Welcome to the A to Z Experience in Qatar, where we will take you on a journey through the many unique and exciting activities and attractions that Qatar has to offer. From exploring the desert landscape to enjoying the vibrant culture and cuisine, Qatar has something for everyone. Whether you are a local or a visitor, there is always something new to discover in this dynamic and diverse country. So come along with us and let’s discover the A to Z experiences in Qatar!
Qatar is a fascinating nation with a wealth of offerings, spanning from its delectable cuisine and rich cultural heritage to its breathtaking tourist attractions. We’ve compiled a list of must-try experiences to give you a better understanding of what Qatar has to offer.
Table of Contents
- A – Ardha
- B – Bukhoor
- C – Camel Racing
- D – Dhow
- E – Eid
- F – Falcons
- G – Gahwa
- H – Harees
- J – Journey through Qatar’s history at NMOQ
- K – Karak
- L- Luqaitmat
- M – Machboos
- N – National Day
- O – Oud
- P – Paratrike
- Q Qatarjust
- R- Ramadan Cannon
- S – Singing Sand Dunes
- T – Thareed
- U – Umm Ali
- V – Villages
- W – Wedding
- X – Xtreme Sports
- Y – Years of Culture
- Z – Zoo
A – Ardha
The Ardha, a traditional sword dance in Qatar, harks back to the era when Bedouin tribes ruled the country. It was performed before battles or wars as a sign of valor and strength. Nowadays, the dance is often showcased during special occasions such as weddings, Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha celebrations, as well as on Qatar National Day. Typically performed by men, the Ardha features intricate movements set to the beat of drums and chants of ancient Nabati poetry. Witnessing this impressive spectacle is an unforgettable experience that shouldn’t be missed while in Qatar.
B – Bukhoor
Bakhoor is an important part of Qatari culture and is commonly used for various occasions such as weddings, religious celebrations, and welcoming guests. The traditional way of using bakhoor involves placing a small piece of the scented brick or wood chips onto a mabkhara (incense burner) and then lighting it to produce fragrant smoke. The smoke is then fanned around the room or space to purify the air and leave a pleasant scent.
Bakhoor comes in a wide range of fragrances, including traditional Arabic scents like oud, amber, and rose, as well as more modern scents like vanilla and lavender. It is also common to mix different types of bakhoor to create unique fragrances.
In addition to its use in homes, bakhoor is also commonly used in mosques and other places of worship to purify the air and create a peaceful and fragrant atmosphere for prayer and meditation. Some people also believe that bakhoor has therapeutic properties and can help alleviate stress and anxiety.
C – Camel Racing
Camel racing is a popular traditional sport in Qatar and other Gulf countries, which has been practiced for centuries. The races usually take place in specially designed racetracks, where the camels run on a straight track for several kilometers. In Qatar, the most famous camel racetrack is located in Al Shahaniya, which is about an hour away from the capital city, Doha.
Camel racing season in Qatar runs from October to February, with the main competitions held in March and April. The races attract participants and spectators from all over the world. The winner of the main race is awarded the prestigious Golden Sword of the Father Amir H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
The camel racetracks are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including robotic jockeys that control the camels during the race. In the past, child jockeys were used, which raised concerns about child labor and exploitation. However, the use of robotic jockeys has helped to address this issue.
The camel races are a free event and are usually held from 7 am to 2 pm. It’s an exciting and unique experience to witness these majestic animals running at high speeds, cheered on by their trainers and owners.
D – Dhow
Dhows hold great significance in Qatar’s cultural heritage and are an important part of its maritime history. Originally, these traditional boats were used by pearl divers, fishermen, and traders for transporting goods. Today, the dhow serves as a major tourist attraction, with many visitors enjoying a leisurely ride along the beautiful coastline of Qatar, particularly at the Corniche. Prices for a dhow ride typically range from QR 20 to QR 50, with various packages available for families and groups. Whether for a scenic cruise or a cultural experience, a ride on a dhow is a must-try activity for anyone visiting Qatar.
