Welcome to the TravelPod forums
This is the place where TravelPod bloggers exchange travel tips with each other. Have a question? Ask one of our Local Experts by clicking "new topic" in any category.

 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
> Qatar Starter Kit
inasia2008
post Jun 20 2008, 11:03 PM
Post #1


Unregistered












ARABIAN ORYX

The once near-extinct Arabian Oryx now live and breed in protected herds on a farm located in Shahaniya. These social antelopes graze on the sparse vegetation offered by the arid Arabian peninsula and use their large horns as weapons of self-defense against enemies. This graceful white animal is believed to be the basis of the legend of the unicorn and is featured prominently on the tails of all Qatar Airways aircraft.



BORDERS

There are two land border points at Abu Samra and Sauda Nathil, two sea port border points at Doha port and Mesaiseed port, and one main air port of entry through the Doha International Airport.

CLIMATE

Qatar enjoys sunshine just about everyday of the year. The average temperatures during the summer range from 38°C to 42°C during the day and 18°C at night, while winter temperatures are 34°C during the day and 10°C at night. Swimming in the Arabian Gulf or in the many hotel pools, water sports, desert and city tours, shopping – a perfect location for visitors to soak up the sunshine. Once the sun sets, go star-gazing in the clear night sky, enjoy a moonlight stroll along the Corniche, or view the skyline from Doha Bay on a traditional dhow. This clean and pristine environment offers visitors ideal conditions to completely unwind and enjoy their time in Qatar.

CLOTHING

In their daily lives, Qataris wear traditional dress. For men this means a long, white shirt, thobe, crisp and welcoming in appearance, worn over white trousers. A head covering, gutra, is secured with four black, tasseled cords which have been intricately braided.Women wear a long black flowing dress, abayah, and some women choose to wear a veil. The dresses are discretely interwoven with delicate threads and patterns, each one an individual creation.The contrast created between the men's white shirt and women's black dress is breath-taking. It symbolizes the difference between men and women, while the long shirt and dress indicates the similarities.

For special events and times of tradition, Qataris don their ceremonial clothing. Decorated with elaborate embroidery in both gold and silver, this clothing has been the inspiration for many international fashion designers.

CULTURE

The people of Qatar are friendly and make visitors feel very welcome. Arabic is the official language, although English is widely used. Qatar is an Islamic state, which guides not only the religious beliefs of Qataris but also plays a large part in daily living.

Beautiful mosques are located throughout the country for daily prayers, and Qataris are guided by the Muslim teachings and values. Primarily a Bedouin culture, Qatari traditions are based on poetry and song, while amazing art is created through weaving. Using tools made from both wood and gazelle horn, weavers work with sheep, goat, and camel wool to create beautiful rugs, tents, and cushions.



CURRENCY

The official currency is the Qatari Riyal (QR), which divides into 100 Dirhams. Banknote denominations include 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500. Coinages included 25 and 50 dirhams. The Riyal exchange rate is pegged to the US Dollar at QR 3.65.



DINING

While Arabian cuisine is based on the traditional foods of the nomadic tribes who ate what they could carry Qatari cuisine is based the traditional foods of just about anywhere and everywhere! In keeping with its historic status as an international treasure, Qatar takes an international approach to eating out. Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Thai flavours mingle with those of Italy, France, the Mediterranean, Mexican and beyond. However, no visitor should miss the chance to sample local specialties. Supremely fresh fish and seafood from the Arabian Gulf is an obvious choice, with lobster, crab, shrimp, tuna, kingfish and red snapper topping the list of favourites. Meat dishes tend to be based on lamb, slow-cooked and served with a variety of side dishes.

Restrictions on the sale of alcohol means some visitors will opt to stay within the confines of the major hotels (where beers, wines and spirits are readily available) but the choice is sufficiently wide to cater for all tastes. For example, there are French/Mediterranean restaurants at the Ritz-Carlton, the Sheraton, the Ramada and the Mercure Grand; Italian restaurants at the Ritz-Carlton, the Sheraton, the Ramada and the Inter-Continental; and Tex-Mex restaurants at the Inter-Continental and the Marriott.

