What you need to know before you visit Qatar

Qatar is fast becoming one of the hottest destinations in the Middle East. With state-of-the-art cultural facilities, exciting outdoor activities, and gorgeous heritage sites, the emirate caters to all travelers. So, are you ready for an original Middle Eastern trip? While the emirate makes for a thrilling destination, tourists shall be aware of certain cultural traits before jumping on the first plane. Thus, here are a few helpful tips for you to enjoy Qatar to the fullest. 

Budget your trip according to Qatar’s high standard of living

You probably already know that Qatar is a land of riches. Drawing most of its wealth from an abundance of oil and natural gas, the emirate has long diversified its earnings with investments in real estate, tourism, and luxury worldwide. As a direct result, Qatar’s living cost ranks among the highest in the Middle East. 

With 5-star at every corner in Doha, the destination certainly rhymes with luxury. Eating doesn’t come cheap either, even casting aside Michelin-star restaurants. Food is mainly imported, which means an average meal will often cost more than in the US and the UK. Plus, a 10% tip is expected of restaurant customers. 

Still, budget-wary travelers needn’t scrape Qatar off their bucket list. 2-star hotels can get tourists going for less than $100 per night. Local eateries are more affordable for gourmets, with a cup of karak tea for some extra authenticity. To make some more bang for their buck, travelers may even download some handy apps to grab juicy deals for local attractions and dining outlets. 

Respect your host country’s Islamic culture

Qatar upholds a strict observance of Islamic law. While tourists have much to discover about the Islamic faith and culture in landmarks like Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art, they must also adjust to various cultural taboos and prohibitions. 

Alcohol consumption is one such restriction. Visitors are not allowed to drink in public, much less to bring alcohol into the country. Qatar is more lenient than some fellow Gulf neighbors, however. Accordingly, tourists can sip cocktails, wine, and beer in some designated tourist facilities. 

Travelers are also meant to dress modestly. Although they must adorn a headscarf when visiting a mosque, women do not need to cover their hair in public. Still, short skirts, exposed shoulders, and crop tops are a no-no for men and women alike. Besides, public displays of affection between unmarried and same-sex couples are best avoided if you do not want to stir trouble.

Qatar enforces other lesser-known restrictions for tourists to comply with. Snapping pictures of locals without their consent can lead to imprisonment. Public foul language can be equally fined. Additionally, gambling is prohibited. Yet, punters can access betting sites in Qatar online. Experts have compiled reviews for Arabic players to find safe online casinos. Bettors in the MENA area can also benefit from valuable tips to secure their odds, from anonymous payment methods to VPN usage. So, popular table games and machine slots are just a click away.

Know how to mingle with the locals

Heeding Qatar’s Islamic tradition is a first step in the right direction. But some don’ts of Qatar hasn’t much to do with the country’s religion and can be deemed offensive without your meaning to antagonize anyone. 

Several physical gestures could get you in trouble. Thus, avoid using only one finger to call someone over. If you’d like a taxi driver to stop or a server to come to your table, raise the palm of your hand instead. Avert putting your thumbs up as a casual greeting, or Qataris might label you a rude tourist. Stretching your legs is considered just as impolite.

At last, do not dismiss home invitations. If a local wants to bring you in for lunch or dinner, saying no might put you in a difficult position. Aside from looking disrespectful, you would also miss out on the notorious Qatari hospitality.

Planning to explore Qatar for the upcoming FIFA World Cup or on an exotic getaway? Like every country on the map, the emirate boasts some specifics you should know about. Thus, research your destination thoroughly with guidebooks and blogs before making the trip. This way, you will revel in Qatar’s finest attractions and gorgeous spots without a hitch.