Doha

Once little more than a minuscule pearl fishing village, Doha, Qatar's capital and largest city, has emerged to become one of the pearls of the Middle East. It is one of the most rapidly-developing cities in the Persian Gulf, akin to the development seen in nearby Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and is destined to become a centre of international trade and travel.

158 things to do

All Places Qatar



Public bus

The public bus system is operated by the government-owned '''Mowasalat''', which runs a wide network of routes catering for most of Doha, along with adjacent and surrounding towns. Fares within the city cost between QR 3-9 and are payable with exact change, or with a [http://www.karwasmartcard.com.qa/ '''Karwa Smartcard'''], available for purchase at the bus station. For visitors, the route maps can be cryptic, with fairly infrequent service on some routes; additionally buses are frequently behind schedule. There are dedicated sections at the front of buses for women and families; however, in practice, some routes, particularly those to and from industrial areas, are used predominantly by male labourers and best avoided by women travelers. Timetables are [http://www.mowasalat.com/en/staticpages/page/ca3a333c-28f5-4499-852b-c99418005e97 online], some available to download; route maps are currently available only at the main bus station.


Singing Sand Dunes

In the desert 40km southwest of Doha are the so-called Singing Sand Dunes. This is one of 30 sites in the world with "singing" sand, once attributed to evil djinn. When the humidity is low and the wind blows along the sand an eerie hum sound can be heard, which can be amplified by running across the sand, or by sledding down it. Large plastic bags (e.g. garbage bags) or large pieces of cardboard work particularly well for this. :The dunes are located a bit off road and can be tricky to find. Head SW of Doha on Salwa Rd; after about 13km you will pass a large roundabout; after you come to the Mobil Petrol station make a U-turn and turn right on Messaieed Road. Drive past two roundabouts, then take the next right. Take the left fork at the T-junction, and you will see the dunes on your right. It is possible to make the trip in a 2WD, but a 4WD is better to get close to the bottom of the dunes.

DO   —  Map


Virginia Commonwealth University Gallery

The gallery at the VCU-Q campus in Education City regularly hosts visiting exhibitions as well as the work of faculty members and students. On those occasions, the gallery is open to the general public. Located in the heart of a city and region with an extraordinarily vibrant and diverse cultural heritage, VCUQatar plays a central role in the modern cultural life of Qataris and Middle Easterners. Whether in the studio, the library, the computer laboratory, or the lecture halls, students can expand their cultural perspectives as well as acquire expertise for the workplace within an energetic and compassionate learning environment. It has grown steadily since then through planned acquisition and purchase. The collection includes Arab manuscripts, a foreign language section dating back to the 15th century, and 20th century books about art and politics.


Souq Waqif

Souq Waqif is the renovated Arabic market quarter, where one can easily wander around the maze-like corridors for hours. The souq is organized more or less by what is sold. There is a section of spice shops, another of textiles, and even a quarter with falcons for sale. Stables with Arabian horses are located not far from the falcons, and camels are kept near Al Koot Fort and the parking lot. Also look for places to buy souvenirs, sit down to smoke a Sheesha, or enjoy food at one of the restaurants bordering it. Traditionally-dressed Qatari police occasionally patrol the souq area, in the morning mounted on camels and in the evening on horseback. The souq was completely rebuilt several years ago on the site of an older souq, and therefore can feel somewhat artificial; however it is a very popular place for locals, particularly on weekends.

SEE   —  Map


Doha Debates

The Qatari government has worked hard to make Doha an educational centre in the Middle East. One of the benefits of this is the Doha Debates, where top political and academic minds in the Arab world come together to discuss difficult issues in the Arab World. Past debates have discussed whether Palestinians risk becoming their own worst enemy, whether the Sunni-Shia conflict damages Islam's reputation as a religion of peace, or if Muslims are failing to combat extremism. :The debates are always very thought-provoking and a good window to understanding the current state of the Arab world. Tickets are extremely limited but can be obtained from the website above. :Update: The debates have been suspended, and it has not been announced if/when they will resume in the future.

DO   —  Map

Corniche

The visual highlight of Doha is Al-Corniche, a long seaside promenade that curves around Doha Bay and affords pretty views of Palm Tree Island and the city's skyscrapers. In the afternoons you will see plenty of locals strolling, often trying to get out of the way of the odd crazy Western ex-pat on rollerblades. It's also a good place for jogging. Cycling is prohibited. If you're looking to have the scenery all to yourself, go on a Friday morning. : Highlights along the Corniche (from east to west) include an informal morning fish market, the MIA (Museum of Islamic Art), the 'Water Pots' fountain, the giant Oyster and Pearl sculpture, the Dhow Harbour (with traditional wooden dhows), and a giant 'Orry' statue (the mascot for the 2006 Asian Games).

