Doha is the capital of Qatar and situated on a peninsular in the Arabian Gulf. It is a modern city in Doha Bay. Doha has a sleek and stylish skyline which is forever expanding and changing. It’s fast becoming one of the new Gulf mega cities which will give Dubai and Abu Dhabi a run for their money.
Doha isn’t short on huge modern shopping malls and luxurious hotels and resorts, however like other cities around the Gulf that have literally just sprung up from the desert, there is a slight lack of history and authentic charm.
Doha isn’t somewhere I would consider going on holiday myself, as there isn’t a huge amount to see and do here unless you like sunbathing and staying in flash hotels, which I like to an extent but I also like to do lots of exploring on my holidays. However when I get a layover there with work, I have to admit I really look forward to a chilled trip lounging by the pool, sunbathing on the beach and taking a dip in the warm sea, and finishing off a chilled day with a trip to Souq Waqif for some dinner.
Sights & Activities
The beaches all along the Arabian gulf in Doha are gorgeous and this is one of the best reasons to visit Doha if you want ultimate relaxation and guaranteed hot weather, Doha makes a great chill out holiday destination. It’s got a ton of fancy hotels most of them offering pools and private beaches.
Souq Waqif has been built on an old market site from centuries ago, Bedouins used to bring their livestock here to trade for everyday essentials. Today the entire market area has been redeveloped to imitate a 19th century Souq. The Souq is new but made to look old with exposed beams, mud rendered buildings and some traditional Qatari buildings have also been restored.
Souq Waqif is very much the social hub of Doha with so much going on all in one place, it’s also a bit chaotic and maze like. There is lots to see and do here and it’s great to come in the evening when it’s slightly cooler. There’s stalls selling everything from clothes, homewares, food and other trinkets.
I love going down there in the evening and pigging our on warm bread and hummus. If you do visit here remember you are in a Muslim country so make sure to dress modestly and cover shoulders, or you will stick out like a sore thumb and potentially get some funny looks.
Even though I love coming down to the Souq, there is one area I’m not a fan of which is the pet section of the market. It’s quite upsetting to see lots of dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, birds and reptiles all kept in small cages without anything to keep them mentally stimulated. When walking around a few of the cages have empty water bowls so I normally go round filling them up with my water. The only kind of saving grace with it being a pet section is that hopefully these designer pedigree pets will end up with a doting owner.
When in Doha I would really recommend going down as this is one of the top attractions in Doha.
Transport & Getting Around
Doha has very recently built a metro system which I haven’t used yet, however I normally tend to use taxis to get around as they are pretty cheap and normally I go out with other crew so split between a few of you it’s even cheaper.
My biggest bit of advice would be that when in Doha remember you are in a Muslim country, so respect traditions and customs and be modest with the way you dress. There is alcohol available at licensed bars and restaurants but it is illegal to be drunk so be mindful of your limits.
Doha is a huge hub for flight connections so if you have a connection it’s a great place to stop off at for a night or 2 to break up a long flight and get some much needed r and r.
If you are planning on staying longer in Doha look into your budget as like other cities along the Arabian gulf it is not cheap. Eating out is similar costs to eating out back home, and many of the hotels offer room only or bed and breakfast rates rather than all inclusive, so costs could mount up.