With over two million visitors each year, Qatar has managed to become a hotspot for enthusiastic travelers. In 2017, 2.26 million international visitors came to Qatar despite an illegal blocked imposed by its four neighbouring countries.
Qatar is a small and beautiful country, however, it is important to be aware of the basics and local customs of this country if you are planning to visit for a business or leisure trip anytime soon. The local customs and traditions impact you as a tourist in many ways.
Remember, Qatar is an Islamic country and hence it strictly adheres to the rules set by Islamic beliefs. These laws may govern what you may eat, how you travel and how you dress up.
So if Qatar is on your bucket list for the next traveling destination, check out our guide to make your next trip the best trip!
Qatar has a uniform climate all through the country. December to February is the cooler season and summers range from April to October. March and November are the so-called transition months.
The hottest months in Qatar are June, July, and August. Mid-July is considered as the warmest time of year where temperatures are regularly around 43.3°C with temperatures rarely dropping below 32.8°C at night.
Qatar’s summers encounter scorching heat, so if you want to avoid these outrageous climatic conditions, the perfect time to visit the country is between November to early April. The winter months can really be very lovely. Daytime temperatures drop significantly, especially in coastal areas, and evenings can even become chilly.
The national currency of Qatar is “Qatari Riyal (QR)”. One Riyal is equivalent to 100 Dirhams. Bank notes are available in values of QR500, 100, 10, 50, 5 and 1. Coins are found in denominations of 25, 50, 10, 5 and 1 dirhams, although only 25 and 50 dirham coins are widely circulated.
There are multiple ATMs located throughout the passenger terminal at Hamad Internation airpot (HIA) several of which dispense cash in multiple currencies. They can be accessed at the departures level, both prior, post-immigration and at the arrivals level, before or after the customs checkpoint. You can approach an information desk or use the airport map to locate the nearest one.
In addition to that, there are four foreign exchange kiosks located across the passenger terminal at HIA. They offer currency conversion and money transfer services.
As mentioned above, being an Islamic country, the country pays a lot of emphasis on local cultures and traditions. In terms of clothing, all women should wear clothes that cover their shoulders, upper arms, and knees, however, the dress code in hotels and private clubs is more relaxed. For men, long short and trousers paired with a shirt are just fine. When it comes to greetings, you need to be a little cautious as not all Arab men and women will be comfortable shaking hands with the opposite sex.
The work week that is followed in Qatar is from Sunday to Thursday. This may come as a surprise to many people, especially if travelling here for the first time. The government offices operate from 7 am to 2 pm, however, there can be a change of timing during the holy month of Ramadan. Shopping malls generally are open from 10 am to 10 pm.
Even though English is widely spoken and understood in Qatar, Arabic is actually the national language here. Here are some useful Arabic phrases you should know before you land in the beautiful country that depicts culture and respect in so many ways:
Sabah ul Khair – Good Morning
Masaa ul khair – Good Evening
Shlonik? – How are you? (Female)
Shlonak? – How are you? (Male)
Al Salaamu alay kum - Hello (Means - peace be upon you)
Shukran – Thank you
Ma'assalama – Goodbye
Aywah – Ok
Afwan – You’re welcome
Asif – Sorry
Yasaar – Left
Yameen – Right
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