Whenever I mention that we live in Qatar, people always ask “Where is that?“. Not everyone knows it since it is not as famous as Dubai or Saudi Arabia or any Middle Eastern countries. Qatar (or officially known as the State of Qatar) is located in Western Asia or the Middle East, and is surrounded by the Persian Gulf. It has the highest per capita income in the world, which means it is the richest country in the world.
So how come only a few people know Qatar? I don’t blame you. I didn’t even know Qatar until I went to Dubai and get to know the different countries in the Middle East. If you are planning to work here, read Carmen’s expat life experience in Qatar here.
The country is so small that you can see most of the tourist attractions in one to three days. Here are the best things to do in Doha, Qatar.
1. Visit The Pearl
If Dubai has Palm Jumeirah, then Qatar has The Pearl. It is a man-made island that spans nearly four million square meters. It features high-end stores, a wide selection of dining outlets, a residential community, and 3-5 star hotels. It is called ‘The Pearl’ because the island is being built on one of Qatar’s previous major pearl diving sites.
2. Immerse at Katara Cultural Village
Katara is a cultural village located on the way to The Pearl. A gem of Qatar’s art and culture, you’ll find an open amphitheater, an opera house, a multi-purpose cinema, a multi-purpose conference hall, a beach, a souq, and Qatari organization offices.
Katara | Call Center 182 | +97444080000
3. Visit Souq Waqif
Souq Waqif is a traditional market where they sell fabric, spices, sweets, household goods, souvenirs, and arts. It also has restaurants and shisha lounges.
4. Dune bashing / Desert Safari
If you are staying more than 1 day in Qatar, don’t miss the desert safari! The driving up an down makes you feel like it’s a roller coaster ride. Look for an experienced driver to take you into the desert for a half-day, full-day or overnight stay in an Arabian tent. Experienced, I say, because technically speaking the desert has no road, no signages. So you can easily get lost. So make sure you have done your research or read the operators’ reviews. We haven’t done this with kids. Nonetheless, you can bring your kids and just ask the driver to take it slow and take the flatter route.
5. Ride a Camel
Before our desert safari, the driver took us to a place where we can ride a camel. It is just for a few minutes but it is worth it.
6. Walk along the Doha Corniche
Walking along the Doha Corniche is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon. Or you can just sit, drink a coffee and enjoy the panoramic view. Other folks come here to run or jog.
7. Take a Dhow Cruise (Corniche)
Hop on a dhow at Corniche to enjoy a picturesque view of the city’s skyline. Boatmen charge based on the number of adults. I remember paying 20 QAR per adult for an hour of dhow cruise. You can always bargain for a lower price if you are in a group.
8. Take a Photo by The Pearl Monument
This iconic pearl shell is a symbol of Qatar ‘s traditional past. You can find this along Doha Corniche.
9. See the Museum of Islamic Art
The Museum of Islamic Arts is built on a standalone island just off the corniche. Some of its collection includes Calligraphy, Islamic patterns, jewelry and textiles from three continents dating from the 7th to 19th century.
Museum of Islamic Art | +974 4422 4444
10. Visit the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
At the grand Qatari Fort at Al Samriya Farm stands the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum. The museum is the private collection of Sheikh Faisal since he was 10 years old. He collected objects from his travels which include ancient religious books, calligraphy, books, textiles, vintage cars, weaponry, and even an 18th-century Ottoman bomb.
Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museums | +974 4486 1444
11. Go to Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
If the Museum of Islamic Arts showcases arts dating 7th to 19th century, then Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art showcases the 20th and 21st century modern and contemporary art from the Arab World.
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art | +974 4402 8855
12. Take a Gondola Ride (Villaggio)
Venetian-inspired Villaggio Mall is known for its indoor canal. You can take a gondola ride and look up at the painted sky with clouds.
Villaggio | +974 44135222
13. Check out Theme Parks and Gardens
Perfect for your weekend, Qatar has numerous parks and gardens for family visits. They are great places for children to play or family and friends to gather and hang out. Few parks that are worth visiting are Aspire Park, Corniche, Al Rumailah Park, Museum of Islamic Art Park, Aqua Park.
14. Visit Al Zubarah Archeological Site
Qatar earned its first UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Al Zubarah Archeological Site.
15. See Al Jazeera Media Network
Qatar houses the Al Jazeera Satellite Channel. It is a state-funded broadcaster owned by Al Jazeera Media Network.
Have you been to Qatar before? What other things did you do or places you visited? Share with us your experience in the comments below!
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