Less than three hours away and with visa on arrival for most nationalities, Jordan is an excellent option for a budget holiday. As well as plenty of ancient ruins such as the Temple of Hercules and the Umayyad Palace, there’s also an abundance of modern flavours to keep your interest, like the Darat Al Funun art gallery. Hungry? Don’t miss Sufra restaurant for homemade dishes in a traditional setting, or Cantalope for a high-end international menu and rooftop views.
Beirut is filled with brilliant restaurants, steeped in history and packed with lively nightlife. It’s both a city and beach destination and also a great short-distance place to fly for a skiing holiday in winter.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
You’ll have to travel for five hours, but it’s totally worth it. It’s a whole other world of lush mountainous regions such as Kandy, or idyllic beach-side towns like Mirissa. Before you vacate the city, make time for a meal at Bu Ba, or Ministry of Crab if you’re a crustacean fan. Best part? You’ll end up spending less than QR5,000 for the whole trip.
For a wondrous blend of Indian and Portugese cultures head to Goa. Lined with golden beaches, peppered with stunning architecture, and simmering with wonderful street food, it’s no surprise that the city is becoming ever more popular with tourists.
Turkey’s capital city is great for a quick stop to take in some breathtaking city sights. Head to the iconic Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the “blue mosque”) as well as the Ottoman Topkapı Palace. Some of the world’s best food at reasonable prices should be the number one reason to go here. That and the very reasonable ticket prices via Fly Pegasus.
Kathmandu is a charming place with loads of nature and history to explore. There are certainly prettier, cleaner places in Asia, but you’ll be hard pressed to find any friendlier or quite so packed with quirks. Nepal Airlines and Qatar Airways both fly direct and return ticket prices go as low as QR1,299.
Kerala in South India is defined by its 600km of coastline and spice and tea covered hills of the Western Ghats. Relax on a houseboat in Alleppey or luxuriate in the lush greenery of Munnar. Choose from dozens of yoga and ayurveda retreats. It feels a million miles away from Doha, but the great news is you can get there in under four hours. Air India Express and Go Indigo have budget flights, too.
From amazing streetside shopping at Colaba Causeway to rubbing shoulders with Bollywood celebrities at Andheri’s Lokhandwala, Mumbai is truly a maximum experience. There are loads of direct flights from Doha with Air India, Air India Express, IndiGo and Qatar Airways flying out from Doha for as low as QR836 return. And it’s barely three hours away.
Muscat makes for a fantastic Arabian escape with its incredible wadis, souks, mountains and beaches. There are some amazing beachside resorts to stay at and restaurants such as Karjeen that should not be missed. As well as centuries old forts nestled into beautiful hillsides, you’ll also find top restaurants, huge malls and stunning architecture. Be sure to check out timeoutmuscat.com before you go.