Common Arabian specialties include hummus (a paste made from chickpeas and sesame seeds), tabbouleh (chopped parsley, mint and crushed wheat); ghuzi (a whole roast lamb served on a bed of rice with pine-nuts), koussa mahsi (stuffed courgettes), and shawarma, grilled slivers of lamb or chicken, wrapped with salad in a pocket of Arab bread. Qatari specialties include matchbous (spiced lamb with rice), hareis (slow-cooked wheat and lamb) and seafood served with delicately-seasoned rice. Favourite desserts include a type of bread pudding called Umm Ali (literally,Mother of Ali), a sweet cheesecake with a cream topping, known as esh asaraya (bread of the harem), and mehalabiya, a pudding made with pistachios and rose-water. Breakfast is served early by western standards, and traditionally consists of yoghurt, cheese, olives and fruits washed down with strong coffee. Lunch is the main meal of the day, while dinner is a much lighter meal (except during Ramadan) and is usually served late in the evening.

Be sure to check out the renowned Arabian cuisine which is available throughout Qatar, including the Balhambar Restaurant where diners are treated to traditional Qatari dishes prepared with pride by local residents. As a note of interest, the Balhambar Restaurant is an investment project of the Social Development Centre (an initiative of Qatar Foundation). Local residents are trained at the restaurant to prepare traditional dishes in an effort to preserve the culture and heritage of Qatar. With the shimmering waters of the Arabian Gulf as a backdrop, combined with delicious traditional Qatari dishes, this is a dining experience not to be missed.

ECONOMY

Oil and gas reserves are the mainstays of Qatar's economy. With oil reserves of 13.2 billion barrels and gas reserves of 900 trillion cubic feet, Qatar has the highest per capita in the world and the second largest gas reserves in the world after Russia. The State is using the financial gains realized from these reserves to invest in various sectors, including tourism.

FALCONRY

These birds of prey were used originally by Bedouins to hunt game, providing an important addition to their diets. In Qatar today, the tradition of falconry remains a major sporting activity during the hunting season from October to March. During the off-season, owners and falcons continue with training exercises. Its incredible eyesight allows the falcon to lock onto its prey; it can fly at speeds of over 100 kilometres per hour and dives at twice that rate. An important bond is created between owners and falcons, and the birds are treated with great care and respect.

FISHING

Although smaller in scale than in previous years, fishing continues to be a source of trade in Qatar. In addition to shrimp, lobster and crab, the most popular fish in the area are the hammour. This deep-water grouper is high in calcium and iron. You can watch the daily catch being unloaded on the Corniche or visit the fish souq (market) to purchase some of the treasures from the sea.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Time - GMT +3 hours
Electricity - 240V + 6% with frequency of 50 Hertz
Telephone - Qatar has direct dialing with 215 countries

GEOGRAPHY

Surrounded by water on three sides, Qatar is a peninsula in the Arabian Gulf with its only land border existing at the southern end where Qatar meets Saudi Arabia. The entire county is approximately 240 kilometres from north to south, and less than 160 kilometres wide. Qatar enjoys sunshine just about everyday of the year. The average temperatures during the summer range from 42C during the day and 18C at night, while winter temperatures are 34C during the day and 10C at night. Swimming in the Arabian Gulf or in the many hotel pools, water sports, desert and city tours, shopping makes it a perfect location for visitors to soak up the sunshine. Once the sun sets, go star-gazing in the clear night sky, enjoy a moonlight stroll along the Corniche, or view the skyline from Doha Bay on a traditional dhow. This clean and pristine environment offers visitors ideal conditions to completely unwind and enjoy their time in Qatar.

