Outdoors fun in Doha

41 great things to do outdoors in Doha while the weather is cool

Outdoors fun in Doha
Sport

1 Rock climbing
Whether you are a young child or a fully-grown adult, there’s always a weird fascination with climbing stuff. With that in mind, we thought we’d start our feature right here. The Doha Climbers are a group of climbing fanatics, always looking for new members – whether you are experienced at climbing or not. Follow them on Facebook for the latest developments: facebook.com/Dohaclimbers. If you are already a serious climber, we suggest you try Zekreet, in western Qatar, which has some pretty cool rock formations for the climbing enthusiast. Bir Zikrit on the west coast of Qatar is also good fun.

2 Kitesurfing
Don’t worry, the worst that will happen is that you plunge into the beautiful waters of the Gulf. Let the wind carry you around on the luscious sea as you waste the hours away. Beginner? No worries. Learn it with some mates and get kite flying on water. There are numerous beaches where you can try it out. www.flokiteschool.com (5504 1039).

3 Golf

Just because you might not be Sergio Garcia on the golf course does not mean you can’t enjoy hacking a few balls around a course. And with the weather guaranteed to be good, who really cares where the balls fly off to? Doha Golf Club is a superb 18-hole complex, and it also has a driving range for those that like to hit the ball hard, and don’t really care where it goes. Taster sessions are available for those that want to get started. This will be the home of the Qatar Masters in January, so you can watch how the real pros do it as well.
Doha Golf Club, West Bay Lagoon (4496 0777).

4 Tennis
If you want to get a sweat on, there are numerous places to book a court and play tennis with your friends. The Khalifa International Tennis complex is home to 21 courts available to the community. With so many courts and first-class facilities, if you don’t fancy it then ‘you cannot be serious’! (Sorry).
Al Majles Twaon Street, Al Dafna (4440 9666).

5 Sailing
Refer to our October edition sport page and remind yourself of all the benefits sailing has to offer. Never sailed before? No worries – there are introductory courses available and it isn’t as expensive as you might think. Time to sail the seas and enjoy the breeze.
Doha Sailing Club, Ras Abu Abboud (4443 9840).

6 Kayaking

We know: broken record! Yes, kayaking the mangroves seems to be a regular in many of our columns, but for good reason – it’s awesome! You have to leave the city and travel to Al Khor, 40km north of the city. You can easily spend a day or evening in this beautiful area, full of life. You can also kayak in the city as well – admiring the splendid architecture on show.
www.entalek.org, Gharaffa (3311 6249).

7 Go for a run
If we’d suggested this three months ago, you probably wouldn’t be reading this now, but the weather is now at a comfortable and enjoyable temperature, so there’s no reason why you can’t take your fitness regime outdoors. So where’s nice? Our favourite is a run along the corniche, admiring the splendid views at the same time. Fancy joining a club? See what the Doha Bay Running Club has to offer.
www.dohabayrunningclub.com.

8 Hockey
No, not ice hockey – we’re talking about the proper sport of hockey. Outside in the beautiful and mild sun. The Doha Hockey Club caters for all people interested in hockey, from beginners to seasoned pros and ex-internationals, with ages so far ranging from six to 60. Yearly memberships costs are QR500.
For more information, email info@dohahockeyclub.com.

9 Kettlebelling
Put a weight between your legs and hoist it up. There you are, that’s the basics of kettlebelling (kind of). It is great for a workout and good fun with friends. There are classes available from Ali Longmate, but why not get your own kettlebells and take them outside?
www.alifitclub.com (5552 6407).

10 Cycling
Let’s be honest, you can’t cycle around the streets of Doha (unless you have a death wish). So go cycling around Aspire’s newly opened 5km cycle track. It’s QR20 for an hour, and QR5 for every hour after that and can be hired from 4pm-8pm Sun-Thu, and from noon-8pm on Friday and Saturday. Bring your Qatari ID with you or your passport. Aspire, Al Wabb St., Muraikh (4413 6208). Want to join a club? Chain Reaction is a bike club which enables you to go cycling around Doha in groups and make new friends www.qatarchainreaction.org. Another group to try is the Qatar Cycling Community, which uses Facebook to interact: www.facebook.com/QatarCyclingCommunity.

11 Diving
The coolest activity there is, diving in Doha is darn right delightful. Join a club and learn the basics, while also making new friends at the same time. Work toward your PADI (Professional Association of Divers Instructors) certificate and head out on group trips which various institutions organise. Use Qatar Divers www.qatardivers.com or Poseidon Dive Centre www.pdcqatar.com and dive away to your heart’s content.