Read More : 10 Unknown facts about Dhows in Qatar
E – Eid
During Eid Al Fitr, which is the festival that marks the end of Ramadan, people in Qatar usually visit their family and friends and exchange gifts and sweets. It is also common for families to prepare special dishes like biryani and sweets such as baklava and qatayef. On the other hand, during Eid Al Adha, which is the festival of sacrifice, families usually slaughter a sheep or goat and distribute the meat among themselves, as well as among the poor and needy.
Aside from these traditional practices, there are also many activities and events held in Qatar during Eid, such as fireworks displays, cultural performances, and amusement park rides. Many malls and shopping centers also offer special sales and promotions during this time, making it a great time to shop for bargains. Overall, Eid is a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness in Qatar.
Related Article : Some interesting Facts about Eid al-Fitr
F – Falcons
Falconry is an ancient tradition that has been passed down through generations in Qatar. Falcons are highly valued birds of prey that are used for hunting and sport. The birds are trained from a young age and have a close bond with their handlers. In Qatar, falconry is not only a sport but also a cultural practice that is deeply rooted in the country’s history.
One of the best places to experience falconry in Qatar is at the Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital in Doha. The hospital is a state-of-the-art facility that is dedicated to the care and treatment of falcons. It provides medical services, rehabilitation, and training programs for both local and international falconers.
Another popular event is the Al Galayel hunting competition, which is held annually in the desert outside of Doha. The competition attracts falconers from all over the world who come to compete in a variety of events, including falconry demonstrations, hunting competitions, and traditional Bedouin games.
During the competition, falconers showcase their skills and knowledge of falconry, and the birds are judged on their speed, accuracy, and agility. The competition also includes cultural activities, such as traditional dances, music performances, and food stalls.
Falconry is an integral part of Qatar’s cultural heritage and remains an important aspect of its modern society. Visitors to Qatar can witness this tradition firsthand through various events, demonstrations, and tours offered throughout the country.
G – Gahwa
Arabic coffee or Gahwa is an integral part of Qatar’s cultural and social fabric. It is a symbol of hospitality and generosity, and it is customary to serve it to guests. The process of making Arabic coffee is as important as the taste and aroma. It starts with roasting the coffee beans in a pan until they are dark brown. The roasted beans are then ground and brewed in a dallah, a small coffee pot made of brass or copper. The coffee is boiled several times, and each round is poured into a small cup called a finjaan. The cups are often ornate and decorated with traditional Arabic patterns.
The tradition of serving Arabic coffee dates back to ancient times and is deeply rooted in Bedouin culture. It is often accompanied by dates or sweets, and it is a sign of respect and appreciation to drink at least one cup. The host will usually pour the coffee with their right hand while holding the dallah with their left hand. The guest should hold the cup with their right hand and drink the coffee in three small sips.
In addition to its cultural significance, Arabic coffee is also known for its health benefits. It is believed to improve digestion, boost the immune system, and enhance mental alertness. It is also a low-calorie drink, as long as it is not sweetened with sugar or other sweeteners.
If you visit Qatar, trying Arabic coffee is a must. You can find it in most cafes and restaurants, and it is often served with a side of dates or sweets. Some traditional cafes also offer Arabic coffee as part of their cultural experience, where you can learn about the history and tradition behind this iconic drink.
H – Harees
Harees, also known as harissa, is a traditional Qatari dish that is made by boiling ground wheat and meat together until it becomes a porridge-like consistency. The dish is typically prepared by soaking the wheat overnight and then cooking it with meat, usually lamb or chicken, in a large pot with water. The mixture is then blended until it becomes smooth and creamy.
To garnish the dish, cardamom, butter, sugar, and cinnamon are added, giving it a sweet and savory flavor. It is often served during Ramadan, weddings, and other special occasions in Qatar. Harees is not only popular in Qatar but also in other Middle Eastern countries like Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. It is a hearty dish that is enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike.
