Doha - Abbey Travel, Ireland


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Welcome to Doha


Doha is the beautiful capital of Qatar, located on the Persian Gulf and home to the majority of the country's population. In 2006 the city hosted the world's largest Asian Games yet, and has since continued to thrive. Doha has a very laid-back atmosphere and is a good base from which to explore the rest of the country. This destination is also renown for being safe and clean. As a cultural and commercial centre, the city offers plenty of things to see and do including shopping and dining, or simply relaxing on its gorgeous coast or bay area. The Government House is one of the most prominent landmarks and the National Museum, housed in a splendid Arabian palace, was opened in 1975. Doha's modern seaport, airport and telephone links make it very accessible to visitors, supported by a strong economical base derived from petroleum exports and shrimp processing, as well as finance and administration businesses. Hotels are being refurbished across the city, making this a fantastic destination for travellers.

With the awarding of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar, Doha is sure to become even more of a tourist haven, as infrastructure is improved and new tourist attractions are established.

Information & Facts


Doha has year-round hot, sunny weather with very little rainfall. Winters are marginally cooler, especially at night, and there is more chance of rain. Summer temperatures can rise as high as 104°F (40°C). The best time to visit Doha is between November and March, when daytime temperature are at their most merciful, and the threat of sand storms is low.

Eating Out

Visitors to Qatar are spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurant options in Doha. The cultural diversity of Doha is particularly evident when it comes to the various restaurant choices available throughout the city. Whether you're after traditional middle-eastern delights, spicy Indian curries or familiar western favourites, you're sure to find a restaurant serving something to your liking in Doha.

Getting Around

Doha is home to Doha International Airport, Qatar's only international airport, served regularly by Qatar Airways and in close proximity to the city. Doha also has an excellent road network with new highways being developed to further improve access to the metropole. There is an extensive bus system and good taxi services in place in and around the city, while plans for a metro system are also under way. Doha Port is located just off the Doha Corniche and also provides access to the city.

Kids Attractions

Doha has a lot to offer travellers with kids. Apart from the selection of shopping malls, kids will be richly entertained at Aladdin's Kingdom Theme Park. The Doha Zoo should definitely be on the sightseeing itinerary for any family travelling with children, while no visit to Doha is complete without stopping in at the beaches of Palm Tree Island.

Arabic is the official language, but English is widely used.

The official currency is the Qatari Riyal (QAR), which divides into 100 dirhams. The Riyal exchange rate is pegged to the US Dollar at QR 3.65. Money and travellers cheques can be exchanged at banks, the airport and exchange dealers. To avoid additional charges it is best to take travellers cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling. The main bank branches are on Grand Hamad Street in Doha. Banks are open Saturday to Thursday 8am to 1pm and some are open into the evening. ATMs are available on the main streets of the cities and towns, at banks and in shopping malls and most shops, hotels and restaurants accept international credit cards.


With the dearth of alcohol in Qatar, the country doesn't have the type of nightlife scene that most western travellers would be familiar with. However there are numerous Sheesha (smoking) cafes, and the Corniche is a popular area for those keen on an evening stroll. The bars in the international hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton, the Grand Hyatt, Ramada and La Cigale are all popular nightlife spots for expats and visitors to the country. The Irish pub at the Sheraton regularly hosts live music events and the glamourous Skyview Bar at La Cigale attract a vibey clientele. Tourists wishing to purchase alcoholic beverages are required to present their passport before being served.


Qatar is a premier shopping destination and visitors to the country will be hard-pressed not to spend some time at one of the popular malls or traditional souqs(markets). Doha has a selection of world-class malls with a range of products from across the globe. With new malls opening across the city it is wise to ask your hotel where the newest mall is and what shops are housed there. Doha's largest mall is City Centre Mall in Al Dafna Area. This mall offers coutureshopping with high-end brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton, as well as a broad range of electronic goods. City Centre Mall has an amusement park area for the kids, a Carrefour for groceries, a banking area, bookshops and a number of other shops. Villagio Mall on Al Haab Street is another popular shopping centre. The mall boasts a canal running through the entire centre as well as ceilings painted to resemble the sky. There is a food and entertainment area as well as 220 other shops including Boots, Topshop, Carrefour, Apple and Virgin. Other popular malls in Doha include Landmark Mall and Hyatt Plaza.

The souqsin the centre of town are the best places to find great bargains, but be prepared to haggle. The Iranian Souq ( Souq Waqif) is by far the most popular. Shoppers can find souvenirs, textiles, carpets and even falcons at this market. Other souqspopular with tourists include: the Gold Souq near the bus station, where you can find precious metals and intricate gold jewellery; and the Omani Souq on Haloul Street, which sells saffron and other spices as well as incense.


