Qatar is becoming more and more popular with travellers every year, and that’s no accident. With so much to do and see, and some of the best accommodation options in the world, Qatar is a perfect holiday location for the entire family. If you’re thinking of travelling to this Middle Eastern country for your next holiday, it’s helpful to learn a little about it first. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Qatar.
1. Qatar is welcoming to visitors
Just about every aspect of Qatar makes the travel experience easy for foreigners as long as it doesn’t compromise their cultural beliefs. Most people can speak English fluently and won’t hassle you for being a foreigner. While Qatar’s economy is built upon their vast oil reserves, they’re seeking to diversify, and one of the most lucrative industries for them right now is travel. They’ve even built entire artificial islands to draw more visitors in. The only hardship an Australian might face is what to wear.
2. The Qatari expect modest dress
While you’ll never be expected to dress in the traditional garb of Qatari residents, certain levels of modesty are expected to be maintained. That means men shouldn’t be wearing shorts and women shouldn’t be wearing miniskirts or short-sleeved dresses. You won’t have to buy a new wardrobe, but you may be expected to cover more than you’re used to back home. Fortunately, finding new clothes is easy in Qatar, especially if you’re a fan of designer labels and find yourself in Doha.
3. You probably don’t need a visa
Qatar has made travel easy for foreign nationals from a select list of 80 countries. Some of the countries are eligible for a visa waiver that’s good for 90 days in Qatar, while other countries qualify you for a visa waiver that’s good for 30 days. Fortunately for you, Australia is on the 30-day portion of the list, so you can get a visa waiver that’s likely enough for the entire length of your holiday upon landing. That means you don’t have to make any prior arrangements whatsoever except for finding a flight and a Qatar hotel.
4. Qatar is rich
Saying that Qatar is rich might be putting it mildly. In terms of gross national income per capita, Qatar is the richest nation on the planet. This is because there are massive oil and natural gas reserves in and around Qatar that the government has been using to bolster their economy. In fact, their oil resources are so vast that they alone control 13% of global oil. With so much money at their disposal, it’s no wonder the Doha skyline looks so futuristic.
5. You can see the highlights in a few days
Despite its vast wealth and global influence, Qatar is geographically small. Its entire landmass is just 11,571 square kilometres. Fortunately, that makes it easy to explore the best the country has to offer. Typically, a 3-day stay is enough to explore all the top attractions. While a deep dive into the local offerings can put you in Doha alone for 3 days, a general overview of the country is easier than most.
6. Souq Waqif emanates Old Arabia
The Souq Waqif is one of the most popular destinations in Doha and all of Qatar. Despite being located in the middle of a futuristic city, this Souq is styled and operated exactly as an outdoor market would be in the days of Old Arabia. You’ll find numerous vendors in stalls selling a variety of items including crafts, clothes, fabrics, jewellery and anything else you can imagine. Vendors won’t pester you for your purchase either, and you’re free to haggle over price.
7. You’ll find virtually unending shopping opportunities
It’s no secret that every big city has some exciting shopping opportunities, but Doha in Qatar takes it to the next level. The Mall of Qatar is the biggest in the entire country, and it features stores selling just about every kind of product imaginable. As if that wasn’t enough, the mall itself is home to high-end sit-down restaurants in addition to a traditional food court. For a more unique shopping experience, you can stop by the Villaggio Mall. This mall was built with a Venetian style, and they went for total immersion in their design – there’s a canal with a gondola ride!
8. Doha has an artificial island
In the capital city of Doha, you can visit a collection of islands known as The Pearl. These are all artificial islands that are entirely manmade. The Pearl was created as a luxury resort area where people can engage in various high-end activities. During your visit, you can stop by fine-dining restaurants, high-end shopping centres and cultural art galleries. There are even car showrooms with some of the most coveted models on the planet, including Maserati and Rolls-Royce models.
9. An entire village is built with traditional architecture
One of the top destinations in Qatar is the Katara Cultural Village. Named after the historical name of the region, Katara is home to numerous buildings depicting the region’s rich historical architecture. Islamic style is prevalent throughout, and the village itself is set up to make it seem like you’re walking through time and seeing how the style has changed throughout the ages. There is a Greek-style amphitheatre in Katara with some Islamic elements as well, and it’s frequently used to host events and shows.
With these interesting things to know about Qatar, it may be time to consider booking your holiday to this Middle Eastern paradise. Family-friendly attractions are prevalent considering the conservative attitude of Qatar, so don’t hesitate to bring the kids along as well. Book your Qatar holiday package today!