You’ve always loved Disney’s Aladdin and want to visit his hometown Agrabah?
Well you can’t! It’s pure fiction. But what if you wanted to get to know Arabia? Get to experience authentic Arabian Culture and flair but only had time for a brief visit? Maybe you want to get to know Arabian Culture, but don’t have enough time to deeply investigate. Or maybe visiting traditional Saudi Arabia with stricter cultural rules and regulations for example, isn’t appealing to you?
The Oman with its beautiful capitol Muscat is a wonderful place to experience Arabia at its best, but in my opinion it’s worth taking a longer trip and renting a car to view all the beautiful scenery and beaches.
No in this scenario you want a short but authentic experience! With authentic I mean :
- Getting a feel the country’s culture.
- Traditional Settings to visit.
- Not overrun by tourists.
All of this in an environment where you as a foreign tourist can feel relaxed and safe.
My personal favourite is the Qatari capital Doha.
Qatar is a Peninsula surrounded by the Persian Gulf and is bordering on Saudi Arabia. All though the country only has approx. 280.000 Qatari citizens in comparison to its 1.5 million expats, I find it still has a lot to offer in terms of beauty and tradition in comparison to its U.A.E neighbour’s major city Dubai.
I have put together a short ,,Three Day Plan”, on ways to get the most out of this little arabic jewel
Doha offers turquoise water and sandy beaches just like Dubai, for relaxing during the day. This is how you can spend your first day relaxing from your flight.There are many little cafes and restaurants to lightly fill up on some afternoon Arabian cuisine like Mutabaqq, Humus, Halloumi Cheese etc. Many hotels have their own private beaches like the ,,St. Regis Doha” and have excellent buffets full of traditional bites for lunch.
In the evenings you can walk along the Corniche Promenade and visit the ,,Museum of Islamic Art “. There you can see what traditional old Arabian housing interior used to be like. On the way back maybe stop for a meal at Al Mourjan to sit outside by the sea waking in the amazing skyline.
If you have never done a desert safari NOW is the best time to do one.
I have done a couple and nothing compares to the breathtaking sand dunes Doha’s desert has to offer. Unlike the Desert Safari in Dubai, which is also very popular and very much enjoyed, the Doha Desert Safari I experienced was not a tourist trap. The dunes were unspoilt without any electricity pylons ruining the view. You also get the chance to pet and ride a camel. And the camels looked healthy and well-kept. Where as watching the Camels in Dubai really upset me.
Afterwards we did the classic dune bashing driving up and down the sand dunes with a fast 4×4. Followed with a quiet get together in the guides camp where we drank sweet tea and enjoyed the sea
Go experience the Market!
SouqWaqif in the evening is hands down the most beautiful market I’ve experienced. The buildings and lights are beautiful and the arabic ,, Call to Prayer” over the mosques loudspeakers is something so tremendously alien and exciting to the foreign ear you just have to experience it. Touristic shops can be found for sure, but also lots of native goods like spices and food. This is where lots of native Qataris get together. Amongst the traditional clothing you can feel that you’ve stepped into a completely different world.You have lots of different restaurants and bars at the Souq for a break and the possibility to smoke the hookah in a variety of different
After the market you can go on a Dhow cruise. A traditional style sailing boat to round-up your short trip
It is often forgotten by tourists booking trips to the Arabic realm, that in the months May-September are extremely hot. People who have mild health problems or can’t take heat very well should consider travelling during the Months November to March.