SEE   —  Map


Weaponry Museum

The museum houses a spectacular display of weapons and artifacts dating back to the 16th century. The collection has magnificent ceremonial swords that belonged to members of the Gulf’s ruling families: an 18th-century gold-encased dagger owned by Sheikh Ali Bin Abdullah Al Thani; a sword belonging to King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia; and a khanjar (traditional curved dagger) carried by the famed Lawrence of Arabia. The beauty and rarity of this collection bears witness to craftsmanship that has been lost for generations. Open mornings, Sunday to Thursday, by appointment only, after obtaining a letter of authorisation from the Museums Authority.

SEE   —  +974 486 7473 —  Al Luqta area

Villaggio Shopping Mall

One of Doha's newest malls, located near the Aspire Centre. The mall is designed to look like Venice in terms of architecture, and is home to many western stores, as well as a large Carrefour. The food court is home to several Western-style fast food restaurants, as well as several sit-down options. For entertainment, there is currently a long canal offering gondola rides (15 QR), an ice-skating rink (30 QR), and a cinema with 13 screens and one [http://www.villagiocinema.com IMAX] screen. On May 28, 2012, a major fire broke out in the mall trapping and killing 19 people; the trial assessing culpability is still ongoing. The mall reopened in September 20, 2012.

BUY   —  Al Aziziyah


City Center Doha

Opened in April 2001 and is the largest shopping centre in Qatar. Located in West Bay, the modern part of the city on the northern end of the Corniche, it offers a large and diverse shopping experience, including several jewellery and perfume stores. For entertainment there is a large multiplex cinema, a bowling alley, a children's arcade, as well as an indoor ice skating rink. There are several eating options including two food courts as well as several sit-down restaurants. By western standards, this mall is quite dated for its age, but remains popular due to its large size and ideal location. Finally, the mall is home to a large Carrefour hypermarket.

BUY   —  Conference Centre St

Museum of Islamic Arts

Doha's flagship museum. Housed in a building designed by I.M. Pei, the museum hosts artefacts from Muslim dynasties all over Asia, Africa and Europe. Also present are items from the Al-Thani dynasty, as well as art from all parts of the Middle East. Gloriously air conditioned, there is also a cafe and gift shop. The permanent exhibition is on the 2nd and 3rd floors, with temporary exhibitions on the ground floor. Free wi-fi in the museum building, dress appropriately. An hourly shuttle service provides free transportation between MIA and Mathaf W-Su 11AM-5PM; driving time between the two museums is 25-35 minutes.


Doha Marriott Hotel

In a slightly out of the way location, but since nowhere in Doha is really walkable, that's not a huge strike against it. It has two towers of excellent four-star rooms and a selection of restaurants few hotels can match: the Mexican is acceptable, the pan-Asian quite good, the buffet nothing special, and the Indian really great. Alcohol is available in the restaurants, but there is no cocktail lounge or bar. There is a disco attached to the hotel that has a door policy to match Studio 54 at its 1970s peak (again though, showing up in a Maserati will get you whisked inside).

SLEEP   —  +974 4429 8888 —  Ras Abu Aboud St

Beaches

There are a number of well-maintained private beaches in Doha owned by hotels, which permit public access for a fee. Hotels with beaches include the Grand Hyatt, Diplomatic Club, InterContinental, Sheraton, Sharq Village, and the Four Seasons, with fees ranging from QR 180 for weekday passes to annual family memberships. Additionally, the Katara Cultural Village operates Doha's only public beach, with an entry fee of QR 100. On private beaches western swim wear is acceptable, but on public beaches women should dress more modestly (i.e. with long water shorts and t-shirts).

DO   —  Map

The Ritz-Carlton

10-minute drive north of the heart of Doha, along the Gulf Coast. It has great service and luxury rooms, all for the price you'd expect to pay at a Ritz-Carlton. The pool complex is large and landscaped to look an oasis, complete with fake rocks and waterfall. There's also a swim-up bar in the pool. The cigar bar/cocktail lounge is small, but the balcony has great views of the marina and pool. Friday brunch at the Ritz is exceptionally good. There is a disco located on the grounds, but only hotel guests, club members, and people driving Italian supercars are allowed in.

