A Qatar Guide for Tourists and Residents
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Monday, October 26, 2009


Front cover of the MarhabaA comment I noticed on recently on the books section of our website asked us which was the most comprehensive guide book, Marhaba or Qatar Explorer.

There's just no doubt about it - Marhaba, though poorly marketed outside Qatar, is head and shoulders above any other print guide to Qatar.

It's not perfect. My main complaint about is that everything it writes about does have to be perfect. A couple of years back (or is it three or four?) I read a description of Al Wakra and they made it sound like Las Vegas. (Allow for a little exaggeration on my part, of course.) I went to visit the town and, well, it was quite nice (the beach and the mangrove swamps were lovely before they were dug up), but a little bit boring.

Still, the book is absolutely crammed full of information about Qatar, and is very comprehensive. It is carefully and lovingly updated three times a year, and each publication has more information than the last.

The writing is often of an extremely high quality (anyone who can make Al Wakra sound exciting has got to be talented) and there are often some excellent features included.

There's also the price - a ridiculously low QAR20 (it's worth at least five times that.) Obviously, the book is paid for by advertising, but it's the type of advertising (schools, nurseries e.t.c.) that is pretty useful for expats, at least when they are new in town. We, at least, buy a new copy every time it's out, and we recommend new expats do the same.

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