After 11 months of living in Qatar I have to say I love it! Time has really flown very quickly and I even realised I haven’t written about it as much as I would like. My social media is full of amazing photos of Doha but this blog definitely needs a boost too.
Doha is a city that keeps surprising me. When we moved I was very apprehensive because people told me there is not much to do, but honestly winter is not even here properly and every single day there is an event! Awesome!
Not sure how people can get bored!
The city is vibrant, gorgeous and with plenty of things to do especially if you are on a layover. Many people have emailed me asking me about the things they can do when they are on a layover with their Qatar Airwaysflight. So here are my 5 must visit / things to do in Doha for a couple of days packed with adventure.
Museum of Islamic Art
This is by far my most favourite place in Doha. The architecture of the building is simply stunning and the views of the West Bay area are amazing. There are several exhibitions available throughout the year and I even got to see my Terracotta warriors while here.
The museum opened in 2008 by famous architect I. M. Pei. It is a beautiful building built on its own artificial island.
Within the museum, there is also a park which is open 24hrs for residents and guests. Plus at the bottom of the part, there is a coffee shop which is the best spot in Doha for a relaxing coffee. Of course my favourite! Plenty of great photo opportunities, especially with the West Bay skyline as the backdrop.
Opening hours of the museum:
Monday-Saturday: 9 am to 7 pm
Friday: 1:30pm to 7pm
The entrance is free even when they have exhibitions.
Every old area has a marketplace and Souq in Arabic means market. So no wonder that Souq Waqif is a must visit place when in the Qatari capital. Although it is at least a hundred years old the souq was renovated in 2006 to conserve the traditional Qatari architecture.
The market is very popular with locals, expats and tourists alike, especially in the evenings and weekends. It sells traditional garments, spices, gold and even has a falcon souq as well.
I have always felt very safe in the area even at 1 am with female friends walking about so definitely recommend it even for solo travellers.
Make sure you get lost in the small streets, haggle excessively for whatever you want to buy and enjoy the feeling of going back in time. I love it!
Tip: The Museum of Islamic Art and Souq Waqif are 5 minutes walk from each other, so it is perfect for a short stroll to the area.
Visit Musheireb Museums
After about 10 months in the city, I finally visited the Musheireb museums and they are stunning. Qatar might not have the thousands of year history like Greece but it does have history and visiting the museums really puts everything into perspective.
There are four different houses hosting the museums literally 1-minute walk from each other. When we went in the middle of the day it was not busy so we really got the royal treatment including water and maps! Helloooo customer service
Entrance is free
Monday-Saturday: 9am to 5pm
Friday: 3pm to 9pm
Katara Cultural Village
Another of my favourite places to hang out. Katara Cultural village is like no other places I have ever seen. It was created as a hub showcasing cultural activities and Qatar’s maritime history. Katara has an open amphitheatre, an opera house, a multi-purpose cinema, a multi-purpose conference hall, a beach, and a souq. A museum showcasing the country’s maritime heritage was opened in November 2015.
My favourite is to walk around the beach area and enjoy the view while having a coffee or dinner in one of the many restaurants. If you have seen some of my Instagram live videos I did a tour of Katara village.
The area is open to the public day and night.
You can check out the events before you come on their website here.
Since you are in the Katara area, the Pearl is very close. The Pearl is considered the most luxurious part of Doha with a mix of locals and expats calling it home. It was created as a residential and business development and hosts some of the most expensive properties in the city.
As an artificial island The Pearl it is well designed and thought out. My mum is definitely impressed and I can’t thank my lucky stars enough for calling it home. As there are some areas still in development it is not fully completed but the Porto Arabia area and Medina Centrale are buzzing full of life during the weekends.
If you are visiting you can definitely spend a few hours there walking around the marina, enjoying the scenery and having a bite to eat.
The area is open all day long but weekends and evenings are the busiest.
Local Tips to consider
Doha can be expensive but really it is all about planning and knowing where to go.
For transport even today without a car I use Uber, they are cheap and safe and I just like the convenience of it.
For food personally, I love a small little rustic place in Souq Waqif which I think you should definitely try. We visited it the first month we were in town because we saw many locals eat there. It is cheap 20 QAR for a chicken with rice and definitely cheerful as you can sit and people watch too. The other cheaper food option will be Mall food courts and of course, at the high end, Doha has plenty of fine dining experiences too.
If you want something more expensive download the Entertainer App even if you don’t buy it because they do offer you the first voucher as a tester.
Shopping in Souq Waqif is best if you want souvenirs and other nicknacks, but my best advice is to haggle like a crazy person. I have to admit I am not the best haggler, I will try once and then just pay up. But my sisters in law were amazing knocking the price down almost 50%, so my best advice is to start very low. 🙂
I am 100% sure you will enjoy your time in Doha and you will be impressed. Yes, it is not Dubai but for me, it is so much more authentic and intimate.
Qatar Airways promotion
Qatar Airways always has some great deals and I particularly love their 2for1 sales, where you can get a buy one get one free in economy and business class seats.This is pretty impressive considering they have a general sale going on now as well. Plus if you are on a layover in Doha with Qatar Airways you can also receive a free night in a 5-star hotel in Doha.
If you use it too book a flight I do earn a tiny commission that keeps the site alive.