SLEEP   —  Isteqlal St

Ramada Encore Doha

A comfortable four-star hotel with a few pleasant surprises. The Indian restaurant is one of the best in town (and, because it's in a hotel, it serves alcohol). The pub on the hotel's ground floor is a large club that on weekends comes alive as a disco under the guidance of a Filipino cover band and hundreds of Asian workers letting loose after a hard 6-day work week. The Library Bar, on the hotel's top floor, has a small, slightly worn clubby field populated by large-bellied expats. But the beer is cold and the mural around the walls is something to behold.


Heritage Library

Over 51,000 books in Arabic and other languages on Qatar and the Middle East, together with 600 antique maps, 2,000 manuscripts and 6,000 original photographs, form The Arabian and Islamic Heritage Library in Qatar, another initiative of HH Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned through Qatar Foundation. It is one of the largest research centres in the Middle East, and is based on a collection started by Sheikh Hassan Bin Mohamed Al Thani in 1979. Tours of the collections are offered twice on Sunday and Tuesdays, at 10AM and 11:30AM, no appointments required.

SEE   —  Map

Al Najada

For a glimpse of some older Qatari architecture, it can be worthwhile to wander around some of the older neighborhoods surrounding Souq Waqif, particularly the small neighborhood to the immediate south of the souq. There are still a few notable old villas and mosques which predate the mostly 1970s-era buildings; given the pace of redevelopment in Doha it is unclear how much longer they will survive. Best explored on foot. (Note: as the current inhabitants are exclusively male immigrants, women will feel uncomfortable without a male companion.)

SEE   —  Map

Katara Cultural Village

This building complex is designed to resemble a traditional Qatari village, and includes a large open-air amphitheater, opera house, drama theater, galleries, as well as a number of (expensive) restaurants featuring international cuisine. The galleries host changing art and photography exhibits, and various festivals are held here throughout the year. :There is also a public beach here (entry fee QR 100) which offers watersport activities. Modest beach attire is required, i.e. for women a one-piece suit.


Mathaf: Arab Museum Of Modern Art

A specially designed building housing a collection of modern art from the Arab world, based on a personal collection amassed by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The museum also hosts occasional exhibits featuring internationally-recognized contemporary artists. An hourly shuttle service provides free transportation between MIA and Mathaf Wed/Thu/Sat/Sun 11am-5pm, Fri 3pm-8pm, no shuttle Mon/Tue; driving time between the two museums is 25-45 minutes.


La Cigale Hotel

A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, in the heart of the city and only 15 minutes by car from the airport. 225 luxurious rooms and suites; 11 dining and entertainment outlets offering a selection of cuisine including Italian, Japanese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Oriental and evening chill-out options; two ballrooms; a well-equipped gymnasium with certified instructors; an indoor swimming pool and a deluxe spa with hammam facilities.


Fanar Qatar Islamic Cultural Center

Easily spotted from the Corniche with its distinctive spiral minaret, the center aims to educate non-Muslims about Islam by offering free Arabic classes as well as art and calligraphy exhibits. The center conducts bi-weekly tours of local mosques followed by a traditional dinner (abayas provided for women, registration required), and also hosts weekly coffee mornings with presentations on Qatari culture and lifestyle (registration required).


Shuttle bus

In order to ease ever-increasing traffic congestion, Mowasalat has begun operating a new free shuttle bus service, servicing passengers with two routes in the ''West Bay'' (downtown) area; plans are underway to offer more routes in the future. A route map (Arabic and English) is available for [http://www.baladiya.gov.qa/pdocs/cview?siteID=2&docID=4991&year=2014 download]. Friday service is 'family only', i.e. solo men are not permitted.

OTHER   —  +974 4458 8888 (Mowasalat) —  Map

Sheraton

The Sheraton is an architectural and minor cultural landmark in Doha, having been in town longer than any other international hotel. Shaped like a pyramid with an Imperial Star Destroyer stuck on top, it is situated at one end of the Corniche, making it visible from that long, waterfront road and walkway. NOTE: The hotel is currently closed for major refurbishment work, and is not expected to reopen until at least the end of 2014.

