Al Khor is the capital of the Al Khor and Al Thakira Municipality and derives its name from the Arabic word ‘bay’ because the city is located on a bay. Al Khor is an old city – established on 17 July 1972 - where once pearl trading was a huge industry and the main source of income. It’s come a long way since then. Today, Al Khor, though much smaller in size to Doha (Al Khor is 16,000 square metres), is a town of many wonders and hidden gems, and home to Qatar’s oil and gas industry! In fact, many employees and their families live in this area because of its proximity to Ras Laffan Industrial City along with the natural gas fields and North Oil, and that's probably why its population is approximately 250,000.
There’s so much to do in Al Khor and some of the country’s most fascinating natural wonders are in this area.
So, if you’re wondering what to do over the weekend, why not take a trip to Al Khor and explore the city and its surrounding areas.
Al Khor is approximately 50 km from Doha towards the north. If you’re going from Doha to Al Khor via the Al Khor Coastal Road, it may take approximately 40-45 minutes depending on the speed you’re travelling at.
If you’re using the Doha Expressway (Shamal Road) and the Al Khor Coastal Road, it will take approximately 45-50 minutes depending on the speed you’re travelling at.
The Al Khor and Thakira Municipality is a haven for things to do and see. It is one of Qatar's popular areas because there are a number of scenic and picturesque natural sites to check out and a bunch of must-visit attractions for the whole family.
*Please note that due to COVID-19 restrictions, play areas in parks, other entertainment activities and areas may be closed temporarily.
Despite its name, Purple Island is surprisingly green and a perfect destination for nature lovers. The Purple Island, was a prominent site for dye production, and the name 'Purple' comes from the sea snails that produced a dark-red to purple dye, and excavations in the area brought up the remains of crushed sea snail shells. (Qatar Museums)
It’s a great natural spot in Al Khor and a must-visit if you want to explore the natural heritage of the island and stroll along the salt marshes. Here, you’ll find mangroves, little fish and crabs, and when the weather’s right, you may even spot migratory birds like herons and flamingos. One of the main highlights is the wooden bridge that passes through the mangroves and above the water channels which head up to low limestone hills and the Purple Island Beach. Kayaking is a must-do thing on the island which you need to pre-book.
Note: Please be careful of the quick/wet sand in the area, especially if you're on your own. We've heard a couple of people have lost, at least, one shoe in it!
Al Thakhira is an Arabic word that translates to 'ammunition' in English, and this town is approximately 7km northeast of the main Al Khor city. The Al Thakira mangrove (Avicennia Marina species) forest is said to be the oldest and largest of its kind in the country, so it's not rare to find migratory birds, crabs, little fish and gastropods in the area.
It's another great nature site and is well-known for its beach and the surrounding natural greenery formed by the mangroves. It's a serene picturesque place; a great picnic and hang out spot with family and friends. Kayaking is a great way to explore this area and is something people absolutely love doing, but pre-booking is necessary.
This beautiful beach is the closet beach to the main Al Khor City and is approximately 2km from the Al Khor Mall. It's a fenced beach with just one gate which is used for both entry and exit. The beach has a number of pergolas so you can be out of the sun, a beautiful strip of golden sand, blue waters and a children's play area, so you can have the best of everything on just one beach. If you're looking for just the right BBQ spot, this would be the one. There are public toilets and showers on this beach and a cafeteria if you're craving some nice snacks and beverages!
Location: Al Farkiah Beach (it can be easily reached by a sedan)
The Al Bayt Stadium is one of the 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums and its design is inspired by the 'bayt al sha'ar' (traditional tents) of the Arab nomads. Al Bayt Stadium will also host the first opening match of the World Cup in 2022. There's a really uniquely designed McDonald's that also looks like a Qatari tent. It's quite the go-to hotspot for those wanting to fulfil their junk food cravings!
The Al Bayt Stadium Park is connected to the stadium. It has a beautiful man-made lake, lots of play areas for children, a stunning landscape, lots of greenery, running and cycling tracks, as well as lots of parking spaces.
Location: Al Bayt Stadium and Al Bayt Park (it can be easily reached by a sedan)
Al Khor Mall is the biggest mall in this municipality and is a complete shopping destination. You'll find all kinds of retails shops, restaurants, a food court, cinema and Lulu Hypermarket under one huge roof.
