Wondering what to do in Doha? Here’s a few ideas, which we’ll add to as times goes on.
1. Markets: visit the wholesale markets: buy dates and spices in the Omani market, or veg and fresh fish in the veg and fish markets. Then wander over to the animal markets (avoiding the slaughter house) and gawp at the camels, or look at the falcons in the bird markets...
2. Sailing/windsurfing: join the sailing club (temporary membership is available), or hire boats from the Regatta Sailing Academy Tel: +974 550 7846 Fax: +974 442 4577. This is based at the Sheraton Hotel: (974) 4854444.
3. Sand boarding/skiing: ring a tour company (see numbers at bottom) and book a sand boarding trip.
4. Dune and wadi bashing: if you drive past Messaieed towards Sealine on a Friday you will see quads for hire along the side of the road. Alternatively, hire a quad from sealine beach resort or go in a four wheel drive with a tour company – the safest alternative. (If you go in a rented car remember insurance is not valid off-road).
5. Take a dhow trip round Doha bay – boats are available along the Corniche and trips cost a few riyals.
6. Fishing: for boat trips contact Basil on +974 5518100, or book a trip with Doha Club (contact Ahmed at the Doha Club +974 4418822 or +974 5800530 – if their boat is mended yet, that is). Fishing trips are also organised by the tour companies – see details below. You could also ring the Qatar Sea Angling Association (David Bolton +974 550 0179) – they hold meetings and fishing competitions).
7. Shopping: Visit the souks: buy Qatar pearls in the Gold Souk or sniff at the spices, browse the antiques and admire the falcons in Souk Wakif. Or go to the malls – you can buy anything in City Centre Shopping Mall, or head upmarket with Landmark or Blue Saloon.
8. Try blokarting (www.gulfkarts.com) Contact: Mobile [+974] 507 2661 Fax [+974] 465 4813 Email: email@example.com .
9. Check out the mangrove swamps in Al Wakra and Al Thakira.
10. Scuba diving: ring Pearl Divers +974 444 9553, or Doha Sub-aqua club on +974 5651775.
11. Jet-skiing – can be rented from Sealine beach resort (tel: tel/fax: +974 4822540).
12. Horse riding. You can ride horses at the Sealine Beach Resort, or take lessons at Al Shaqab Riding Club (Tel: +974 481 2061) or at the racing and equestrian club’s training section (see full details on their website or tel/fax +974 tel/fax: +974 4822540.
13. Comedy: go to the Laughter Factory in The Ramada and see international comedians. Ring +974 4417417 for details.
14. Check out the bars and clubs. At Rydges you’ll find non-stop sport at the roof-top bar, or you could go to Garvies European Club for a wilder experience. The Qube is currently Doha’s newest nightclub, located in a stand-alone building at The Ramada Hotel, with a separate area for women and couples upstairs.
15. Saunter along the Corniche in the evening, enjoying the fresh breeze coming off the sea. Or buy fresh fish straight off the boats (see more pictures ).
16. Motor-racing – Losail Racing circuit saw both GP racing and the world super-bike racing last year, although they won’t be holding any more races until 2007.
17. Camel racing - visit the camel racing stadium in Shahaniyya, and either watch the camels in training and have a camel ride or watch the races (starting after the Asian Games). Ring +974 4872028 for details.
18. Horse racing – usually takes place every Friday at the Racing and Equestrian Club off Al Furousiya St. It’s not just free – you can also win prizes. Look on their website , email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel/fax: +974 4822540 for more details.
19. Golf: play a round of gold at the Doha golf club. Although joining is expensive, the gold club is open to non-members, as is the Doha Golf Restaurant. Even if you don’t play golf, both the course and the clubhouse make for a refreshing change of scene from the surrounding desert. Call +974 4832338 for details.
20. Eat seafood at the Dhow restaurants while watching the lights reflect off the bay. Drive along The Corniche till you get to the Dhow harbour. Turn left and the dhow restaurants are at the end of the jetty. The fishing dhows are also worth a look and some photos.
21. Parasailing – ring Sheraton Recreation on +974 4854600.
22. Natural History – The Qatar Natural History Group organise trips on the last Friday of every month to places of interest around Qatar, for a charge of Q10 per vehicle. They also arrange lectures and distribute an e-newsletter – which is a lot more than a newsletter, containing pictures and information about Qatar. Visit the Qatar Natural History Group website for more information.
23. Ice skating – okay, it’s not very traditional, but how many people can say they have been ice-skating in the desert? There’s an ice-skating rink at the bottom of City Centre shopping mall.
24. Swimming – provides a welcome relief from the heat. All the major hotels have swimming pools, while at sealine you can swim in either of the two pools or the fenced-off swimming area of the beach.
25. Alternatively, go to a beach and swim for free. Al-Wakra beach is close to Doha and has good access and parking. Wear flip-flops – many of the beaches contain broken glasses and sting rays and stone fish both live in Qatar waters. (Don’t be too scared of sea creatures– in two years of living here I haven’t heard of one incident while swimming. Jet skis are far more dangerous). Why not have a barbecue at the same time?
26. The Inland Sea – ring a tour company and book a trip to the Khor Al Adaid - also known as The Inland Sea. (Only accessible by four wheel drive).
27. Flying: take a flight over Qatar. Ring Kabitha on 432 9101 between 7.30 and 12.30 in the morning for details.
28. Kitesurfing– there is an active kitesurfing club (40 member from 20 different nationalities) with qualified instructors. Email email@example.com (they are both quick to respond and helpful) or ring Jonathan on 00974 5350336 for lessons on Friday and Saturday, alternatively another instructor, Acrum, is available in the week (5899217)
29. Football - drag yourself along to a local football game, and listen to the Arabic football chants shouted to the sound of drums. There are ten football teams in Qatar (the Al Sadd team is probably the best), and what their supporter lack in numbers they up for with enthusiasm.
Please comment or contact us if we’ve missed anything major. (I’m sure we have!)
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