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Qatar is a small Muslim country in the Persia gulf governed by sharia law and ruled by an absolute monarch. I had the pleasure of visiting Doha last weekend on my way to Bali. Prior to my visit, my friend a local Qatari informed me of certain things to know before visiting Qatar. For many non-Muslim folks it can certainly be a cultural shock on one side and totally relatable on another. Take for example the katara cultural village, it has everything from IMAX cinemas to the mosque. Then consider the weather and how covered up people are, it can be mind boggling.

Qatar

If you’ve been watching the news you will have heard about Qatar being shunned by other middle eastern countries. Economically Qatar will be affected because practically everything is imported but as a tourist do not fear. I am sure all hotels and markets are stocking up and hopefully this nonsense will be sorted soon.  With that being said, if you ever consider visiting Qatar here are some things to know.

{1} Dress code

As it’s a Muslim country, there is a certain expectation on dress code for both qatari and foreigners. Women should be well covered up, wear clothes reaching you knees and cover your shoulders. Men also cover up as much as women but underneath everyone dresses like the rest of us. It can be mind boggling especially with the kind of weather Qatar hosts. Clothes are made from materials that protect both the skin from the sun and men’s prying eyes. For foreigners think to pack clothes made from light materials but not too tight. Pack lose trousers and tank tops then use a sarong to cover your shoulders in public places.

{2} Alcohol 🍺 🍸 🍹

Qatar does not allows you to bring alcohol into the country but make no mistake there is alcohol in Qatar. Alcohol is available in certain hotel bars but it’s widely expensive.

Visiting Qatar

Visiting Qatar

{3} Public affections

Those of us who like public show of affections it is a no no, nothing like passionate kissing. I think this for some this can be strange but I believe in respecting the law of the land. Remember to keep the passionate kissing and hugging for your hotel rooms. Also non married people staying together in a hotel if frowned upon and punishable. Though they don’t specifically ask for marriage certificates it’s best to behave when visiting Qatar as other Arab states.

{4} Extreme Temperatures

I was born in a hot country and spend over 15 years in one but even I found Qatar to be way too hot. Don’t get me wrong it’s lovely but be prepared to feel the wrath of the desert with the extremes of temperatures. Also do not be fooled by the airport and hotels which are well conditioned like I was because it doesn’t feel like that outside. At one point I couldn’t breath because the heat was too much then add on the dress code. I still wouldn’t change the experience for the world but you’ve been warned. 

{5} Public transport

Public transport is really cheap because it’s owned by the state and not by anyone one company. Qatar even has its own version of über which many people make use of after a good night on the town. I love the idea that the public transport is extremely cheap. Even taxis in Qatar are very affordable and it’s easy to catch one or call for one.

I am sure Qatari people or expats can add more to this list but after only 8+ hours in the city this is all I can offer. For me these are the five things you should know before visiting Qatar.

Read the full original post here authored by Miranda Malanga. You can visit her blog here.

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