There’s more to Qatar than the expansive desert or the expanding city of Doha with futuristic skyscrapers, which it is quite famous for. Abounding in beaches, sand dunes, museums, a mix of modern and ancient architecture, Islamic art, vibrant markets, green spaces and restaurants with indigenous cuisines, camels and falcons, Qatar offers a complete cultural and scenic experience. Here are some of the top things we recommend you must do when in Qatar:
Qatar is best known for its glittering golden deserts. These deserts attract millions of people every year and are popular among the astrophotographers all over the globe. Some of the best photographs of the Milky Way were shot at Khor Al Adaid popularly known as the Inland Sea. Extraordinarily beautiful combination of water and desert will transcend your mind through a golden-blue loophole to a place which seems unreal. Experience thrilling sports such as sand boarding, snorkeling and make your trip perfect by taking a nap in a traditional Bedouin camp.
The rapid financial gains of Qatar have led to the construction of some majestic structures. Gigantic concrete buildings and astounding metal skyscrapers give one the idea of its modern architecture. The Ceremonial Court, Doha Tower, Imam Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab Mosque, Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art and The Emiri Diwan are Qatar’s best-designed structures. Away from the modern world are the traces of Qatar’s ancient architecture. Though a majority of these structures have been removed, some traditional buildings can still be found in some of the districts, especially in Doha. These limestone and gypsum houses will help you understand the history of Qatar. With such unique, beautiful and eye soothing designs it is hard to decide which form of Qatar is better, the ancient or the modern one.
Galleries and Museums:
Qatar abounds in art studios, museums, and galleries. While The Museum of Islamic Art is built on an island whose entrance is lined by palm trees, there is also The National Museum of Qatar in Doha and which exhibit a permanent collection including exquisite textiles, enamel work, ceramics, and glass, intricately weaved carpets, art etched on gold jewelry. The Al Riwaq Modern Gallery and The Souq Waqif Art Studio showcase Islamic and international art, and The Katara Art Centre focuses on contemporary local art and culture. You’ll find great exhibitions, retail outlets, souvenir shops, as well as restaurants and cafes. The Arab Postal Stamp Museum, however, is a unique and different experience especially for philatelist lovers where there is a postage stamp collection from more than twenty Arab countries.
Qatar National Theatre and the Katara Amphitheater are magnificent Grecian and arabesque theatres home to enthralling shows and events and seat people in thousands. Take a break from reality and multitudes of site seeing and be carried away in the world of fantasy and action in these theatres. For an international and Italian musical experience visit the Qatar opera house. Here are conducted stagings by Doha players who focus mostly on Shakespeare.
The Katara Beach, The Banana Island Resort and The Taliamare Beach Club are serene beaches to visit and relax at. Evenings offer a more serene and soothing experience away from luxury resorts and hotels. Sit under palm trees, Watch the fading sun on the horizon, the changing colors of the sea and sky while smoking shish or munching on hot barbeques.
Sunsets in lush green parks of Qatar like Aspire Park, Al-Bidda Park, and Jungle Zone will definitely leave your soul enchanted. Wide walkways, separate cycle lanes, majestic views of Doha’s parliament, exotic water fountains and beautifully shaped flower beds, these unique parks of Qatar offer much more than our expectations. Some of these parks also have specially designed sets with comfortable benches to enjoy a musical performance while relaxing your mind. Furthermore, Qatar has one of the best animal-themed parks for children with arcade games, special playgrounds, bumper cars, thrilling rides, and whatnot.
Qatar open: Tennis fans and lovers can treat themselves with this international tennis tournament which attracts players like Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Rafael Nadal; or attend the Qatar winter dragon boat festival and watch long narrow boats made of teak wade through the waterways of Qatar during this festival as they battle against each other, racing with the help of only oars and cries of jubilation.
If you want to eat, shop and stock up personal stuff under one roof, malls of Qatar will cover all of this for you. You can have a cup of coffee and hang out to catch the vibes of Qatari life. All your favorite brands, special and supervised areas for children, wide parking spaces and colorful food courts will make every shopping enthusiast’s day perfect. And after you are done shopping, they won’t let you get bored. A variety of leisure activities such as arcades, movies, and indoor games are also available. Doha City Festival Mall, Mall of Qatar, City Centre, The Mall, Villagio, Landmark and Royal Plaza are the places you can start with.
‘Souqs’ or market places cannot be missed while out on any novel visit. After your air-conditioned shopping and lounging in malls, go traditional and explore the earthy culture and authenticity in these markets and their wares. The Souq Waqif is one of the main traditional markets in Doha and was a trading hub for ancient Bedouin. It has been getting developed since and has expanded beautifully. Buy the traditional Qatari dresses, the embroidered ‘Buhnoq’ (a female’s head cover), dates, spices, perfumes, Iranian pots, handicrafts, jewellery and artifacts, souvenirs for yourself and your people, as well as everyday items. Furthermore, you can visit the Falcon Souq to experience the Qatari heritage further with falconry or the Omani Souq, a small cheap market if your budget is a little tight.