If you’ve never traveled to Qatar before, you’ll be stoked to hear they’ve just opened their doors to a bunch of new countries by doing away with Visa Requirements, with South Africa being one of them.
So, to celebrate their new Visa-Free Travel for South Africans, the Qatar Tourism Board and Qatar Airways invited Carlinn and I to come experience just a taste of what this culture rich country has to offer.
We were quite pleasantly surprised because for it’s size, Qatar has a LOT to offer tourists from beautiful museums to exhilarating desert safari tours that are sure to get your adrenaline pumping.
5 Incredible Experiences to do in Qatar if you’ve just got 72 Hours to Explore
In the 72 Hours we spent exploring the Qatari capital of Doha and it’s surrounds, we saw a fair amount of what this country will be offering tourists visiting the country in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
It’s for this reason that I’ve decided to put together this quick guide on what you can do when you on your visit.
1. Explore Doha’s Tastes, Smells and Sales at the Souq Waqif
Before we made our way to Doha, I’d been told so many amazing things about Souq’s in Middle East countries, so when I got to experience it first hand it was amazing.
The narrow streets are like a maze of sights, sounds and smells that one can easily get lost in.
Inside the Souq, you can find anything and everything from locally made food and crafts, to gold rings and even animals.
Just on the outskirts of Souq Waqif is a Turkish Ice-Cream stand that you really need to try out if you visit, quite simply just for the experience and games he plays with you in order to get your delicious treat.
2. Marvel exquisite symmetry at the Museum of Islamic Art
If there is something I’ll never forget about Doha, it is how symmetrical everything inside, and outside the Museum of Islamic Art is.
This building is one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever had the privilege of walking around.
There is a lot of art to marvel on too, which I didn’t take any photos of, so make sure you go yourself and see what I am talking about.
3. Look onto Doha from the water on board a Traditional Dhow Cruise
Historians don’t quite know who invented the Dhow Boats, the Arabs or the Indians, but what they do know is that these vessels were used for fishing, pearl diving and more back in the day.
Today, they are used as cruises that you can do either during the day or at night when they are lit up with fluorescent lights and have some pretty spectacular views of Doha from the waters of the Persian Gulf.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get a Dhow with some incredible tunes on it, like we did. The mix of music was a variety ranging from traditional Arabic Dance music, all the way to the Venga Boys!
Seriously, this is a lot of fun and a great way of seeing Doha from a slightly different perspective.
4. Get your adrenaline pumping on a Desert Safari Tour
One of the most exhilarating experiences we had during our time in Qatar, was the Desert Safari Tour in what could probably be classed as the National Qatari Car, the Toyota Land Cruiser, and oh boy did our drivers know how to handle these vehicles on the dunes.
The trip into the desert takes about 45 minutes from Doha depending on Traffic and on arrival, you are greeted by local Camel Herders who can take you on a desert tour by camel back, but I’d highly recommend doing it in a Land Cruiser if you want to get your adrenaline pumping.
If you’ve got time, make sure to book a Desert Safari Camp experience too, so you can eat a locally made meal and sleep in a luxurious 5-Star tent in the middle of the desert after your safari tour.
5. Witness pure Qatari Culture at the Katara Cultural Village
The Katara Cultural Village is full of life and traditional buildings and mosques that left Carlinn and I completely speechless because we arrived during one of many annual festivals. There were so many locals singing, dancing and pretty much just doing their thing and it was all really beautiful to witness for ourselves.
In terms of the locals, they are all really friendly and always willing to have their photos taken, but I’d say always ask if they are okay with it, rather than snapping away because candid photos of the women are not part of the culture and it can be regarded as disrespectful.
Also, if you’re a female, please make sure that no matter where you go, that you dress according to the Muslim culture, which Carlinn covered in her blog post entitled, What to wear in Doha as a Female Traveler.
If you are looking to book an experience in Doha, you can either get in touch with the Qatari Tourism Board or you can contact Sam from Travel Designer and tell him you got his details from Life of Mike.
BONUS VIDEOS: WATCH OUR DOHA VLOG SERIES
Qatar Airways has so many routes, you can get there from pretty much anywhere in the world. In fact, read about my Business Class Experience to Atlanta on board a Qatar Airways A380 here.