Picture sun, sea and sand partnered with awe-inspiring architecture, splendid traditional Arabian Souqs mixed with modern marbled shopping centres, majestic museums and family-friendly fun. A place that perfectly prides itself in its culture and heritage and a country for all, welcome to Qatar.
It’s a balmy summer evening in the dynamic capital of Qatar and for the majority of people who aren’t working at this time, a walk along Doha’s coastline is a relaxing pastime.
Soaking in the last of the night’s sun, while listening to the tranquil waves casually lapping against the corniche and witnessing a scenic sunset amid one of the most impressive skylines of ultra-modern skyscrapers, has become an enjoyable norm for residents from over 90 different countries.
Through the prism of this pleasant walk, Qatar is truly seen. The kaleidoscopic array of people, the diverse cultures, the amazing mix of food available day and night, flawlessly amalgamated with the beauty of Arab history and heritage, all draw you in. The night is forever young for those living in this thriving Gulf country and it is no wonder why Qatar has not only quickly become one of the most sought-after travel destinations due to this multifaceted environment, but also a top choice to work and relocate to for thousands of people worldwide.
Official language: Arabic
Common language: English
OFFICIAL Religion: Islam
GDP (PPP, per CAPITA, 2020):
$138,910 (1st in the world)
Currency: Riyal (QAR)
Time zone: UTC+3 (AST)
Calling code: +974
Internet TLD: .qa
The climate is hot and humid from June to September, with daytime temperatures as high as 50°C, while spring and autumn temperatures average around 17°C during the months of April, May, October, and November. The winter season is slightly cooler from December until February with daytime temperatures reaching around 23°C while hitting lows of just under 19°C at night
Perched on the north-eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, it is one of the smallest countries of the Middle East, but stands as the richest per-capita income country in the world. From pearl diving to discovering and exporting liquefied natural gas and oil, the country has come a long way in building a strong reputation in different sectors and industries.
Residents enjoy a high standard of living and reputable social services due to Qatar’s oil wealth and with a strong economy that continues to grow, the small Gulf peninsula is pioneering in various fields, including art, aviation and sports.
Boasting breathtakingly unique architecture that encompasses the Arab country’s culture with a modern twist, Qatar is becoming notable for producing masterpiece designs that definitely do not go unnoticed.
Take the Museum of Islamic Art — an iconic gem that has drawn influence from traditional Islamic architecture and designed to evoke the eyes of a niqab-wearing woman — it houses the biggest collection of Islamic art and artefacts in the world, spanning over 14 centuries with items originating from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, India, Spain and Central Asia.
In fact, when walking the clean streets of the charismatic capital Doha, the Islamic and Arab inspiration and influence does not go amiss. Qatar, both the country and its people, do not shy away from proudly showcasing their heritage and history allowing visitors to fully immerse into their culture.
From art to adventure, Qatar is an adrenaline junkie’s dream come true offering an abundant amount of activities ranging from the desert to the sea to the skies. Be it dune bashing and camel riding in the UNESCO recognised desert site, or diving the deep sea in the Arabian Gulf to experiencing Qatar’s traditional wooden dhow boat or seeing the country’s landscape from a bird eye’s view by paragliding and skydiving, there truly is something for every thrill seeker.
Shop til you drop
For those looking for a more chilled vibe, the country’s opulent marbled shopping malls will certainly appeal to you. Encompassing elegance with extravagance, shopping in Qatar is like an experience on its own. Once you have taken in the luxury and brands, move on to tradition by taking a stroll through the Souqs for some Arabian antiques and customs. Vibrant colours, classical sounds and sensational smells will enlighten all of your senses at these traditional Middle Eastern markets where you can find homegrown spices, Arabic tea and coffee, dates and dried fruit and oud perfumes among many other treasures.
Mall of Qatar
This mall opened to the public in 2016 and it carries a wide variety of retail shops and restaurants that suit everyone’s taste. Mall of Qatar also holds live performances for entertainment in its Oasis called MOQ Live.
