Too many people can be overheard complaining that there isn’t enough to do in Doha and what is available costs too much money. Well we’re here to tell you that that’s just not true. These places to go and things to do are great fun, often educational and won’t cost you even one riyal.
Shaikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
This museum might just be one of the most excellent tourist spots in Doha. Housing Shaikh Faisal’s eclectic personal collection with pieces from the Jurassic age to the early Islamic period and up until present day, the museum is huge and will take a wanderer at least two hours to make their way around it. Overall, there are four themes: Islamic art, Qatar heritage, vehicles, and coins and currency. It’s best to set up a tour before you go – none of the artefacts have signs so you’ll be rather blind if you don’t. The friendly Mohammed is at hand, a very knowledgeable doctor of Egyptology, so make sure to catch him while you can. Highlights have to be the extensive car collection, the Syrian church and an actual mosque. It’s expanding every day and rumour has it they’re extending it to feature a car museum soon, too!
Open Sat-Thu 9am-5.30pm. Al Samriya, www.fbqmuseum.org (4486 1444).
Camel races are an age-old tradition in Qatar and so seeing one is a must-do while you’re in the country. It’s a great experience where you can relive the heritage of Qatar but also see how it works in the modern world. Where child jockeys were one used, nowadays it’s common to see an actual robot camel jockey atop a dromedary (single-humped camel) which are controlled remotely by their owners. The race schedule is available on www.onqatar.com by Qatar Tourism Authority but if there isn’t one when you want to go, it’s still worth heading down even just to see the impressive purpose-built stadium.
Al Shahaniyah, off Dukhan highway.
Catch an Arabian stallion
Or at least catch the race that the Arabian stallions are in over at the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club. Every week from October to May there are two, sometimes three, races at the stadium in Al Rayyan. It’s easy to find out the schedule – either pop down there and pick one up or check out the website beforehand. They have a racing grandstand with 1,400 seats with corporate boxes and a kid’s play area, plus it’s free for the public to get in. No betting of course, but it’s thrilling enough.
Al Furousiya Street, Al Rayyan, www.qrec.gov.qa (4419 7664).
The art tour
Soak in some modern art or absorb the mysteries of ancient Islamic pieces, you can find both and everything in between at Doha’s museums and art galleries, which are all free to enter. The prolific Museum of Islamic Art (www.mia.org.qa) offers a look at art, jewellery, glassware, textiles and so much more from times past while Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (www.mathaf.org.qa) brings the contemporary to Doha with its vast collection of fabulous works and forward-thinking exhibitions. In Katara Cultural Village (www.katara.net) you’ll find numerous galleries around the Katara Art Studios, another for Qatar Museums Authority and the independently owned Katara Art Centre – all of which rotate exhibitions regularly and mix it up with internationally renowned
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