Plan a weekend trip to Doha, the capital of Qatar, a middle-east country with alluring shops, delicious food, and beautiful places to see.I might have touched Doha airport several times on my way to Kuwait. I never had the opportunity to go beyond the Doha airport to admire the beautiful skyline of Doha and the much-featured hotels.All I did thus far in Doha’s airport was to eat at the airport. I must say, that should have piqued my interest to visit at least a minimum of 6 different restaurants and eat several cuisines including:
I am planning to stay back in Doha for a weekend when I land in Doha next time. Towards that intent, I did some research and composed this article that reveals:
- Where to stay in Doha
- What to eat in Doha
- Places to see in Doha
- What to drink in Doha
Let us first land in Doha’s Hamad international airport.
Pretty impressive sight-eh?
It is sleek and shining-the Doha airport and comfortably air-conditioned.
Location of Qatar in the Arabian Gulf.
There it is-Qatar on the western coast of the Arabian Sea. Qatar’s neighboring countries are Bahrain, and U.A.E. Doha is the interim stopover for all the major airlines flying to Europe and beyond.
Overview of Doha city:
With its improving status as a major international airport and its proximity to the U.A.E. and Kuwait, the town is witnessing some big stride in infrastructure development such as hotels, port, and swanky restaurants.
The shopping at the duty-free shops in the airport and flashy shops in the Doha city is a pleasurable experience.
Hotels to stay in Doha:
Being an international stop over the city, there is no dearth of posh hotels in Doha. I must admit it is quite expensive there, but we can afford the hotels’ prices as we are planning to spend just a weekend in Doha.
Mondrian Doha is a very posh hotel. It is very spacious with several restaurants inside.
Looking at the people moving about inside the hotels, I could identify most of them are businesspeople and the tourists are just a trickle. I would point out to the high cost of staying in the Mondrain Hotel as the reason for poor patronage of it.
It has a well-appointed spa and a big shopping mall attracting even casual passerby.
Some more hotels to stay in Doha in the premium range are:
- Najada Doha Hotel
- Tivoli Hotels & Resorts
- Banana Island Resort
- Ritz Carlton
Middle range hotels in Doha city:
- Bismillah Hotel
- Kings Gate hotel
- La Villa Palace hotel
- Chairman hotel
If you search hard, you can find one or two B&B types of accommodation in Doha.
Food in Doha
You will never be disappointed when it comes to eating in Doha.
The cuisine in Doha is predominantly Arabic that is liked even by the western tourists. Restaurants all over the world have started adapting their traditional cuisine to suit people from various parts of the world.
The presence of thousands of Indians employed in Qatar means the Indian foods widely served.
In some high-end restaurants attached to star hotels, you can even find Mediterranean foods mentioned on the menu card.
The names of a few Qatari dishes are:
- Camel meat
- Qatayef-sort pastry
- Machboos-it is similar to Mughal biryani served in all parts of India.
It is basically an aromatic rice dish sprinkled liberally with finely-cut chicken or mutton meat. In some plates, you will find the big size of meat. If you have never eaten camel meat, you can ask for camel Machboos.
- Fatayer-a sort of meat pie. It is a must-eat food in Doha’s restaurants.
This is a wheat porridge with meat stalk and cardamom garnished.
It is a sort of thick soup that is eaten either as a drink or mixed with rice. It is similar to the Asian side dish ‘Salna.’
The Qataris eat a broth/stew during breakfast. This is a chicken or mutton stew mixed with beans and potatoes. Even bread added to get a full breakfast.
Vermicelli based sweet porridge.
What to shop in Doha during your weekend stay?
Buy some expensive varieties of dates. You would have never tasted such a sweet date fruit. Also, you can buy pure Yemeni honey. You will also see jars and jars of cookies. Try and buy for your friends back home.
Visit the ‘Canal Mall’ in Doha. The mall is divided into two by an artificial canal.
Another shopping street that you should visit in Doha is the night market in Souq Wakif, a famous place for the tourists in Doha to spend time.
You can buy most of the food items, jewelry, footwear, etc.
As you leisurely roam around Souq Wakif, drink a cup or two local dark tea called “Karak’. If you like to drink your black tea sweet, ask for a blob of cream on top of the tea.
If you are a coffee lover, then, ask around where to get a cup of “Qahwa.” It is a coffee that added with cardamom!
Things to do and places to see in Doha:
In any Middle East country, your most exciting and thrilling activity is to enter the desert. We all have read so many surprising sights in a desert, but we would have never planned a trip to go on a desert safari.
