In addition to its rich natural resources of oil and gas, Qatar is also increasingly developing in tourism, attracting millions of visitors each year because of its diverse natural landscapes from sea to desert, most modern architectures from spectacular high-rise buildings to huge museums or massive shopping malls where gathering the world’s top famous brands along with other countless fascinating activities, a vibrant nightlife, a mysterious Arabian culture. Qatar has everything that any tourist also wants to experience. So, is Qatar safe for tourists, is Qatar worth visiting, what to do and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Qatar for the first-time? Let’s check out our Qatar travel blog (Qatar blog, Doha travel blog, Doha log as well) with the fullest Qatar travel guide (guide to Qatar, Qatar guide, Qatar tourist guide, Qatar visitor guide) from how to get there, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit, what to eat and top things to do to find out the answer!
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Qatar travel blog: Overview of Qatar
Qatar (officially the State of Qatar), a semi-constitutional monarchy, is located on a small peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian peninsula and is a sovereign state in Western Asia. Qatar is surrounded by the Persian Gulf and shares a border with Saudi Arabia to the south. Qatar is separated from neighboring Bahrain island nation by a strait in the Persian Gulf, and the country also shares maritime borders with the United Arab Emirates and Iran. The capital of Qatar is the city of Doha, a rich, bustling but also very mysterious city.
Qatar is a rich but unpretentious nation, always focused on human development. Coming to Qatar, you will see the dense of skyscrapers, the leading largest shopping centers of the Middle East and many majestic museums contain historical values. Law is one of the most strict and difficult things in Qatar as it’s a country of absolute safety and security and crime rate is very low. With its elegant and mysterious beauty, Qatar deserves to be an ideal tourist destination for tourists.
Qatar’s population is nearly 3 millions of people, of which foreigners account for more than 88%. Qatar is the country with the world’s highest GDP per capita and has the third largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world. Rich but not too ostentatious, Qatar instead focuses on human development and is highly appreciated by the United Nations for this achievement. In Qatar, the crime rate is also extremely low. You can go out at night and be completely safe. This is also one of the plus points that highly appreciated by visitors.
Qatar blog: When is the best time to visit Qatar?
The average temperature in Qatar is quite high, about 33.3 degrees Celsius. Qatar has two distinct seasons, winter and summer. Winter usually begins from November to April next year while summer will begin from early May to late October.
Summer time is the harshest time in Qatar with the highest temperature from 35-44 degrees Celsius. In winter, the weather is cool, more pleasant, less rain with an average temperature of about 25 degrees Celsius. That’s why you should choose to visit Qatar in winter to be able to experience outdoor activities as well sightseeing in the most comfortable weather. Specifically, November, December, January will be the best perfect months for tourists when traveling to Qatar.
Qatar has a hot, dry desert climate, summers are often long with temperatures up to 44°C, but winters are quite cool, pleasant suitable for outdoor activities and sightseeing with average temperatures ranging from 10 – 25°C.
Tourist visa, entry to Qatar
Qatar is visa-free for citizens of more than 95 countries around the world, see details here: https://www.visitqatar.qa/intl-en/plan-your-trip/visas/visa-details.
In the case of not being exempted from visa, you need to have a normal tourist visa like when you want to travel to other countries. Besides, if you want to enter here, you need to meet the following 3 things:
- Proof of an accommodation for Visa application
- Providing a confirmed return flight ticket
- Have at least 1,370 USD in cash or it must be in a valid international card
Qatar travel guide: How to get to Qatar?
The easiest way to get to Qatar is by air. To find the most suitable route as well as the cheapest airfare based on your departure point, you can access some ticket search engines such as Google Flights or Kayak or SkyScanner to find and plan a flexible and best itinerary.
The time I went was in January 2021, at this time the metro system of Doha city is gradually being completed to serve the 2022 World Cup, so it is still very new, staffs are everywhere to help and guide visitors.
