Qatar is an Arab country located in the southwest of Asia. It shares borders with Saudi Arabia and the other side of the country’s border is the Persian Gulf. There is a 1.8 million population count in Qatar with over 1.5 million of these being expatriates. Qatar was once a colony of Britain leading up to the early 20th century. The country gained independence in 1971. If you want to travel to Qatar, you need to read up on this travel guide.
In terms of per capita income, Qatar has the highest rating in the world. This high-income and highly developed country has the third biggest natural oil reserve in the world. In fact, the oil reserves in Qatar are in excess of 25 billion barrels. This is also where the world-famous Al Jazeera Media Network is based.
In 2022, Qatar is said to host the FIFA World Cup making them the first Arab nation to do so.
Currency: Qatari Rial
Official Language: Arabic is the official language in Qatar.
Wi-Fi Availability: Access to Wi-Fi and internet in Qatar is becoming more widespread. However, access to the internet is still heavily filtered. There is a new project currently pegged to improve access to wireless internet, especially in public areas.
Airport/s: Hamad International Airport in Doha is the main international airport in Qatar.
Visa Required: All tourists who wish to enter Qatar must hold a visa. Other citizens also require visa upon arrival. The visa fees also vary from one country to another.
Driving: In Qatar, you will be driving on the right side of the road.
International Driver’s License Accepted? You can use foreign issued or international driving license in Qatar up to a period of six months.
Crime: Interpol data has revealed that the rate of homicide in Qatar saw an increase from 1995 to 1999 by a 38% rate. Meanwhile, both robbery and rape cases also increased. All tourists visiting Qatar are advised to take necessary safety precautions.
Electrical Adapters: In Qatar, they use 240 volts and 50 Hertz for their electrical outlets.
Trivia: DID YOU KNOW that it is more expensive to buy a McDonald’s in Qatar than it is to fill up a car?
Cuisine in Qatar
The food in Qatar is characterized by a mixture of Indian and Iranian cuisines. Therefore, expect to find a lot of use for dates and seafood in their dishes.
One of their popular dishes is Burghul pilaf. It is dish prepared using the following ingredients: wheat, chicken or beef, spices, onion and butter. Another famous local food is called Baba ghanoush, which is basically cooked eggplant.
If you fancy eating salad, you need to try Qatari cuisine’s Tabbouleh Salad. This is a classic salad that uses scallions, cucumbers and tomatoes and enhanced in flavor with the use of parsley and mint. Rice is also pretty common in the Qatari cuisine wherein you will find it used in several other popular dishes including Qatari Machbous and Waraq enab.
When it comes to drinks, you should sample Qatar’s Arabic coffee. It is made from beans mixed with cardamom with dates as sweetener. Qataris also love Leben, which is a milk product that is a lot like yoghurt.
Travel to Qatar: Popular Attractions
Below is a list of must-visit attractions in Qatar:
- Museum of Islamic Art
- Souq Waqif
- Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
- The Pearl-Qatar
- Doha Corniche
- Qatar National Museum
Must-See in Qatar
Islamic Cultural Center in Doha
The Islamic Cultural Center in Doha, Qatar is one of the most important buildings in the country. Aside from its cultural importance to the country and city, the unique minaret design is also one of the reasons why it is easily distinguishable. Before 2009 and the construction of the Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Mosque, this was the tallest mosque in the country.
This waterfront promenade is a favorite among tourists who travel to Qatar. It extends along the Doha Bay for several kilometers. Parallel to the Doha Corniche is Corniche Street, which is considered as one of the top business districts in Doha.
If you travel to Qatar, it is a must to visit the Souq Waqif. This is a traditional market in Qatar wherein you can buy various items such as garments, souvenirs, spices and handicrafts. There are also several dining options within the market so you can shop and dine at the same time all in one place.