Doha offers a range of sightseeing activities. Visitors can enjoy the traditional souqsor stroll along the Corniche at sunset. Palm Tree Island, which is only a short boat trip away, is always popular with sunbathers. Doha has a range of museums and galleries offering respite from the desert heat, some of the most popular museums include the National Museum and Doha Fort. The Ethnographic Museum and the swords and knives on display at the Weaponry Museum are equally fascinating, and offer visitors a glimpse into the history of this proud country. Some of the enticing excursions out of the city offer visitors the chance to see the Arabian Oryx, camel rides and racing as well as the stark beauty of the seemingly endless stretch of dune scenery.

Local time is GMT +3.

The town of Al Khor lies about 35 miles (57km) north of Doha. The Al Khor Museum is a double-storey building housing anthropological exhibitions as well as an excavation section displaying the numerous archaeological discoveries made in the Al Khor vicinity. Visitors will see artefacts dating back from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, as well as exhibitions dealing with more modern facets of Qatari culture, such as displays showcasing the area's pearling and dhow-building industries. A highly recommended tourist activity in Qatar, the Al Khor Museum makes for a wonderful introduction to the country's rich cultural history.

Horsemanship is an important and age-old tradition in the Arab world. The Al Shaqab Stud Farm is owned by the Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani. The Emir's Stud Farm breeds some of the best Arabian horses to be found anywhere in the world. Tourists can visit the farm to view the prize stallions and mares. Al Shaqab has informative lectures and demonstrations, as well as desert rides and dressage and jumping lessons available. The stud farm is situated just 10 miles (16km) from Doha.

On the way to Umm Said lies the town of Al Wakrah, boasting all the charm of a seaside village. Local livelihood has traditionally depended on pearl diving and fishing, focused around the stunning beach and active harbour. The Al Wakrah Museum is not to be missed while in town, exhibiting traditional diving equipment, local handicrafts and treasured antiques.

As the only theme park in the entire Persian Gulf, and often referred to as 'Entertainment City', Aladdin's Kingdom is a Doha fairground offering visitors the thrill of roller-coaster rides, bumper cars and a Ferris Wheel, as well as great fairground treats such as candies and cool drinks. Aladdin's Kingdom is open to women and children only (no men or boys over 12 years old) on Mondays and Wednesdays, and on Sundays it is reserved for men and boys over 12. One of Qatar's best tourist attractions for families, don't miss out on all that Aladdin's Kingdom has to offer.

The Doha Corniche is a beautiful waterfront promenade, and one of the most popular areas in Doha for tourists and locals alike. Now one of the most attractive areas of the city, the Corniche was formed after nearly 15 years of dredging work during the 1970s and 80s, It extends for several kilometres, and connects the West Bay Business District to the south of the city. The two ends of the Corniche are marked by two of Doha's best tourist attractions for foreign visitors, the Museum of Islamic Art and the Sheraton Hotel (where you can buy alcohol, and where parties and live music are often staged). Although the Doha Corniche used to be a largely empty expanse, the beauty of its seaside location and the groundswell of international commercial activity in Doha has seen extensive development take place, and these days the Corniche sports a glass-and-steel skyline to rival the likes of New York City. A popular area for joggers, walkers and bikers, the Corniche is also a wonderful place to gather in the coolness of the evening, to sip some coffee or have a meal and to socialise with other tourists and Qatari locals while the sun sinks behind the gleaming buildings in the west.

This Moorish-style relic of military power now exhibits historical photographs and artwork depicting daily life, as well as exhibitions detailing many Bedouin Sadu handicrafts and practices, including wooden ornaments, fishing equipment, boat-building, rope-making and gypsum-burning techniques. While the examples may be unrefined, they are a true indication of the local people's ability to adapt certain objects and situations to suit their needs. The fort itself was built in 1880 during the Ottoman occupation. The fort was originally a military barracks and a police station before being used as a jail from 1906. One of Qatar's most celebrated tourist attractions, budget at least two hours to take it all in.

The Doha Zoo is situated 12 miles (20km) outside the city, on the Salwa Road. The Zoo boasts a collection of more than 1,500 mammals, reptiles and birds. Some of the inhabitants include giraffe, zebra, elephants, baboons and 150 other species. The most popular attraction at the Doha Zoo is the population of (national animal of Qatar) Arabian Oryxes. These beautiful, graceful creatures are endangered and may be extinct, should breeding programmes and conservation initiatives not take root.

Doha's Ethnographic Museum, also known as The Wind Tower House, is housed in a traditional Qatari building built in 1935. The building itself is a fascinating attraction complete with a wind tower, sometimes known as a badger, which directs the wind into the main museum creating a cooling effect. This architectural design was once a regular feature in most houses throughout the country. The museum contains an informative selection of exhibits about the way Qataris have lived, their cultural heritage and the traditional lifestyle of people throughout the region.

