• July 16, 2024

Year-end Travel: Have ₹1 lakh? Go to Qatar | Travel

Qatar, the host country of FIFA World Cup 2022, is a peninsular Arab country comprising arid desert and a long Persian Gulf shoreline of beaches and dunes. It’s not just about modern structures and high-rise buildings; about museums and beaches; not only about man-made islands or purpose-built hills. There’s a lot more to this small country where tradition meets innovation and the classical melds beautifully with the contemporary. With a rich history and a futuristic skyline, Qatar has it all – dilapidated and abandoned villages, archaeological sites that give a little peak into the area’s history; inlets; islands; natural mangroves; golden sands; blue-green waters; and a lot more. (Also read | Year-end travel: Have 1 lakh? Head to Mauritius)

With a rich history and a futuristic skyline, Qatar has it all – dilapidated and abandoned villages, archaeological sites that give a little peak into the area’s history; inlets; islands; natural mangroves; golden sands; blue-green waters; and a lot more.(Freepik)

Here is a quick guide to must-see/eat/do in Qatar.

Important Cities: Doha, Al Rayyan, Al Wakrah, Al Khor, Dukhan.

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Must-See/Do:

• Souq Waqif

• The Pearl-Qatar

• National Museum of Qatar

• Museum of Islamic Art

• Katara Cultural Village

• Al Zubarah Fort

• Inland Sea (Khor Al Adaid)

• Al Thakhira Mangroves

• Desert Safari

• Dhow Cruise in Doha Bay

• Lusail Winter Wonderland

• Spend an evening at The Corniche

• Go to the Fire Station, a former fire station that is now an art gallery

• Go to Quest, Doha’s first theme park

• Panda House at Al Khor

• Angry Birds World in Doha.

Must-Eat:

• Machboos: Spiced rice with meat

• Harees: Wheat and meat porridge

• Umm Ali: Bread pudding

• Karak: Strong and spiced tea, usually made with black tea, aromatic spices like cardamom

• Saloona: Spicy stew prepared with either meat or vegetables or both

• Qatari Breakfast: Try a traditional Qatari breakfast with items like chebab (pancakes), balaleet (sweet vermicelli with eggs), and hares (savoury porridge)

• Luqaimat: Bite-sized dessert shaped like a ball

• Regag: Arabic version of a crepe

• Balaleet: A sweet and savoury breakfast dish

What to Buy:

Traditional Qatari spices and perfumes, Qatari coffee pots (dallah), traditional clothing (thobe and abaya), souvenirs from Souq Waqif, dates which are a staple in Qatari culture, handcrafted models of traditional Qatari dhows, Oud and Bakhoor, falconry-themed souvenirs

Where to Buy:

Villaggio Mall, Souq Waqif, The Mall Doha, City Center Mall, Katara Cultural Village shops.

All major credit cards are accepted at retail outlets, including museum gift shops, shopping malls and restaurants. Keep cash handy for shopping at Souq Waqif and the traditional markets.

Packages:

2-night Doha package (including flight): Cost: 53,000+. Book on makemytrip.com

4-nights/5 days Doha package (including flight): Cost: 64,000+. Book on makemytrip.com

5-night Desert Safari and West Coast Special (including flight). Cost: 60,000+. Book on makemytrip.com

3-night Doha package (excluding flight). Cost: 20,000+. Book on makemytrip.com

You can also find interesting itineraries on visitqatar.com, the official website of Visit Qatar.

Return Flight (Economy): Mumbai-Doha-Mumbai return flight starts at INR 25,000+ (Vistara)

Visa: Indian passport holders can obtain a visa on arrival.

Good to Know:

Currency: 1 Qatari Riyal = INR 20.00

Language: The official language in Qatar is Arabic, but English is commonly spoken throughout all public places.

Local Transport: Doha has an efficient bus and metro system. There are range of transport options from Hamad International Airport to the city: shuttle buses, the Doha Metro, taxis and ride-hail services, like Uber and Careem.

Taxis in Qatar can be booked in advance for pickups at hotels, restaurants and malls. You can also hail a taxi from across the street. Remember, the fares in the mornings and nights are different.

Wi-Fi: Hotels, restaurants, and cafes offer free Wi-Fi.

Services: Banks and other services remain closed on Friday. Some shops also close for a couple of hours before midday prayers and reopen afterwards, so check opening hours before you head out.

Weekdays/weekend: The first day of the week is Sunday and the weekend is Friday and Saturday.

Security & Safety Tips:

• You’ll need permits for use of drones. Apply at least three to four weeks in advance of your trip. The use of a drone requires not only permits, but a local operator license.

• Ask permission before photographing/filming members of the public.

• Public displays of affection (PDA) are not part of local culture, hence avoid all PDA.

• Some prescribed and over-the-counter medicines may be controlled substances in Qatar. If you need to bring in controlled/prescription medication into Qatar, ensure you carry your official doctor’s prescription, hospital note or a letter from your GP, detailing the drug, the quantity prescribed and dosage.

• There is zero tolerance for drugs-related offences in Qatar. The penalties for the use of, trafficking, smuggling and possession of drugs (even residual amounts) can include lengthy custodial sentences, heavy fines and deportation.

• Qatar law also prohibits the importation, sale and purchase of electronic cigarettes, liquids and other similar products (e.g. electronic shisha pipes).

• Bringing alcohol into Qatar is strictly prohibited. However, alcohol is served in licensed restaurants and in many hotels across the country but drinking alcohol outside of designated areas is prohibited.

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