I just returned from a trip to Bahrain in July 2011. While this was not entirely a photography vacation, I found plenty of photo opportunities in this small, interesting country.
But I have to warn you, the temperature in the summer is hot. In July when I was there the temperature averaged around 110 degrees fahrenheit with about 35% humidity. It's best to head out in the morning, late evening, and at night. Make sure you have ample sun protection, drink plenty of water, and don't leave your camera in the hot car. Also, make sure you know when Ramadan is. The time varies each year. During Ramadan, there are restrictions and almost all restaurants are closed during daylight hours.
Also make sure to understand the electrical power requirements. They have 220-240 volts, so make sure you have a power transformer. The plug socket type is a British BS-1363. My Blackberry and iPad support both 220-240 and 110-120 voltage, so I only needed the correct electrical plug. However, I needed a transformer for my camera battery chargers and my MemoryKick Media Center Hard Drive.
I felt very safe in Bahrain. Things appear to have calmed down from protests that occurred earlier in the year. There are still check points on the roads, but we were not stopped at the checkpoints. Also, make sure you understand which areas not to visit. As of July 2011, there were still some demonstrations at some malls and in some areas in the south of the island.
I found the people friendly. However, many people did not want their picture taken. So, it is best to ask or "shoot from the hip" so you do not offend anyone.
Some of the places I found for photography were.
• The Grand Mosque (especially at night when it is lit up)
• Arad Fort. This is a small fort but did provide some interesting photos. There doesn't seem to be many visitors in the morning. But in the afternoon, a market and fun house for the kids open up.
• I found the Manama Souq and fish, meat, and produce markets a great place to photograph people and the culture.
• Bahrain also has a beautiful skyline and architecture. So there are many opportunities for cityscape and architecture photography.
• Bahrain's skyline is also beautiful at night with the lights reflecting on the water. However, some research will be necessary for a good location. We crossed a busy four lane highway for some skyline night photos.
See more of my travel photographs of Bahrain at my website