Ever since the announcement of the 2022 World Cup location, Qatar has been gaining a lot of notoriety. This tiny Gulf country typically doesn’t attract a ton of visitors, but more people find themselves stopping over in Doha on their way to or from Asia because it is more well known. Qatar Airways is expanding their flight schedules and often provide excellent 5 Star service from North America or Europe to the Middle East and Asia. If you find yourself in the region, here are a few “Must Dos” while you are in Doha:
Visit Souq Wakif
This is a very traditional Middle Eastern bazaar. It has tons of spice and cloth shops tucked in amongst restaurants, sheesha places, and stores containing little souvenirs. Souq Wakif is one of the best places to grab dinner and people watch, as it is usually always packed with locals and expats alike.
Katara is the relatively new cultural village located just outside of Doha’s city center. There is a great art gallery and they often have fun events going on in the evenings. Check out TimeOut Doha for upcoming events before you arrive.
Take a stroll on the Corniche
The Corniche is a long pathway that follows the Gulf and provides an excellent view of the skyline. It is a popular place to run/walk during the day (when it isn’t too hot) and it is an amazing place to see the skyline lit up at night. It is safe to go and take some pictures of the great architecture the city has to offer.
Visit the Museum of Islamic Art
After visiting twice, I can honestly say it is one of my favorite museums. It was designed by I.M. Pei, the same man who designed the iconic pyramid at the Louvre in Paris. The museum is located right on the water so it provides excellent views of the Gulf. In addition to the great view, it has some of the most interesting Islamic art and artifacts from the Arab world. You can spend hours strolling around the different exhibits as well as learn about the regions tumultuous history. This is one of the best places to escape the mid-day heat.
I know it sounds a little crazy. You are in a foreign country and want to explore all of the sights. Doha has some amazing shopping, though. They have several malls with a wide variety of shops, so you are able to get whatever your heart desires, regardless of your budget. My favorite is Villaggio. It is designed to look like Venice, complete with a working Gondola, painted ceilings, and adorable bridges to cross from one side of the hall to the other.
Visit the Beach or Pool
If you have more than a few hours in Qatar, you can check out Al Khor or the Inland Sea. They have nice beaches and Qatar isn’t so conservative that you can’t wear your swim suit. If you don’t feel comfortable swimming with the locals, you can always stop by the European Family Club, which has a small pool for use. Some of the nicer hotels, such as the Intercontinental, also have amazing pools and fun cocktail packages for foreigners.
If you are form a Western country, you can even go out to a bar/club in the evening. Almost every hotel has a bar and many have clubs with dancing. As long as you bring your passport to prove that you are foreign, women can enter for free. Just make sure that you don’t enjoy the perks too much, as being drunk in public is considered a crime and is punishable by the police.
Will you visit Qatar in the next few years?