The former pearling and fishing community of Doha has grown enormously since the 1930s, when oil was discovered. Though "watch this space” might have been a good motto for Doha a few years ago, "enjoy this space” is probably a better motto for today.
centrepiece of the city, Doha Bay was carefully constructed with landfill to
make an attractive crescent, along which runs shaded footpaths and cycling
tracks. One great way to gain an introduction to the city is to begin at the south-eastern
end of the corniche, at the Ras Abu Abboud street flyover, and either walk or
drive to the Sheraton
Doha Hotel and Resort, looking out for prominent landmarks along the way.
Dhow (boat) rides are available to take you around the bay and if you have four
hours to fill, it is a beautiful way to view the corniche.
If you are
up for a spot of shopping, Doha will not disappoint. Gulf shopping malls like City
Plaza appear to be even more opulent versions of American malls, complete
with themed entertainment and Starbucks. But then you will find an abeyya shop
selling women’s cloaks or a prayer bead counter next to a waffle stand that
confirms that you are, indeed, shopping in the Middle East.
something a little bit quirky? The best place to visit is the Second-hand
Market in Doha’s Najma area. It is a great place to find that teapot from
the British administration, minus the spout no doubt, or the date palm that you
always wanted. The souq comes alive on Friday, when sales are conducted briskly
from the back of trucks.
point you will have worked up an appetite. Pause for pomegranate juice in
Arabian-style Al-Mourjan restaurant and
watch the sun put a glint in the eye of Doha’s beautiful bay.
If you are
not hungry, recharge by the beach at the Inter
Continental Doha, which has a reputation for high quality service without
the attitude. Once your energy returns, hit
the night running at the convivial hotspot, Paloma
or at the city’s equally friendly cool-spot, the City
Centre-Doha ice rink. Paloma is considered one of the most lively bars in
town; curiously offering live music and Tex-Mex food. The City Centre is a
hotspot of family-friendly fun, with ice skating, bowling and wall climbing.
notions of exotic Arabian distance, and more than just a stopover, Qatar is a
cultured destination refined by centuries of history, commerce and culture.
The article 'A perfect day in Doha' was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.