude that STC has the strongest network and Zain the least strongest.
Best prepaid sim card for Bahrain in 2023
From the above collected data about the best network and the prices we can come to the conclusion that STC is the best sim card for Bahrain. They have the strongest 4G/5G network and they offer the best prepaid sim card deal for tourists.
Order a sim card for Bahrain online
Much more expensive but if you want the convenience that your sim card will be delivered at your home address before your trip to Bahrain then have a look at the following options:
- 6 GB data for 10 days = $19.90 USD
- 5 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD
Also another reminder that you can also arrange everything directly online by ordering an e-sim card for Bahrain.
I hope all the above tips for buying a Bahrain sim card were helpful. May you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below. I am more than happy to help you out.
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of August 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Bahrain!