40 reasons why we love Doha

Food, adventure, shopping, sport and more things to do in Qatar Discuss this article

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1 Order karak at tea time:
Qatar does not have an official national drink, but this sweet and spicy tea comes close. The simplicity of a paper cup, evaporated milk and slight cardamom flavouring makes it an understated treat and a Doha favourite for less than QR5.
Tea Time, various locations, (4411 8841).

2 Early morning walk on the beach:
The weather is good, the water is clear so hit the beach whenever you can. Go glam and head for an exclusive beach club such as at The St. Regis Doha, where you can rent a private cabana for QR3,000 for the entire group and use plunge pools, TV, room service and kitchens on the exclusive strip. Or save cash and get a DIY-surfer vibe at Fuwairit Beach for budget tan-topping.
The St. Regis Doha, West Bay (4446 0000).

3 Enjoy a business lunch with a view

We’re all in favour of a visit to French restaurant and West Bay stalwart, La Varenne, at any time. Visit for a midweek lunch, however, and you will be seated for an award-winning business lunch comprising innovative dishes and quality service. What’s more, the views from the 28th floor of the Tornado Tower are memorable to say the least.
La Varenne, Tornado Tower, West Bay (4499 0680).

4 Go dune-driving and sand-sledding:
4x4s are not built for mall car parks and traffic jams, they’re made to be launched across the dunes and over sandy hills and valleys. Get the best thrills with a professional dune bashing tour. It is a short (road) drive to Mesaeed where the dunes are more impressive (meaning terrifyingly exhilarating) to drive across. Most tours include photo calls and traditional coffee and date snacks.
Inbound Qatar Tours, (7745 1196).

5 Have your breath taken at the Museum of Islamic Art:

You shouldn’t need an excuse to visit one of the most iconic buildings in Qatar. Of course, it does regularly host stunning exhibitions (check out the Tipu Sultan show until January 24, 2015), has regular Arabic and chamber music performances and events in the nearby park. But the building itself, with a stunning waterfront location, and its incredible café, demand year-round attention.
Museum of Islamic Art, Al Corniche Street (4422 4444).

6 Indulge yourself at a luxury spa:

This is a city which loves to spa. For regal levels of indulgence, we suggest you try out the Grand Royal package at the Grand Hyatt’s Jaula Spa. The price is hefty but for a ritual including exfoliating black sand body polish, a full body wrap, aromatherapy massage and an haute facial, there is nothing else quite like it.
QR2,500. Grand Hyatt Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4448 1056).

7 Eat your weight in grilled meat at Turkey Central:

By our reckoning, this is the best budget restaurant in Doha. It might not be the only place you can get mountains of mixed grill for alarmingly small amounts of cash, but we admire the fact that quality is not scrimped in the process. People watching the clientele and guessing which of the two dozen varieties of Turkish mezze they will choose is always a fun game to play in the bright and cheerful dining room.
Turkey Central, Al Nasr Street (4443 2927).

8 Split your sides at a comedy show:
Regional guffaw manufacturers the Laughter Factory have been bringing Britain’s brightest stand-ups to the Middle East for nearly two decades. While Doha is a relative newcomer to the tour, we’ve loved every one of the shows to come to Shehrazad at the Radisson Blu. For a low key, high fun night out it is hard to beat.
Check www.thelaughterfactory.com for monthly updates.

9 Haggle for souvenirs at the souks:
Of course there are malls (we’ll come to that in point 27) but for regional authenticity combined with tourist-attracting flair, you can’t beat a spot of souk shopping. The faux-tradition of the relatively newly built Souq Waqif is a favourite for tourist tat, clothing, fragrance, souvenirs and more. Find a café selling shisha or a trader willing to barter on price and you’ve got an afternoon sorted.
Souq Waqif, just off the Doha Corniche and adjacent to Grand Hamad Street.

10 Enjoy serenity at Katara Cultural Village:
Everything we love about Doha condensed into a small space. Art, food, events, a beach and much more besides in a single complex. A large amphitheatre has regular talks, presentations and seminars of a cultural tone if you have an urge to be a little learned. There is an eclectic mix of events and exhibitions, meaning you are as likely to witness photography shows and film screenings as you are traditional music recitals and poetry slams.
Katara Cultural Village, (4408 0000).

