The Place of Dreams
Situated just off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf, the island nation Bahrain with its dreamy capital Al Manamah, is an oasis from the surrounding desert landscape. A designated capital of Arab culture, this one-time pearl-trading center is no mirage—attractions like the Al-Fateh Mosque (one of the largest in the world), the Corniche al-Fateh (seaside promenade), and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Bahrain Fort are the real deal. (Although it could be said they all look like the stuff from dreams of far off Arabian lands.)
Sharpen your haggling skills at the Manama Souq where silk scarves, pearls, and brilliant yellow 24ct gold jewelry are just some of the items on offer. Or head a short distance outside of town to Janabiya to the king’s camel farm to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat (and maybe even go for a ride on one, if you’re lucky). But no visit to Bahrain would be complete without a stop at the Tree of Life. Just a few miles south of Al Manamah, this mysterious tree defies science and has managed to not only survive, but thrive, in the middle of the dry desert with no access to water.