The luxurious land of Qatar awaits, as you explore the fascinating and unusual aspects of Doha and beyond. Experience natural beauty in the relaxing kayak rides of the north east, thrilling dune bashing rides in the southern Qatar deserts, and astounding collections of historical Islamic art in Doha. Be pampered by the truly considerate Qatari hospitality, as you enjoy Michelin starred restaurants and nights in Arabian tents in the desert.
Souq Waqif, Doha
If you're in Doha, you will undoubtedly want to browse and buy the handmade goods at a traditional souk. These local markets are fascinating and full of surprise. Not every souk is the same, and when you see the Souq Waqif, you will be pleasantly surprised by the old-world feel of the well-established mud rendered Qatari buildings. Get up close to the Qatari traditions at the Animal Souk falconry area, and view the traditional Arabian horses and camels. A lovely gift idea is the intricately embroidered Bukhnoq or locally made perfume. If you go big and buy too much to carry, your purchases can be put in wheelbarrow by a maroon waistcoat-wearing Alhmalah! Listen to the strumming sounds of the string Oud (guitar) as you wander the stalls in search of that perfect souvenir.
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha
Begin your Doha adventure by taking some snaps of the exterior steel sculpture “7” by Richard Serra that represents a spiritual aspect of Muslim belief in the number 7. Then, head to the nearby Museum of Islamic Art (MIA). The design of the MIA is an artist’s dream with 14 centuries of fascinating Islamic art history. It’s so capitivating, you may need at least half the day to explore! Marvel over the many wonderful ceramics, paintings and textiles from the Safavid and Mughal eras. Rest and recharge in the 3-Michelin star restaurant ‘IDAM’ and then visit the gift shop to find that special treat for friends or family back home.
Travel tip: Admission is free to permanent galleries.
If you're looking for an adrenalin rush, travel south of Doha to explore the desert in Dune buggies. Sit back and enjoy the thrilling ride as drivers traverse the steep golden sand hills! The intensity of the ride can be arranged to be as fast as you like it, or just a pleasantly cruising drive. You can choose to stay overnight in absolute luxury and sleep inside Arabian tents.
Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
Head west of Doha to explore the bizarre private collection at Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim. It's certainly a whimsical museum, with collections ranging from classic American cars to an 18th-century Qatar empire bomb. Over 15,000 items are housed within the eccentric museum of the distant relative of the Qatar Emir. A grandiose display of pearling boats will help you conjure up the heritage of the Qatar maritime history. An astounding feature that you simply must see is the Syrian house that was transported in pieces and reassembled in the museum.
Al Zubarah Fort
Visit northwestern Qatar’s first UNESCO site, the Al Zuburah Fort and explore the historic restoration site. Imagine the lives of the Qatari people of the 18th century as you wander around the inner walls of the sand colored fort that housed a village of pearl traders and divers. The village was part of a prosperous collective of villages, all using their Dhow boats to pearl dive and trade across the Indian Ocean.
Al Thakira Mangroves
Travel to the north of Qatar from Doha for a lovely day trip to the Al Thakira Mangroves. Escape the heat and the busy city and slow down the pace as you calmly drift on the peaceful water in a kayak. You can even go wading through the water in the appropriate season, as long as you bring suitable protective footwear. Bird watchers will be delighted to uncover such species as herons and flamingos. If you opt to visit nearby Al Khor beach, then you may have the chance to go fishing, but it is best to go early in the morning.