From Doha’s international airport – Hamad International Airport (DOH), you can take the Red Line to get to the city center, or rent a taxi. Taxi prices per kilometer will vary depending on whether you travel in the inner city or the suburbs, during the day (5am – 9pm) or at night (9pm – 5am).
Doha airport is about 12km (30 minutes drive) from the city center, the taxi price will cost around 25 QAR on daytime and 45 QAR at night.
Gatar guide: Getting around Qatar
In the central Doha area, metro is the most cost-effective and convenient means of transport as it passes through most of the main tourist attractions.
Note when using public transport in Qatar: In Muslim countries, the distinction between men and women is very clear, so it is not surprising that the metro in Doha has separate cabins for men and women.
- The “Standard” cabin is exclusively for men.
- The “Family” cabin for women or couples, children.
- The “Gold” cabin is for people with higher ticket classes.
As far as I can see, the “Gold” cabin is nothing more special than other normal cabins, so you don’t need to spend extra money to take this cabin because the metro trains in Doha are still very new.
Qatar is a developed country, so the main means of transportation is private cars. Taxis are also available but you have to wait a long time and the price is not cheap. Besides the metro, one of the safest and most economical way to get around Qatar is by bus for only 3 – 7 QAR a trip in Doha city. Moreover, the buses here are double-decker buses (Hop on – Hop off), decorated with very eye-catching colors, so the bus will be the perfect choice if you want to hop on and spend a sightseeing trip around the city.
If you want to take the bus to the outside of Doha, you can go in several ways.
- From Al Ghanim Central Bus Station, there are bus routes to Al Ruwais/Al Shamal, Al Thakhira, Dukhan, Mesaieed Industrial City, Abu Samra, Umm Garn Village, Al Kheesa and Al Khor.
- From Hamad International Airport to West Bay via the Corniche/City Center mall, and from Asian Town to Al Shahaniya.
Long bus routes have more comfortable seats with separate luggage areas for riders feel more enjoyable.
In addition, you can also rent a car in Doha to travel conveniently with the rental price ranging from 10 to 30 USD/day.
Qatar travel blog: Where to go and what to do in Qatar?
The beautiful capital Doha is located on the shores of the Arabian Gulf. It is one of the wealthiest and safest cities in the world. There are strict regulations on the use of alcohol and drugs. Doha is the city worth going the most when traveling to Qatar. Coming to Doha, you will admire the beautiful architecture, its flashy, spectacular skyscrapers. Doha city is even more splendid and magnificent at night with impressive architectural works such as Doha Sheraton hotel, Sky View Bar at La Cigale hotel.
Address: Doha, Qatar
Hours: 8AM–12:30PM, Friday: 3–10PM
Souq Waqif is a traditional marketplace with a long history. Stopping by Souq Waqif market, you will see countless stalls, large and small shops across its alleys with a variety of items from clothes, shoes, towels, perfumes, fragrance oils, falcons, etc. to all kinds of spices, even gold and diamonds… Souq Waqif also home to many traditional restaurants and cafes serving the dining needs of visitors. If you have not discovered Souq Waqif during your Qatar trip, you have not set foot in Doha. Under the changes of time, the rapid rise of skyscrapers, but this market has remained the same over the years, still bringing the inherent magic, like a bazaar in the “One Thousand and One Nights” that never changes.
There’s no better place to get to know Doha’s unique culture than sitting at one of the outdoor cafes in this area. Historically, this used to be a place to trade wool and daily necessities. In 2004, the government of Qatar decided to renovate and preserve the area. Today, Souq Waqif is Qatar’s most popular and most iconic tourist attraction.
Souq Waqif is famous as a very crowded tourist destination, visitors walk in the alleys to see its old-style architecture, the bustling atmosphere, colorful stalls and buy some very special meaningful souvenirs, gifts such as handicrafts, embroidery, housewares, spices, herbs, rugs, perfumes, essential oils, dates, frankincense…
Right at the entrance to Souq Waqif is a roundabout with a very large wooden boat above it. In addition, next to this market is the white wall of an ancient Al Koot fort once to protect the market from crooks. And today Al Koot has become a unique symbol in the architecture of this traditional market.
