Welcome to Doha!
The capital city of arguably the wealthiest country in the world, Doha, Qatar, is quite an enchanting city. A city filled with fascinating culture, revolutionary landscapes, and remarkable architecture, Doha is a place that you need to see to believe. Now more than ever, Doha is becoming a preferred travel destination.
The tourists arriving in Doha airport know popular places to visit and things to see, but a worldwide local knows how best to experience the city. This is an insider guide of some of the best things Doha has to offer.
Qatar is indeed a small country and by extension Doha, but that doesn’t take away from its very diverse attractions, and a fast-growing tourism industry that is developing at lightning speed. With so many ways to see the city, exploring it can be a little intimidating, but this guide will direct you on how to make the most of your stay.
When to Visit
The Doha weather is almost always perfect, thanks to its constant summer-like climate. However, the summer months of May to September tend to pack a double-punch sweltering heat combined with high humidity, with the temperatures quickly going as high as 40°C (104°F) or more. But winter is quite mild and manageable with temperatures lingering around 20°C (68°F), pack light clothes when traveling to Doha.
Worldwide Local Tip: The dress code in Doha is more strictly adhered to, more than in any other city in the Gulf region for both men and women. Make sure to pack natural fabrics like linen, silk, and cotton, and opt for loose clothing rather than tighter clothing (unfortunately, absorbent fibers tend to be quite clingy when wet and less modest). If you get into a discussion with a local over a possible offense, apologize and change your clothes at the first chance you get.
From the Desert to the Beach
A desert safari will definitely be on your to-do list when you visit Doha, but to have an even more unique experience, visit Khor Al Udeid Beach. A protected natural oasis surrounded by remarkable sand dunes of various sizes, some as high as 40 meters. Khor Al Udeid Beach allows you a unique experience of beach life in the heart of the desert.
You will also find diverse animal life living here, there are Arabian gazelle, Arabian oryx, and osprey. The beach is located in the southeastern region of the state of Qatar, it is approximately 48 miles away from Doha. It has to be accessed by a 4 wheel drive car, and it is highly advised you visit this beach with experienced dune drivers.
Worldwide Local Tip: The beach is in the smack middle of the desert, there is no shade to shelter you from the scorching sun, be sure to bring an umbrella, plenty of sunscreen, and water.
Extra Time? Doha Offers a Shopping Paradise!
Doha is a shopper’s paradise. With a high recorded income per capita, you can expect to find all the luxury designer brands in the major shopping malls such as the Villagio Mall. If you want to be transported back in time, however, visit the Souq Waqif. This market is the perfect place to taste, smell, and experience Qatari tradition through the local merchant’s produce, perfumes, and stunning surrounding architecture. The labyrinth of small shops offers a wide selection of various products from spices to handicrafts, clothing and many souvenirs which can even include an Arabian Horse, camel or falcon!
Worldwide Local Tip: The souq is open 24 /7, but most shops tend to close from noon until 4 pm. We recommend visiting Souq Waqif between 7 pm and 11 pm, this is when the market comes to life.
Unlike most cities where breakfast is king, the main meal in Doha is eaten at lunchtime, and the largest meal being served at midday on Friday. This is so the locals, and their families can enjoy a hearty meal after prayers. In true Arabian fashion, cutlery is not often used, and bread is used to scoop up the food.
Due to a high population of expats, you will find many restaurants that offer cuisines from all over the world in Doha. The cuisine here is influenced mainly by Iranian and Indian cultures. However, Arabic cuisine is an essential part of Doha’s food culture, and one of the most popular dishes that you must try is Machboos. This is a very famous rice-based dish that is cooked with a variety of marinated meats or seafood of your choice.
Worldwide Local Tip: Water is not free at restaurants! Tap water is desalinated from the Arabian Gulf, so it is expensive. You will, however, always be offered still or sparkling bottled water, or another beverage.
Enjoy Your Stay!
At the current time in Doha, you’ll find a fascinating land waiting to be explored, and exploring it as a worldwide local will give you exceptional access to its awe-inspiring landscape, architecture as well as culture.