Updated: Nov 4, 2019
Back in 2018, I visited Doha, Qatar. It was quite a spontaneous trip, so I didn’t really bother looking up the rules of the country. I was only interested in the popular tourist attractions and boy was I met with a few surprises 🥴
This blog post will give you a few of the things I learned when I visited Doha, Qatar. Hopefully this post will give you a good idea of what to expect when visiting, so if you know anyone visiting or if your’re thinking of visiting yourself then please read and share.
1. Weather Warning ⚠️
It is very hot, on average the temperature is about 39 degrees.
Tip: Careful when entering taxis/cars because the metal seat belt buckle may just burn a hole through your skin....lol not really, but nearly
2. ID Checks
When visiting Doha, clubs or lounges you MUST bring along your passport for registration. Don't ask me why, but if you don't you'll be left outside!
3. No PDA Allowed
PDA = Public display's of affection. There are absolutely no public displays of affection allowed... I'm serious, they even cut out the kissing part from the Jurassic World movie at the movies and couples aren't even allowed to hold hands on public. Whew chile
4. Respectable Clothing... for women
Women are expected to be covered up when at the mall, but men it’s no where near as strict for men. What are your thoughts on this? Tweet me
5. Forbidden items seized at Airport upon arrival
You are not allowed to bring a number of items into Qatar. These items include pork, alcohol and seeds and spices and more... (click here to see full list)
Even if you just bought it at duty free, the airport security will seize the items, give you a receipt and tell you to pick it up on your way back. (unless it’s meat obviously)
6. Uber not available 🚫
If you’ve read my latest blog post, then you will know all about the apps you need to download while in the Middle east to save you money!
In Doha, they have their own version of Uber called Careem, and cabs are crazily cheap! The officials have disallowed Uber from operating in the country to protect the livelihoods of cabdrivers. Pretty cool for the locals.
Tip: -besides Careem, you can also get a normal taxi but careem is cheaper!
- They also have their own version of Uber Eats/Deliveroo called Talabat (read more here)
7. No cameras in the mall
You cannot record on a professional camera at any of the malls. Seriously, the security swarmed in on me like I stole something and made me delete the footage! (They say yo can film on your phone it'snot a problem)
8. West Bay Area
If you’re visiting Doha for the first time and especially if travelling solo, then don’t be like me... stay in the West Bay Area. This has all the best hotels and tourist attractions nearby, so staying there will save you loads since there is no need to take a cab.
I will cover this in more detail in a separate blog post but trust me, just stay in West Bay Area! (& subscribe too, please and thanks)
9. Baecation who?
If you're going on a baecation here, even a baecation “as friends”, then you might want to re-think your destination... but if you do wish to go ahead, then have your marriage certificates ready or money to get separate rooms.
The hotels are incredibly strict throughout the country. Absolutely no visitors are allowed in your room and especially not the opposite sex ...unless you're married and can prove it.
Excursions are incredibly expensive (when I compare them to other places in the Middle East, like Dubai, so make sure you have your coin ready!
It’s about $250 for a 4 hour city tour and similar prices for other excursions. Online isn’t much cheaper either. If you think I’m joking about the price difference, just take a look at the prices of top activities in Dubai.
Tip: -It’s honestly cheaper to conduct your own city tour via a careem taxi. (Most places close to the West Bay Area)
- Plan your itinerary and get exploring
11. No Alcohol
You are NOT allowed to drink alcohol in Public at all. DON'T TRY IT, you could be arrested. I mean, good luck getting your hands on any anyway...
They don't serve bottles of alcohol in any supermarkets or restaurants, you need a 'liquor license' to buy alcohol bottles. So if you don't know anyone in Doha with that.... good luck
12. Social media controls
if you didn’t already know well I’m about to tell you that the Middle Eastern countries aren’t too fond of social media. Doha is certainly no exception, so best to get your hands on a simcard to keep in touch with loved ones while on your trip.
13. Emir Of Qatar
During your trip, you'll probably see the face of a man plastered all over walls, buildings and practically everywhere you turn in Doha and be thinking, Who is that? That man is the King of Qatar who is known as the Emir of Qatar going by the name Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Overall, Doha is a beautiful place to visit and I'm glad to have visited but these are just some things that are useful to know to save you some time, energy and even money. The culture shock was quite big for me and if I had known these things then I wouldn't have been so surprised when I got there.
Thanks for reading!