Related Article : Top 5 Qatari Traditions in Qatar
J – Journey through Qatar’s history at NMOQ
The National Museum of Qatar, also known as NMoQ, is located in Doha and is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning about the history and culture of Qatar. The museum was designed by renowned architect Jean Nouvel and is shaped like a desert rose, which is a type of mineral formation found in the region. The museum has 11 galleries that showcase the history, culture, and heritage of Qatar, from its geological formation to its modern-day development.
The exhibits are designed to take visitors on a journey through time, with immersive and interactive displays that showcase the Bedouin life, the pearl industry, the oil discovery and development, and the modernization of Qatar. There are also exhibits that showcase the flora and fauna of the region, the traditional crafts and arts, and the role of women in Qatari society.
Apart from the exhibits, visitors can also enjoy the Desert Rose Café, which serves traditional Qatari food and beverages, and the Jiwan Restaurant, which offers a fine dining experience with a view of the museum’s courtyard. There are also several shops at the museum where visitors can buy souvenirs and gifts.
Related Article : Best Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar
K – Karak
Karak is a popular sweet tea beverage in Qatar, made with a blend of black tea, condensed milk, and sugar. It is often flavored with spices such as cardamom, saffron, and cinnamon. The tea is boiled with the spices and then mixed with the condensed milk and sugar to create a rich and creamy texture. Karak is usually served hot and is a popular choice among locals and expats alike. It is a staple of Qatari culture and is often enjoyed with breakfast or as an afternoon snack. Karak is readily available at local cafeterias, coffee shops, and restaurants throughout Qatar.
Luqaimat is a traditional Qatari dessert that is commonly served during special occasions and festivals, particularly during the month of Ramadan. They are small, deep-fried dough balls that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The dough is made with flour, yeast, sugar, milk, and water, and then rolled into small balls and deep-fried until golden brown.
After frying, they are typically drizzled with a sweet syrup made of sugar, water, and sometimes flavored with saffron or rose water. Luqaimat are often served hot and are best enjoyed with a cup of Arabic coffee or tea. They are a popular dessert among locals and visitors alike and can be found in many traditional Qatari restaurants and cafes.
M – Machboos
Machboos is a traditional Qatari dish that is loved by locals and visitors alike. It is a fragrant and flavorful dish made of rice that is cooked in a blend of spices, including saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves, giving it a unique taste and aroma. The dish is typically served with meat, such as lamb, chicken, fish, shrimp, or even camel, which is marinated in a blend of spices before being cooked with the rice. Some variations of the dish also include vegetables like onions, tomatoes, and carrots.
Machboos is considered the national dish of Qatar and is an essential part of the country’s culinary heritage. It is often served during special occasions like weddings, Eid, and other festivities. The dish is also commonly found in local restaurants and food stalls throughout the country, making it easy for visitors to try this delicious and traditional Qatari dish.
N – National Day
Qatar National Day is a public holiday and is celebrated annually on December 18th. The day is dedicated to celebrating Qatar’s independence, which was gained from British control in 1971.
The festivities start weeks before the actual day, with streets and buildings decorated with the national colors of maroon and white, as well as the country’s flag. The entire country comes together to celebrate the day with various events and activities, including parades, fireworks, concerts, traditional Qatari dances, and more.
The official parade, which takes place at the Corniche, is one of the highlights of the National Day celebrations. The parade includes military, cultural, and sports displays, as well as floats representing different parts of the country. The parade ends with an impressive air show.
On National Day, there are also many special offers and discounts on shopping, food, and entertainment across the country. The day is a time for Qatari citizens and residents to come together to celebrate their shared love for the country and its culture.
O – Oud
Oud is a fragrant resin that is derived from the wood of the Agar tree. The wood is burned to produce a rich and exotic fragrance that is highly valued in many Middle Eastern and Asian cultures. Oud has been used in perfumes, incense, and traditional medicines for centuries and is considered a symbol of luxury and sophistication.
