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!

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Watch dhow-builders carry on an ancient tradition.

Dhows (wooden sail boats) are still built today in much the same fashion as they used to be generations ago. It is an education to watch craftsmen curve the hulls and hammer the planks together into beautiful dhows with nothing more to guide them than mental notes of plans handed down via word-of-mouth through the generations.

Go on a dhow cruise.

Take a dhow cruise around Manama. There are few pleasures that can match simply watching the sun set while the waters lap gently against your boat.

Watch the skies light up on National Day.

If you happen to be in Bahrain on National Day (Dec. 16), you must check out the fireworks display. This spectacular show is always a crowd-pleaser.

Desert mirage? No, that really is a sea of camels!

If your only contact with camels has been at a zoo or on television, you will enjoy a visit to the camel farm at Janabiya. Get your camera ready as the hundred or so camels race in for their evening feed after grazing all day. Or pose with them if you wish, they are usually very friendly!

Have a www.onderful time at the Idea Gallery.

This is an Internet café with charm. It has a homely setting, including a verandah and garden for lunch or dinner. Apart from Internet and e-mail facilities, Idea Gallery also hosts regular workshops, classes and exhibitions. Oh, and do try the home-made cakes.

Add colour to your life with a henna makeover.

Women visiting Bahrain should try out the henna (decorative skin pigment). It not only looks great on your hands, it is also said to bring good luck.

Get on the slow boat to nowhere.

Bahrain consists of a group of islands, not all of which are inhabited. If you are the adventurous sort, you might want to consider taking a boat to one of the smaller islands. Go fishing, read, explore, make a barbecue of your catchÉ ah, now thats living! To organise an outing like this, call Arab World Tours at 963 7737.

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