flag Qatar Qatar: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organising Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Organising Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
The best way to travel around the country is by renting a car or using taxis. It is quite difficult to hail a taxi from the street, so it is advised to plan for transportation ahead of time. Private car rentals are also an alternative to getting around the country, and American start-up Uber is active in Qatar. For more information click on this link.
Maps of Urban Networks
Google Maps
Bing Maps

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Hamad International Airport (Doha) 15 km/9.3 miles QAR 40-50/15-25 min QAR 5/20-30 Not available Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
There are currently no major railways in Qatar. New projects are currently being developed, mainly regarding Doha’s metro network.
The bus service has become widespread and runs frequently: public buses service over 35 routes covering most locations of Doha. For tourists, it is recommended to either rent a car or hire a driver as the streets can be quite confusing.

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Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Qatar Airways Traditional No Yes
Eithad Airways Traditional No Yes
Emirates Traditional No Yes
British Airways Traditional No Yes

You Can Consult The EU Air Safety List. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Travelling By Yourself

Recommendation
To drive in Qatar, foreigners must get an international driving permit which is valid for six months. If on a permanent residence, you need to apply for a Qatari license.
Qatar has a modern road system. It is easy to rent a car in Qatar.
Qatar has a zero-tolerance policy concerning alcohol. Speed cameras have been implemented along most roads.
Road Maps
Visit Qatar website
Find an Itinerary
ViaMichelin
Google Maps

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Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
The four main historic sites of Qatar to visit are the Barzan Towers, Al Wajba Fort, Al Koot Fort and the Al Jassasiya rock carvings. The Barzan Towers, built in the early 20th century, is believed to have served as a lookout location to protect the water source from the Ottomans. The Al Wajba Fort, built in 18th or early 19th century, served as residence for sheiks in the past and is best known as the location of the battle in 1893 where the Qatari forces defeated the Ottomans. The Al Koot Fort, built in 1927, served as a police station and a jail. The Al Jassasiya rock carvings, discovered in 1957, is composed of 874 carvings dating back to the Neolithic time.
Cultural
With an extensive portfolio of fine museums and galleries, Qatar ranks among the Gulf's leading centres of art and culture. The main museums include The Museum of Islamic Art, Msheireb Enrichment Centre, Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum, Al Markhiya Gallery, Al Riwaq Doha, Souq Waqif Arts Center and the Doha Fire Station artists’ community.
The Al Zubarah archaeological site is Qatar's only UNESCO World Heritage Site. A coastal town along the Persian gulf  that served as a trading centre from the 18th century to the early 19th century, and is a excellent example of a centre that served as an independent state outside the control of large empires like the Ottoman.
The Katara Cultural Village - built in traditional architectural style - offers theatres, galleries and performance venues stage a varied year-round programme of concerts, shows and exhibitions.
Nature
Qatar has a lot to offer in nature tourism. The most popular is the Doha desert that remains largely untouched by human interactions and is often toured in the form of a desert safari. The Aspire Park in Doha is the largest park in the country, with much to offer in terms of tracks for outdoor activities and open space for sports. Tourists can visit the high dunes of the desert, the beaches and the coastal mangrove lagoons, and wind sculpted rock formations.
Religious
The major religious sites to visit are the Qatar State Mosque, Fanar-Qatar Islamic Cultural Center and the Katara Mosque. The Qatar State Mosque, officially known as the Iman Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Mosque, opened in 2011 serves as the country's national mosque. The Fanar Qatar Islamic Cultural Center, known also as Bin Zaid, is a Islamic cultural centre that provides a wide variety of services. The Centre provides lessons in Arabic and Islam, hosts a library and publishes studies. The Katara Mosque is found in the Katara cultural centre, that provides an opportunity to experience different cultures. It is advised that one dress conservatively to visit the Mosques as the Mosques have strict dress codes.
Thermal
As other Arab countries, Qatar has a large number of “hammam”, a traditional type of public bathing.
Beach
Qatar is host to 560km of coastline and several beautiful beaches. The most popular tourist beaches are the Al Ghariya beach, Khor Al Adaid, Ras Abrouq, Maroona and Fuwayrit. The Al Ghariya beach is located just 4.5 kilometres from Fuwairit. The Khor Al Adaid beach is located at in the south eastern part of Qatar and shares a coast with Saudi Arabia.  It is unaccesible by road and the journey to get there is quite difficult, there are guided tours that make day and night trips there. Ras Abrouq located 70 kilometres west of Doha is frequented by weekend campers. Maroona beach is located 80 kilometres south of Doha. The Fuwayrit beach is located 80 kilometres north of Doha and is home to beach side cliffs.
Winter Sports
Being a desert country, Qatar does not offer winter sports activities. However, the City Centre Mall has an ice skating rink.
Outdoor Activities
Qatar's outdoor activities range from spending the day at the beach to riding a 4x4 across the desert. However, during the summer season the weather is often very hot and it is unadvised to walk long distances.
The Katara Cultural Village offers a public beach with water sports.
Shopping
Doha offers a wide array of shopping outlets, including the “souqs” (local traditional markets) with their multiple small shops, stand-alone retail outlets, showrooms and several shopping malls. The latter feature department stores, brand name boutiques and individual shops offering a vast range of both regional and international products.
The main shopping malls are Mall of Qatar, Villaggio, Doha City Centre Mall and Doha Festival City Mall.

