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Visiting Qatar For The First Time? Here Are 9 Tips You Should Take Note Of

Do Qatar right…

Qatar
If you are heading off to Qatar for the first time, then there are some things you should know, some places you should visit and some rules you should be aware of. Luckily for you, we have gathered together 9 helpful tips and tricks (from experts) to make your visit to Qatar spectacular.

#1 Alcohol is hard to find

Many hotels and restaurants don’t even have a liquor license! Instead of using alcohol to be social with friends you will find residents puffing on a hookah or sipping some local tea. Expats who re-locate to Qatar are required to have a license in order to obtain their own alcohol for personal consumption. Gambling is also a no-no. 

Contributor: Kashlee Kucheran

Company: traveloffpath.com

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#2 Fly Qatar Airways

If you fly Qatar Airways and have a layover in Doha, the airline will give you a free tour of the city, plus other perks! They allowed us to stay in Doha on a 3 day extended layover with rock-bottom hotel prices and without changing our tickets fare. 

Contributor: Kashlee Kucheran

Company: traveloffpath.com

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#3 Don’t be afraid to venture outside the city of Doha

Head to the desert for a little dune-bashing. You’ll board a 4x4 and ride up and down and sideways across the massive sand dunes. At the end of your seat-gripping adrenalin ride, you’ll arrive at the inland sea. 

Contributor: Beth Graham

Company: BethGraham.com

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#4 Visit Al Shaqab Equestrian Center

Visit Al Shaqab Equestrian Center, which raises and trains more than 800 Arabian horses and guests can tour the breeding facilities, visit the newborn nursery, and see the training facilities including a pool, treadmill and equine jacuzzi. There’s also a retirement village, hospital and the center’s 980,000 square-meter horseshoe-shaped performance arena. 

Contributor: Beth Graham

Company: BethGraham.com

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#5 Hydrate and keep water on you at all times

The scorching sun of Qatar can produce heat waves on a whim - often in concentrated areas and not necessarily as described in the days' weather forecast. It's imperative that travelers stay hydrated while carrying water on them at all times in order to make sure their bodies are ready and able to handle the heat. 

Contributor: Caleb Backe

Company: mapleholistics.com

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#6 Dress conservatively, particularly if you are female

Qatar culture dictates that its residents find immodest dress to be disrespectful and inappropriate, especially for female visitors. Make sure not to offend anyone's sensibilities by wearing clothing that offers full coverage, albeit clothing that is nonetheless made of breathable and suitable material for the heat. 

Contributor: Caleb Backe

Company: mapleholistics.com

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#7 Make sure your passport is not in a separate location then your wallet

What a traveler in Qatar needs to watch out for is protecting their passports. American passports are worth a lot of money in the Middle East and can easily be stolen. An American is easily identifiable in Qatar.

Many U.S. Travelers keep their wallet with their credit cards separate from their passport. Psychologically we guard our wallets with our life, therefore, the passport should be in the same holder. There are special passport wallets that allow you to slide your passport into the wallet with the credit cards so everything is together.

Make sure the wall has ID Theft protection because there are devices used especially in the Middle East where a professional criminal or intelligence officer from another country can walk by and use the device to steal all of your credit card information. It is critical to have the ID protection which is a magnetic type shield that prevents someone from doing this.

Contributor: Everett Stern

Company: TacticalRabbit.com | EverettStern.com

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#8 Three notable places to visit while in Qatar

  1. Visit the Museum of Islamic Art. This is an incredible experience before you walk into the door.
  2. Visit the Souq Waqif. I recommend this destination right around dusk, especially if you are visiting during Ramadan. You never know what kind of entertainment you will find and it is very enjoyable to smoke hookah with new local friends. Expect to spend several hours at dinner with your new friends.
  3. Take a tour at the Villaggio Mall. You will be amazed at the indoor amusement park, ice-skating rink and boat rides.

While you are touring all these attractions be aware of several things that could get you in trouble with the locals, or even authorities.

  • Do not take pictures of the palace.
  • Do not show the bottom of your feet/shoes to anyone.
  • When making contact with others, or even handing someone something, use your right hand.

Contributor: Robert Otto Ottinger

Company: ottingerconsulting.com

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#9 Eat Your Heart Out

Qatar is a multicultural hub with people from all over the world gathering to live and work in the city-state. The result is a culinary diversity you'd find in New York or London.

The Spice Market

One of the best places to get sushi in the city is at the W hotel Doha, nestled in the city's business district. A funky atmosphere and offerings from sushi to Indonesia noodles or samosas make this an Asian food lover's delight.

Yee-Ha

For those who like a more casual dining experience - that doesn't skimp on the flavor - the Korean restaurant in the middle of the city is your go-to. Whether you'd like to have beef barbequed in the grill insert of your table or sample delicacies like seaweed or salmon skin, this is a great dining experience at a bargain price.

Azraq

The multi-cuisine buffet on Banana Island is worth a trip in and of itself. A dining reservation will also get you a 45-minute boat ride during which you can see the sparkling Doha skyline rise from corniche behind you.

Contributor: Mohana Rajakumar

Company: mohadoha.com

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