May 3, 2024

The most Instagram-able city in the Middle East that you must visit in your lifetime! Explore Qatar – Doha’s 5 most eye-catching tourist attractions.

The Qatari capital, Doha, is a popular layover destination for many Hong Kong travelers, but many have never set foot in this city. However, how can Doha be just a layover city? Since the selection of Doha as the host city for the 2022 World Cup, it has rekindled everyone’s interest in this mysterious Middle Eastern country. Traveling to Doha is actually quite convenient, you can choose to fly with Qatar Airways, and after a flight of about 9 hours, you will arrive at Doha International Airport. Additionally, Visit Qatar has prepared a series of exciting Day Tour itineraries, allowing travelers to visit Doha’s tourist hotspots with peace of mind during their layover.

The world’s top-ranked Qatar Airways aircraft I took this time is in the Cathay Pacific livery, with a business class cabin designed in a fishbone layout, making the 9-hour journey incredibly comfortable!
Qatar Airways’ Business Class, the complimentary Travel Kit is produced by Diptyque, and the dining options are also quite abundant.
The Doha Airport shops have everything, remember to save time for some last-minute shopping!

Returning to Doha, the famous port located on the coast of the Persian Gulf, is the capital of Qatar, known as the “richest” country in the world. Originally a small fishing village, it relied on aquaculture and pearl farming for survival. However, with the entry of Japanese cultured pearls into the world market in the 1920s and 1930s, Qatar’s pearl farming industry immediately lost its competitiveness. Facing an economic crisis, Qatar unexpectedly discovered oil in the 1940s, leading to sudden wealth. The discovery of oil reserves completely transformed the country’s economy, making it the richest country in the world, with a per capita GDP of nearly $140,000, equivalent to over 1 million Hong Kong dollars.

Located in Lusail City, Doha’s mascot, along with futuristic hotel architecture, pieces together Qatar’s unique charm.

As long as you are born in Qatar, a true Qatari, medical treatment does not cost a penny, even daily expenses such as water, electricity, and gas are covered by the government, and the common people hardly need to spend a penny. In Qatar, the government also provides subsidies to the people, so true Qataris never need to work and can be supported by the government for life.

Katara Cultural Village is home to a magnificent Greco-Roman amphitheater, with many performances and festivals throughout the year, as well as a grand mosque. Katara is built on artificial land near Pearl Island, with maze-like alleyways and a pigeon tower.

Pearl Island is the only area where foreigners can have permanent ownership rights, with European-style houses reminiscent of Venice, Italy.
Doha’s dining scene is very international, with a variety of cuisines from around the world, so you don’t have to worry at all.

This time the author was invited by Qatar Airways to visit Doha, and the itinerary includes many Instagrammable spots. I never thought that a country with a relatively short history would have so many eye-catching attractions! Whether you want culture, art, Arabian atmosphere, or thrilling sand dunes, Doha has it all. Below are 5 must-visit attractions in Doha, so do your homework and make sure to make time to explore multiple countries on your next layover in Doha.

1. Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

This stunning building offers surprises from different angles, so be sure to visit early to capture both the daytime and nighttime views, which are completely different! The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, incorporates Islamic architectural styles, combining simplicity with captivating details that will keep you exploring for hours.

The museum covers an area of 45,000 square meters and has 4 floors. It is located on an artificial peninsula overlooking the southern end of Doha Bay. The construction of the building was completed by the Turkish company Baytur Construction in 2006. The interior gallery space was designed by the Wilmotte Associates team. The Museum of Islamic Art showcases Islamic art from three continents over 140 years. This includes metalwork, ceramics, jewelry, woodwork, textiles, and glass from three continents, dating back from the 7th to the 20th century. In addition, the museum houses a collection of works gathered since the late 1980s, including manuscripts, textiles, and ceramics. It is one of the museums in the world with the most complete collection of Islamic artifacts, with most of the artifacts originating from Spain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and more.

2. Souq Wafiq Market

When visiting Middle Eastern countries, be sure to visit the local ancient bazaars to experience the Arabian atmosphere firsthand. Souq Waqif, the most famous tourist attraction in Doha, is the oldest outdoor market in the heart of Qatar. Strolling around inside is like being in the old city of Morocco.

Wandering through countless alleys, Souq Wafiq is filled with a variety of small shops selling traditional Arabian clothing, perfumes, spices, handicrafts, and even birds and turtles. The most surprising thing is definitely getting up close to the resting camels at Camel Pen, as well as exploring the Falcon Souq with its various shops selling falcons priced at over tens of thousands of dollars.