Address: Museum Park St, Doha, Qatar
Hours: 9AM–7PM; Friday: 1:30–7PM
This is one of the eye-catching buildings you should not miss when visiting Doha, Qatar. The state-of-art of architecture of the museum with the main white background with many complex shapes and elements designed meticulously and sophisticatedly. Inspired by a desert rose, a rare natural phenomenon that only appears in Qatar under certain weather conditions, this work attracts the curiosity of many visitors.
The National Museum is also a destination that attracts a large number of visitors. The building is dominated by white with elaborately designed shapes and lines designed by famous architect Jean Nouvel.
The first impression of this museum is that the structures are shaped like the overlapping plates that people call exactly desert roses. The desert rose is a rare and unique phenomenon that usually occurs only due to the crystallization of crystals below the surface of salt pools, found in desert regions, that look like the petals of a rose.
The National Museum of Qatar is a place to keep evidence of the history of a country with a tendency to inherit the future. The museum complex includes the palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani and the central square. Inside the building is a series of galleries displaying artifacts and pictures from each period. Exploring this museum will help you gain insight into the history of an interesting country but mysterious also!
Address: 7GWQ+6M7, Doha, Qatar
This is the world’s largest Islamic art museum and also a famous tourist attraction in Qatar not to be missed. It displays many valuable artifacts such as ceramics, jewelry, textiles, glasses, metals from Spain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, India and Central Asia. The museum is designed with a unique cubic architecture consisting of 5 floors. The Museum of Islamic Art is always brilliant whether it is day or night, making the surrounding space always fanciful and appealing.
This building was designed by a very famous Chinese-American architect who designed the glass pyramid of the museum Louvre – I.M.Pei. This is the place to collect documents, artifacts, records of 3 continents over a period of 1400 years ago. And this building is also one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
Located in the MIA park, which is reflected on the sea of Doha bay, the project stands out like a jewel with an extremely eye-catching architecture.
Address: District of Freedom, Education City, Al Luqta St, Doha, Qatar
Hours: 9AM–4PM; Friday: Closed
The National Library of Qatar is 138 meters long, almost the length of two 747 planes, which is a tourist attraction for Qatar. The architects thought that they could achieve this by building the work into a large hall, not divided into many small areas, especially not divided into many floors. The architects took a flat surface and folded it at the edge to create a storage area for books, while easily entering the center of the room. You will immediately enter a place surrounded by many books – right in front of your eyes, easy to grasp without any effort.
With the National Library of Qatar, the architects wanted to express the vitality of books by designing a work that brings learning, research, collaboration and interaction with a collection of over one million books, among which are the rarest and most important manuscripts of the Middle East. The library is a large single hall containing both people and books, attracting book enthusiasts. The sides of the building are raised off the ground creating three wings that close, forming a triangular space in the center. This shape allows visitors to enter the building at the center, rather than the edge. The wings are designed into the topography of shelves, planning space for reading, communication and selection. The bookshelves are also a literal part of the building – they are made from the same white marble as the floor. The library’s infrastructure also includes an artificial lighting system, a cooling system and a book return system.
Al-Shahaniya Camel Racetrack
Address: C655+JWG, Ash-Shahaniyah, Qatar
Camel racing is a “specialty” sport in countries with harsh deserts such as Pakistan, Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan… and Qatar is no exception. Similar to horse racing in European countries, camel races are also extremely professionally organized and you can be place a bet, attracting many visitors to participate to find their own luck.
The camels participating in the race will be fed nutritious foods such as honey, fresh milk, eggs, dates and all kinds of vitamins. In addition, they are also trained in extreme ways to prepare for the races of millions of dollars. Local camel races take place weekly and winners will be selected to participate in important races such as the Al-Shahaniya Camel Race with a prize of a prestigious golden sword and $3 million. The expensive prize is also one of the factors attracting tourists to attend to this event.