12 Paddle boarding
For QR100, you can have two hours of entertainment as you go for a paddle boarding lesson at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, organised by Entalek. There are lessons for beginners and you can also do paddle boarding at night time to view all the glitz and glam of the Doha skyline. Get into the paddle boarding vibe; it’s two hours very well spent.
www.entalek.org (3023 3207).

13 Waterskiing

You want some serious action? Ok, in that case, you need to do some waterskiing, courtesy of The Diplomatic Club. A 60-minute session for a member is QR175, non-member QR275, and is a must-do. You can also have a half-hour session if you prefer.
Al Istiqlal Street, West Bay Lagoon (4484 7444).


Culture

14 Brouq nature reserve
Leave Doha and go about 65 miles out to a nature reserve with a difference. An intriguing desert habitat, Brouq Nature Reserve is well worth a visit. While you are here, you need to make sure you spot the monoliths sculptured and designed by Richard Serra, which sit rather perplexingly in, well...the middle of nowhere.

15 Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Becoming a World Heritage Site is not as easy task. Once a thriving port bustling with merchants and fisherman, the town of Zubarah (around 100km from Doha on the north west coast) has been designated a protected area since 2009 and is deserted. The area is archaeologically enriched and an excellent historical site, well worth a visit to see the old residential palaces, houses, historic fort and the area at large.
www.qm.org.qa/en/project/al-zubarah.

16 Visit Katara Cultural Village
Yes you may be spending some of your time in the cafés and restaurants and thus not exclusively spending your hours outside, but you can also walk around leisurely outside and take in the view of the city from the water-side. You can also sit outside at many of the cafés, including Chac’Late, where you can get a serious amount of your favourite cocoa. If you’re lucky, there may be an event on at the auditorium. If you’re not lucky, go in anyway and have a look. The Cultural Village is one of our favourite places to hang out.

17 Jazz in the Park
My word! You must go to this. Jazz at Lincoln Center, in association with the St. Regis Doha, has special jazz evenings free of charge to soothe and relax the audience after a stressful day. On November 26, go to the Museum of Islamic Art and enjoy the best jazz around. It lasts for one hour from 7pm-8pm.
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha Port (4422 4444).


Leisure

18 Get on a dhow

You’ll notice that a lot of our suggestions in this feature have something to do with water. However, unlike the sporty activities that have preceded this, you can chill out with pals and go on a dhow. Originally used for the purpose of carrying trade items, you can now sit on one of Doha’s iconic vessels and watch the world go by, or even be the captain of your own boat if you want. Go to the corniche near the Al Mourjan restaurant in the day or the evening and have three or four hours of relaxed ‘me/us’ time. Various companies. For a bit of luxury, you can get butler service, music and dine in style with an on-board chef with Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels. You can have a romantic dinner for two, family celebrations and special sunset cruises.
reservations@swbh.com (4433 6666).

19 Watch Camel Racing

Oh yes you can! Get in to true Lawrence of Arabia spirit and watch camels race each other. This very serious sport is a great day out. The camels think so too. Go to qatartourism.gov.qa for more information.
Al Shahaniyah, off Dukhan highway.

20 Gaze at the stars
Clouds are like English buses in Doha; they never turn up. If you have a balcony, make good use of it and just admire the stars from the comfort of your own home; it costs nothing. Not finding any stars? Ok, there are better star-spotting opportunities in the desert, maybe after a bit of dune bashing.
To Dune bash: Inbound Qatar Tours (7745 1196).

21 Watch horse riding at Al SHAQAB
Some of the world’s greatest horse riding events can be seen at the Al Shaqab. Reading this before November 13? You can go to the Longines Global Champions Tour, open to the public, from November 13-15.
Open Sat-Thu 6am-10am, 2pm-6pm. Garfat Al Rayyan and Dukhan Highway, Education City (4481 2061).

22 Walk in the park
If you’ve not gone for a stroll among the green stuff, there are some beautiful parks in Doha. Aspire Park is perhaps the best known and has been described as the ‘Green oasis of the city.’ There is a long walking track and pond and cafés to take a well earned break. The Museum of Islamic Art Park is also an exquisite spot by the sea, complementing the fabulous artwork. Al Rumaila Park runs parallel to the corniche and is a family-friendly, fun park to try.
Various locations.