Khor Al Adaid is a breathtaking and unique geographical area in the south-east of Qatar. The Inland Sea is a tidal lake nestled in amongst the crescent-shaped sand dunes. The shallow body of water has a narrow outlet into the sea and many shore lobes. It is situated along the border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with shores in both countries. As Khor Al Adaid is only accessible in four-wheel drive vehicles, tour operators offer a range of trips to the Inland Sea, including overnight camps, camel riding and dune-boarding opportunities. Only drivers who are experienced in driving four-wheel drives over dunes should attempt the trip without a tour guide - and even then, they are urged to exercise extreme caution and to let their hotel know where they are going and how long they expect to be gone for.

The Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar houses an exquisite collection of artworks from the Islamic world. The pieces on display date from the 7th to the 19th centuries, and include glass, ivory, wood, ceramics, textiles, metal, precious stones and manuscripts. The collection housed at the Museum of Islamic Art was sourced from three continents and the building itself was designed by the acclaimed architect I. M. Pei. One of the great cultural assets of Doha, all visitors to Qatar should make a trip to the Museum of Islamic Art a part of their sightseeing itineraries. Budget at least three hours to soak up all that is on offer.

A visit to the National Museum is a cultural highlight of any Doha vacation. Set in an Arabian palace surrounding a salt-water lagoon, this museum boasts vast and varied exhibits including traditional art, architectural artefacts and ornately furnished rooms. Don't miss the documentary on the making of the Bayt Sha'ar(House of Hair). The (on-site) Marine Museum's testament to Qatar's nautical heritage includes full-sized dhows and a pearl diving exhibit. A not-to-be-missed tourist attraction in Qatar, budget at least three hours to enjoy the National Museum fully.

The Oryx Farm and Equestrian Club is a protected breeding centre for the endangered Oryx. Situated 10 miles (16km) from Doha in Al Shahaniya, the centre offers visitors the chance to see relatively large herds of the protected Arabian Oryx. The farms warders are friendly and offer informative opinions about the breeding project and the protection of Qatar's national animal. The easiest way to visit the farm is through a registered tour provider as approval must be granted before arrival at the farm.

Less than 15 minutes away by boat, Palm Tree Island ( Al Nakhil) is essentially a sandbar in the middle of Doha Bay. This retreat is best enjoyed by visitors relaxing on its gorgeous beaches with a cold drink in hand and a barbecue in the making. The island also boasts beautifully landscaped gardens, good restaurants and no traffic! Kids will love a visit to Palm Tree Island, where they will be allowed to run around and play in the sun and the surf. A wonderful Doha tourist attraction for families, be sure to plan at least one daytrip to Palm Tree Island while on holiday in Qatar.

A quintessential Arab-world pastime - and a decent alternative for western visitors to Qatar who are missing their regular nightlife options - shisha bars are where friends gather to sit, chat and share a smoke of a water-pipe together. The design of the shisha pipe ensures that even non-smokers will find the experience smooth and gentle on their lungs, and the tobacco you use comes in a variety of delicious flavours such as grape, pineapple and vanilla. Bear in mind that since this is a very traditional recreational activity, women are not allowed in to the vast majority of shisha bars in Doha. However, there are some more foreigner-friendly shisha bars in Doha which will allow women in - the pick of these being Le Gourmet in Souq Waqif (for atmosphere), Al Mourjan on the Corniche (for the view), and Shisha Terrace at Sharq Village and Spa (for all-round luxury). A highly recommended tourist activity in Doha, a visit to a traditional shisha bar for some tea and a smoke makes for a great cultural experience, and presents a fantastic opportunity to engage with locals in a relaxed and convivial setting.

Despite still being a work in progress, The Pearl is already a staggering feat of human engineering, and one of Doha's hottest new tourist areas. An artificial island located in the West Bay and spanning more than 985 acres (400 hectares), The Pearl is intended to be a world-class luxury accommodation and beach resort destination in Qatar. Once complete, The Pearl would have created over 20 miles (32km) of new coastline - and of this, 12 miles (19km) has been ear-marked for the creation of pristine sandy beaches. Expatriate businesspeople in Doha will be interested to know that The Pearl will be the first land available for freehold ownership by foreign nationals, as its developers look to foster a lavish, secure Riviera-style community on the man-made island. Although only one phase of the residential development has been complete, The Pearl already boasts 3,000 permanent residents - and has become a massively popular shopping and dining area for well-heeled travellers and Qatari locals alike. Internationally-renowned restaurants at The Pearl include Maze (by Gordon Ramsay), Bice Ristorante and Les Deux Magots; while its enormous malls are home to cinemas, theatres and boutique stores stocking every big name brand under the sun. A fun place to visit, and an amazing place to stay, a visit to The Pearl is a must for all tourists to Doha.

The Qatar Museum Authority has an extensive collection of antique weapons, such as swords, daggers and historic firearms housed in the Weaponry Museum in Qatar's Al Lagta area. This museum showcases the beauty of traditional Arabic weaponry, particularly the swords and intricate craftsmanship of the daggers on display. The exhibitions show weaponry through the ages, revealing the various changes that have taken place as the use of weaponry has been honed, mastered and advanced. A highly recommended tourist activity, budget about two hours to absorb what the museum has to offer.

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