SLEEP   —  West Bay

MIA Park

This modern park was built on reclaimed land and affords great views of the West Bay skyline. Visitors can rent bicycles or paddleboats, and enjoy coffee or ice cream at a small café. At the end of the promenade is the monumental sculpture '7' by American sculptor Richard Serra. During the winter the MIA Park Bazaar is held on the first Saturday of every month, offering an eclectic mix of food, arts, crafts, books, and souvenirs.

SEE   —  Corniche

Kayaking

Entalek Adventures offers guided sea kayaking trips within Doha, or further afield along coastal mangroves and secluded beaches, with opportunites for birdwatching and camping. They also conduct guided snorkeling trips, and can rent out fully-outfitted kayaks (QR 200/day). Trip descriptions and schedules can be found [http://bookeo.com/entalek here] {{dead link|April 2016}}, and bookings can be made directly online.

DO   —  +974 3311 6249 —  Map

The Miraculous Journey

A series of 14 monumental bronze sculptures depicting the stages of development of a fetus from gestation to newborn, by British artist Damien Hirst. The sculptures were commissioned by the Qatar Museum Authority, which reportedly paid US$20 million for them. The medical center is a woman's hospital still under construction and not due to open until 2015, but the sculptures can be viewed from the side of the road.


Sheesha

A typical Middle Eastern activity in the afternoons is to find a sheesha cafe and smoke some fruit-flavoured tobacco. One of the best places in Doha is Ras-Naswa at the non-Sheraton end of the Corniche. Located in a picturesque old-style building reminiscient, in colour and texture if not grandeur, of the red Mughal structures in India, Ras-Naswa has a nice outdoor garden and serves decent Middle Eastern food.

DO   —  Map

Al Jazeera Studios

One of Qatar's claims to fame is the Al Jazeera news network, which broadcasts to hundreds of millions around the world. The studios are not made to be a tourist attraction, although you may be able to contact the office and ask for a tour. A small museum is located on-site, dedicated to journalists who have died in the field, along with various timelines and displays about the network's history.


Calligraffiti Murals

In 2013 the French-Tunisian graffiti artist eL Seed was commissioned by the Qatar Museum Authority and the Public Works Authority to paint a series of 52 large-scale murals inspired by Qatari culture. The project required four months to complete and showcases eL Seed's signature style fusing Arabic calligraphy with street art. The murals can be best seen by simply driving through the tunnels.


Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club

Horse racing takes place during the winter months, with races scheduled every Thursday beginning at 4PM and lasting until about 9PM. Gambling is prohibited, but attendees can enter free raffles to guess the winning horses, with substantial prizes (including cars). These races are very popular. The Club also hosts an Arabian horse show every March; details are published in the local press.

DO   —  +974 4480 8122 —  Al Rayyan

Souq Waqif

Also referred to as the Old Souq, this is the best place to pick up souvenirs and rub shoulder with locals. There are a number of good restaurants and sheesha cafes located here. There are also a number of falcon shops, and some dealers will allow you to handle and photograph them. Also worth visiting are the horse stables (near the falcon shops) and the camels (near Al Koot Fort).

BUY   —  Al Jasra

Mercure Doha

A four-star hotel belonging to the Accor group. Located pretty much in the town centre, it has a sauna, a swimming pool and various restaurants. Shuttle buses go regularly from and to the airport. Its location means you can actually walk around and see things just outside the door (unlike most Doha hotels, which are someone isolated), but it is also a little less tranquil.

SLEEP   —  +974 4446 2222 —  Wadi Musherib St

Al Koot Fort

Built in 1880 during the Ottoman period, this big white fort is located in what is now the parking lot of Souq Waqif. At the time it was built, however, the fort was located on the outskirts of the city. Formerly used as an ethnographic museum, the building is now undergoing renovations and currently closed, although it is still a popular place to take photos.


Orientalist Museum

The Orientalist Collection of the State of Qatar is one of the most significant collections ever assembled in the world. The approximate 700 hundred paintings, water colours, drawings and prints, acquired over the last twenty years, trace Orientalism back to the early 18th century. The museum closes sporadically and it may be difficult to get an appointment.


Photography Museum

This building designed by Santiago Calatrava houses the government's collection of photography, composed of some 15,000 items including historic cameras and accessories, prominent photographs, 1960s albums and historic documents. There are occasionally some temporary exhibitions. The museum often closes to the public at short notice for long periods of time.

