Qatar has established itself in many ways to become a prime destination for a visit. The country offers a lot to tourists in terms of cultural experiences, historical and modern sites, events, unique food, and much more.
However, just like many other countries, there's much to be aware of before visiting Qatar regarding functionality and cultural norms.
The ILoveQatar.net (ILQ) team is here with a guide to assist your visit to Qatar.
The country enjoys cooler conditions between September to March, with December to February experiencing the peak of winter.
For those seeking warmer weather, June, July & August would be the peak of summer. But do bear in mind summer reaches extreme temperatures such as 50 degrees celsius. Outdoor activities during such times would be limited or restricted due to the health risks.
The currency used in Qatar is the Qatari Riyal (QR). One Riyal is equivalent to 100 Dirhams.
The Qatari Riyals are in the form of banknotes only and are of the following denominations:
The Dirhams are in the form of coins of the following denominations:
The country is equipped with many ATMs & foreign exchanges that are easily accessible within malls, commercial complexes or even stand-alone outlets.
The Hamad International Airport is home to 6 foreign exchanges and multiple ATMs that also dispense in multiple currencies easing your financial requirements upon arrival or before departure.
Further details about ATMs & locations of foreign exchanges within the airport can be found here.
Note: The Qatar Riyal is pegged to the US dollar at the rate of 1 QR = $3.65.
The work week in Qatar typically runs from Sunday to Thursday; therefore, the defined weekend is Friday and Saturday. This is done to accommodate the Islamic ritual of Friday congregational prayers.
It would be essential to keep in mind as it may affect the timings of the places you intend to visit.
Arabic is the national language in Qatar; however, English is widely spoken and used by locals and expatriates. In some circumstances, like dealing with shop vendors, the usage of simple Arabic phrases may be required.
To know some useful Arabic phrases while in Qatar, click here.
Watch this QTip to learn more:
Qatar currently offers various means of public transportation in the form of metro trains, trams, shuttle services, buses & cabs.
Learn more about public transportation in Qatar here.
Qatar has two main service providers, which are Ooredoo and Vodafone. They both offer postpaid and prepaid services. Upon arrival, you could get your hands on a package that suits you the best. You can easily access their outlets which are all across the country.
Due to stringent rules and regulations, things such as crime and fraud remain under control in Qatar. Doha has even gained international recognition as the world's second safest city in 2022.
Being a relatively conservative country, modest clothing is best recommended for men and women alike. Women are not required to cover their hair in public places unless visiting a mosque.
Best to avoid shorts of any length when visiting places such as a government office or police station.
If you are to confront any unfortunate circumstances, the police and other regulatory institutions in the country are prompt to take action.
The emergency number in Qatar is 999, which connects you to all emergency services such as police, ambulance, fire, and others. This list of emergency numbers can be kept handy for your reference.
Qatar houses multiple governmental and private health institutions. The predominantly used emergency service is at the government hospital, namely Hamad Medical Corporation.
Although their emergency consultation services are primarily free, medicines or tests would be chargeable at a minimal rate.
Alcohol also known as 'Special Beverages' may be consumed in designated areas, primarily five-star restaurants and other licensed hotel outlets.
Drinking in public places or being out in a drunken state is prohibited and could result in legal action.
Consumption or bringing in any narcotic substances to Qatar is prohibited.
The prohibition of drugs includes many medicines as well. If you are to bring any medications, a medical prescription stating the same would be required.
There are abundant eateries located all across Qatar to suit various budgets. There's enough to choose from simple juice stalls to high-end fine dines.
One thing to be mindful of is shaking hands with people of the opposite gender. In Qatar, many locals or practising Muslim men and women typically do not shake hands. However, some might be willing to do it, which can be gauged by social cues.
If you visit a mosque or Qatari household, you may need to remove your shoes as this is the practice and not doing so would be deemed disrespectful.
Generally, there are no restrictions or prohibitions on photography in public areas in the country. However, certain governmental buildings/offices such as the 'Amiri Diwan' located along the Corniche road or even the government hospital are restricted for photography.
Be mindful about unintentionally clicking any individuals while you are here.
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