9 Reasons Why Qatar Should Be Your Next Travel Destination

9 Reasons Why Qatar Should Be Your Next Travel Destination

It's one of the wealthiest and most modern countries in the world, juxtaposed with rich cultural heritage and history.

Studding the coast of the Persian Gulf is Qatar, one of the smaller countries in the Arabian peninsula. Once a quiet seafaring nation steeped in pearl harvesting, Qatar has seen exponential growth to become one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Qatar beckons you to marvel at the harmonious amalgamation of its rich cultural heritage with its present-day modernism. Now offering visa-free entry for citizens of more than 80 countries, visiting Qatar will soon be a dream come true for many!

Come experience the slew of attractions and amazing culinary wonders that reign the land. Without further ado, here are nine compelling reasons why you should answer Qatar’s calling!

1. Lots of exciting adventures await you

Camp amongst the dunes of Qatar’s desert

Speaking of a quintessential experience to have in Qatar, you cannot miss out on exploring its deserts. Book a desert safari group to immerse yourself in the local Bedouin culture of Arabia. Ride on a camel as you traverse the lofty sand dunes of Qatar’s desert hinterlands and for a more modern twist, spend the day participating in exhilarating sand activities like rollercoaster 4WD rides and some fun dune bashing.

As the sun begins to dip into the horizon, stop by at a traditional campsite for the night. You wouldn’t have to worry about the infamous heat of the desert as these tents come complete with air-conditioning and even a television set and comfy beds! Spend the evening lounging in the general area of the campsite and enjoy a full barbecue meal under the stars as you begin to take on a new appreciation for the Qatari desert.

Kayak amongst the mangroves of Al Thakira

Al Thakira mangrove forest

Image credit:  Qatar Tourism Authority

The Al Thakira mangrove forest is nestled in the northern seaside city of Al Khor. Starkly juxtaposed against the surrounding desertscape, this patch of green is home to many different species of resident and migratory birds, including flamingos and herons!

Replete with diverse wildlife, white mangrove trees and a connecting network of water channels, this hidden treasure is best explored through kayaking. Secure a kayak session with one of the many tour operators to get an insight into this rare natural patch of vegetation in Qatar. To top it off, the kayaking adventure will be rewarded with a stop at the beautiful, secluded mangrove beach.

Take to the skies for a bird’s eye view of Qatar

After a slew of exciting land adventures and exhilarating water sports, the next thing on the list will be to take on the skies. Adrenaline junkies, get ready to suit up and soak in fantastic views of Qatar from 13,000 ft above the ground. Boasting durable and innovative aircrafts like the Cessna C208 Grand Caravan, participants can soar through the skies at a thrilling speed of 195kts.

Choose from four programs: the tandem (least difficult), solo, school course or AFF (most difficult). Whether you’re an avid skydiver or someone with little or no experience, this world-class skydiving facility will wow you!

2. You will find beautiful desert landscapes that can be found nowhere else in the world

Khor Al Adaid

Khor Al Adaid, also known as the Inland sea, is one of the very few places on Earth where the sea reaches into the heart of the desert. Marvel at the beauty of this union of the towering sand dunes right beside the calm blue sea. Since the far-reaching shoreline of Khor Al Adaid is shared with Saudi Arabia, this is the only place in Qatar to get a picture of both countries at one spot!

Khor Al Adaid is also a famous spot in Qatar for beach getaways and catching the stunning sunrise! You can do so much here – from dune bashing to even camel riding. Experience this natural wonder as you get messy in the powdery desert sand and take a cool dip in the crystalline turquoise waters.

The Singing Sand Dunes

To add to the allure of this beach, located further inland is the peculiar yet popular Singing Sand Dunes. Yes, you read that right! These dunes actually sing, or rather hum, when anyone slides down on them!

Stretching far and wide, there are several dunes of different heights, reaching up to 60m. The vibrations from the sand grains rolling down while you slide down them is what makes these dunes sing. Due to varying grain sizes, each dune is able to give off its own tune. So, lather on your sunscreen for a day out in the desert and get ready to conduct your own orchestra!

