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24 June 2019 05:00 pm

Travel tips you need to know before visiting Qatar

Khadiza Begum
Khadiza Begum
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With over two million visitors each year, Qatar has managed to become a hotspot for enthusiastic travelers. In 2018, 1.8 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 is strictly adhere 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 travel destination, check out our guide to make your next trip the best trip!

ATMs and foreign exchange

ATMs and Foreign Exchange at HIA

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 check point. 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.

  • Departures check-in area – at the end of check-in Row 9
  • Departures– towards Concourse B (near Marché restaurant)
  • Arrivals baggage claim area – towards the end of Belt 3
  • Arrivals hall –meet & greet area (adjacent to Al Maha Lounge)

Local customs and etiquettes

Local Customs and Etiquettes

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 is 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.

Weekends in Qatar

Weekends in Qatar

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.

The best time to visit Qatar

The Best Time to visit Qatar

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.

Common phrases you need to know

Common phrases you need to know

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 Al Khair – Good Morning

Sabah Al Naar – Good Evening

Shlonik? – How are you?

Salaam alay kum - Hello

Shukran – Thank you

Masalama – Goodbye

Aywah – Ok

Afwan – You’re welcome

Asif – Sorry

Yasar – Left

Yameen – Right

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(Image credits: iStock by Getty Images)