Qatar: A country that is better shared than explored.
Not to suggest there’s nothing to do here, there’s so much to see, it’s just that a lot of lone people make up this place. Qatar is a beautiful country for someone to explore alone, however, when shared with other people, Doha comes to life.
Actual Qatar (Arab) nationals make up less than 15% of the total population! This means that those living outside of their native country in Qatar make up the majority. However, they have still managed to hold onto traditional culture, whilst allowing foreigners to feel welcome.
It is an extremely diverse country and I love it! It does mean that strong stereotypes are formed though, especially by people just taking one look at your skin color. I remember one time in the Souq, shop owners shouting “Hakuna Matata” to get my attention. Or the look of shock from more educated people when they hear a British accent, after assuming you can’t speak any English. Despite this, I’m here for breaking stereotypes!
On the flip side, the diversity can be such a beautiful thing. From exchanging stories of home with taxi drivers, to your pool mate being German, Sri Lanken or even Ugandan, many people are quick to show kindness. I guess they all understand that you need people to survive here. It showed me that the craving for community is universal.
So what can you do out here? Here a some suggestions:
- Museum of Islamic Art
Free Entry – Free WiFi. For me, the cafe overlooking the waters was super relaxing, if you’re someone who isn’t too restless you could definitely spend a good part of your day here. Being educated through all the Islamic art was another highlight, got to see some unusual but interesting artefacts and pieces of art.
- Souq Waqif
Comes alive at night! The Souq is filled with many women making a variety of traditional foods but also has restaurant options for people that want an escape from the noise! It’s the best place for soaking in the Qatari culture, in my opinion. If you’re lucky there are usually many street performers and sessions of live music!
You can walk along the Corniche and if it gets too hot there are a couple of cafes that you can stop at to escape the heat. You can also opt for a boat ride for a fee – I feel like prices vary depending on how wealthy you look to be honest but if I find an accurate amount I’ll drop it here.
BBQ IN THE DESSERT – My advice would be to go with some people that have been before, otherwise what is meant to be a peaceful trip can turn sour very quickly (thank you Peter!!!) – If you’re about the life, you can go for a swim! The key to enjoying the dessert is preparation!
- The Torch Doha
This is a torch shaped hotel with many restaurants and lots of seating area inside. My favorite was the 360 restaurant, the room rotates only slightly but you get a 360 view and the food is A1! It’s also great for quick breakfast or brunch visits and is located right next to Villaggio Mall, another interesting spot to have a walk around. In there you’ll find your H&Ms and New Looks but also shops like Gucci, Versace and Tom Ford. There’s something for everyone, for those who are ballers but also those who’s pockets are blessed.
- The Pearl
Known as an ‘artificial island’, you will never run out of things to do and see here. From sitting by the water, to walking through the towers, if you’re into pictures, The Pearl is for you! Ice cream shops got my attention the most (Gelarto Rosa – is the best one I’ve been too, it’s set up as a cafe style and has a little hideaway acting as an escape from the heat outside).
- Medina Centrale
This is the town centre of The Pearl. There is a buzz to this place, especially at night (as the heat during the day often leaves the streets abandoned). There are loads of coffee shops in this area, the best one being Mokarabia Coffee – it had the best milkshakes, the staff were incredibly friendly – you can definitely spend a couple of hours here.
There are lots of other spots, message me if you’re heading out to Doha and want a few more of them!