The cost of living in Bahrain is consistently on the increase due to inflation, as well as the presence of a growing Western expat population prepared to pay more for goods and services.

That said, compared to other regional commercial centres such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Bahrain is still a reasonable destination when it comes to balancing the budget and keeping a little something extra in the bank.

The 2021 Mercer Cost of Living Survey ranked Manama, the country's capital and largest city, 71st out of 209 cities. As in all locations, however, cost of living can vary tremendously depending on the lifestyle one chooses to lead.

In the past, accommodation and car allowances were common add-ons to expat employment packages in Bahrain. Although they are occasionally still included, this is no longer a given. So, it's vital to make sure one’s base payment plan adequately covers these expenses, and then some.


Cost of accommodation in Bahrain

Accommodation will be the largest expat expense. Costs are generally high, but there are plenty of different housing options that will satisfy nearly every budget.

Property inside expat compounds is by far the most expensive, and opting for an apartment in town will therefore certainly cost less.


Cost of transport in Bahrain

Despite the island's compact size, public transport options are currently rather limited, with the result that most expats will need to budget for a private vehicle. Again, prices vary tremendously based on a number of factors. Buying a pre-owned, older make and model will be the cheapest option here.


Cost of schools in Bahrain

Expat families moving to Bahrain usually send their children to one of the island's private or international schools. This can be a large unforeseen expense, especially for expats coming from countries where school expenses are covered or subsidised by the government. Tuition fees can also vary depending on the age of the children and the school selected.

Expats sending their children to an international school will need to budget annually for school fees. Additional expenses may include extra-curricular activities, school uniforms, textbooks and other basic school supplies.


Cost of food in Bahrain

Food costs in Bahrain are generally reasonable, especially if one foregoes the temptation of dining out and opts to eat at home more frequently. That said, household labels from abroad will be highly priced due to import tax, whereas fresh produce and local products are extremely affordable.


Cost of living in Bahrain chart

Prices may vary depending on location and service provider. The table below is based on average prices for Manama in September 2021.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

BHD 450 - 850

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

BHD 250 - 650

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

BHD 250 - 500 

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

BHD 150 - 350

Shopping

Milk (1 litre)

BHD 0.50 

Dozen eggs

BHD 0.90

Chicken breasts (1kg)

BHD 2.05

Rice (1kg)

BHD 0.95

Loaf of white bread

BHD 0.50

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

BHD 2.25

Eating out

Big Mac meal

BHD 2.40

Coca Cola (330ml)

BHD 0.25

Cappuccino 

BHD 1.65

Local beer (500ml)

BHD 3

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

BHD 15 

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute, mobile to mobile)

BHD 0.05 

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable average per month)

BHD 21

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

BHD 73

Transportation

Taxi rate per km

BHD 1

One-way ticket on public transport

BHD 0.30 

Petrol (per litre)

BHD 0.20