Mesaieed beach

If you’re looking for fine, pristine sand and deep azure blue waters, Sealine Beach is the place to be! Situated south of Mesaieed, the beach is ideal for a short afternoon trip. Here, you can indulge in numerous activities – from diving in the sea to driving quads on the desert sand. This beach exudes immense fun amidst a serene environment!

3. You will get to immerse yourself in Qatar’s carefully-preserved heritage

Al Zubarah Fort and Archeological Site

Qatar definitely takes pride in its historical maritime industry and the preservation of Al Zubarah Fort is a prime example of that. This grand edifice stands majestically on the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site, which in 2012 became a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. The region of Al Zubarah was once a distinguished coastal town that saw the height of the pearl-diving trade in the region. The archeological treasures in the area date back to 1700s, providing evidence of the town’s trade links with the Indian subcontinent and Western Asia.

While you are at Al Zubarah, explore the abandoned village ruins of Zubarah and browse the exhibits in the Al Zubarah Forts itself. You can liven up your day with camel rides that are available in the area as well!

4. Take a Dhow Cruise along Doha’s Corniche

The traditional wooden sailing boats or dhows, were used primarily by merchants during the yesteryears of nautical trade and commerce. Now a relic of Qatar’s seafaring past and a symbol of the country’s special relationship with the seas, dhows are mainly reserved for recreational purposes. One of the must-do activities in Qatar, dhow-cruising is a popular activity for both locals and tourists looking to unwind and relax on the Gulf’s calm waters.

When in Qatar’s capital, head down to the city’s waterfront promenade named the Doha Corniche, where you can watch several dhows sailing the calm waters or docked at the Dhow Harbour. Take a dhow cruise to enjoy the open waters of the Persian Gulf against the setting sun, or gaze up at Doha’s lofty skyline!

5. Take a journey through 1,400 years of history at the Museum of Islamic Art

As an icon of Doha city, the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is located on its own man-made island and is hard to miss when touring the city. The architectural style of the structure is inspired by prominent mosques while the interiors are adorned with Islamic geometric patterns. And did you know that the museum was designed by IM Pei, the architect of the Louvre pyramid? This limestone building houses some of the finest and rarest Islamic artefacts that go back 14 centuries! Browse through the award-winning collection that will transport you through the various Islamic periods, such as the Ottomans, Mamluks, Mughals and Safavids!

Once you’re finished with browsing the exhibits, head to the top floor to dine at Alain Ducasse’s IDAM restaurant for a bespoke dining experience epitomised by sumptuous elegance and a passion for culinary art. Being one of the world’s most decorated chefs, he is currently at the helm of three restaurants in Monaco, Paris and London that each carry three Michelin stars. Now that’s impressive!

Another alternative is to chill out at the MIA park which occasionally hosts outdoor activities such as bazaars, film screenings and art workshops. For stunning panoramic views of Doha’s skyline, make sure to take a stroll along the MIA park’s promenade!

6. Unleash your curiosity at the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum

Not many people open up their collection of personal treasures for the viewing pleasure of the public, but Sheikh Faisal did just that. Spanning across three broad buildings, the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum boasts a collection of over a whopping 15,000 artefacts from across four continents. This private museum holds access to numerous unique pieces including ancient Islamic manuscripts, an array of hand-woven rugs, a collection of antique cars, art pieces, personal gifts from royalties around the world and many other traditional tools and equipment.

Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum would have you explore and celebrate the story of Qatar’s days of old and their traditions from the time before the discovery of oil and gas.

7. Participate in an abundance of festivals

Qatar International Food Festival

Qatar International Food Festival

Immerse yourself in Qatar’s vibrant culinary scene and savour food from all around the world at the annual Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF). Held outdoors over 11 days during Qatar’s pleasant winter weather months, QIFF has been steadily growing to have over 175 food stalls serving various international cuisines and Qatari delicacies; visitors are guaranteed a belly good time!

Qatar Summer Festival

Qatar Entertainment City

Image credit: Qatar Tourism Authority (top left), Angry Birds World (top right), Doha Comedy Festival (bottom)

The Qatar Summer Festival (QSF) is an 11-week festival that offers its visitors a splendid array of hospitality and shopping offers as well as entertainment options to colour your summer. Head to Entertainment City for some special indoor family fun. No matter your age, the QSF has just the thing for you!

