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The rapid economic expansion of Qatar has brought about luxury travel, affordable transportation, and perhaps the safest, cleanest and most organised country in the Middle East. A sophisticated mix of modern malls and old souqs, Qatar also offers pretty beaches, shallow seas, and unusual sports like sand skiing and dune driving.

The highlight of Doha is its beautiful 8km palm-tree lined Al-Corniche that hugs Doha Bay. Walk on the promenade, taking in the Dhow harbour and its Pearl Monument, the perfect backdrop for a great photo. View the treasures of the Museum of Islamic Arts, take a break at Rumeilah Park, or shop along the traditional alleys of the Souq Waqif. Marvel at the Aspire Dome, the world's largest indoor sports facility. Tee off and attempt a hole-in-one at the Doha Golf Club and bring the kids to see desert animals at the Doha Zoo.

Enjoy the beautiful inland sea, sand dunes and salt flats of Khor al-Adaid, and stay overnight for stargazing. Go camping and swimming under the cliffs of Bir Zekreet, and discover the pleasant pearl-fishing village of Al Khor.

View Qatar's ancient relics, at the grave mounds of Umm Salal Ali, and the rock carvings of Jebel Jassassiyeh. Watch the camel races at Al-Shahaniya, explore the abandoned fishing villages between Al-Ruweis and Al-Zubara, and escape the city at the picturesque coastal resorts of Mesaieed and Al-Ghariya.

Qatar is a small country, so the best way to get around is by car. Do shop around, as rental prices can vary greatly depending on the type of car. But you'll save on petrol, which is ridiculously cheap. Choosing a four-wheel drives (4WD) can be expensive, but you'll need them to get to Khor al-Adaid and other remote areas of the interior.

As befits a wealthy nation, public buses are modern, air-conditioned and generally excellent. They link most major destinations. Within Doha, taxis are metered and can be flagged down on the road. Outside of Doha, taxis are rare - you might have to call for one, and agree on a fixed price before getting on.

  • Do bargain when shopping in the souqs – shopkeepers expect you to counter their first offer.
  • Do dress modestly, especially for women. Avoid shorts, mini-skirts, sleeveless tops, or anything that shows too much skin.
  • Don't ask an Arab lady for information or directions if you are a man.
  • Don't get tipsy in public, as alcohol is strictly regulated for foreigners, and there is zero tolerance for rowdy or any form of drunken behaviour.

The ghitra is a traditional headscarf worn by Qatari men, and comes in a variety of colours. Some have a special meaning, with white symbolising purity, red-and-white for patriotism, and black-and-white for freedom. A popular tourist souvenir, you can get them at the souqs or malls.

A favourite Qatari dish is roast camel. According to locals, eating roast camel accounts for the longevity of the Qatar people, who have an average life expectancy of a staggering 97 years! Try this delicacy at most high-end restaurants.

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