Qatar surprised me in every way possible. This shouldn’t come off as something extraordinary, but having lived in Saudi Arabia for over a year already, I had really low expectations from Qatar. I had planned to spend three days in Doha, the capital of the island of Qatar. To be honest, I hadn’t even known the names of the other places in Qatar, before reaching Doha. Doha is a multicultural city and this aspect of the city can be easily identified the moment you enter the city. The city of Doha has fewer restrictions on public lifestyle, which made it easier for us to relax and not have to think before doing every little thing as we usually did in Saudi Arabia. Here are some of the things that we managed to do in our limited time at Doha.
Doha provides for a perfect combination of modern and traditional shopping experience within the same environment. Be ready to experience shops full of vibrant clothes and colourful antique jewellery at the Souk Waqif. You might get surprised by the extent of bargaining which can be done at the local Souqs. Modern air-conditioned Shopping malls are scattered across the city and can act as a breath of fresh air, away from the narrow lanes of the Souq Waqif and explore the Gold Souq. Qatar is the richest country in the world and their malls are certainly the best place to get that feeling.
Islamic Museum of Art:
I have previously mentioned that I am not much of a museum enthusiast, but just looking at the impressive building of “Museum of Islamic Art” from the outside was enough to make me want to enter the grand building. It was one of the most modern museums I had ever seen. The most impressive part about the multi-storeyed building was the way the centuries old Islamic artefacts had been presented. The arrangements were breathtaking and I couldn’t take my eyes off them.
The Islamic Museum of Art hosts the world’s finest collection of Persian rugs, Turkish mosaics, other ancient artworks and wood carvings. The Museum also contains artefacts, manuscripts and precious materials that help showcase the historical culture, excellence and intellectual aspects of the Islamic Culture.
Doha Night Life:
This is something that may sound unusual, given the stereotypical image that the Middle-Eastern countries have. Doha is quite open and social about the lively nightlife. Public drinking is not allowed in Doha, but there are many bars and clubs in the luxury hotels of the city. We had the chance to visit several bars across multiple hotels. Most of them were pretty amazing. The bar at the Marriott, the Belgian Café, and Double Tree roof top bar are definitely worth a visit.
Enjoying the ‘Modern’ Doha:
There are two sides to the city; the first side of the sea is where you can view the traditional buildings, mosques and perfectly aligned souqs while the other side of the skyline brings out the best of the city. The numerous skyscrapers of Doha are magnificent and impressed me way more than the ones in Dubai. The city of Doha is located at a ‘U’-shaped curve of the ocean and walking on the sideline at night was an amazing experience. Sitting on the shores on one side and watching the sun set amongst the skyscrapers on the other, is a sight worth visiting Doha for.
We spent a lot of our time drinking and recovering from hangovers, which didn’t leave us with much time to explore more of the city. The city of Doha is a really glamorous place and I would definitely want to visit it again. It is also the home of Qatar Airways, the world’s best airline company, as of 2017. So the next time that you travel via Qatar Airways and have a stopover at Doha, make sure to plan your schedule accordingly so that you can enjoy the best of what Doha has to offer.