In Qatar, oud is an integral part of the culture, and it is commonly used in perfumes, oils, and incense burners. Visitors can find a variety of oud-based products in the markets and shops of Doha, ranging from traditional fragrances to modern perfumes that incorporate oud as a key ingredient.
Many shops in Doha also sell pure oud, which can be used to create your own fragrances or burned as incense. However, pure oud can be quite expensive, as it takes a significant amount of wood to produce even a small amount of resin.
Oud is also a popular souvenir to take back home from Qatar, and visitors can find a range of oud-based products at various price points to suit their budget.
P – Paratrike
Paratriking is a thrilling adventure sport that combines the excitement of paragliding with the power of a motorized trike. In Qatar, paratriking is becoming increasingly popular, thanks to its favorable weather conditions, wide open spaces, and stunning desert landscapes.
Paratriking involves taking off from the ground on a motorized trike with a parachute attached. The trike is controlled by a pilot, and the passenger sits in front of the pilot, securely strapped in with a harness. The parachute provides lift, and the trike provides speed, allowing the duo to fly over the desert and take in the breathtaking views from above.
There are several companies in Qatar that offer paratriking experiences for both beginners and experienced flyers. These experiences usually last between 20-30 minutes and are accompanied by a trained pilot. The cost of paratriking in Qatar varies depending on the company, the duration of the experience, and the location. It is advisable to check with the companies in advance and book your experience to avoid any disappointments.
Qatarjust.com is an online platform that provides information and resources related to Qatar. It serves as a hub for people who are new to Qatar, visiting Qatar, or living in Qatar and have queries or seek information on various aspects of life in Qatar, including culture, food, sports, tourism, events, news, and more.
The website offers a comprehensive range of articles, guides, and resources to help people make the most of their experience in Qatar. It also provides a forum for discussion, where people can interact, share information and experiences, and seek advice from the community.
R- Ramadan Cannon
The Ramadan Cannon is a traditional practice that dates back to the Ottoman Empire and is still followed in some Muslim countries, including Qatar. During the holy month of Ramadan, a cannon is fired at sunset to signal the end of the day’s fast (Iftar) and another cannon is fired at dawn to mark the beginning of the day’s fast (Suhoor).
In Qatar, the Ramadan Cannon is fired from four locations: Souq Waqif, Katara Cultural Village, Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab Grand Mosque, and Souq Al Wakrah. The cannon firing is a popular event and many people gather to witness it. In addition to the cannon firing, there are also other traditional activities that take place during Ramadan in Qatar, such as the Night Market at Katara, where visitors can shop for traditional goods and sample local cuisine.
S – Singing Sand Dunes
The singing sand dunes, also known as booming dunes or whistling sands, are a natural phenomenon found in various parts of the world, including Qatar. The sound produced by these dunes can range from a low rumble to a high-pitched whistle or hum, and can be heard up to several kilometers away.
The singing sand dunes in Qatar are located in a remote area approximately 40 kilometers southwest of Doha, near the village of Mesaieed. To reach the dunes, you can hire a 4×4 vehicle or join a guided tour. It is important to note that access to the dunes is restricted, and visitors must obtain permission from the Ministry of Municipality and Environment before entering the area.
Once you reach the dunes, you can climb to the top and slide down the slopes to hear the sound. The sound is produced when the sand grains rub against each other as they slide down the slope, creating friction with the air and producing the sound. The exact reason for this phenomenon is still not fully understood by scientists.
Visiting the singing sand dunes can be a unique and unforgettable experience for those who appreciate natural wonders and seek adventure.
T – Thareed
Thareed is a popular dish in the Arab and Gulf region, and it is a staple during the holy month of Ramadan. The dish is traditionally made with lamb or chicken, but it can also be made with beef or vegetables. The meat is cooked with a blend of spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and black pepper. The vegetables are then added to the pot, along with water and tomato sauce, and left to simmer until everything is tender and the flavors have melded together.
