Do you have one day in Doha and did not know what to do? I spend 10 hours stopover with Qatar Airways and this is what I recommend for you as well to do.
Qatar is one of the smallest countries in the world and it is located in the Middle East. Doha is the capital, is located in the Persian Gulf and the country shares its border with Saudi Arabia and the United Emirates. Let’s not forget to mention, Qatar is also one of the safest places you will probably travel to. First thing, find a driver and guide that can take for a city tour. We found one in the center and he took us all over the places, explaining all the things we need to know before leaving the amazing city.
Things we need to know before traveling to Qatar:
- Currency: The official currency is the Qatari Rial (U$1 was fixed QAR 3.64 -Qatari Riyal). Credit cards are accepted everywhere. You can also pay in US dollars as well and there are ATM machines in many places.
- Language: The official language is Arabic but a lot of locals can speak English, mainly because Qatar is a very international country, Its entire population is 2,745,193 people and only 350.000 of those are natives – amazing 🙂
- Visa: Just a few lists of countries need visas for visiting Qatar. You can check it here.
- The workweek is actually from Sunday to Thursday, so on Friday and Saturday, you will find more people enjoying the city.
- Weather: There are two kinds of weather in Qatar – hot or very hot. The best time to visit during the winter months (October- February).
Souq Waqif in Doha
Definitely the next point is the old Souq Waqif (market) nearby 15 min walk. You can get lost in the maze of narrow winding alleys. The smells of spices will instantly give a sense of the exotic. Markets are one of the best places to get a feel for a city, and the same can be said in Doha. Don’t miss a cup of tea or coffee. Also, here is the place where you can buy some souvenirs but just don’t forget to bargain as hard as you can.
*CNN source: This labyrinth bazaar, whose name translates to the “standing market,” is the Qatari capital’s oldest souq and a major tourist destination on its own. Whether it’s traditional scarves, embroidered cloaks and tailor-made robes that you’re after, or pots, pans and other kitchen hardware, Souq Waqif has you covered.
Imam Muhammad bin Abdulwahhab Mosque
The view from the area is amazing, you can have nice panoramic photography with all the amazing sky buildings. The Imam Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab Mosque opened in the past couple of years. The mosque is extremely beautiful and spacious, enormous. Excluding Fridays and during prayer times, anyone can enter the mosque and look around, just respect and try to cover your shoulders and head. Remember to remove your shoes. Seeing as it is very difficult for non-Muslims to get into Saudi Arabia, this is a unique opportunity to see a Salafi mosque.
Women can visit by entering through the Women’s door.
One of the most beautiful and natural beaches of Qatar, Katara’s private beach spans over 1.5km. Beachgoers have a choice between enjoying a relaxed beach experience and diving into the fun with a great variety of adrenaline-boosting beach activities. Starting with the 5th of May 2019, the entrance to the beach is free. Here, you can enjoy all the water sports that exist in the world. 🙂
The Pearl is also one of Doha’s most exotic construction projects that show how much wealth the nation has. In other words, it is land that is built up from the water, all the small islands are made by man. The two most famous of these kind projects are the Palm and the World developments that you can find at their neighbored in Dubai. The Pearl is Doha’s version of these. If you feel rich, you can try to buy property on the Pearl, however, alcohol is not sold at the Pearl. Because of this restriction, a lot of restaurants went out of business. The brand new Airport and the Museum of Islamic Art are also built on reclaimed land.
On the Pearl, you can find a lot of luxury developments and yachts, but many of the buildings are still under construction. There are several signs of wealth at the Pearl including Ferrari and Rolls Royce dealerships. There are fancy coffee shops and restaurants around the Pearl. I really like Paul Bakery & Restaurant.
If you have time, the Pearl is worth stopping by to see the wealth and excess that is the stereotype of the Gulf. 🙂
Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl – Doha
As the first ultra-luxury hotel on Doha’s iconic man-made island, Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl – Doha offers an exceptional waterfront island experience. You don’t need to be a guest to have a coffee, cake and even to go for a bath at one of their infinity pools.
Khalifa International Stadium
Khalifa International Stadium, also known as National Stadium, is a multi-purpose stadium in Doha. You can easily visit the stadium.
Due to the high temperatures, the locals spend a lot of their time inside shopping malls. Not only for shopping purposes but also attending events and parties. Another cool shopping mall is Galleries Lafayette with an outdoor and indoor AC system. At the Villaggio Mall, you can go ice skating, bowling and even ride a roller coaster. 🙂
The Villaggio Mall looks like the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas ( even if they seem to have copied the name from the Bellagio). There are even gondola rides that you can go through canals inside the shopping mall. The shops are standard luxury shops you see in any major mall around the world.
Another cool thing to do in Qatar:
- Go on a desert safari
- Museum of Islamic Art – There are 4 big museums but this is probably one of the two most photographed and visited. The museum is a collection of Islam artifacts.
- Swim at public or private beach – One thing to keep in mind is that you are not supposed to wear bikinis at public beaches but you are free to do so in private ones.
- Spa Treatments At The Mondrian
- Dhow Boat Cruise – There’s no better way to view a city skyline than from the water.
A nation filled with fascinating culture, other-worldly landscapes and remarkable architecture, Qatar is for sure a place that needs to be seen to be believed that is true.