Sunday to Wednesday: 10 am to 10 pm
Thursday and Friday: 10am to 12am
Saturday: 10am to 11pm
Doha Festival City
DFC is a 600,000 square metre shopping mall, making it the largest mall in Qatar. Alongside its selection of retail stores, restaurants and cafes, it also houses the Angry Birds World and IKEA.
ADDRESS: Umm Salal Muhammed
Saturday to Wednesday: 10 am to 10 pm
Thursday and Friday: 10 am to 11 pm
Located in the Aspire Zone, the mall is designed to resemble an Italian hill town with one of its main features being the indoor canal. People can experience the canal in a boat ride that costs only 10 QR per person.
ADDRESs: Al Waab St.
Sunday to Wednesday: 9 am to 10 pm
Thursday and Saturday: 9 am to 11 pm
Friday: 9 am – 11am to 12:30pm (closed for Friday prayer) – 11 pm
Al Hazam Mall
A unique mall that houses luxury retailers and global restaurants. Alongside the beautiful architecture and open-air design, the mall has a heated garden and a grand library.
ADDRESS: Al Markhiya St.
Saturday to Thursday: 9 am to 12 am
Friday: 10 am to 12 am
One of the first and most well-known malls in Qatar, Landmark began operations in the year 2000 and has done multiple renovations since then. It has a good selection of some of the most common brands that everyone enjoys, with a food court and a cinema.
ADDRESs: Al Shamal Road, Gharaffa
Saturday to Wednesday: 9 am to 10 pm
Thursday and Friday: 9 am to 11 pm
The architecture of the mall is meant to resemble the six countries of the GCC with its six arches that are in its design. The interior and exterior both incorporate traditional architecture symbols especially with its fortress like shapes. This mall also has a selection of retail shops and local kiosks and regional stores.
ADDRESS: Al Gharaffa
Sunday to Wednesday and Saturday: 7:30 am to 11 pm
Thursday and Friday: 7:30 am to 12 am
Souq Waqif is a marketplace in Qatar that sells traditional items and foods and is designed like the traditional old Souqs of the time. It also contains modern restaurants and attractions for tourists and locals to enjoy, a must-visit for Qatar. for animal lovers, there is a small store that sells pets.
ADDRESS: Souq Waqif, Al Jasra, Doha
Saturday to Thursday: 7:30 am to 10 pm
Friday: 4 pm to 9 pm
Souq Waqif Al Wakrah
This is a beachside Souq opened in 2014 that is full of restaurants, cafes and unique local stores. With the similar design of a traditional village, outlet stores can be found here. the attraction is of course the sea, its opportunity to dip your feet in or just enjoy a walk along the beach. There is also a playground for the children to enjoy.
ADDRESS: Al Wakrah Main Streets
Wednesday to Monday: 8:45 am to 11 pm
Tuesday: 11 am – 11 pm
Qatar takes Arab hospitality to new heights with its quality service, renowned facilities and warm and friendly environment. The country itself has been ranked as the safest country in the world, according to the Numbeo Index — the largest-user contributed database that tracks cities and countries. From 2015-2019, Qatar ranked as the top safest Arab country in the region and worldwide in 2017 and 2019. This year, the index noted Qatar had registered the lowest crime rate with 11.90 points out of 100, making it the safest on the list.
Also taking immense pride in its aviation services, Qatar’s Hamad International Airport was ranked as the Third Best Airport in the World this year, as well as the Best Airport in the Middle East for the sixth year in a row and the Best Staff Service in the Middle East for the fifth year in a row. The year prior to this, Qatar Airways took the number one spot as the World’s Best Airline.
The Gulf country is also becoming known as a major sports hub in the region as it prepares to make history by hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022 — the first ever to be staged in the Middle East. And alongside all these impressive achievements, Qatar’s National Vision 2030 continues to work on incorporating a sustainable development for the future.
In a short space of time, this small Gulf Peninsula has made some marvellous developments and has truly become an all-rounder nation to work, live, invest in and to travel to.