Once a poor nation, Qatar has evolved to become one of the wealthiest countries in the world, thanks to an abundance of oil and natural gas. Its rags-to-riches story continues as Qatar becomes an increasingly attractive travel destination. Qatar’s capital, Doha, home to more than 50% of the population, is a hive of activity, with modern skyscrapers, a wealth of entertainment and hotels, plus many big businesses. Like Dubai, Doha has man-made beaches and plenty of exciting shopping malls. However, Qataris are very traditional, and old pastimes like falconry and camel racing still reign supreme.
But Qatar is not just about big city living. Its west coast beaches are renowned, and the desert, with its towering dunes, is a paradise for those who enjoy an adventure. Go dune bashing in four by four vehicles, enjoy leisurely camel rides and tuck into traditional dinners with dancing under the stars.
Why visit Qatar
- Experience a microcosm of different cultures.
- The beaches are excellent – and most hotels offer their own private little slice of heaven.
- See incredible archaeological finds and historical monuments.
- Qatar is a haven for adventure seekers.
- Visit its magnificent desert oasis, the Al Thakira Mangroves.
Like many other Arab countries, Qatar is a mix of age-old tradition and contemporary modern lifestyles. With its excellent cuisine, variety of entertainment and exceptional architecture, Qatar travel offers a selection of diverse and exciting holidays. With regular Qatar flights available, Thompsons Holidays can put together the ultimate holiday package for you, tailormade to suit your requirements.
Things to do in Qatar
What will it be for you – a taste of the desert, the modern city lifestyle or fun at the beach? In Qatar, you can have it all. This welcoming Arab country offers all of these possibilities, ensuring that your holiday is exciting and lots of fun.
Qatar offers a wide selection of things to do to keep you occupied. History and culture await in a choice of fascinating museums, including the unique Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum, which includes everything from religious books to old cigarette packets and vintage cars. Restaurants in Qatar are legendary for their excellence, and the shopping is a dream.
Things to do in Qatar
- Stroll along Doha’s 7km promenade, the Corniche.
- Learn all about Qatar’s traditions at the Katara Cultural Village.
- Take a dip in the inland sea at Khor Al Adaid.
- Shop for interesting local artefacts at Souq Waqif.
- Explore the ancient ruins of historic Zubarah Fort.
- Take a dhow cruise around Doha Bay at sunset.
- Sleep under the stars in a lavish desert camp.
- Take the kids to Angry Birds World.
- Go kayaking in the Al Thakirah mangroves.
- Have fun at The Pearl, a variety of shops and entertainment built on reclaimed land.
There are so many things to do in Qatar, you won’t know what to choose first. Sunbathe on gorgeous beaches, embark on a desert safari and go shopping, dining and exploring in its capital, Doha. Visit fascinating museums and ancient monuments to gain an insight into the history of this little Arab country. And that’s just a taste of what’s in store… Let Thompsons Holidays put together the ultimate Qatar holiday for you, your family, your friends, or as a honeymoon package.
Know before you go...
- The best time to visit Qatar is November to early April, in the cooler months.
- Summer – June to September – is extremely hot.
- July and August are the hottest months.
- Flight duration from Johannesburg to Doha in Qatar: 8 hours, 55 minutes.
- There are frequent flights to Doha from South Africa.
- South African passport holders do not require a visa to enter Qatar.
- Passports must be valid for 6 months after departure.
- Qatar is one hour ahead of South Africa.
- The official currency is the Qatari Riyal (QAR).
- Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are prevalent.
- US Dollars are not widely accepted – rather use the local currency.
- Tipping is not customary but happily accepted in Qatar.
- Qatar’s official language is Arabic.
- English is widely spoken in Qatar.
- Islam is the official religion in Qatar.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively. (See ‘What to pack’).
- It is safe to drink tap water in Qatar. Bottled water is readily available.
- Smoking is not permitted in public areas such as restaurants, bars and indoor work places as well as on public transport. Airports offer designated smoking rooms.
- Vaccinations are not currently required but check with your travel clinic before you go.
What must I pack?
- Lightweight clothing in summer, warm layerable clothing for winter or beach wear, depending on where you are going.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Transport within Qatar is excellent, with taxis & buses.
- Towns in outlying areas may have less sophisticated transport infrastructure – it depends where you are going.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Instead of using plastic bags, take fabric shopping bags with you.
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.