Address: Al Zubara Fort, Qatar
Hours: 9AM–5PM/Friday, Saturday: Closed
The fort is located in the northwest of Qatar, a place that is still quite unspoiled and surrounded by sand valleys stretching endlessly. From the outside, the tower exudes the beauty of solitude but is very majestic and full of pride. Coming here, visitors will have interesting experiences with camel riding and enjoy the exhibitions inside the watchtowers of the fort.
Address: Al Souq St, Doha, Qatar
Hours: 7AM–1PM, 5–9:30PM
Falcon Souq is a new and extremely attractive place in Qatar which will give visitors surprises that nowhere else can be found, where the shows of powerful falcons take place. Here you can first hand see these ferocious falcons and trained by professional trainers. You can watch these falcons perform several times a day.
In Doha, you also have the opportunity to see the vast sand deserts, winding like iridescent silk. Here, visitors can choose from many tourist experiences such as camel riding, thrills with specialized cars, relax and enjoy the nomadic life…
Address: Aspire Zone, Aspire Park Running Trail, Doha, Qatar
Hours: Open 24 hours
Aspire is one of the largest parks and one of the most scenic places in Qatar. Aspire attracts a large number of tourists to visit to experience, especially on weekends. Coming to the park, you can go for a walk, admire the unique architectures such as the Torch tower, participate in picnics, enjoy cool breezes…
Katara Cultural Village
Address: 9G6F+CR3, Doha, Qatar
Hours: Open 24 hours
This village owns many world-class works not only of Qatar but also of the mysterious Middle East. Located on the east bank of Doha, Katara has its own historical values of the country and the people of Qatar. The buildings at Katara were built according to Fareeji’s own architectural style. Many works bring typical values such as the giant mosque, the open-air theater, the exhibition hall, the museum, the hall, the craft stalls and the performing arts…
The village is funded by a project to preserve Qatari culture and contribute to cultural exchange with other countries. Named after “Catara”, the ancient name of the Qatar peninsula, it helps visitors better understand Qatari culture.
Al Shouyoukh Mosque
Address: Al Muhandiseen St, Doha, Qatar
This is one of the largest mosques in Qatar. The mosque was built in the first half of the 20th century. What makes it such a great place to visit is not its historical significance but its blend of traditional Islamic architecture and modern features.
The Pearl and Banana artificial islands
One of the destinations that attract many visitors in Qatar is the artificial island (The Pearl). About 350m off the coast of Doha, Qatar in West Bay Lagoon, The Pearl is the Qatar’s most luxurious and luxurious residential area. It’s home to luxury villas, apartment buildings, five-star hotels and a complex with international shopping centers, restaurants, cafes and the world’s most lavish shopping malls. If you want to find a place to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere with luxurious beauty, The Pearl island is a great choice for you.
The Pearl is also the area with the longest pedestrian street in the world. Along the two sides of the pedestrian street, you will see a series of luxury chain stores of “La Croisette” and upscale hotels. There are also many famous international chain stores such as Giorgio Armani, Elie Saab, Hugo Boss…
Banana artificial island is located in an isolated location. This banana-shaped island is a luxury resort with 141 rooms, suites, villas with pools and floating villas. Any visitor when traveling to Qatar also wishes to spend a night here. Banana Island Resort’s high-end services will welcome you with Arabic coffee and premium dates with walnuts. Then the cruise will take you to the island. This is also the time when you have the opportunity to see a flashy corner of Doha from the boat. If you do not stay at the resort, you can still go to the island to swim, have fun and enjoy scrumptious seafood dishes, and watch the blue Persian Gulf.
In contrast to many other cities in the Middle East, the Qatari government allows the use of the seaside promenade. And Corniche is an example. The 5 km length of the promenade is a friendly walking space for visitors. When you strolling along here, you are immersed in the beautiful scenery of the Museum of Islamic Art and Doha’s financial district, free internet access. So spending an evening in the Corniche is a must-do in Doha.
Qatar travel blog: What and where to eat?
