Now that the summer is coming to an end, loads of residents are back to the city and fully settled in while thousands of newcomers are arriving at Hamad International Airport. But while the city can seem a little overwhelming at first, it doesn’t take long for people to find their feet. There’s a lot to learn and plenty to get used to, but Time Out will always keep you updated with the best deals, events, restaurants and offers in the city. For starters, here are ten things you should know if you’re new to Qatar.
1 Brunch will have a new meaning
Forget eggs benedict and orange juice, because brunch isn’t really a breakfast thing in Doha. Most of the top hotels and restaurants in the city will host a brunch where you can enjoy unlimited beverages and food. Every brunch is different and although most take place on Friday afternoon, you can get Saturday brunches, too.
2 The city has loads of beaches
It might not seem like it when you’re driving in the city but Qatar has an incredibly long, stunning coastline with dozens of beautiful beaches. Some like Sealine and Fuwairit are popular and easy to access, but there are many more that you probably won’t hear about during casual coffee conversations. Luckily, you’ll find plenty of options in our cover story this month (page 12).
3 Ladies’ nights are a thing
What are they? Well, ladies can receive free drinks and great deals at restaurants and hotels across the city pretty much every night of the week. They’re the ideal way to get out and explore the nightlife scene without spending a riyal. You can find a full list of all the ladies’ nights at timeoutdoha.com.
4 You’re going to get hot
Being a desert country, it should come as no surprise to hear that it gets incredibly hot in Qatar. The temperature can get up to around 50 degrees in the summer, which is from around June to September, but don’t worry too much, almost everywhere has air conditioning, meaning most of the time you’re kept cool. For the times you are outside, be sure to keep hydrated and wear plenty of sunscreen. For the rest of the year the weather is pretty much perfect, we promise.
5 There’s much more to the city than skyscrapers
The city skyline is one of our favourite sights but there’s more to the city than five-star hotels and high-end restaurants. There are loads of amazing cultural attractions to see such as Katara Cultural Village, National Museum of Qatar, Museum of Islamic Art, Souq Waqif and loads more. Plus, take the one-hour drive up to Zubarah to check out abandoned towns and old forts to give you an understanding of Qatari culture and traditions.
6 You’ll embrace the city’s taxis
Getting around Doha is really easy, and taxis are both plentiful and affordable, so don’t be afraid to wave one down on the street or book through the dedicated mobile app. You can also use Uber and the regional version, Careem (which is cheaper), to book a ride from A to B. Qatar doesn’t have a tram yet (it’s in the works), but the metro is incredibly smooth, very convenient and covers a large part of the city. It’s a big city so you’ll have to be in a vehicle to see it properly, especially if you want to hit the outskirts. If you have a 4x4 there’s also the chance to take a ride into the desert and some of Doha’s most beautiful beaches.
7 Some dates are absolute musts for your diary
There are loads of events to be aware of throughout the year in Doha, but some are inarguably bigger than others. The IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 concludes early this month and from November 7 to 9, the FINA Swimming World Cup comes to town. And, of course, let’s not forget the international sporting event and the first-ever winter football World Cup that’s going to be a game-changer for Qatar in 2022. This month is also dedicated to breast cancer awareness (page 62).
8 Not everything has to be expensive
Sure, staying at five-star hotels and eating at the best restaurants in town will cost you a fair few of your hard-earned riyals but you don’t have to splash the cash to enjoy the city. There are loads of free sporting activities, cultural landmarks, events, beaches and entertainment that are incredibly cheap and often completely free. No one loves a bargain more than us so keep your eyes peeled and we’ll share all the best offers in the city.
9 Some of the best food is found on street corners
Like most places in the world, Qatar has great food, and there are some things that you might not have tried anywhere else. We love a bargain so cheap street food like shawarma, manakish and karak is right up our alley. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, they’re a kebab, flatbread and sweet tea respectively and can be picked up for a few riyals all over town. Keep an eye out for Qatari luqaimat as well – the sweet little doughnuts are delicious. Pass by Bin Mahmoud and Mattar Qadeem for some really delicious budget street food.
10 You’ll meet people from all over the world
Doha is a truly multicultural city. Home to people from more than 200 countries, you will meet and befriend people from so many different backgrounds. From the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia, Qatar is a melting pot of cultures and it’s a great experience getting to know people, so don’t be scared to go out of your comfort zone when calling Doha home. Plus, you’re bound to pick up a few Arabic words during your time here too. Don’t be afraid to use a “shukran” (that’s thank you) here and there as you get to grips with the local dialect.
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