Shop Qatar Festival

Shop Qatar

Image credit: Shop Qatar

Attention all shopaholics! Get yourselves into the malls of Qatar and browse big international high street fashion stores and independent designer boutiques that will be doling out discounts and promotions for your shopping spree.

Pick up fashion and make-up tips at the fashion shows, workshops and masterclasses available to spice up that wardrobe and glow up. Take a break from your shopping spree and sit in for a live entertainment show or concert at one of the country’s many state-of-the-art venues.

8. There are so many incredible wildlife encounters to experience

Dive into the waters of the Arabian gulf to get up close and personal with Dugongs and more

Image credit:  Arend Kuester

Surrounded by the warm waters of the Persian Gulf, the coasts of Qatar are perfect for water activities and exploring the colourful and diverse marine life. The country is surprisingly an abode to the world’s second largest population of dugongs – 6,000 strong!

Try to spot these shy and elusive marine creatures in the various coastal areas of Qatar. Be it at the coast of Khor Al Adaid, Simaisma Beach or Dukhan, dugongs won’t be the only creatures you’ll see! These thriving diving spots will also get you swimming amongst vibrant groupers, batfish, barracudas and cuttlefish too.

Watch turtle eggs hatch at Fuwairit Beach

If you’re in Qatar between April and July, make sure to head to Fuwairit Beach, where you’ll get a chance to spot turtles nesting. More than 100 Hawksbill turtles move up to the shores of Fuwairit Beach to nest during the start of the season.

Although the beach itself will be closed during the nesting period to protect the Hawksbills and their eggs, you can head to the public viewing areas to watch tiny turtles make their break into the world during the hatching season!

9. The food is just so delicious!

Thareed

Image credit: Expat Woman


With a large expat population in the country, it is not surprising to see that Qatari cuisine is a melting pot of flavours from different cultures. Qatar’s culinary scene takes a lot of inspiration from Iran, the Indian subcontinent, the Levant and even North Africa!

Thareed is a stew-based dish that is commonly eaten in Qatari households. Popular during Ramadan, this dish is usually served during the hours of breaking fast as it is light on the stomach. Thareed is served with a pot of stew consisting of a variety of vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes and beans, cooked with meat and spices. The crispy and thin bread that holds the ingredients up also soaks up the spicy stew so you can savour every drop. All in all, this dish is truly a delight for the taste buds!

Machbous

No trip to Qatar would be complete without indulging in Machbous! This dish has an uncanny resemblance to the classic Indian dish, biryani. This Qatari favourite can be plated up with various kinds of meat like mutton, chicken, lamb, beef or seafood, along with a bed of spiced rice and vegetables. With a sprinkle of lemon juice on top, machbous exudes such fragrance that you won’t be able to resist it!

If you’re looking for a dose of unparalleled experiences to excite your adventurous soul and scrumptious cuisine that tickles your palate, then Qatar will be your perfect cup of tea. So start packing as the elaborate mélange of heritage, adventures, people and colours await. Qatar brings together old-world hospitality with cosmopolitan sophistication, the chance to enjoy a rich cultural tapestry, new experiences and adventures. Especially with the FIFA World Cup 2022 peeking around the corner, Qatar is definitely a space to watch out for! Qatar welcomes you!

You can book a tour package to Qatar with:

Chan Brothers Pte Ltd (Singapore) : +65 6438 8880

Corporate Information Travel Sdn Bhd (Malaysia) : +603 2091 9988

For more information, check out Qatar Tourism Authority’s official website or their Facebook page.


Brought to you by Qatar Tourism Authority.

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Begum Khalida
Begum Khalida

A curious yet quirky oddball who believes that she is the spirit animal of Matthew Gray Gubler. Apart from having a part-time job of having to correct the pronunciation of her name, Khalida is a passionate tea enthusiast who also loves to read, daydream, travel and watch a plethora of dramas.

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Annabel Pang
Annabel Pang

Annabel is a final year English student at NTU wit a h00d playlist. She's no Mary but she's defintely poppin'. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, Annabel is a part-time jedi and a force not to be reckoned with. Also a huge foodie with spectacular vernacular. Tread gently.

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