With Bahrain gaining in popularity as a tourist destination, many tour operators have begun offering package deals with charter flights and hotel stay. Check with your travel agent, there are some real bargains to be had!

The Sporting Life

Enjoy tee-time at the golf course.

The recently opened Riffa Golf Course has come as an answered prayer for many of the sportís fans in the region. Set in the Riffa Valley with the 19th century Riffa Fort as a backdrop, the 18-hole championship standard grass course is designed to be challenging but fair.

Make a splash.

Watersports have always been popular in Bahrain, and ideal weather conditions mean it is an activity you can indulge in right through the year. If you are interested in water-skiing, windsurfing, sailing or yachting, you can approach any of several clubs, many of which also have special classes for beginners. Regular competitions are also held in the various sports, and visitors are welcome to join in.

Youll fall for this - hook, line and sinker!

Who doesnt enjoy spending a lazy afternoon fishing? What makes it doubly rewarding is that the catch can be quite good with hamour, grouper, chanad and barricuda inhabiting the waters. Arab World Tours (tel 9637737) organises special fishing expeditions for tourists.

Go ice-skating (yes, you read that right)

Ice skating might seem like an unlikely sport in a desert country, b ut the rink at Funland (tel 292313) is, in fact, a big draw with Bahrains residents. Skates can be rented and there is a professional instructor for beginners.

Let Arabian horses send your pulse racing.

Arabian horses are among the world's most prized breeds and a day at the Sakhir race course explains why they are so highly rated. Races are held every Friday from October to March, and typically attract 3,000 to 5,000 fans.

Feel the excitement at the drag races.

Motor sports have been gaining in popularity over the years, and Bahrain now has regular weekend drag races. Not quite Formula One or IndyCar, but the souped-up vehicles provide their fair share of thrills and spills. Call the Bahrain Motor Club on 686295 for details. Meanwhile a Formula One standard track is currently being built as Bahrain bids for a place in the F1 calendar.

Run - just for fun.

Bahrain Roadrunners (tel 756568) and Bahrain Hash House Harriers (6694684) organise regular competitive and fun runs. Races include the Predictor, with the winner being the one who most accurately forecast his or her finish time.

Have a wheel of a time at chariot race.

Once a year, the Rotary Club stages the Charity Chariot Chase, where teams race each other in specially designed chariots. No animals are harmed during the staging of this charity production ­ the chariots are drawn by team members. If you happen to be in Bahrain when the Cha-Cha-Cha is held, you might want to go and watch what is guaranteed to be a fun event.

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