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WATCH VIDEO: Best Things To Do In Doha, Qatar

“Doha” means “the big tree” in Arabic

Qatar has only one time zone (GMT + 3 hours) for the entire country called Arabian Standard Time. It’s seven hours ahead of New York, and two hours ahead of London.

Nationalities from 102 countries can enter visa-free, while the others can apply for an e-visa through the Hayya platform online. The visitor’s passport must be valid for, at least, six months from the date of arrival and must hold a confirmed hotel booking on arrival.

Qatar has three airports, although its services keep changing frequently so it’s advisable to verify all information before planning your trips.

  • Hamad International Airport (DOH), Doha
  • Doha International Airport (DIA), Doha
  • Al Khor International Airport, Al Khor

Doha is well-connected by metro, which is one of the world’s most advanced metro rail, connecting the city with major areas such as Hamad International Airport. Karwa Bus, the public bus network, also connects Doha to all major towns.

The turquoise Karwa taxis are everywhere in Qatar although, you can also book them on the Karwa Taxi app. Uber is widely used too.

You can download Karwa Taxi, Qatar’s official taxi service, as well as Uber App, another popular way to travel around the country.

Qatar is considered a safe country for female travelers; however, you should keep in mind that seeing women alone on the street is not entirely normalized. For this reason, you will inevitably draw attention, although it is recommended to dress modestly. Women should cover their arms, legs, and chest with loose-fitting clothing and, even if they are not Muslim, wearing a headscarf is always advisable.

Public transportation, such as the metro, offers reserved seating for women.

The desert peninsula of Qatar is characterized by very high temperatures, especially during the hot summer season, which runs from June to September. The temperatures during these months range between 20ºC and 45ºC, nevertheless, humidity can increase in coastal areas.

The winter period runs from November to February, and the average degrees range from 15ºC to 20ºC.

The best months to visit Qatar are from November to April, during the winter and spring seasons. During these months the weather is very pleasant, making it possible to enjoy all the outdoor activities that the country offers.

The official language in Qatar is Arabic, however, English is also widely used and understood, especially in urban areas. Some basic Arabic vocabularies are:

Hello:  مرحبا (Marhaba)

Bye: وداعا (Wadaeaan)

Please: من فضلك (Min Fadlak)

Thank you: شكرا (Shukran

Yes: نعم (Naam)

No:  لا (La)

I am sorry: آسف (Aasif)

How much is this?: كم سعر هذا؟ (Kam Sa’ar Hada?)

Where is the bathroom?: أين الحمام؟ (Ayna Al-Hammaam?)

  • Take your shoes off when entering a Qatari home.
  • The Qatari host will always try the Arabic coffee first and the guest must always drink from the right hand.
  • Men cannot enter the women’s majlis (sitting room) and vice versa.
  • The formal greetings are very important. The equivalent “Hello” in Qatar is “Salaam Alaikum” (peace be upon you,) and the reply to this is “Alaikum As Salaam” (and on you, too, peace.)
  • Qataris are always modestly dressed so, in order to respect their culture, you should dress conservatively, especially if visiting religious sites or participating in religious ceremonies. Women and men should avoid shorts or sleeveless shirts, covering shoulders and knees in public.
  • Wearing a bikini on public beaches is not allowed, tourist should restrict its use within the hotel premises or the hotel’s private beach.
  • Unmarried men and women should not touch, however, the exception to this rule is the handshake in a formal greeting.
  • If an Arab person holds their hand against the heart, this means they prefer this sign of greeting over handshaking.
  • Bargaining is a common practice in the souq or market, however, insisting on a discount beyond what is considered the “best, best price” might be deemed insulting.
  • The store owners in the market are probably not local Qataris, so be respectful of different cultures when you shop and browse.
  • During Ramadan, it is illegal to eat or drink from dawn to sunset in public spaces around Qatar. However, there are places screened from public view which are available for non-Muslims to eat and drink, mostly hotels. Before traveling to Qatar, check when Ramadan is expected to begin, as the date vary each year.

The currency in Qatar is the Qatari Riyal (QAR). 1 QAR quates to 0.274725 USD.

There is not a concrete tipping etiquette in Qatar, in depends on the place you are visiting. For example, in restaurants it is appreciated to tip about 10-15%, while in bars they are not expected, and a tip of 10 QAR is acceptable. In taxi drivers is highly appreciated a minimum of 5-10 Riyals tip, while tour guides in Qatar use to be tipped about 18-20 Riyals per day.

Power sockets in Qatar are Type G: the rectangular, 3-pin socket that you would find in the UQ. The country also operates between a 220V-240V supply voltage and 50Hz.

Qatar plug

Tap water in Qatar is considered safe to drink, however, usually residents and travelers prefer to drink bottled or filtered water due to taste preferences.

Large malls in Doha, like the Mall of Qatar and Villaggio Mall, offer free Wi-Fi to visitors, however, hotels, cafes, restaurants and even some public places tend to provide this service. Check here to see where there is free Wi-Fi in Qatar.

Unfortunately, LGBTQIA+ community is not protected in Qatar, so it is highly advisable to avoid any show of affection in public between homosexual couples. Same-sexual activity is prohibited under the Penal Code and sentences can include a possible death penalty. Both men and women are criminalized under this law. While several bars frequented by foreigners are more accepting, there is no gay area in Doha due to the lack of LGBTQ rights.

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