Once the stew is ready, it is served on top of a large, thin bread called “khobz arabi” or “thareed bread”. The bread is typically torn into pieces and placed at the bottom of a serving dish, and then the stew is poured on top, allowing the bread to soak up all the flavorful juices. Thareed is often garnished with fresh herbs such as parsley or coriander and served hot.
Thareed is a hearty and satisfying dish that is perfect for sharing with family and friends. It is commonly eaten during iftar, the meal that breaks the fast during Ramadan, but it can be enjoyed any time of year.
U – Umm Ali
Umm Ali is a sweet and creamy dessert that is very popular in Qatar and other Middle Eastern countries. It is typically made by layering pieces of puff pastry or bread in a baking dish and pouring a mixture of milk, cream, and sugar over the top. The dish is then baked until the pastry or bread is golden brown and the milk mixture is thick and bubbly.
Once the Umm Ali is out of the oven, it is typically garnished with a variety of toppings such as nuts, raisins, coconut, and cinnamon. The result is a warm, comforting, and delicious dessert that is perfect for any occasion.
V – Villages
Qatar has a rich history of fishing, and there are several abandoned fishing villages that are now popular tourist destinations. One such village is Al Jumail, which is located on the north coast of Qatar. Al Jumail was once a thriving fishing village, but it was abandoned in the 1950s when the fishing industry declined. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of the village, including the old houses and fishing boats, and learn about the history of fishing in Qatar. Another fishing village that is worth visiting is Al Wakra, which is located about 20 kilometers south of Doha. Al Wakra was once an important port for pearl diving, and visitors can explore the old town and the harbor, which is still used by local fishermen.
W – Wedding
During the wedding ceremony, the bride wears a traditional Qatari dress called the Thobe, which is a long and loose garment typically made of silk or other luxurious fabrics. The Thobe is often intricately embroidered and decorated with gold or silver thread, and may be paired with a matching headpiece and veil. The groom usually wears a formal suit or a traditional Qatari outfit called the Thawb, which is a long white robe worn over a shirt and pants.
At the wedding reception, guests are served traditional Qatari dishes such as Machboos and other Arabian delicacies. There may also be live music and dancing, and the bride and groom will often participate in a traditional sword dance known as Ardha. The wedding ceremony and reception are attended by both male and female guests, but they are usually held separately in different halls or tents.
Overall, Qatari weddings are grand affairs that are steeped in tradition and cultural significance. They provide a unique opportunity to experience the rich heritage of Qatar and witness the joyous celebration of love and union.
X – Xtreme Sports
Here are some more details about the adventure sports you can enjoy in Qatar:
- Dune bashing: Qatar’s desert landscape is perfect for off-road driving and dune bashing. You can take a thrilling ride through the sand dunes in a 4×4 vehicle and experience the adrenaline rush as you go up and down steep slopes.
- Quad biking: If you want to explore the desert in a more hands-on way, you can rent a quad bike and take it for a spin in the dunes. This is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Qatar’s desert landscape while also getting your heart racing.
- Sailing: Qatar’s location on the Arabian Gulf makes it a great destination for sailing and water sports. You can rent a sailboat or take a guided tour to explore the calm waters of the gulf and enjoy the beautiful views of the city skyline.
- Scuba diving: Qatar’s warm waters are home to a variety of marine life, making it a great destination for scuba diving. You can explore coral reefs, shipwrecks, and underwater caves while getting up close and personal with colorful fish, rays, and even sharks.
- Skydiving: For the ultimate adrenaline rush, you can try skydiving in Qatar. You can jump out of a plane and experience the thrill of freefalling before your parachute opens and you glide safely back down to the ground.
These are just a few of the many adventure sports you can enjoy in Qatar. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or just looking for a fun and unique way to explore the country, there’s something for everyone.
