Visiting Qatar? Twenty-two years in the past, I moved to Qatar for the primary time. Then, I had no thought the place on this planet this nation was situated, nor did my bewildered household.
My husband had been provided a place there and our transfer set off an avalanche of worldwide relocations which have presently come full circle, with us dwelling in Doha, Qatar, for a second time.
However what a change these final 20 years have introduced. Qatar is presently on each sports activities fan’s thoughts, with the FIFA World Cup coming in November.
Many individuals have been via the Hamad Worldwide Airport, voted Greatest Airport within the World, transiting between east and west, whereas a latest tourism growth has introduced many guests to those shores, arriving both by aircraft or cruise ship.
Nonetheless, ask most individuals, and Qatar stays a little bit of an unknown. So, right here I’ll deal with among the most frequently requested questions, to offer you some background on this small desert state within the Center East.
The place Is Qatar Situated?
Look carefully to the east of the huge Saudi Arabian Peninsula, and also you’ll see a tiny thumb-shaped protrusion protruding into the Arabian Gulf, or Persian Gulf.
Straight bordered solely by Saudi Arabia, the island state of Bahrain lies simply to the north, and the United Arab Emirates to the south.
What Is Qatar Identified For?
In short, Qatar is the world’s third richest nation in keeping with GDP per capita, has huge fuel and oil reserves, and will probably be internet hosting the FIFA soccer World Cup in November 2022.
The small nation initially made its wealth from pearl diving and the pearl commerce. Right now, Qatar is rising as some of the vital artwork locations within the Center East, with world-renowned artists having public artwork installations right here, from Richard Serra to Damien Hirst.
What Sorts Of Meals Do Folks Eat In Qatar?
The delicacies of Qatar is, to place it merely, a mixture of influences starting from India to Lebanon, with rice, rooster, and lamb dishes being the most well-liked, equivalent to Machboos, a richly spiced however not spicy rice dish.
There’s a nice vary of seafood, with hamour being a beautiful white grouper that’s not a lot identified exterior the area, and there’s at all times a choice of honey-dripping sweets.
The favourite native breakfast is a straightforward karak (ginger spiced milky tea) and chapati, an Indian flatbread. However in Doha, you will discover eating places from each nook of the world, with choices starting from movie star chef eating places to tiny recent juice stalls and meals vans.
How To Get Round Qatar?
To discover the nation, a automotive, or organized tour, is crucial as a result of as soon as exterior of the capital, the desert takes over. And and not using a automotive, you may solely attain up to now.
Inside Doha, a contemporary metro system takes you round, connecting most important elements of the capital, together with the airport, stopping alongside locations such because the Corniche, a 5-mile-long promenade alongside Doha Bay.
Inside sure inside metropolis neighborhoods, equivalent to Souq Waqif or the design district of Msheireb, you might be greatest suggested to discover on foot, whereas for different metropolis journeys, there are taxis and Ubers obtainable.
What Is The Forex In Qatar?
The foreign money is the Qatari Riyal, abbreviated to QR or QAR. One riyal, divided into 100 dirhams, is roughly equal to $0.27 USD, however all worldwide playing cards are accepted within the majority of places.
The notes are available denominations of QAR1, QAR5, QAR10, QAR50, QAR100, QAR200, and QAR500. There are ATMs within the airport permitting you to have a bit of money readily available for suggestions and small purchases.
What Are Some Of The Cultural Customs In Qatar?
Qatar is a Muslim nation, and as such, each women and men ought to costume modestly. Meaning protecting the shoulders and carrying garments that attain the knee.
You will note loads of younger folks carrying tank tops and shorts, however for those who intend to go to locations the place you may anticipate to fulfill locals, then it’s merely well mannered to cowl up a bit.
In some instances, you would possibly even not be allowed entry if not dressed suitably. On the resort seashores and within the swimming pools, bikinis and swimming shorts are completely high-quality.
Historically, it’s best to solely eat meals along with your proper hand, the left getting used for extra unsavory bathroom enterprise.
You must also not sit in a manner that you just present the soles of your toes to locals, nor do you have to ever decline a suggestion of meals or drink.
