Qatar Travel Guide: Travel tips for foreigners & backpackers, Doha tourist information, Qatar food average prices, eating on a budget, accommodation in Doha Find discount hotels, cheap accommodation, vacation deals, holiday packages.
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Qatar Travel Guide

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Full country name: State of Qatar (Dawlat Qatar)
Area: 11,437 sq km
Population: 1,696,563
Capital City: Doha
Language: Arabic
Religion: 95% Muslim, 5% other (Christians, Jews, Hindus, Bahais)
Government: Emirate/Absolute monarchy
Time Zone: AST (UTC+3), summer (DST) (not observed) (UTC+3)
Dialing Code: 974
Electricity: 240V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
Currency: Riyal (QAR)

Money & Costs:
Average yearly salary: USD 119,500

Budget: $5-10
Mid-range: $10-25
High: $25+
Budget: $45-100
Mid-range: $250-400
High: $450-550

Geography: Qatar is a small peninsula located in the east of Arabia. The country borders the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia. It is situated in a strategic location near major petroleum deposits. The terrain of Qatar is mainly flat and rocky. The most common features include coastal salt pans, massive sand dunes surrounding Khawr al Udayd (Inland Sea) and elevated limestone formations (the Dukhan anticline) under which the Dukhan oil field lies.

Climate: Qatar weather is characterized as being hot and dry. It remains almost the same throughout the year, except for a few winter months (November – May), when the temperatures get moderate and can drop as low as 5 C (41 F). Summer (May - September) temperatures can sometimes reach 50 C (122 F) and they are usually very hot, dry and humid. Rainfall is common only in winter; it is negligible in other seasons. Sudden, violent dust storms are occasionally present on the peninsula.

Recommended clothing: Since Qatar is a modest nation, you should wear clothes that are not too tight and cover your legs, shoulders and chest. You will be much better received and respected this way, and women will avoid unwanted attention from men as well. Short sleeves are OK for men, however shorts should be changed into pants. Women should also wear long skirts or pants. It is OK to wear a bathing suit by the pool or at the beach, but be sure to cover up when you leave the area.

Food: Qatar's cuisine has been influenced by Iran, India and, more recently, by the arrival of Arabs. Since Muslims refrain from eating pork and drinking alcohol, neither is it served publicly. The most common dishes of Qatar include the native varieties of dates and seafood. Foods grown locally, such as sour apples and fresh almonds, are considered to be local delicacies. During the month of Ramadan, elaborate and festive meals are served at night. In recent years, some restaurants and fast-food franchises have opened in Qatar.

Drink: Tap water is generally safe to drink in Doha, however, bottled water should be used instead, in other areas. Since Arabian coffee is well known for its quality, coffee is, of course, the most popular drink in Qatar. The coffee is sweetened and spiced with cardamom and served in small thimble-shaped cups. Another beverage, qahwa helw (sweet coffee), a vivid orange infusion of saffron, cardamom, and sugar, is served only on special occasions as a treat. Since alcoholic beverages are available only in restaurants, bars and major hotels, they are quite expensive. Be sure to try the exotic fruit juice combinations in some of the Indian and Middle Eastern restaurants.

Health: You should drink lots of bottled water and, likewise, take proper precautions from the sun. Take your current prescription medications from home, as you may not find the right medicine in Qatar.

Public Holidays:
Sep 3 Independence Day
Sep 10 Eid-al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) (4 days)
Nov 17 Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
Dec 18 National Day

Note: Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and the dates given above are approximations. During the lunar month of Ramadan that precedes Eid al-Fitr, Muslims fast during the day and feast at night and normal business patterns may be interrupted. Many restaurants are closed during the day and there may be restrictions on smoking and drinking. Some disruption may continue into Eid al-Fitr itself. Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha may last anything from two to 10 days, depending on the region.

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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