SEE   —  Map

VCUQatar Gallery

VCUQatar have a small gallery, with exhibitions which change every few months, located in their campus on Education City, which is open to everyone (sign in at reception). Because of the ongoing building works at Education City, it's a nightmare to get from MATHAF to here, but when the trams are running it should be an easy side-trip from there!


Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Museum: West Bay Branch

A new extension of the ''Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Museum'' in Al Shahaniyah, this branch currently displays a number of carpets from various Middle Eastern countries, as well as furniture and domestic objects from Qatar and the Gulf region. It is eventually planned to make the collection accessible without appointment.


Dhal Al Misfir

The most well-known of Qatar's caves, this 40m-deep formation contains fibrous, faintly phosphorescent gypsum crystals. There is also a resident flock of cave-dwelling Little Owls (Athene noctua). For safety reasons the site is surrounded by a chainlink fence but the gate is unlocked and visitors may enter freely.

DO   —  Map

National Museum of Qatar

Currently closed and due to open December 2014. The original museum was housed in an early 20th-century palace; its extension, now under construction, was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel and inspired by the desert sand rose. The extension and original palace can both still be viewed from the outside.

SEE   —  End of Al Muthaf St

InterContinental Doha

Five minutes up the coast from the town centre and directly across the road from the seemingly never open Alladin's Kingdom amusement park. The pool and beach complex at are large, quiet and relaxing. The restaurants are nothing special, but the rooms are great and the nightlife decent.

SLEEP   —  +974 4484 4444 —  Al Isteqlal Rd

Fabric Souq

This actually comprises three different neighboring souqs (Al Ahmed, Al Asiery, and Al Dira). Here you can choose from a selection of exotic fabrics and have clothing designed and tailored to your specifications. For a complete outfit, allow about a week or two for completion.

BUY   —  Al Ahmed St

House of Sheikh Abdullah bin Thani Al-Thani

A traditional Qatari home, remarkable because it has two instead of one 'majlis' (guest reception area). Built in 1935 using traditional materials and techniques, it has been fully restored. The building is not currently open to the public, but can be viewed from the outside.

SEE   —  Al Luqta St

Heritage Village

Located along the Corniche adjacent to Al Rumeilia Park, with buildings modeled on a traditional Qatari village. Visitors can expect to see weaving, pearl trading, and a dhow (traditional boat). The village is open only for Ramadan, Eid, and special cultural festivals.

SEE   —  Map

Drag racing

Drag racing is promoted by the Qatari government on an organized racetrack so young drivers do not feel the need for crazy driving on the streets of Doha. For a fee you can race your own car, or you can watch one of the regularly-scheduled professional races.


Imperial Suites Hotels Doha

5 minutes away from the airport. Rooms are equipped with rich fabric bed, LCD TV with DVD player and fully equipped kitchen. Some of its facilities and services are Omssiyat restaurant, fitness room/ gym, 24-hour room service and airport transfer.

SLEEP   —  +974 4405 2222 —  Old - Al Hitmi

Al Madina Suites

The hotel offers well-furnished suites all equipped with air-conditioner, Internet connection, cable TV, and coffee/tea maker. Some of its facilities are fitness room/gym, airport and city transfers, tours and excursion desk, and laundry service.

SLEEP   —  +974 4431 8800 —  Al Nada St #42

Mudhlem Cave

A 150m-deep cave not far from the Misfir Sinkhole. The mouth is about 15m wide and there is a pool of brackish water at the bottom, which was once used as a source of drinking water by the local Bedouin. The cave is now a popular geocache site.

DO   —  Mukaynis

Doha Film Institute

Showcasing a wide range of international and art films, DFI also hosts two international film festivals, in November and in March. Films are screened at the Museum of Islamic Art and at Katara Cultural Village; tickets can be booked online.

DO   —  Map

Windtower House

One of the last traditional windtowers in Qatar. Windtowers were used in the days before air conditioning, functioning by sucking cool air into a house. The house is currently not open to the public, but can be viewed from the outside.


Rumeila Park

Formerly known as Al-Bidda Park, this is opposite the Corniche with an outdoor theatre, art gallery, water features, children’s play area and skateboard/rollerblading half-pipe. There are several shops, a cafeteria and public toilets.

SEE   —  The Corniche

The Torch Doha

Located in the distinctive 300m-high Aspire Tower built for the Asian Games, the Torch Hotel offers modern-appointed rooms over 51 floors. There is also a rotating restaurant which offers 360° panoramic views of the city.