23 Watch movies under the stars
Paper Moon will show a popular film that everyone can enjoy every single Monday, starting at 8.30pm. Here’s November’s list: November 3 – Julie & Julia; Nov 10 – Slumdog Millionaire; Nov 17 – *The King’s Speech; Nov 24 – A Beautiful Mind. *Time Out recommendation, closely followed by A beautiful Mind.
Jaidah Square, Al Matar Street (4016 6000).

24 Hire a cabana
If you are on a staycation at the St. Regis hotel, hire a cabana for the day and have your own pool and Jacuzzi and spend your time in utter luxury. Sure, it may look costly at QR2,000 a day, but if a large group of you use the facilities, it can be a brilliant retreat and the costs decrease the more that you use it. You can also indulge in a Remede spa brought to your private retreat.
St Regis Hotel, West Bay (4446 0000).

25 Gaze at the architecture

Stand back, relax, and take in the view. There are a number of outside restaurants for you to enjoy the view. The Al Mourjan corniche restaurant has views of the bay and some of the best buildings in Doha. You can eat outside both in the day and the evening and wile away the hours. Don’t want to eat? No worries. Just find a nice spot to sit and admire the scenery.

26 Souq Waqif
You cannot have more fun in Doha than haggling over two riyals at the Souq Waqif. This list wouldn’t be a list without our favourite pastime of needless squabbles and purchasing yet another shawl. Yes, you may have been 100 times already, but isn’t it about time you went for the 101st time? Which reminds us, we’ve got to go, as we’ve got a seashell to buy to put in the bathroom, oh, and we need a toy camel which reads ‘I love Qatar’ on the side of it.
Just off the Doha Corniche and adjacent to Grand Hamad Street.

27 Relax on the beach
Doha, and Qatar in general, has some beautiful beaches. Sticking inside Doha, there are some sumptuous beaches to sit on and chillax, with varying prices. The Marriott Doha, InterContinental Doha, Grand Hyatt, Hilton Hotel, Four Seasons and Sharq Village & Spa all have great retreats. Heading outside Doha, Sealine Beach Resort is an ideal day out. It is 300 metres from the beach where you can also stay and enjoy the pool. Sealine Beach Rd, Mesaieed, (4476 5299). You want to go to the beach for free? No worries – there’s a few to choose from, but why not try Simaisma Family Beach? It’s open 24 hours and 27km north of Doha. There is shade and also a beach volleyball court available to get moving!


Activity

28 Camp in the desert

Technically there’s a thin veil in the way of the sunshine, but it’s probably a good (and practical) thing that the tent is there. Camping in the desert is like marmite for the Time Out team. Some of us love it, some of us hate it. For me (the person writing it), it’s great to go with mates and have a really cool night (you may even be able to settle down and kip for a little). While you are there, you may as well go dune bashing as well and have a great safari day out.
qia-qatar.com/content/qatar-desert-safari.

29 Aqua Park Qatar

Take the kids, or, if you don’t have any, take your mates and have a day out at Aqua Park. Doha’s first and only water theme park, you can whizz around as much as you like or just enjoy some of the more relaxing rides available. If you bring the family, try the family pool, but if you’re here for dizziness, try the Boomerango, with twists, turns and surprises. You have been warned.
Aqua Park Qatar, Salwa Road (4490 5872).

30 Go fishing

Staying with the water once more, cast off in more ways than one and enjoy a day of fishing. With a vast array of sealife in Doha’s waters, this is a chill way to spend a day either in your own company, or, even better, with a few mates and a couple of beverages. The Diplomatic Club offers four-hour excursions at QR80 for members and QR150 for non-members. Catch some rays as well as fish.
West Bay Lagoon (4484 7444).

31 Find some treasure
Ahoy me mateys and all that, you can find treasure in Doha (kind of). Make use of your GPS enabled device and do some ‘geocaching.’ This one is a little hard to explain – you find a cache online/on your phone/tablet etc., visit the place where the treasure is (an actual, real place) and you can replace the treasure with something of equal or greater value, or just leave the nik-naks where they were. Choose the geocache you want to find and at the same time explore new places. When you find the cache, there is a logbook to sign – sign it and job done – off to the next one. Still confused? So are we, a little. Best to go on this site methinks: www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC1BJXP_doha-gpo.

32 Bird watching
Of the animal kind, of course. Always thought that stuff was a little bit OAP for you? We suggest it’s actually the in-thing to do. There is some exceptional wildlife in Doha and the surrounding areas and it would be a travesty to just ignore it. Get away from Doha and go just north of Al Khor to the mangroves, a retreat for birds to bed down for the winter. If you want to go one step further, join the Qatar Bird Club and join avid bird watchers that go the length and breadth of the country, including Al Wakrah, Al Ruwais and Al Shamal.
qatarbirdproject@gmail.com.

