With its pleasant mix of Arab culture and Western conveniences, Bahrain has long been one of the most accessible countries in the Persian Gulf region. Travelers can enjoy Bahrain's traditional attractions—such as sailing a dhow or bargaining in a souk (marketplace)—and then relax at one of its comfortable, modern hotels.

What Bahrain lacks is a spectacular attraction: It doesn't have majestic ruins, it's not a place to experience the Arabian desert (Oman is a better choice for that), and it doesn't have the cosmopolitan flair of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Still, we think Bahrain is a good choice for first-timers who want to get to know the Gulf region.

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