Qatar – a country that has the highest GDP per capita thanks to a rebound in oil prices and its massive natural gas reserves. The country has been pouring money into construction for the 2022 World Cup, and you can clearly see it if you visit the country these days.
I’m not sure if anyone would ever want to visit Qatar as a tourist unless they have families and friends living there at the time being but here comes my next post about Doha, the capital of The State of Qatar.
Doha is located in The Middle East and it is only 45 minutes flight away from Dubai. It is not as popular as Dubai but it is a perfect place if you are looking for relaxed and quiter environment in The Middle East.
The currency being used in Qatar is Qatari Riyals, and you need a taxi or a private car to get around the city. In terms of dress code, you don’t need to cover up but you are expected to respect the locals. Women should cover their shoulders and knees in public areas, however this rule is not valid in hotels. Forget about swimming with your bikinis in public beaches like Katara Beach, and use hotel beaches by paying 300-400 QAR entrance fees on weekends.Or just stay in a hotel, and your beach access would be covered.
Cost of living in this under-construction city is expensive but one can always benefit from happy hours and ladies nights offered by hotels. If you are considering about finding alcohol in markets or even bringing to the country – forget about it too. The alcohol is sold only in hotel bar and restaurants, and a liquor store called QDC for those who hold a liquor license.Pork is also not permitted and you can’t even find it in hotel restaurants.
When it comes to lifestyle, Doha offers visitors some Michelin star restaurants like Hakkasan and Nobu, pretty good art scenery at Museum of Islamic Art, Al Riwaq and Modern Art Museum of Qatar, and cultural experiences in Souq Wakif and Katara Cultural Centre. There are also fun activities for attraction seekers such as desert safari, camping and kite surfing. Hotels’ friday brunches and outdoor/beach parties are like a tradition for expats living in Qatar.
As the weather gets really hot in summer, I would recommend visiting Qatar in winter when the weather gets cooler. You may even swim from March till June, and from September till November. Life may get a bit difficult during Ramadan as there is almost no activity during days, restaurants and malls are closed and alcohol consumption is strictly forbidden.
Things To Do In Qatar:
MIA: Museum of Islamic Art is a very special architecture offering very nice photography scenery.
Al Riwaq Gallery: Just next to the MIA, this gallery hosted a lot of famous exhibitions. It is a must-visit place if you are into arts.
Souq Wakif: You may have a nice shisha in the Souq Wakif while tasting local or Arabic food for a reasonable price. Walk between narrow streets until you reach the Falcon Souq. You will be amazed by the number of falcons there!
Corniche: Take a walk along the cornice towards the Sheraton Hotel.
Katara: This cultural center offers exhibition halls and an amphitheater. There is also a Karak & Chapati café where you can taste the local Karak tea.
The Pearl: This man-made island offers lots of shops and restaurants. There is a marina where the yachts are docked and you can take a walk around it while enjoying luxurious stores. If you want more, take a walk towards the Madina Centrale area where you can find more restaurant and cafes.
Aspire Park: Located just next to Villagio Shopping Mall, this park is beautiful with the huge torch tower view.
Malls to visit (In case you visit Qatar in summer):
Mall of Qatar: The newest mall in Qatar. Even though it’s a bit far from the city centre, it holds the biggest mall label in the country.
Villagio: Inspired by The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, this mall’s ceiling is painted as clouds and blue sky.
Landmark: Surrounded by other malls such as Ezdan and Gulf Mall, this mall offers good shops and a cinema saloon.
There are daily tours offered by some companies in Doha, so try one of them if you are transiting through. If not, take your time and it will not take more than 3 days to see everything in the city.
And of course, thanks to Qatar for being home for a few years already!