Y – Years of Culture
The cultural exchange program organized by Qatar Museums is a unique initiative that aims to showcase Qatar’s diverse cultural heritage and promote understanding and respect among different countries. The program includes a range of activities, such as art exhibitions, film screenings, music performances, and cultural festivals, that highlight the cultural connections between Qatar and other countries.
The 2020 Qatar-France Year of Culture celebrated the strong cultural ties between the two countries, with a series of events organized throughout the year, such as art exhibitions, music performances, and film screenings. In the past, the program has also been dedicated to other countries, such as India, Russia, Germany, China, Turkey, and Brazil, showcasing Qatar’s diverse cultural connections around the world.
These events provide a unique opportunity for people to learn about different cultures, traditions, and art forms, and promote cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.
Z – Zoo
There are several wildlife and nature reserves in Qatar where visitors can observe and learn about the local flora and fauna. Some of the popular ones include:
- Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation: This is a private wildlife sanctuary that focuses on the conservation and breeding of endangered species such as Arabian oryx, sand gazelles, and other animals. Visitors can take a guided tour of the reserve and learn about the conservation efforts.
- Al Khor Park: The park has a small zoo with a collection of animals such as camels, ostriches, peacocks, and other birds. There is also a petting zoo where children can interact with domestic animals such as goats, rabbits, and ducks.
- Aspire Park: This is the largest park in Doha and has a small zoo area with a few animals such as deer, gazelles, and ducks. There is also a lake where visitors can rent paddle boats and enjoy the scenery.
- Ras Abrouq Nature Reserve: This is a protected area located on the western coast of Qatar that is home to various wildlife such as desert foxes, sand cats, and birds. Visitors can take guided tours of the reserve and enjoy the scenic desert landscapes.
These are just a few examples of the wildlife reserves and parks in Qatar that visitors can explore to learn more about the local fauna and flora.
Additionally we say in brief
From A to Z, Qatar offers a plethora of unique experiences for visitors and residents alike.
A – Admire the stunning architecture of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha.
B – Bask in the sun at one of Qatar’s beautiful beaches, like Katara Beach or Fuwairit Beach.
C – Cruise along the Doha Corniche on a traditional dhow boat.
D – Delight in the delicious Qatari cuisine, like machboos, thareed, and umm ali.
E – Explore the historic Al Zubarah Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
F – Fulfill your need for speed by dune bashing in the desert or taking a high-speed drive on the Losail International Circuit.
G – Get up close and personal with marine life at the Doha Aquarium.
H – Hike through the beautiful sand dunes of the Inland Sea.
I – Immerse yourself in traditional Qatari culture at the Katara Cultural Village.
J – Journey back in time at one of Qatar’s many deserted fishing villages.
K – Kayak along the beautiful coastline of Qatar.
L – Learn about Qatar’s history at the National Museum of Qatar.
M – Marvel at the stunning architecture of the State Grand Mosque.
N – Navigate the waters of the Arabian Gulf on a sailing excursion.
O – Observe the unique wildlife at the Al Khor Park Zoo.
P – Participate in one of Qatar’s many cultural festivals, like the Qatar International Food Festival or the Doha Film Festival.
Q – Quench your thirst with a traditional Qatari drink, like karak tea or laban.
R – Relax and unwind at one of Qatar’s luxurious spas, like the Spa at the Four Seasons or the Remède Spa at the St. Regis.
S – Scuba dive in the beautiful waters of the Arabian Gulf.
T – Take in the panoramic views of Doha from the top of the Torch Doha.
U – Unwind with a leisurely round of golf at one of Qatar’s many golf courses.
V – Visit the stunning Katara Mosque, a beautiful example of traditional Islamic architecture.
W – Wander through the bustling Souq Waqif and haggle for souvenirs.
X – eXperience the thrill of paragliding over the desert.
Y – Yield to your sense of adventure and try quad biking in the dunes.
Z – Zip around the artificial island of The Pearl-Qatar on a speedboat tour.