33 Clay pigeon shooting
So you love birds? Good! Shoot the clay pigeon kind for a bit of fun. Take out all your aggression and fire at some clay til Kingdom Come. The Lusail Shooting Club is just north of Doha and you can learn how to be the master or mistress of shooting. If you’re not a member, it is open from Saturday-Wednesday, 4pm-8pm for QR100 per round of 25 shots.
Jeryan Nejaima, antonellabartolomei@gmail.com.

34 Ride on a banana

Tied to a boat, have great fun with pals as your get on a giant banana and go around West Bay. Sounds psychedelic, but it’s dead good fun. It is QR150 for members for half an hour, or QR225 for non-members, or you can have double the fun and have an hour’s trip for QR225 for members, QR325 non-members.
The Diplomatic Club, West Bay (4484 7450).


Food & Drink

35 Eat brunch outside
There are hundreds to choose from to gorge yourself into a food stupor (we prefer stupor to coma), because it’s easier to get a second wind in a stupor, and you’ll need one of those. Brunches are famous in Doha and you can think nothing of spending four hours piling up your plate and drinking an array of drinks. Try out the Doha Marriott weekend brunch, available Friday or Saturday from noon-4pm. with views over the Gulf. If you’re running a bit late for this one, the Doha Marriott also has late brunch on Friday at the recently opened View Pool Bar & Grill, served outside from 6pm-10pm, near the beach.
Ras Abu Abboud (4429 8499).

36 Sit outside and supp mocktails in the Pearl
The Pearl has many restaurants and cafés where you can sit and relax and supp your favourite mocktail or a coffee or whatever soft drink you want. Try Carluccio’s for a more family-orientated time, or give the Anima Lounge, Emporio Armani Cafeé or Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar a go. Don’t forget to sit outside though, or we will be disappointed in you.
Various locations at the Pearl.

37 Dine outside at any time
We have so many favourite dining out spots that it would be cruel for you to ask us to just pick one. Here are just four of some of our favourite spots to dine outside: Blue at Grand Heritage (overlooking the Aspire Zone), Aspire (4445 5555); Opal by Gordon Ramsay, St. Regis, West Bay (4446 0000); Al Mourjan restaurant, Corniche (4483 4423); For evenings, Al Matbakh rooftop grill at the Aramulia Boutique Hotel, Souq Waqif, reservations@swbh.com (4433 6666).

38 BBQ Donut

Yes, riding a donut while cooking a barbecue. The Diplomatic Club knows how to have a good time. Holding up to eight people, the built-in barbecue is a novelty that can make you both the captain and the chef as you take in the views of Doha.
The Diplomatic Club, West Bay (4484 7450).

39 Outdoor parties
Like to stay up and party? If the answer is yes, you must try one of the Sundowner Sessions at the Sharq Village & Spa. Every Friday, resident DJs Kinky D and Carl Roberts are at Al Dana to keep guests entertained. It is open from 4pm-2am. There will also be live musicians and you can come casually dressed. Entrance is free, as long as you buy a couple of drinks. Ras Abu Abboud (4425 6666). Trader Vic’s, next to the Hilton, also has a large outdoor area and a buzzing vibe over the weekend for you to party the hours away. Sometimes there are also special parties for you to do some extra outdoor boogying, with DJs to entertain.
West Bay (4423 3333).

40 Outdoor Yoga
The Sharq Village & Spa hotel regularly has an outdoor yoga session when there is a full moon to admire. If it’s not already passed when you read this, November’s session is on November 5, from 7pm-8pm. It’s QR30 for spa members and QR60 for non-members. Missed it? Ring up and ask what the plan is for December?
Ras Abu Abboud, reservations-sharq-spa@sixsenses.com (4425 6999).

41 Outdoor bars
Let’s finish off with some outside bars after all those activities. The Sky View Lounge at La Cigale Hotel has stunning views of West Bay and beyond, looking all the way from the Al Sadd area across the breadth of the city. Just have your favourite drink and take in the view. Bin Hamad Street (4428 8888). Wahm Lounge at the W Doha is also a great spot to drink outside and take in the perfect November sunshine. W Doha Hotel & Residences, West Bay (4453 5353). Liquidity at the Crowne Plaza is another outdoor venue to come and have a drink to top off a perfect day in the sunshine. Al Matar St (4408 7777). Al Matbakh rooftop grill is also a great place to hang out.
Arumaila Boutique Hotel, Souq Waqif (4433 6666).

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