5 Places to Visit to Get to Know Doha, Qatar

Qatar, unlike its neighbor gulf countries, is fast developing. Just a couple of years ago I was living and working here and I've seen the vastness of their desert waiting to be filled with modernity and life. Now, if I go back there for a visit, the odds of me getting lost is quite high. Don't get me wrong, I like to get lost. It's just that in the span of less 5 years, Qatar has managed to open a new airport that can be at par to that of Dubai's or Abu Dhabi's, double or even tripled the number of malls and hotels, and of course, quadrupled it's expat population.

Perhaps this is a good sign to all of us. Developing countries that have enough resources are trying to change the world by employing as many expats as they and changing their way of lives for the better.

Here are some of the best places that you should visit if you want to get to know Doha.

1. Enjoy the travesty of the Souq

Souq Waqif | سوق واقف, Foursquare.com

Souq Waqif | سوق واقف, Foursquare.com

Souq Waqif | سوق واقف, Foursquare.com

Ahhh, the Souq Waqif. Souq is arabic for market, while waqif means stand. So Souq waqif actually means standing market, as it was probably back in the days.

What I love about this place is that they were able to preserve most of the buildings and transformed it into a modern day hangout. Imagine it's like an open air mall. You have cafes, restaurants, and even art galleries and a boutique hotel. And I love spending time just having a shisha and drinking Moroccan tea, while people watching.

Best to go here in the afternoon or at night, especially during the fall, winter, and spring season.

Name:
Souq Waqif | سوق واقف
Address:
Al Souq St. (Abdullah Bin Jassim St.), Doha, Qatar
HP:
Official Foursquare.com

2. Jog along the Corniche at night

Corniche | الكورنيش, Foursquare.com

Corniche | الكورنيش, Foursquare.com

The Corniche is a long stretch of paved land with lush greenery and Date trees. The best part of it is that it's beside the ocean so while going for a stroll or a night jog, you have a great view of the Doha skyline. Plus, you won't get thirsty nor hungry as there are a lot of food stalls and water stations along the way. If you want, you can also rent a bike.

Name:
Corniche | الكورنيش
Address:
Al Corniche St. (Corniche | شارع الكورنيش), Doha, Qatar
HP:
Foursquare.com

3. Visit their cultural city, aptly named Katara

Katara Cultural & Heritage Village | كتارا, Foursquare.com

Katara Cultural & Heritage Village | كتارا, Foursquare.com

Katara is a magical place. You will definitely feel transported back in time. It doesn't have an entrance fee to just walk around and feel the Arabic vibe. Plus, you can even sit down somewhere, anywhere and there's a huge screen where movies are being shown, especially during the film festival, or football games. There are so many things to see and land to explore in this place. Come when there's an exhibition and I'm certain you won't regret coming here.

Name:
Katara Cultural & Heritage Village | كتارا
Address:
P.O. Box 22899 (Lusail St.), Doha, Qatar
TEL:
+974 4408 0000
HP:
Official Foursquare.com

4. MATHAF Museum of Modern Art

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Foursquare.com

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Foursquare.com

You'd think that Arabic art is just concentrated on carpets and pots and henna tattoos. You're wrong. Drop by Mathaf and see what else are the Arabs keeping their hands busy with.

Name:
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
Address:
Education City, Doha 2777, Qatar
TEL:
+974 4402 8855
HP:
Official Foursquare.com

5. Experience the Dhow Cruise

Corniche | الكورنيش, Foursquare.com

Corniche | الكورنيش, Foursquare.com

Your Doha trip won't be complete without riding the Dhow Cruise. It's such a cliche', yes, to be riding an old Arabic boat and cruise along the modernity of the buildings in Doha. But, it's an experience that you probably won't get elsewhere. The driver will be blasting Arabic music and the gulf air will be blowing against your face.

Name:
Corniche | الكورنيش
Address:
Al Corniche St. (Corniche | شارع الكورنيش), Doha, Qatar
HP:
Foursquare.com

Conclusion

Doha is not as bad as you think it is or might have heard. With a couple more infrastructures you can see it developing like Dubai or Abu Dhabi. And for such a small country, this is a feat.

Author

Geninna
5 things I can't live without: coffee, books, my iPod, wifi, and my husband :D Born and raised in Manila, Philippines but I've lived in Qatar, Indonesia, and the UAE. I am currently living in Romania, and I have been on vacations to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam :) And does a stop over in Bahrain and Germany count?