Qatar is the country in the south-western part of Asia on the Qatar Peninsula. On the south, it borders Saudi Arabia and is washed by the Persian Gulf. It also shares its sea borders with the Bahrain Islands and the United Arab Emirates. The capital city is Doha.
The climate in the country is tropical with hot and dry summers and warm winters. The best time for visiting Qatar is from September to January or from March to May.
Though the official language in Qatar is Arabic, the majority of the population in resort cities can speak English. The predominant religion is the Islam, but some people in Qatar are the Christians. Such beach resorts in Doha as Mesaieed, Al Khor, and Al Wakrah attract those who love to relax on a beach. The resorts have everything you need for diving, surfing, and snorkelling. Many tourists prefer Qatar to the Arab Emirates because Qatar can boast of a well-developed infrastructure and attractive prices. Qatar resorts are especially proud of their high-quality services.
Shopping is another reason why people come to Qatar. There are many malls and supermarkets which offer seasonal sales.
In Qatar, the tourists can see historical and architectural monuments, natural sites, visit museums and exhibitions. The tourists with children can go to amusement parks and the Zoo. If you strive for something more adventurous, go on safari.
There is a direct flight from Moscow to Qatar offered by Qatar Airways. Emirates and Flydubai offer the flights from Dubai and Turkish Airlines offer a flight with a transfer in Istanbul. The travellers from the European Union can take advantage of the services of such airlines as Pegasus Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Royal Jordanian.
One can get to Qatar through the border with the Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia. This alternative is not very convenient as you will have to get a transit visa.
The EU and CIS citizens must obtain a visa to get to Qatar. The Russians and the EU citizens can get a visa at the airport on arrival. The visa is valid for two weeks from the date of crossing the border and one can extend it for two weeks at the Department of Immigration.
The citizens of other CIS countries will have to submit the documents for a visa to the Embassy.
It can take 30 days to obtain a visa. The visa will be valid depending on the duration of your hotel booking.
The Customs legislation of Qatar does not imply any restrictions concerning the import of foreign and national currency.
The tourists can bring in Qatar the following things duty-free:
- personal belongings and priority goods;
- religious, awareness, and cultural material;
- souvenirs and humanitarian assistance;
- pets (without any special permission or vet certificates);
- some tobacco and perfume for personal use.
It is strictly prohibited to import:
- alcoholic drinks;
- pork and pork-based products;
- ivory and skins of animals;
- certain electrical appliances;
- dogs of fighting breeds;
- psychotropic medications.
The tourists are not allowed to export from Qatar:
- clothes imitating military uniform;
- clothes and accessories with the name of Allah or quotes from Quran;
- false or souvenir money.
The national Qatari cuisine is quite ascetic. It is based on dates and camel milk. Meat came to the tables of the people from the Arabic cooking traditions. The Indian and Pakistani cuisines are also popular in Qatar.
The Qataris prefer goat meat, mutton, and lamb. The tourists can treat themselves to the local version of Shish kebab, Ghuzi (a whole roast lamb), and chicken Tikka Masala with savoury sauce. Traditionally, meat is served with yoghurt.
Seafood dishes are very popular among the tourists. You will be offered perch, crawfish, lobsters, tuna, and prawns. If you like unusual combinations, try Machbous (meat stew with seafood and rice).
The locals make soups very rarely, but there is a great choice of side dishes. Try an eggplant paste Mutabal and Hummus made from tahini, chickpea, and sesame. You will surely like the delicate taste of Warak Enab (rice wrapped in grape leaves). The foodies will like Tabulle from bulgur, mint, and parsley.
Do not leave Qatar without trying famous Qatar desserts such as Ash Asaraya (cottage cheese biscuit with cream), Umm Ali (bread pudding), and traditional milk and Rose water sweet Mahalyabiya.
The Qataris prefer coffee with cardamom or a Turkish-style coffee. The locals also love fruit and herbal-based cocktails.
The tourists can buy alcoholic drinks only in large European hotels and restaurants.
The official currency is the Qatari Riyal (QAR) which is equivalent to 100 dirhams. In circulation are the banknotes from 1 to 500 riyals and coins from 1 to 50 dirhams.
The tourists can exchange the currency at banks, in exchange offices, and shops. Often the better exchange rate is in exchange offices.
Credit cards are accepted almost in all large hotels, restaurants, and shops. In hard-to-reach place, only cash is accepted.
One can cash the traveller’s checks at banks in large cities. We recommend having traveller’s checks in sterling pounds and US dollars.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in Qatar
In Qatar, there are no UNESCO sites, but the tourists can see UNESCO candidate site. This is the Khor Al-Adaid reserve. This area is located in the south-eastern part of Qatar and is also known as the Inland Sea. The Reserve has unique geological and geomorphological characteristics. There you can see a great variety of flora. The Reserve is a habitat for rare birds and animals. Also in this area, the tourists can see the remnants of old Bedouin settlements which are the monuments now.
The majority of sights are found in Doha. Take a walk across the Doha Old City and Corniche embankment, visit the Doha Government House or go shopping to the Souk Gold market or Souq Waqif Market. You can relax and have fun in the Palm Island Entertainment Center, the Aladdin Kingdom Amusement Park, the Doha Zoo, and the Doha Aquarium. The Umm Salal Mohammed Fort is a white building erected 40 kilometres to the north from Doha.
Learn more about the country and visit the Qatar National Museum in the Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed’s Palace, the Museum of Weapons, the Ethnographic Museum of Qatar, and the Museum of Fort Doha.
Souvenirs in Qatar
The tourists buy in Qatar the following gifts and souvenirs:
- clothes and textile;
- golden jewellery;
- Quaran and string of beads;
- souvenir scrolls with Arabic texts;
- wooden jewellery boxes and handmade carpets;
- bronze figurines;
- hookah, coffee pots, and Arabic lamps;
- natural henna.