As part of the Arab world, Qatar’s cuisine has many similarities with other Muslim countries in the region such as roti, stewed dish with various spices such as chili powder and curry, cinnamon, anise, cumin, dill, cardamon…
Machbous or Machboos is the main dish of Qatari cuisine, a national dish of Qatar. This dish has the main ingredients of rice and meats. The rice will be marinated with some spices and mixed with pine nuts, raisins combined with meats such as chicken, beef, lamb, shrimp, fish… To get the best taste of Machboos you should add some lemon juice, rose syrup and spicy sauce. The best places to try Machboos is at Souq Waqif or Mawasem Restaurant.
Which is similar to Machbous, but with roasted lamb, sometimes served with yogurt.
Thareed is a Qatari favorite dish. The ingredients to make Thareed are from vegetables (such as potatoes, carrots, onions…) stewed with meats (lamb, chicken…) combined with spices and spicy sauces. When enjoying Thareed, you will feel the sweetness from the delicious ingredients and flavors. In addition, to make the dish more savory, before scooping out on a plate, it often added a layer of bread and then add Thareed. Each piece of bread soaked in sauce to eat with vegetables is truly amazing!
Similar to Machbous, you can find this dish in any Muslim market in Qatar. This dish is made from stewed meat with mashed beans and other ingredients to make the dish more delicious and true Islamic style.
Fatayer (Middle Eastern Savory Hand Pies)
Fatayer is an indispensable dish in the daily meal of the Qatari people. The main ingredient of Fatayer is flour. Wheat flour will be made into pies of different shapes and inside are stuffed with spinach and cheese. They are molded into different shapes and baked. If you want to find a delectable fast food, fatayer is the choice not to be missed.
Like many other traditional dishes in Qatar, Margooga is stew of meat, vegetables and soaked Arabic bread made with fragrant spices and broth… to create a paste like porridge.
Another Qatari delicious dish is falafel. This dish has the main ingredients of fava beans and chickpeas. Before cooking, the beans will be rinsed, carefully washed, ground and shaped into small round balls, then fried. When enjoying Falafel, it is often used in combination with flat bread and pita.
Kousa Mahshi is an attractive dish in Middle Eastern countries and is also popular in Qatar. This dish is made from a combination of lamb and green zucchini. Before preparing, the zucchinis will be cut and removed the inner part, leaving the empty shell. Then, it will be stuffed with some minced lamb that has been seasoned with spices such as mint and garlic to add flavor to the dish, then baked in oven.
You can buy and take away it very conveniently. This is a sandwich with chicken, vegetables, tomatoes, special sauce.
Next you can have dessert with Luquaimat, a mixture of butter, milk, flour, sugar, saffron and cardamom or Balaleet, a sweet pasta, consisting of fried noodles mixed with saffron sauce.
Qatar blog: Shopping
- Qatari souvenirs are very diverse. Qatar is the world’s richest country by per capita and also a quality pearl producing region of the world. Here you can find countless shops selling beautiful jewelry made from pearls. Pearls combined with other materials such as gold, amber, gemstones… are the jewelry you should buy as gifts for relatives and friends.
- Dried fruits and nuts are also very popular in the markets, you can find dried fruits such as grapes, dates, dried nuts, peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds and pumpkins… These are locally grown agricultural products and are very popular in Qatar. What many visitors don’t know is that there are varieties that come in different sizes, colors, and sweetness. In addition, you should also buy spices and herbs, the Middle East is famous for its high-quality spices and herbs such as saffron, chili…
- Coming to Qatar, you will be impressed by the beauty of sparkling colorful hookah tools. This rich country won’t let you down with these traditional items.
- Qatar produces a very large amount of fabric and textiles, so when you want to buy gifts for friends, think about fabrics. If you want to have gorgeous outfits that fit your body well, remember to order them as soon as you come here so that when you come back, you have new clothes to wear after the memorial trip.