Location: Al Khor Mall (it can be easily reached by a sedan)
The Al Khor Corniche is one of Al Khor's main hotspots, especially for families, who love spending time here over the weekends when it can become quite busy. There's a children's play area and lots of seating areas complete with wooden umbrellas. It's a great place to just relax and there are public toilets, too, so you can spend more time.
Location: Al Khor Corniche (it can be easily reached by a sedan)
Al Khor Hill Park is a beautiful park that’s been made on a green hilly area of Al Khor. It’s dotted with little coloured house fronts that add the feeling that you’re in a little lush green village. And there’s a tower on the top of the hill that can be seen from afar. You’ll find coloured benches dotted around this gorgeous hill park and kids will enjoy being here.
Location: Al Khor Hill Park (it can be easily reached by a sedan)
This is one of the best parks in Al Khor, and a family favourite. No matter what time you go, you'll find mothers and their children (there are separate days for ladies and children), or families spending time in this lush green park, complete with play areas, courts, a mini reserve with birds, benches, walkways and more. It's a great place for a picnic and some family fun.
Location: Al Tawasul Traditional Park (it can be easily reached by a sedan)
Opened in 2018, this beachfront park is only for ladies and children under 10 years old. The Al Qarma Beach Garden located on the east coast of Al Khor City has both greenery and a clean beach, making it the first of its kind in the municipality. Inside, you’ll find different trees and plants, play areas for kids, wooden umbrellas offering shade along the beach, walking paths, benches, and solar-powered lighting.
Location: Al Qarma Beach Garden (it can be easily reached by a sedan)
Another green space worth a visit is located around one kilometre south of Al Qarma Beach Garden. Al Shu’aa Reserve is dedicated to animals, their preservation, and families. This quaint animal reserve is made up of different trees and animals which include such as ducks, tortoises, geese, ostriches, pigeons, goats, rabbits as well as a few Arabian Oryx. Children can interact with some of the animals that are allowed to freely roam around the reserve. It's a great place to learn more about animals in Qatar and their habitat.
There are plenty of benches, shaded sitting areas, solar-powered lighting and green spaces where the parents can sit and relax while the kids roam around and explore the area and the animals.
Location: Al Shu'aa Reserve (it can be easily reached by a sedan)
The Al Khor Family Park and Zoo is a beautiful lush green 240,000 square metre park away from the hustle-bustle of the city. It's the perfect place to go when all you want to do is relax and unwind with family and friends over a picnic.
It features a mini zoo, museum, children’s play areas, skating area, basketball court, aviary, waterfall, mini train, mosque, drinking fountain and an amphitheatre. It’s a great way to spend the day!
*There's an entry fee for the park.
Location: Al Khor Family Park and Zoo (it can be easily reached by a sedan)
Baladna Park opened up in November 2017 to bring families together in a space where they can enjoy a number of different activities that centre around fun and learning. It is a Baladna Farm theme park and you'll find the Baladna Restaurant on the premises among other exciting things. And, you'll even get to see how the cows are milked everyday, and all about the Baladna Farm and the products it produces.
*Entry is free, but you have to pay for the different activities.
Ain Hleetan Well is one of 107 wells and springs that have been found in Qatar. It's located on Al Khor's west coast. The Al Mahanda tribe settled around the well, which is made of plaster, gravel and clay, and it's believed that the well's water had medicinal properties that could cure illnesses. May locals called it 'the doctor'. The well and its water are closely monitored and looked after by the Qatar Museums architectural conservation team.
Next to the well is the westernmost of three Al Khor Towers, which was built in 1900 on a small hill. This tower was used as a lookout post so guards could look out for pirates and pearl divers, along with protecting the well. These guards had to climb the tower using a rope because it was 26 feet tall (8 metres). (Expedia)
Location: Ain Hleetan Well (it can be easily reached by a sedan)
Al Sultan Beach Resort is a 5-star resort, and it's definitely worth a visit. This luxurious resort has 184 rooms and suites, that feature a uniquely modern design so guests will feel comfortable and looked after during their stay. You can also enjoy a day at their spa and take advantage of its huge swimming pool and enjoy a lovely meal in its restaurant.
You're bound to get hungry when you're in the Al Khor and Al Thakira Municipality, and that's why we've also put together for you a list of some of the great food finds in the area :
Have you been to any of these places? Which municipality do you want to be featured next? Let us know in the comments!
Sources: Qatar Museums; Google Maps; Expedia; Qatar Museums
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