HISTORY

Qatar has a rich and vibrant history, a history that can be traced back as far as 4000 BC. Throughout the centuries, the fishing and pearling trades have established Qatar as an important port in the Gulf. With the expansion and growth of its oil and gas industry, the port and the country maintain their international importance.

The Al-Thani family began its rule of Qatar in the 18th century and still today you can see the positive influences this family has on the growth and development of Qatar. When the present Emir, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, came to power in 1995, he brought a modern and positive approach that transformed the country into an ideal host for major sporting events and international conferences, as well as a luxurious tourist destination.

PRESS

While visiting Qatar, keep up on the latest local and international news and events through the Qatar press. Qatar-based satellite television channel Aljazeera offers up-to-the-minute news from around the world, while the five daily newspapers provide news and entertainment in both Arabic (Al Raya, Al Sharq and Al Watan) and English (Gulf Times and The Peninsula). Qatar News Agency is the sole subscriber to foreign news agencies in the country. Many foreign news agencies are located in Qatar and international papers are available, including Herald Tribune and Financial Times.

Qatar Television offers both Arabic and English programming suitable for the entire family, including movies, series, cartoons, and news reports. Qatar Radio is broadcast in Arabic, English, and French. There is also a vast selection of print media available in both Arabic- and English-language. Many magazines are available, including the must-read Marhaba. Containing an introduction to the country, places to stay, things to do, it is a great resource for visitors. Other publications include Al-Ufuq, Dohat Al Jamee Magazine, Abode Magazine, Eve Magazine, and Qatar Happening. Up-to-date information at your fingertips.

TRANSPORTATION

Moving around Qatar is quite easy and there are several options available to visitors. Limousine services are available through a variety of companies. More expensive than taxis, but very reasonably priced, late model vehicles with knowledgeable drivers are provided. The most economical method is the white and orange taxis. Although there is no central dispatch to call a taxi, you can easily wave one down. Another option is renting a vehicle from one of the many operators located in Qatar.

LEISURE ACTIVITIES

Explore the natural environment, take an exciting desert safari, relax at the many beaches and pool facilities, or enjoy your favourite sport. Golf courses, billiards and snookers tables, bowling alleys, tennis and squash facilities, ice skating rinks. Whatever your interest, there is something for everyone.

Oryx Farm and Equestrian Club: Visitors can see the Oryx in its natural surroundings at the Oryx Farm located in Shahaniya. The national animal of Qatar, the Oryx isn't found anywhere else in the world in such large numbers. The beauty of the Arabian horses is well-known throughout the world. The pure-bred Arab show and race horses at Al Shaqab Stud Farm provide a great opportunity to enjoy these horses close up. Other facilities include the Qatar Race and Equestrian Club, where visitors are welcome to view its stables, and the Rayyan Racing and Equestrian Club, where races and show-jumping events are held. Local tour operators can arrange visits to these sites.

Cruises and Water Sports: Surrounded by the Arabian Gulf on three sides of the peninsula, there are plenty of opportunities for water sports and cruising. Two artificial reefs have been built for scuba-diving and create a welcoming environment for marine life. Sailing is a wonderful pastime and several private companies offer dinghies and windsurfers for rent, as well as sailing lessons for novice and experienced sailors. A sunset cruise on a traditional dhow in Doha Bay provides a stunning view of Doha at night, while luxury yachts can be rented for half- and full-day fishing trips. There are both jet-skiing and water-skiing rentals, as well as pedal boats, water cycle, and kayak rentals. And for the extremely adventurous, try parasailing, surfing, or wind-surfing. A day spent on Palm Tree Island is a most welcome opportunity for relaxation with beaches and swimming pools. Major hotels and local tour operators can make the necessary arrangements to suit your schedule.