- Elegant, delicate shawls are souvenirs you cannot help but bring back home. The scarves are often inexpensive compared to other places in the world, and come in various designs, sizes and colors.
- One of the great traditional souvenirs of Qatar is beautifully decorated wooden boxes. They come in all shapes and sizes and make a perfect gift. The boxes are both beautiful and very useful for storing smaller items such as pearls, jewelry.
Qatar travel guide: Where to stay?
In Doha, there are 2 main areas, West Bay and Downtown Doha, where you can easily find a suitable accommodation. The West Bay area are home to luxury hotels and services, the Downtown area has cheaper prices.
I recommend that you choose to stay in downtown area of Doha because this is Doha’s old town and more importantly, this area concentrates mainly Doha’s tourist attractions.
Qatar is famous for many upscale apartments and 5-star hotels, you can freely choose on reputable booking sites. Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- W Doha (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl – Doha (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Radisson Blu Hotel Doha (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
Guide to Qatar guide: Trip costs
Traveling to Qatar besides the price of tour and air ticket, you also have to pay for other services for your trip with different costs. Here are some trip costs you can refer to. However, these costs are only for reference, they may range differently depending on your spending and time to visit!
- Transportation: On average, you will pay about 70 QAR per day for the use of means of transportation. However, to traveling back and forth between different localities and to many locations, the traveling cost can be up to 520 QAR/day. Taxi prices in Qatar will be quite expensive, so consider this!
- Food: Price will vary from day to day according to the market, where to eat, but in general, the average spending for food is about 190 – 250 QAR/day/person. Prices at restaurants will usually be more expensive than at street food stalls.
- Beverages: On average, you only pay about 1 QAR/day for bottled drinking water and other public water services. If your budget is more pleasant, you can use alcoholic drinks with an average of 40-60 QAR/day.
- Sightseeing and entertainment: Entrance tickets, admissions fees… estimated at 55-70 QAR/day/person.
Qatar travel blog: Things to know before visiting Qatar
- Currency: Qatar uses the Riyal (1 USD equivalent to 3.64 QAR). You can exchange money at the bank or at the airport into Riyal for easy use when traveling in Qatar.
- Clothing: Qatar is a Muslim country, so they have very strict regulations on clothing, especially for women, they always have to wear “abaya” dress that cover the entire body and “hijab” headscarf to cover the head, expose only the face and hand. For tourists, this regulation is not mandatory, but girls when coming here should choose appropriate clothes and not too “lack of cloth”. Choosing comfortable, discreet clothing also helps you avoid the heat in Qatar.
- Alcoholic beverages, beers are banned in a country where 75% of the population is Muslim. However, you can still buy at some hotels if allowed. Muslims are not allowed to consume alcoholic beverages in Qatar and violations can result in caning or deportation. Except if you are not a Muslim, a permit can be obtained to purchase alcoholic beverages for personal consumption. Qatar is also not allowed to import pork, and depraved products and drugs.
- During the Muslim month of Ramadan, non-Muslims must also abide by the regulations. If you are caught eating, smoking, drinking, singing or performing emotional acts in public, you will also be arrested. According to the Islamic calendar, September every year (ie May according to the solar calendar) is the fasting month of Ramadan.
- Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. Islamic law applies only to Muslims. Accordingly, those who commit adultery can be sentenced to death, regardless of gender.
- Language: The official language in Qatar is Arabic, English is also widely used and is increasingly becoming a common language here, so knowing English will be an advantage when traveling here. In addition, a small part of the population uses other languages such as: Urdu, Balochi, Malayalam, Pashto, Hindi, Telugu, Tagalog, Tamil, Sinhalese, Nelapi, and Bengali…
Doha travel blog: Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Doha you can refer to
- Doha Hamad International Airport Transfers
- North of Qatar Tour from Doha
- Doha Day Tour
- Doha Desert Safari Day Tour
- Doha Hamad International Airport (DOH) Lounge Service
- Doha Al Wakra Souq Tour
- Desert Safari and Inland Sea Tour in Doha
Read more Qatar guide here.