The pearl of the Orient, Victoria gives you an inside of what not to miss in this desert country.
If you want to have an oriental vacation with a “thousand and one night” -feeling, exciting adventure and luxury shopping, this is the place to visit. Best time to go to Qatar is during the period from September to April. Summer months May to August is not to recommend as the temperature can go up to 56 degrees C.
You are met by hot desert winds, the smell of water pipes and the sound from minarets. The men are dressed in white clothes and women sweeps mysterious around in black abaja and usually covered faces. Luxury bags, shoes and jewelry shows their economic status.
This is the place of luxury, fine cars, shiny skyscrapers and the most beautiful sunsets you have ever seen, this is Qatar.
Facts about Qatar
The small kingdom of Qatar is a peninsula that extends a finger from the south to the north of the Persian Gulf a barely six hours flight from Europe. Qatar is ranked as one of the world’s richest countries in the world, with great assets in the form of oil and natural gas. But that was not the situation in the past, then the people lived of livestock, pearl collecting and piracy. The capital is Doha.
Qatar has about two million inhabitants, 70 % expats and migrant workers. State religion is Islam, and they are 90 % sunni muslims. There is a form of religious freedom in the country. Qatar is controlled by a king, an Emir. The Emir has recently in 2013 let build an area with only churches, for Christian minority.
In Doha new buildings and roads are constructed all the time, they have also planned for railways and to build a better public transportation system. The city is preparing for hte FIFA World Cup 2022.
In spring 2014 the Qatar new airport was finally completed. A world-class airport, Hamad International Airport (HIA) The airport which has cost SEK 100 billion to build calculates to receive 28 million passengers per year.
Nine Things to do in Doha
The Corniche in Doha is a promenade surrounded by beautiful skyscrapers. From here you can take a Dhow-boat and view the city from the water, always most beautiful at sunset. On the corniche is the award-winning Lebanese restaurant Al Mourjan. Here you will enjoy a good dinner just by the water with a beautiful view of the city.
Museum of Islamic art
A magnificent art museum where you will learn more about Muslim culture. Here are collections of Turkish mosaics, wood carvings and Persian carpets from Damascus.
There are a number of organisers in Doha which organizes wilderness and dessert tours, an experience for life. Hot desert winds, white sand, breathtaking desert rally, lovely views and sunsets combined with a dip in crystal-blue water, camel rides and barbecue on the beach. You can also stay overnight in Bedouin Tent. A half day tour costs from 600 sek per person, or about $90.
The Pearl is a newly built town on an artificial island where everything is glam and luxury. Here along the beautiful promenade are luxury yachts and a shopping street with approximately 650 exclusive shops and Dohas’s most luxury restaurants. Here you will find everything you want from all luxury brands of clothing, furniture, perfumes to Lamborghini’s or Ferrari’s. You can also buy an apartment here, and it includes a 100 years of residency in the country. After that the apartment returns to the state.
This is a small cultural village which provides an insight into the Islamic culture, life, art and design. The atmosphere is wonderful. There is a wide range of very fine restaurants and cafes, all to normal prices. One of my favorite restaurants here is Fishmarket, where you can choose fresh fish and seafood from the display and the food is great!You can visit an amphitheater in marble, a gold mosque or just walk around and enjoy the Arabic culture among the population. There is even a beach if you want to go for a swim. It is a small charge to get access to the beach and you need to cover shoulders and legs.
In Doha the selection of beaches that are free is not so large. You can either pay entries to any of luxury hotels beaches or go a bit away from Doha to public beaches where it is free. I prefer to travel to Fuwairit Beach, an hour drive, north from Doha. A wonderfully broad and long beach with turquoise, quiet and warm seawater. Here there are no shops or restaurants, everyone who go there bring their own food and drink and many barbeque on the beach. From May to June you can spot turtles, if you are lucky.
Shark Village & Spa
Five Star hotel right on the seafront with orientral feel to it. The rooms are exclusively furnished with lovely exotic colors. I think this is Doha’s best hotel with a luxury spa, Six Senses Spa.
Souq Waqif/Gold souq
One of my favorite places in Doha. In this market you can find everything from gold to carpets. Both new and used things.Along the cozy streets and alleys you can really feel the oriental atmosphere with the mixture of the smell of water pipes and spices. The opportunity to take a cup of mint tea and watch the large mixture of people. When you visit Gold Souq which is located next to Souq Waqif there is a large selection of jewelry.
Villagio shopping store is built in the style of a classic Italian town with charming balconies and a gondola that goes through department store along a channel. You’ll find stores as: H&M, GAP, Zara, Tiffanys, Gucci and Dolce Gabbana. You can go ice skating or take a ride on the roller coaster.