SLEEP   —  +974 4446 5600/5800 —  Al Waab St

Mega Mart

Very popular with western expats as it imports a lot of products from America and Europe, but can be quite expensive. Also has a Costa Coffee nearby, as well as many smaller shops stocking cards, electronics and perfumes.

EAT   —  The Centre, Salwa Rd

Yellow Cab Pizza

This is undisputedly the most popular pizza in Doha, surprisingly offered by a well-established and efficient Filipino operation. The barbequed chicken pizza is particularly tasty. Delivery and pick-up available.


Dhow tour

Day or evening dhow cruises can be arranged with any of the dhows docked along the Corniche. Many cruises offer meals as well as entertainment, and can be booked for large tours or for more informal arrangements.

DO   —  Map

Msheireb Enrichment Centre

A small museum with photographs and artifacts illustrating the historic development of Doha from small fishing town to modern city. The exhibit is sponsored by developer of the Msheireb project near Souq Waqif.


Al Muntazah Plaza Hotel

Fully furnished 2-3 bedrooms apartments as well as standard hotel rooms, situated on the prestigious Al-Muntazah Road convenient for the corniche, city centre, airport, supermarkets and the shopping centres.

SLEEP   —  +974 4435 5677 —  Al Mansoora

Jarir Bookstore (Salwa)

Sells Arabic and English language books, and a good selection of international magazines and newspapers. Also has a Costa coffee bar. There is a second branch near Education City, on Al Rayyan Al Jadeed Rd.

BUY   —  +974 4444 0212 —  Salwa Rd

Four Seasons

The first five-star hotel in town. It has a great but expensive Italian restaurant and a decent cigar/cocktail lounge just off the lobby. The pool and beach area are for hotel guests and spa members only.

SLEEP   —  +974 4494 8888 —  The Corniche

Turkey Central

Offers good, cheap Middle Eastern fare. The portions are large (try the mixed grill or shish tawooq) and the appetizers are excellent, particularly the chili labneh. Delivery and take-out available.


Merwebhotel Central Doha

Five star hotel designed to meet the needs of business travellers through the use of innovative technologies and tailor made services adding a subtle flair of Qatari hospitality and heritage.

SLEEP   —  +974 440 94444 —  Ras Abu Abboud

LuLu

This UAE-based chain operates two full hypermarkets: on D-Ring Rd (near the airport) and in Al Gharrafa (across from Landmark Mall). There is also a smaller express store near Education City.

EAT   —  Map

Hotel Crystal Palace

The hotel offers cozy rooms, all of which have air-conditioner, cable TV, mini-bar, and safe. Some of its amenities are Wi-Fi connectivity, health club, business centre, and laundry service.


Clock Tower

Located next to the Grand Mosque, this old clock tower features Arabic numerals on its face. The tower is also located on a hill, and as such offers some wonderful views of the Corniche.

SEE   —  Map

Hyatt Plaza

This shopping mall is comparatively smaller than others, but as a plus it is always less crowded. There is a good sized food court and a large children's playland called "Jungle Zone."

BUY   —  Hyatt Plaza Rd

Noodle House

Offers a number of southeast Asian-style dishes. Their portions are not very large, but the taste makes up for that. Their prawn crackers are particularly good. Delivery available.


Mövenpick Tower & Suites

New landmark in Doha, 26 storey tower at the entrance to West Bay, 15 minutes drive from the airport. 350 rooms and suites. Facilities include conference rooms and restaurants.

SLEEP   —  +974 44966 600 —  West Bay

Carrefour

This French-based chain has three hypermarkets in Doha: in Landmark Mall, Villaggio Mall, and City Center Mall. They also have a smaller grocery store in Lagoona Plaza.

EAT   —  Map

Al Shaqab Horse Centre

A state of the art horse riding facility/ equestrian centre highlighting the importance of the Arabian horse and the detailing the history of equestrianism in the area


ISpy Book Shop

Stocks a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books in English, as well as a small selection in French and German. Has a decent selection of travel guides and maps.


Doha Sub Aqua Club

A branch of the British Sub Aqua Club, offers a range of diving courses based on BSAC qualifications. Also arranges shore dives and offshore wreck dives weekly.


The Mall

Qatar's first shopping mall, opened in October 1997. Tourists are better off going to any of the aforementioned locations if they wish to purchase store goods.


Q-Dive Marine Center

Offers a full range of diving services, including equipment sales and rental and PADI dive courses. Arranges diving, snorkeling and fishing trips.


