Most people who move to Qatar, find that the slower pace of life makes for much better quality of life.
Most of Qatar is desert and tour operators offer wonderful opportunities for visitors and newcomers to become familiar with the desert. Most desert safaris are conducted in a large four-wheel drive car that is driven through the dunes (known as dune bashing) to a remote site in the desert. Here, the operators usually have a tent, where customers can relax, enjoy food, drink, traditional music, camel rides, henna ladies, and sand sports (dune buggies and sand surfing). A popular rite of passage, the desert safari is a must-do if you’re new to Qatar and haven’t had the chance to appreciate the desert before.
Al Koot Fort
Also known as Doha Fort, Al Koot is located in the heart of Qatar’s capital in the Al Bidda area. It dates back to 1880, when it was a police station; it was converted to a jail in 1906. The fort was used for military purposes in 1927 by the erstwhile ruler, Sheikh Abdulla Bin Qassim Al Thani. In 1978, the fort was refurbished and turned into a museum. Traditional Qatari handicrafts including gypsum and wooden ornaments, historical photos depicting an era gone by and fishing equipment and boats are among some of the interesting displays at the Al Koot Fort.
Katara – The Cultural Village
Launched in 2010, Katara is a modern cultural village that houses concert halls, theatres and exhibition galleries. It has a large Roman amphitheater, which regularly features operas and musical productions. Katara is a grand establishment that is home to some of the largest cultural organisations of the country – the Doha Film Institute, Qatari Fine Arts Society, Visual Art Centre, Qatar Photographic Society and Qatar Music Academy. It features the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, an annual five-day affair that is usually held in the spring.
The Museum of Islamic Art
Designed by Chinese American architect I.M. Pei, also known as the master of modern architecture, the Museum of Islamic Art draws heavily from traditional Islamic architecture but with unique modern interpretations. It is built on a standalone island and the interiors have also been designed by the architects of the Louvre in Paris. The museum has a large collection of artworks – manuscripts, textiles, ceramics - that have been gathered from around the world since the late 1980s. It also features a study, a library and a classy French Mediterranean restaurant.
Heritage Village at Rumaila Park
A mock-up of a traditional Qatari seaside settlement, the Heritage Village transports you to another time. During the afternoons the almost forgotten crafts of weaving and wickerwork are displayed, and in the evening singing and dancing take place. There is a pearl trader in the village too – visitors can observe the weighing and selling of pearls as it was practised years ago. Traditional weaving looms and wedding jewellery and dresses are also on display. There is food as well - delicious fare from Qatar, Oman and the region.
Mathaf: The Arab Museum of Modern Art
Mathaf is home to a permanent collection offering a unique and comprehensive overview of modern Arab art. The museum building has been redesigned by renowned French architect Jean-François Bodin to house Mathaf's collection, gallery space, a library and an education wing that offers regular talks and classes by established artists.
The Pearl-Qatar in Doha, the first land to be offered for freehold ownership by foreign nationals, is an artificial island spanning nearly four million square metres. Once fully completed, The Pearl will create over 32 kilometers of new coastline and resemble a string of pearls. The Pearl Qatar features top-end residential, retail and entertainment options.
From fashion and jewellery to furniture and everyday needs, Pearl Qatar has a range of international retail options to browse through and shop until you drop. Some fashion brands on the island include Aiger, Alexander McQueen, Billabong, Calvin Klein Collection, Cole Haan, Diesel, Armani, Hermes, John Gilliano, Just Cavalli, Kipling and Roberto Cavalli. Home and furnishing outlets include Ralph Lauren Home, Bottega Veneta Home, Art de la table, Baldi, Maya Paris, Domus Italia and The Gallery One among others. There are speciality chocolate and cigar galleries, stores lined with exotic perfumes or organic foodstuffs and top-of-the-line fashion accessories and jewellery.
The Pearl-Qatar has a large number of international and Levantine restaurants, bringing together the best of the world in terms of food. Enjoy Lebanese cuisine at Al Tabkha, Burj Al Hamam or Liza, try the Italian fare at Bice Ristorante or Carluccio's, relax in the tea room at French Restaurant Dalloyau or satisfy the Asian itch at Megu (modern Japanese cuisine), The Noodle House (Chinese, Thai and Malaysian cuisine) or Tse Yang (authentic traditional Chinese cuisine). The Pearl Qatar is a dry zone – no restaurants serve alcohol any time of the year.
Qatar Philatelic and Numismatic Club
The Qatar Philatelic and Numismatic Club offers a café style environment for those interested in stamps, where the national stamp collection can be viewed. Qatar was also host to the World Philatelic Exhibition last year in September, where many old and rare stamps from around the world were displayed.
Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club
For a chance to meet the locals, consider attending one of the weekly horse races that occur throughout the season (October to May). Watch beautiful purebred Arabian horses take on each other without paying any fee. The club also hosts national and international horse shows for equestrian enthusiasts. It’s best to call ahead to find out more about the events before making a visit.
Launched in 2010, Katara is a modern cultural village that houses concert halls, theatres and exhibition galleries. It has a large Roman amphitheater, which regularly features operas and musical productions. Katara is a grand establishment that is home to some of the largest cultural organisations of the country - the Doha Film Institute, Qatari Fine Arts Society, Visual Art Centre, Qatar Photographic Society and Qatar Music Academy. It features the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, an annual five-day affair that is usually held in the spring.