Golfing: For the enthusiastic golfer, a visit to the Doha Golf Club is absolutely a must. This 18-hole, 7,181-yard, par 72 championship course was designed by Peter Harradine and has played host to major international golfing championships. There is also available a nine-hole floodlit academy course and a splendid clubhouse with three restaurants and a golf shop. The long-established Mesaiseed Golf Course offers an outstanding course and has tennis courts and a swimming pool.

Desert Safari: A trip to the inland sea, in the middle of the desert, is a splendid way to spend the day. Experienced tour operators add to the adventure by expertly steering their four-wheel drive vehicles up and down 60-metre sand dunes along the way. Each air conditioned vehicle comes fully equipped with all necessary gear to ensure a safe but dramatic tour of the mysterious desert. As you travel over the sand dunes, you will get an unequalled view of the desert and, if you listen closely, you can hear the sands shift as you descend down the slopes. A lunch and swim in the warm inland sea will nicely top off your adventure before you make the journey back to the city. Be sure to bring swimsuit, sunscreen, and don’t forget your camera.

Shopping: From the large shopping complexes to the tiny stalls of the souqs, eager shoppers will find everything they need and more. Facilities like the City Centre Doha, the largest shopping complex in the Middle East, offer world famous brands plus many exciting family facilities. The markets (souqs) are a wonderful mixture of scents and sights where items are not marked with traditional price tags; haggling is welcomed and expected. Souq Waqif is the oldest of Doha's traditional markets, originally used by Bedouin traders as a place to buy and sell meat, wool, milk, and other staples. Today it is a maze of alleyways packed with everything from traditional clothing and incense to camping equipment and hardware. There are textile souqs and gold souqs, as well as the popular Thursday/Friday Souq where clothes, perfumes, shoes, fabric, household goods, and carpets are on offer.

Corniche: A stroll along the Corniche is a must during your stay. This seven-kilometre stretch of coastline runs parallel to the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf and is used by walkers and runners, as well as the more adventurous roller-bladers. It offers a relaxing environment for family picnics and a nearby park for children. Fully landscaped with ample parking, the Corniche is the ideal place to unwind.

VISA

Please follow the link to the Qatar Ministry of Interior for further information on entry visas for Qatar - www.moi.gov.qa

USEFUL CONTACT NUMBERS

Qatar Airways

+974 449 6000 (main)
+974 449 6111 (sales)
+974 462 1996 (sales fax)
+974 449 6666 (reservations)
+974 432 4121 (reservations fax)
+974 462 1681 / 1682 / 1683 (airport)
+974 462 1520 / 433 3609 (cargo)
+974 462 2999 (flight information)

Hotels / Conference Centres

Doha Marriott Gulf Hotel
+974 429 8888 (tel)
+974 441 8784 (fax)
www.marriott-doha.com

Inter-Continental Doha
+974 484 4444 (tel)
+974 483 9555 (fax)
www.intercontinental.com

The Ritz-Carlton Doha
+974 484 8000 (tel)
+974 484 8484 (fax)
www.ritzcarlton.com

Sheraton Doha Hotel and Resort
+974 485 4444 (tel)
+974 483 2323 (fax)
www.sheraton-doha.com

Four-star properties
Mercure Grand Hotel
+974 446 2222 (tel)
+974 443 9186 (fax)
www.mercure.com

Movenpick Hotel
+974 429 1111 (tel)
+974 429 1100 (fax)
www.movenpickdoha.com

Oasis Hotel and Beach Club
+974 441 8666 (tel)
+974 442 7711 (fax)
www.darwish-group.com

Ramada Hotel
+974 441 7417 (tel)
+974 441 0941 (fax)
www.ramada-doha.com

Rydges Plaza Doha
+974 438 5444 (tel)
+974 438 5445 (fax)
www.rydges.com

Sealine Beach Resort
+974 477 2722 (tel)
+974 477 2733 (fax)
www.qnhc.com/sealine

Three-star properties
Al Sadd Merweb
+974 447 1111 (tel)
+974 447 1117 (fax)
www.merweb-hotel.com