That stated, individuals are conscious that you’re overseas, and are very versatile and forgiving. The place consuming with solely the proper hand is anxious, watch any native consuming a burger, and that rule goes straight out of the window.
What Is The Climate Like?
Truthfully? It will get very popular. My recommendation is to not go to throughout June or the top of September, as temperatures simply attain 122 levels Fahrenheit within the shade, and the humidity may be very excessive, making it at instances insufferable.
In the summertime, folks not often transfer exterior, solely of their air-conditioned vehicles to go to air-conditioned shops, with many households merely leaving in summer time when faculty is out.
Within the spring and fall, in addition to within the winter, the climate is gorgeous, with a breeze coming in from the ocean and the entire nation bursting into outside life.
Formally, there’s a wet season between December and March, however that tends to final 1–2 days max. The rain usually is available in January, when the heavens can open for a few hours.
However the “wet season” shouldn’t put you off in any respect, because the rain is generally made up of 10 drops that don’t even be a part of up on the bottom.
Is It Protected?
Qatar may be very secure; certainly, it has repeatedly been nominated the most secure nation on this planet. Crime charges are extraordinarily low, as is harassment and theft.
I’ve at all times felt secure strolling alone or taking a taxi at night time. That stated, there’s at all times an exception, and all you want is one dangerous case, so regular widespread sense precautions ought to at all times be taken.
Can I Drink Alcohol There?
Not like Saudi Arabia, Qatar shouldn’t be a “dry” nation, however entry to alcohol is restricted principally to the massive worldwide accommodations, and the eating places and bars inside these accommodations.
You won’t be able to import alcohol or purchase it in supermarkets, nor anyplace else, until you’re a resident and have been accredited for a liquor license.
Alcohol within the accommodations shouldn’t be low-cost (with a 12-ounce beer costing round QAR40, or $10 USD), however you may get every little thing from champagne to spirits.
Are Ladies Allowed To Drive?
Sure, girls should not restricted in any manner. Ladies can lease a automotive on arrival, and there’s even a limousine service pushed by girls for girls. Ladies should not have to cowl up, aside from carrying modest costume (see extra under). Qatar is a secure nation for feminine solo vacationers.
Are There Non secular Restrictions?
An important issue to remember is the holy month of Ramadan. This month, the timing of which adjustments by round 10–12 days every year, is a very powerful within the Muslim calendar.
All through Ramadan, it’s forbidden, even for non-Muslims, to eat and drink, or smoke and chew gum, in public between the hours of dawn and sundown.
Most eating places, aside from a range in most accommodations, are closed through the day, and retailer timings change as properly, with many shutting down throughout sure instances and staying open late into the night time. Ramadan might be an attention-grabbing, however inconvenient time to go to the nation.
What Is There To Do?
Whereas usually touted as a short stopover vacation spot, there’s in truth lots to see and do in Qatar. Discover the desert, ideally by way of 4WD, hurtling up and down the sand dunes.
Then, store up a storm within the many super-fancy malls. There may be the stunning Souq Waqif, a standard bazaar, the place you get something from a falcon to bales of silk, spices to fairly trinkets, and loads of gold jewellery.
There are world-class museums, such because the Museum of Islamic Artwork and the Nationwide Museum of Qatar, and numerous artwork galleries, a lot of which might be discovered within the Katara Cultural Village.
What Are Some Key Arabic Phrases?
Whereas everyone speaks English in Qatar, as a result of it’s the widespread language between greater than 100 nationalities dwelling and dealing there, it’s at all times appreciated for those who attempt to use a couple of native phrases when, for instance, within the souq.
The most typical greeting is Salam-Alaikum, which is answered with Alaikum Salam, each which means “peace be with you.” “Good Morning” is Sabah al Khair, whereas a easy “hiya” is Hala or Ahlan. “How are you?” is Kheef Halak? and “goodbye” is Massalama. “Please” is Min Fadlak and “Thanks” is Shukran, whereas “Sure” is Aiwa, and “No” is La.
Professional Tip: Weekends In Qatar
Please word that the weekend right here falls on Friday and Saturday, with Sunday being a working day. So, if you wish to go for a kind of bottomless brunches, that are very talked-about in Doha, ebook it for Friday.