Sailing

Regatta Sailing Academy offers sailing courses as well as a range of boats for hire, including funboats, dinghies, and even two 30-foot yachts.


Best Fish

Popular with Qataris. Cheap local fish dishes - the grilled hammour with garlic butter is recommended. Take away and home delivery available.


Spinney's

This Lebanese chain operates two standard grocery stores: one at the Pearl-Qatar (in Porto Arabia), and one at The Mall (D-Ring Rd).

EAT   —  Map

Oishi Sushi

Decent sushi, with sushi train. On Monday and Tuesday evenings they offer an all-you-can-eat for QR 135 (reservations recommended).

EAT   —  +974 442 8989 —  Al Sadd St

J&G Sandwich Cellar

Doha's only British café, with full English breakfasts as well as Yorkshire pudding. Free wi-fi; delivery and takeout available.


Yee Hwa Restaurant

This restaurant specialises in both Korean barbecue and Japanese cuisine, and is one of the better places in Doha for sushi.

EAT   —  +974 4441 9898 —  Al-Kinana St

PappaRoti

This branch of the popular Malaysian café chain offers a good selection of coffee and teas, along with special roti buns.

DRINK   —  +974 4421 2001 —  C Ring Rd

Virgin Megastore

Stocks books and magazines in Arabic, English, and French. A second branch in Landmark Mall has a much smaller selection.

BUY   —  +974 4413 5823 —  Villaggio Mall

WH Smith

Doha's newest and largest bookstore is currently in a soft-opening phase, and expected to be fully open in November 2013.

BUY   —  Ezdan Mall

Fish Market

The best fish in town at upscale prices, much of it local. Reservations recommended, particularly for the Friday brunch.


Layali

One of the more expensive Lebanese restaurants. It is rumored that the former Emir himself has eaten here on occasion.

EAT   —  +974 4431 0005 /06 /07 —  Salwa

Al Zarka

Very popular with South Asian workers as well as Qataris. Menu features primarily Indian as well as Arabian dishes.


Ric's Kountry Kitchen

Serves up large classic American breakfasts, and one of the few places in Doha with real bacon and pork sausages.


Gold Souq

The place to buy gold and jewellery. The purity of gold is strictly regulated, so you can be sure of the quality.

BUY   —  Ali Bin Abdullah St

Travelex

It is possible to reserve the currency online for pickup at the airport; pickup and delivery are also available.


Taj Rasoi

One of the most expensive (and excellent) Indian restaurants in Doha, and the place to go for Indian seafood.

EAT   —  +974 4429 8888 —  Marriott Hotel

Landmark Shopping Mall

Focuses mostly on clothing, jewellery, and cosmetics. There is also a Carrefour hypermarket for groceries.

BUY   —  Al Markhiya St

Grand Hyatt Doha

Most of the suites & rooms have breathtaking views of the Persian Gulf and feature balconies or terraces.

SLEEP   —  +974 448 1234 —  City Center

Ciao

Offers thin-crust pizza baked in a traditional oven, along with a good selection of pastas and risottos.

EAT   —  +974 4468 9100 —  Salwa Rd

Thai Corner

Tiny place with two tables, with fantastic Thai food. In nice weather you can eat in the courtyard.


The Gate Shopping Center

Has 280 shops with mostly luxury goods. The popular bistro 'Jones the Grocer' is also located here.


Qatar National Library

Due to open in late 2014, the building has been designed by renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.

SEE   —  Map

Canada

Not all consular services are provided by this mission; the nearest regular embassy is in Kuwait.


Tribe Bookstore

Carries fiction and non-fiction, as well as magazines and stationery. Special orders are welcome.


Omani Souq

Here you can buy things like spices, incense and woven baskets. Next door is a vegetable market.

BUY   —  Bu Hamour

Ezdan Mall

Doha's newest mall, with 200 tenants and a Carrefour supermarket. Not all shops are open yet.

BUY   —  Al Markhiya St

Al Hamra

A family restaurant offering Lebanese dishes. Service is a bit slow, good for large groups.

EAT   —  +974 4443 3297 —  Al Rayan Rd

Bukhara

Delicious northern Indian cuisine, with especially good fish tandoori and chicken vindaloo.

EAT   —  +974 4483 3345 —  Khalifa St

Jungle Zone

3500 sq m of animal-themed children's attractions, Qatar's most popular indoor theme park.