In Doha, Qatar, you will get offers from several desert safari organizers who can take you in a private vehicle. Invariably, the driver will act as a guide.
The desert safari will usually last 4 hours. Also, you can choose to see the breathtaking sunrise on a desert. There are unique sunrise desert safaris too in Doha.
During your desert safari, agree to hop on to a camel’s back and take a short 15 minutes camel-back ride. Mostly you may not enjoy a camel ride, but you won’t get another chance in your life and so, make the best use of it by being adventurous.
One more exciting adventure activity during your desert tour, try your courage on a sandboard.
Sandboarding is similar to snowboarding. It is better to watch a short video of sand skiing, the synonym to sandboarding.
Staying inside a canvass tent on the desert:
If you wish to be a bit more adventurous, why not opt to stay overnight in the desert? Desert camping is a popular activity in Doha.
Deserts are known to shed temperature rapidly after the sunset. A bonfire will keep you warm on the desert. An open-to-sky barbeque dinner will satisfy the groaning of your stomach. The food will be more delicious when you eat for the first time surrounded by sheer wilderness with no lights, fan, or air-conditioning.
After the darkness, the star-studded night sky will make you open your mouth agape. It will be a stunning sight.
Desert camping will be a lifetime experience.
An unforgettable visit to an Inland Sea:
First, watch this video below of an inland sea at Doha.
Did you see the sand dunes abruptly ending on the sea?
This natural phenomenon occurs only at a very few places in the world. Thank your charm that you are one such a place in the world, where you can see the pleasant sight of a freshwater body in the middle of the desert.
You can play a game of beach volleyball without any disturbance.
Dune Bashing in Doha desert:
Dune bashing means driving your big car on the desert’s sand dunes at high speed and suddenly reducing the speed as you curve your vehicle without an iota of worry in the world. You won’t hit anything on your path.
Here is a short video clip of desert bashing in Doha.
Wildlife in the desert of Doha:
Don’t imagine that the desert heat is not conducive for animals to live. Every desert is home to some rare wild animals and reptiles.
If you are lucky, you can watch any or all of the following wildlife during your desert safari in Doha.
- Desert hedgehog
- Red fox
More of a ginger color than red-eh?
- Asian jackal
- Caracals-wild cat
To enjoy all the desert adventures, you should contact an all-inclusive desert safari tour operator in Doha well before you reach Qatar’s capital.
Your price is inclusive of night accommodation in the camp, dinner, and next day breakfast. Of course, pick up and drop are included in the desert safari price.
Strolling in the busy and colorful Souq Waqif
The Souq Waqif is a public square that is similar to a piazza in Italian cities and small towns,
As you linger on the streets, the aroma in the air will tell you of so many things about from where it emanated that includes meat cooking, Arabian perfumes, leather goods, and exotic dates and spices.
Eat to your heart’s content, buy various dry fruits and spices including cardamom and saffron, gold coins and gold bars, and some Arabian apparels.
Museum of Islamic Art
Well, it is time to veer your focus to some art. How about visiting the museum of Islamic Art? It is a picturesque location facing the Arabian Sea.
The building’s architecture will be captivating being designed by one of the great architects in the world. The interior of the museum will be impressive as well as the displays in the museum.
Corniche in Doha
The corniche is a promenade in Doha’s waterfront. From there, the city’s high-rise buildings pose a pleasant picture.
It is an excellent place to be early in the morning when the area is teaming with fitness buffs who love open-air aerobics.
The length of the waterfront is nearly 7 km making it ideal to lounge, jog, and stroll.
Video of the Corniche in Doha.
Aspire Park, Doha
Aspire Park is a vast public park comprising an area of nearly 90 acres. It is aesthetically landscaped and dotted with fountains and play areas for the children. You can also find a few fountains and even a human-made lake!
The Aspire Tower can be seen from anywhere in Doha because of its towering height measuring 985 feet!
The Aspire Tower houses a luxury hotel.
Visit the Zubarah Fort, Doha
It is imposing-right? It is a Government building and used by the defense department of Qatar.
Go and see the Brazen Towers.
This is an old landmark of Doha dating back to 1910 built as watchtowers.
The Pearl Island, Doha
Wow! What a beautiful sight! Pearl Island is a humanmade island where anyone from other countries can buy land and build a home.
It located off the coast of Doha’s West Bay Lagoon.
Here, the promenade is full of colorfully lit shops selling high-end costumes, gold jewelry, and restaurants.
So, there you are in Doha overwhelmed by the skyline, posh hotels, great food, the desert, and its adventure.