11 Give yourself a thrill trying a new watersport:
This being a coastal city, there are plenty of places to get your splash on. The Diplomatic Club has decent facilities and plenty of options meaning you can try wakeboarding, waterskiing banana boat rides and more in the blue waters of the West Bay lagoon. Fees are hourly or daily for most equipment, rental and lessons, and there is a good stretch of sand for refreshment-filled recovery from your exertions.
The Diplomatic Club, West Bay (4484 7444).

12 Listen to cool music at Jazz at Lincoln Center:

Just one of the coolest nights out in the city, whether you are a big fan of the genre or not. This is the first Jazz at Lincoln Center venue outside of New York City and internationally renowned musicians come from the Big Apple to meet, greet and jam for music lovers in our city. Musical director and jazz legend Wynton Marsalis is the big name behind the music and an impressive line-up of jazz performers is lined up between now and the end of the year.
St. Regis Doha, West Bay (4446 0226).

13 Take a selfie next to public art:
Not all the exhibitions are in the galleries in Doha; many of the best pieces are in the streets. Head out to the desert and find looming vertical steel sculptures by American sculptor Richard Serra. Drive through underpasses and see beautiful works of calligraffiti by Tunisian artist eL Seed. Take a flight out of the new Hamad International Airport and come up against the 6.8 metre Urs Fischer Lamp teddy bear.
Various locations.

14 Munch through the day Market by Jean-Georges brunch:

There is a brunch for every occasion and most budgets in Doha, but if we could only sample one more it would be a visit to the award-winning Market by Jean-Georges spread in the W Doha hotel. Alongside the freshly shucked oysters, dozens of dessert options and sushi, there is live jazz music and a lively atmosphere.
W Doha Hotel and Residences, West Bay (4453 5135).

15 Eat five star food from a celebrity kitchen:
We don’t have Michelin stars here in Qatar just yet, but the brightest names in the culinary world are here. Alain Ducasse, Guy Savoy, Gordon Ramsay and Vineet Bhatia all have a restaurant here and make regular visits to the kitchens. If you have seen them on TV and bought the cook books then make a visit to the restaurant as well.

16.Sleep under the stars (or at least camp):
Give yourself a taste of Bedouin life and ditch a hotel and pitch a tent instead. The desert skies at night give excellent opportunities for stargazing and dinner cooked over a self-made fire is a back-to-nature experience you won’t forget in a hurry. If you don’t have the facilities or the inclination to do it yourself, book an overnight desert experience with one of Doha’s many tour operators. Most have traditional-style tents, Arabic barbecue dinner and entertainment such as dune driving or camel rides as well.
Qatar Ventures, Barwa Village (4016 4750).

17 Ride the flumes at Aqua Park:

Whether you are coasting around on a lazy river or spinning and turning on the pulse-quickening Boomerango waterslide, there is nothing quite like an afternoon at Aqua Park. We especially like the Space Boat ride and side-by-side slides for racing against mates.
Aqua Park Qatar, Salwa Road (4490 5872).

18 Great travel options:

As much as we love being in Doha, it is also an incredible travel hub from which to see the rest of the world. Thanks to Qatar Airways and the One World Alliance’s massive network, it is easy to trot the globe as a travel hub from which to see the rest of the world, thanks to Qatar's location. What’s more, the new Hamad International Airport is likely to attract yet more new routes and airlines. Plus there is a giant teddy bear in the departure lounge – what’s not to love about that?
Hamad International Airport, (4449 6688).

19 Watch films for free at the Doha Film Institute:
Film is an important part of the cultural make-up of Doha. The annual film festival is an important date on the global cinema schedule and attracts powerful names from Hollywood, as well as many less well-known filmmakers. Unlike other film hubs, however, the awareness-building does not drift when the festival rolls out of town and the Doha Film Institute impresses year-round. Free screenings are well curated and always challenging. If you have only ever watched films in a multiplex cinema, go along to try something new.
Doha Film Institute, Katara (4420 0505).

20 Get sweaty at the Aspire Zone:

One of the most genuinely advanced sport facilities in the world. With superb facilities for football, athletics, a lake, a 50,000 person capacity arena and a cutting edge gym, this is where we like to come and get our sweat on. The gym membership is reasonable but for true budget work-outs, jog past the picnickers in the park and use the al fresco exercise machines dotted around the track.
Aspire Zone, Al Aziziyah (4447 6786).

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By Time Out Doha staff
Time Out Doha,

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