Doha – the capital city of the State of Qatar. Located in the Middle East, this city is an amalgamation of both the new and the old, the modest and the modern.
Visiting Doha in late January earlier this year was one of the best things that happened to me. The summer seasons between April to August, where weathers can reach a scorching 50 degrees, would’ve been impossible to bear. When I visited Doha, the weather fluctuated between 9 to 16 degrees Celcius. I highly recommend you to bring a jacket if you’re used to tropical climates.
Having spent five days in one of the fastest growing cities in the world, I’ve concluded that Doha is a quaint city that offers the best of many worlds for different types of travelers.
For The Modest
From picnics by the coast to museum visits, from discovering history, to basking in the culture and arts – Doha has it all.
The modest, traditional and even the budget traveler can embrace the humble side of Doha by laying out a rug and take in the serene beauty of the city’s coastal line. The greenery that surrounds the Museum of Islamic Arts (MIA) is great for a quiet picnic (bring your own sandwiches!). Follow this up with a free tour of one of the MIA, where you can view a full scope of Islamic arts on display.
If it’s in you to travel further out of town, then visit the Al Zubarah Fort to delve in the historical site that gives you a glimpse into Qatar’s early days. The journey to the fort makes for a nice drive along the desert lands. Take a photo or two with some camels, if you may. It’s free.
In the evening, bask in the excitement that the Souq Waqif has to offer. Stroll along rows and rows of shops offering souvenirs, food items, toys, pets – you name it, along with throngs of restaurants and food kiosks to savour local and international delicacies in. Dine in any of these places and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the street markets and, if you’re lucky, you may even catch some performance artists while walking along the lanes of the Souq.
For The Modern
Qatar is now developing itself to accommodate for the future. As it is set to host numerous world events in the coming years, the city of Doha is undergoing a transformation that is set to leave locals and tourists alike in awe.
For now, there is already a huge variety of malls that the modern and trendy traveler can revel in. The Mall of Qatar covers acres of land and offers shoppers the luxury of browsing through top-notch international brands. Food franchises from all over the world have set up shop in Doha and this is just the beginning of what’s to come.
For a unique shopping experience, one can even visit Villagio Mall and take a ride down the gondola that is situated inside the mall. Talk about a different experience. Why go to Venice when you can get a Gondola ride in the Middle East?
Looking for a taste of the crème-de-la-crème of Doha? Take a drive down The Pearl: a city-within-a-city that offers tourists and city dwellers numerous designer stores, deluxe apartments and amazing sights of yachts of all shapes and sizes. It’s a sight you won’t want to miss out on.
A perfect getaway for the modest millennial, Doha is safe enough for one to travel solo, and great for some family fun. While travelling around Doha in taxis can be a little pricey right now, the city has begun work on its much-awaited train system that will help tourists travel around the city with much ease and affordability.
If you’re on the way to the west side of the world (Europe or Americas) and are travelling via Qatar Airways, do yourself a favour and spend a day or two in this city of wonders.