Qatar International Exhibition Centre
+974 483 1666 (tel)

Limousine Services
Doha Limousine +974 483 9999
Al Watan Limousine +974 447 8415
Mustafawi Limousine +974 467 1007

Car Rentals
Al-Mana +974 462 2891
Avis +974 444 7766
Budget +974 441 9500
Hertz +974 462 2891
Europe Car +974 443 8404
Tour Operators
Alpha Tours
+974 441 2626 (tel)
+974 441 2727 (fax)
nelson@alphatoursqatar.com

Arabian Adventure
+974 436 1461 (tel)
+974 436 1471 (fax)
arabvent@qatar.net.qa
www.arabian-adventures.com

Cleopatra
+974 441 1010 (tel)
+974 444 4010 (fax)
clptra@qatar.net.qa

Desert Adventure
+974 436 2455 (tel)
+974 436 1772 (fax)
jamal@desertadventures.com

Destinations of the World
+974 467 1200 (tel)
+974 467 2900 (fax)
dotw@qatar.net.qa

Gulf Adventure
+974 431 5555 (tel)
+974 431 5101 (fax)
info@gulf-adventures.com
www.gulf-adventures.com

Navigation Travel Tourism
+974 462 2880 (tel)
+974 462 2990 (fax)
qast001@qatar.net.qa

Net Tours
+974 431 0902 (tel)
+974 431 0945 (fax)
nettours@qatar.net.qa
www.nettours.com.qa

Qatar International Tour
+974 466 7782 (tel)
+974 466 7783 (fax)
walid@qit-qatar.com

Tourist Travel
+974 442 1832 (tel)
+974 432 1199 (fax)
tourist@qatar.net.qa

Travco Qatar Holiday
+974 441 9301 (tel)
+974 443 7245 (fax)
shibudoha@travcotravel.com

Clubs
Al Dana Club +974 4834 700
The Diplomatic Club +974 4839 000
Doha Club +974 4418 822
Doha Golf Club +974 4834 861
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
starlagurl
post Jun 23 2008, 09:21 AM
Post #2


Rolling Stone
********

Group: Local Expert
Posts: 14509
Joined: 5-November 07
From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Member No.: 103914




Cool, thanks Jo, lots of helpful stuff there.


--------------------
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
inasia2008
post Jun 23 2008, 09:50 PM
Post #3


Unregistered










You're welcome ma'am!
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
starlagurl
post Jun 24 2008, 10:37 AM
Post #4


Rolling Stone
********

Group: Local Expert
Posts: 14509
Joined: 5-November 07
From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Member No.: 103914




*salute*


--------------------
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
introducinlyric
post Jun 25 2008, 03:14 AM
Post #5


Rolling Stone
********

Group: Local Expert
Posts: 5348
Joined: 24-May 07
From: Sydney, Australia
Member No.: 56605





Good job Jo biggrin.gif


--------------------
Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful?
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
balakumartp
post Jun 26 2008, 03:01 AM
Post #6


Newbie


Group: Members
Posts: 1
Joined: 26-June 08
Member No.: 203623




Good travel blog.
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
inasia2008
post Jun 26 2008, 03:03 AM
Post #7


Unregistered










Thank you! Nice of you to say so...
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
starlagurl
post Jul 29 2008, 12:37 PM
Post #8


Rolling Stone
********

Group: Local Expert
Posts: 14509
Joined: 5-November 07
From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Member No.: 103914




Those are very nice, but too bad they're not in a TravelPod blog! Heehee!


--------------------
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post

Fast ReplyReply to this topicStart new topic

 


- Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 28th July 2014 - 11:34 AM
Top Hotel Destinations in Qatar

Al Khor Hotels
Al Wakra Hotels
Doha Hotels
Mesaieed Hotels



Copyright © 1997 - 2011 TravelPod.com, a proud founder of travel blogs on the web. All Rights Reserved.