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
No specific vaccination is required, though vaccines for Hepatitis A and Typhoid are recommended. Since 2012, MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) has been identified in multiple countries in the Arabian Peninsula, including Qatar, and in travelers to the region.
If undertaking adventure activities (for example tours in the desert) is important to always check weather conditions and ensure that safety standards are met.
International Hospitals
Qatar's health-care system is of high quality and the country is the largest health-care spender in the Middle East. Health-care is free for Qatari nationals and the responsibility of employers for foreign workers. There are a range of private and public hospitals in the country and a foreign tourist or national can use any of them. As English is widely spoken in Qatar,  finding someone that speaks English at the hospitals is relatively easy.
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
List of major hospitals, medical centers and clinics located in Qatar
U.S. State Department travel information for QatarWorld Health Organisation's list
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
US Department of State's Travel Warnings
Canadian Government's Travel Warnings
United Kingdom's Government Travel Warnings
 

Emergency Numbers

Police, Fire, Ambulance 999
 

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Doha (GMT+3)
Summer Time Period
Qatar does not apply any Daylight Saving Time clock changes.
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
Being a small and flat country, Qatar has a uniform climate throughout its territory. The country has a desert climate, with a very mild winter and a very hot and sunny summer.
There are two main seasons: a cooler one from December to February (the best to visit the country), and a hot season from April to October, which includes a very hot period from May to mid-October. March and November are transitional months, hot but without excesses.
In Doha, the daily average temperature goes from 18.5 degrees Celsius (65 °F) in January, to 37 °C (99 °F) in July. The scarce rainfall are concentrated in the winter months, amounting to less than 100 mm per year.
For Further Information
Civil Aviation Authority, Qatar Meteorology Department
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

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Eating

Food Specialties
Qatar is primarily desert so the number of foods locally available is quite limited. Qatari cuisine consists of traditional Arab cuisine. The national dish in Qatar is called Machbūs, a meal containing rice, meat and vegetables. Seafood and dates are a fundamental part of the country’s dietary habits. Other main dishes include Kabsa (similar to biryani or pilaf), Balalet (noodles cooked with sugar, cinnamon, saffron, and cardamom, often with an omelet on top), Shawarma (spit-roasted meat shavings, usually served in pitta bread) and Ghuzi (a whole roast lamb served over nutty rice).
In Doha it is possible to find any type of cuisine.
Drinks
Qataris drink large quantities of coffee and is considered a staple of Qatari culture. Qatari coffee is usually mixed with cardamon and sugar.
Qatar is officially a “dry” country, which means that there are no traditional alcohol drinks. Alcohol is available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system. It is an offence to drink alcohol or be drunk in public.
Most restaurants offer fresh juices, especially the lemon-mint juice, made with orange blossom water, fresh mint leaves and lemon juice.
Dietary Restrictions
Muslims are not allowed to eat pork (unless it is “halal”, which means it is permissible or lawful in traditional Islamic law) or drink alcohol.
In conservative homes and even some restaurants, it is not acceptable to eat with a person of the opposite sex unless it is your child, sibling, or spouse.

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Paying

Domestic Currency
Qatari Rial
ISO Code
QAR
To Obtain Domestic Currency
ATMS are easily accessible and can be found all over the country. Some taxis and local establishments may not accept credit cards, but exchanging foreign currency for local currency is not difficult. Currency can be exchanged at the Doha airport, most hotels and city-centred banks.
Possible Means of Payment
Some local establishments and taxis may only accept cash as payment, however Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted at larger establishments and hotels.

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Speaking

Official Language
Arabic
Other Languages Spoken
English
Business Language
English and Arabic
Getting Some Knowledge
To get a grasp of some commonly used phrases in Arabic visit the BBC, Omniglot and Transparent language website.
Free Translation Tools
Google Translate :
Word Reference :

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Latest Update: November 2022