DO   —  Hyatt Plaza

Al Shami Home Restaurant

A Doha institution, featuring traditional Syrian and Lebanese dishes, as well as sheesha.

EAT   —  +974 4443 3666 —  C-Ring Rd

Royal Bafilyon

This Cantonese restaurant is a favorite of the Chinese and Singaporean expat communities.

EAT   —  +974 7721 9865 —  Salwa Rd

Doha Zoo

The zoo is undergoing major renovation and refurbishment, and is currently closed.

SEE   —  Al Rayyan

Chingari

Expensive and good northern Indian food, with live Indian music on a small stage.

EAT   —  +974 4428 1555 —  Radisson Blu

Thai Snack

A Doha institution, offers authentic Thai street food for very reasonable prices.

EAT   —  +974 4432 9704 —  Al-Mirqab St

Mövenpick Hotel Doha

Four star hotel on The Corniche with an all day dining restaurant and Piano Bar.

SLEEP   —  +974 429 1111 —  The Corniche

Al Mourjan

An upscale place with tasty Lebanese dishes and some of the best views in Doha.

EAT   —  Al Corniche

Arab Postal Stamp Museum

Established in 2010, this small museum exhibits stamps from 22 Arab countries.


The Garden Village Restaurant Doha

Recommended for its good ambience and nice Indian village model interior.


L'wzaar Seafood Market

A good selection of seafood, with good views. Reservations recommended.


Qatar Divers

Offers a full range of PADI courses, and organizes dives around Qatar.


Family Food Centre

Three branches on Al Matar St, Al Mirqab Al Jadeed St, and Al Rayyan.

EAT   —  Map

Taj Palace

Reasonable northern Indian food, worth trying if you're in the area.

EAT   —  +974 4431 9200 —  Al Faisal St

W Doha Hotel

Urban sanctuary that provides luxury accommodation and lifestyle.

SLEEP   —  +974 4453 5000 —  West Bay

Garden Annapoorna

Formerly located in Musheireb, serves great south Indian dishes.

EAT   —  +974 6668 3856 —  Najma St

Lagoona Plaza

Mostly high-end luxury goods, with a Carrefour grocery store.


Thai Smile

Casual and delicious Thai street food, with outdoor seating.

EAT   —  +976 4431 6466 —  Al Corniche

Ankara Pastry Restaurant

Good pastries and shwarmas, popular with Turkish expats.


Doha Golf Club

The only golf club currently open to the general public.

DO   —  +974 4496 0777 —  West Bay

Mykonos

Solid Greek food, outdoor pool-side seating available.


Lo Spaghetto

Classic Italian food, prepared by Italian chefs.


Anjappar Chettinad

Vegetarian, good value for the thali set menu.

EAT   —  +974 4427 9833 —  Al Khaleej St

Aalishan

Recommended for the Friday afternoon buffet.

EAT   —  +974 4431 5999 —  Ibn Seena St

Istanbul Sultan

Very small place with great schwarmas.

EAT   —  Mesaimeer Rd

Merweb Hotel

Newish, pleasant four-star hotel.

SLEEP   —  +974 4447 1111 —  Al Sadd St

Shanghai Garden

Favored by local Chinese expats.


Sri Kebaya

Good Malaysian food.

EAT   —  +974 4434 0838 —  Souq Waqif

Shebestan Palace Restaurant

Good Persian food.

EAT   —  +974 4432 1555 —  Al-Sadd St

Spain

OTHER   —  +974 4483 5886 —  Map

About Doha

For most of its history Doha was a poor fishing village dependent on pearl diving, and was regarded as a sleepy backwater until as recently as the early 1990s. Following the accession of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani as Emir in 1995, however, Qatar quickly began to modernize, and Doha is now taking huge strides to catch up with other nearby Gulf cities, especially in preparation for its hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022. The city is very much a work-in-progress, with a rapidly growing skyline and new buildings sprouting up almost like mushrooms. For most visitors, Doha is synonymous with Qatar, as the vast majority of the country's population resides in the capital city. Doha has an astonishingly diverse population – just 13% of residents are native Qataris. Although Arabic is Qatar's official language, English is by default the lingua franca, as the majority of the city's expats do not speak Arabic, including most shopkeepers and service providers. Doha is also now one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, as workers continue to pour in to help build the developing economy. If you've visited before, be assured that Doha today is not the same as it was just a couple of years ago, and will be very different again in a few years time.


Source: wikivoyage