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Things To Do

Discover a different side of Qatar

Randy Santos, Chief Concierge at Mandarin Oriental, presents a fascinating side of Qatar.

Discover a different side of Qatar

My story

Before moving to Qatar, I researched all the GCC countries, wondering which was the best to move to. I read about Qatar's vision and decided that this was the one! I moved to Qatar in 2008, and feel that I truly belong here; the locals are so welcoming! My family and I feel safe and protected, as Qatar is one of the safest countries in the world with an excellent healthcare system.

Discover Qatar's hidden gems

My travel tips

Metro is the best way to get around, very easy to navigate, and most major tourist attractions have dedicated ultra-modern stations. A one-way metro fare costs just 2 QAR, single tickets can be bought from machines inside the stations.

Always carry your passport with you if you are planning to go out.

During Ramadan it is not allowed to eat or drink in public before Iftar time.

Doha shuts down on Friday mornings due to the morning prayers. Most restaurants and cafes are open during early morning, close at around 11:30 and open again at 1pm or 2pm. Make sure to check the timings for Malls or Museums before your visit.

What to do in a few days in Qatar

As dawn approaches, wake up to the beautiful Msheireb Downtown, the first sustainable downtown regeneration project that mixes elements of traditional heritage with the latest smart city technology, providing a unique experience. If you feel like grabbing a bite, I suggest that you have breakfast at Empire Cofee.

Sign yourselves up for a Desert Safari Tour! One of Qatar’s finest treasures, Khor Al Adaid or ‘Inland Sea’ is bound to take your breath away with its picturesque landscape decked with golden sand dunes. What’s a desert safari without some dune bashing action? Get on board a 4×4 vehicle for your very own ride through the sand dunes.

If you’re a fan of extreme sports, have a go at sand skiing & sand boarding, quad biking and paragliding. Feel the adrenaline rush as you glide through the air gracefully on your parasail, or speed down the sand dunes on your quad bike. If you’re looking for something milder, go for a camel ride in the desert and watch the sun set into the far horizon.

As the day comes to a close, feast on a traditional BBQ meal in the desert under the stars. Lose yourself in the vastness of the desert as you sit by the bonfire as the music serenades you into the night. While you’re there, you may also trek along the Sealine coast! When you’re done with your exploration, dig in to a sumptuous meal at the Sealine Beach Resort.

Alternatively...

Explore the city’s modern side. Explore Katara Cultural Village, north of West Bay; it  is a great place to stroll, with cafes, restaurants, and (especially on weekends) plenty of outdoor entertainment.

In a country where literacy is almost universal and education is free (and which hosts several international university campuses in a large “Education City”), it’s not surprising that the country has a state-of-the-art National Library, which offers tours several times a week. The library has a huge collection of books, both in English and Arabic and also a heritage collection of historic books in Arabic that you can tour. But the space, itself, is breathtaking.

After the library, head to Villagio Mall, where you can walk around and have lunch at one of the many restaurants.

After lunch, you have a few different options depending on your interests. If you like horses, you probably know that Arabian horses are among the most beautiful equines, smaller than many other breeds, but bred for either racing or beauty. There’s a lively horse culture in Qatar. One way to get a taste is to join a guided tour of Doha’s magnificent equestrian center Al Shaqab. The facilities are amazing and extensive, including vast performance arenas, state-of-the-art air-conditioned stables, and medical facilities.

If you’re more of an art lover, consider a trip to Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, which houses an enviable permanent collection of contemporary Arab artists on the grounds of the Qatar Foundation. Splurge for your final meal. If you want the quintessential Doha experience, then you must try Al Hubara Restaurant at the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel; it’s the grandest buffet you’ll likely ever see, and many nights are themed extravaganzas. Reservations are a must, and there’s also an a la carte menu.

 

Useful information

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Al Wakrah

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