Happy start to a new week. If you've been following my international adventures on Instagram, then you may have already heard the news ... I'm moving back stateside! In the coming weeks, I’ll be sure the share on my youtube channel the full, unfiltered rationale for pivoting, as well as “what’s next.” In the meantime, while I pack up my tent and gather trunk fulls of last minute items global pieces from our artisan partners across the Middle East ... Let's talk Doha!
Over the last 1.5 years, I've gotten so many questions about the city as it's fast become a major transit hub for adventurers venturing to parts unknown. That said? I wanted to tackle one of the most popular questions I've gotten since moving here, “I'm passing through Doha on a long layover ... What's there to do out there?"
Museum of Islamic Art
Boasting the worlds largest collections of art, textiles, ceramics, jewelry, architecture, etc from around the Middle East, this spot is quiet often my first recommendation for travelers looking to gain centuries old historic insight into the Islamic World. With infinite floors of art installations, it’s heaven for cultural nerds like myself. Another great benefit? It’s completely free to the public and even allows photographs to be taken both inside the building (the highlight of this blog post) as well as within each individual installation (taken without the flash).
While the museum opens seven days a week (from 9am - 7pm), Fridays mean a late opening time (1:30pm - 7pm) due to the cultural observance of extended prayer held on Friday mornings. Plan your visit accordingly.
Hands down this is my favorite places in Qatar. While partially up and running during the day, this open air market comes fully alive in the evening (starting around 5pm).
While here, you're liable to find everything from traditional garments and accessories, henna artists, and local restaurants ... To live performances, camel pens, and everything in between. If you've ever dreamt of getting lost on the back alleys of a medina, this souq in a must.
Bring cash (Qatari riyals) with you. Not only are many of the shops “cash only",” but getting an uber from this busy location is a nightmare. Catching one of the local (government sanctioned) "Karwa" taxis back to your hotel is your best (and easiest) bet. Trust me. After a night of fun, the last thing you'll what to do is try to search for random license plates in a sea of cars pulling in and out of the souq off the hectic "Corniche."
Dune Bashing at Sealine
You've seen it all over "travelgram" .. Cool shots of adventurers in sporty face masks driving ATVs along the desert at break neck speeds. While I had the chance to quad bike across the Dominican Republic back in 2015, I'd been really keen on adventuring into the desert and getting my "Mad Max" on once arriving to Qatar. In the end, while there are plenty of ATV / dune bashing companies to choose from, my favorite can be found in the Sealine neighborhood. Interested in taking a ride on the wild side while visiting? Check out my recent blog review on my Qatari dune bashing experience, plus the company we used to get a great discount on group rates.
Remember what I said about Friday morning being prayer and reflection days? Right. Well come noon? All inhibitions go out the window for the fun (and semi notorious) Friday brunch! Country wide, held at nearly all major hotels, Qatari brunches are a serious event. One flat fee (averaging 300 QR / $100 USD), grants you access to four full hours, of all the gourmet cooking and wine / cocktails / top shelf liquor you can handle! Each location has their own cuisine specialty and vibe,
My top three fave brunch spots include:
Spice Market - Asian Fusion
Big Apple Brunch - Surf & Turf
St. Regis - Ranging menu with outdoor balcony seating
Just be mindful, getting too loose or visible drunk (or disorderly) in public is still a criminal offense in Qatar. Enjoy, but hold your liquor appropriately!
Doha Bus Tours
To round out the list, for travelers short on time and looking for a quick one-stop shop experience in Qatar, the Doha Bus tour company might be just what you need. When first arriving to Doha, this tour was a great way to visit major landmarks and neighborhoods all in one day. For a small fee, you’re able to hop on and off busses, visiting each of the 21 locations for as long or as short as you would like. Additional details can be found on the Doha Bus Tour site.
Alright loves. That’s all for now! I hope this super brief guide was helpful. Up next? Adventures in camping off the coasts of Africa! … Stay Tuned!