Doha’s best websites
Our favourite sites for making new friends and finding your way around Discuss this article
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New to Doha? Or just looking to reconnect or meet some new folks after the summer holidays? One of the best ways in Qatar is to get online (it’s estimated there are more users online using social networking sites in Qatar per capita than in the United States). With so many dedicated sites, you can find your feet, find your way around and meet some new friends, all from the comfort of your own home.
A website that pulls the best of whatever the media is saying in or about Qatar every day. In an easy-to-follow blog format, the site has links to the actual stories where possible, and regularly posts interesting and beautiful photos of the country taken by locals and grabbed from their Flickr group of the same name. Started on Twitter in 2009, it’s quickly expanded, and has a lively comments section. You can also submit your own stories, making it a truly community-generated news source. And while there are handy summaries and pull-out quotes (for the time strapped), they almost always link back to the places to go to find out
With sections for the UAE and Qatar, this website offers country guides and classifieds, but what really stands out is the forums. With topics ranging from beauty products to where to find items in Doha and how to get a doctor or a dentist, it’s a great resource with a friendly, knowledgeable membership. Lacking in a lot of the troll behaviour found on other message board sites, this also offers a range of features each month, most targeted specifically at women, on a range of topics from new mums to expats on the move. The message boards have spawned threads on everything from what to wear to the beach to community groups on a range of topics, all in what feels like a friendly and secure atmosphere.
The Qatar branch of this site hasn’t been going for long, but it’s already started attracting attention. Set up in 2003, it’s part of a chain of sites in countries all over the world, offering brief outlines and guides (a bit like what you’d get in a travel book). What draws us to this site, however, are the classifieds: with pages of flatshares, apartments and villas for rent, and even some property to buy. Flip over to the classifieds section and there’s furniture, kitchen appliances, cars and more for sale. You can post your own ad, with the added security feature of having replies directed securely to your email (respondents never see your email address, instead clicking a ‘reply’ button on the screen). There’s also an online jobs forum with information on employment and postings for vacancies. The host message board service features info about housing, employment and laws, rather than jokes and open discussions.
This site has been going for years and has remained one of the most popular in the city. It’s all about the message boards at QL, as it’s colloquially known, so sign up for a free account and get chatting. Topics range from politics and jokes to questions about Qatar and the latest news and rumours. There is also an extensive section of classifieds, which are a great place to find everything from a toaster to a car, and even a new home – the housing classifieds offer loads of options. One word of warning, however: including your phone number or email in an ad can lead to spam and similarly creepy contacts. Although you might not get as many hits, using the in-site email feature can be a bit safer. And just to top it off, the site also hosts numerous social groups that meet in the real world, covering recipes to photography.
A handy resource for phone numbers, from schools and daycare centres to party supply stores. There is also info on community groups, and the noticeboard section is a great untapped resource – advertised on the page as the place for different compounds and buildings to post their notices, currently the only one actively updating is Beverly Hills Al Rayyan, one of the city’s bigger compounds. However, as the site says, all it takes is someone mildly IT literate and willing to update to keep it going, and then your compound or building too can inform on its classes or events, groups, changes, important numbers (like maintenance) and anything else the tiny walled towns many of us call home might need to know. Events, promotions and deals within the city are also featured.
Our very own online hub for everything Qatar, it hosts all the things found in the regular magazine and lots more. With features from both the Doha edition of Time Out and content from Time Out magazines in the region and all over the world, plus listings and cinema times, it’s the stop for all your need-to-know information. Planning a weekend? Our weekly mailer keeps you up to date on the newest and most exciting things happening in the city, and our food reviews and yearly Restaurant Awards will help guide you to the best eats in town. And the comment section lets you know what people really think.
Qatar’s home-grown fashion and beauty website, this one is for anyone who tires of hearing about the latest trends and doesn’t have any idea where to find them in Qatar. Started right here in Doha, it’s fashion with a Qatari twist – although topics often include the newest trends from all over the world, many of the items and features come with a specific slant for Doha. Whether it’s versions of trends to wear in a conservative country or local designers and products, it’s the place for local shopping know-how. And with a newly launched boutique section, which often includes locally inspired trends or designers, it’s just got a little easier to work that plastic.
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