It is said that in 2003, a major fire almost destroyed all the buildings, until the local government decided to rebuild in 2006 and reopened in 2008. Due to the desert weather in Doha, the daytime weather is extremely hot, so the market only starts in the evening, making it perfect for night tours. Here you can also taste traditional Qatari cuisine, with many restaurants and shisha cafes set up like a market street, allowing travelers to experience Qatar’s life and food culture all at once, with grilled lamb skewers, Arabic-style wraps, and the option to sit in an outdoor cafe smoking shisha and drinking tea, experiencing a different exotic atmosphere.

Located in the most famous market, Parisa Persian Cuisine shines like a palace, make sure to book early!
3. National Museum of Qatar

The National Museum of Qatar officially debuted in March 2019, designed by the French architectural master Jean Nouvel. Even before entering the exhibition hall, one can already admire the master’s stunning design aesthetics from the outside!

Inspired by the local “Desert Rose” crystals, the Qatar National Museum, after a decade, will finally settle the dust, with its white roof shapes intersecting like flying saucers stacked, resembling rose crystals when viewed from above, magnificent and surreal. The museum consists of three parts – “Origins,” “Life in Qatar,” and “Modern History of Qatar,” starting from fossil fish with a history of 400 million years, through 11 galleries showcasing Qatar’s geological and natural history, archaeology, cultural traditions, pearl diving, and the significant discoveries of oil and natural gas that changed everything.

Desert rose stone is a mineral formed in desert areas, named for its resemblance to a rose.

In addition to the exhibition, the museum park also features 114 fountains specially designed by artist Jean-Michel Othoniel to mimic Arabic calligraphy. Additionally, there are restaurants and cafes where visitors can taste authentic Qatari flavors.

4. Desert Inland Sea

When you come to a Middle Eastern country, you must not miss the desert tour!

This trip was arranged by Visit Qatar, and the off-road driver this time was quite humorous and witty, making everyone laugh heartily. The driver even revealed that he has been racing in the desert for 20 years, definitely very experienced!

The Khor Al Adaid Inland Sea in Doha is a must-visit attraction for tourists. When visiting the desert, of course, the most popular activity is to get on a four-wheel drive vehicle and zoom through the endless yellow sand desert and varying sand dunes. Sometimes climbing to the highest point of a dune, sometimes plunging down, the centrifugal force felt in the natural environment is more exhilarating than usual, as the fear of being engulfed by sand arises from the heart! If you prefer static activities, you can also try camel riding, along the way you can slowly appreciate the unique desert inland sea-like beauty of Qatar.

The most surprising thing about playing desert off-road vehicles in Doha is being able to reach the Inland Sea area, which has a rare desert-surrounded ocean view in the world. To visit, you must take an off-road vehicle across the sand dunes. From the dunes, you can see the border of Saudi Arabia and the scenery on the Inland Sea, which feels quite dreamy!

The desert is not far from the city center, it takes about an hour to reach. Visit Qatar also offers Day Tours for travelers, with pick-up and drop-off at the airport or hotel, straight to the desert. In the evening, you can choose to go to Regency Sealine Camp for a buffet dinner and glamping accommodation, enjoying the endless starry sky by the campfire!

5. Candy-colored village in Mina District

Strolling through the newest development area in Doha – Mina, picturesque streets with ancient cobblestones and soft-colored buildings, where you can see cruise ships docked and visit the fish market.

Arriving at Mina, the first thing that catches your eye is the colorful architecture, its other nickname: the Middle Eastern Santorini. Unlike the small houses in Greece, the colors here are candy-like, with shades of pink, orange, green, blue, yellow, and more. When you come here, you can’t help but go crazy taking photos all day.

Wander through winding alleys, sit in a cafe to enjoy the view, and admire the unique architecture. The former Doha Old Port has been completely transformed into a vibrant destination. After four years of construction, Doha Port now boasts a large terminal building, with cruise ships docking here during the winter cruise season. Remember to have your camera ready, as it will surely keep you entertained all day.


After this trip, I personally feel that Doha is absolutely super safe! It is also very friendly to female tourists or solo travelers, and I didn’t feel any inconvenience. Of course, it is important to respect their culture, so it’s better not to wear revealing clothing when going out, especially when visiting mosques, shorts or short skirts are not allowed. The city overall feels very clean, and I didn’t see any begging or refugees on the streets. After all, it is the richest and most stable country in the Middle East, with good social welfare benefits for its citizens, and the overall social atmosphere is very stable. Basic communication in English during the trip is not a problem, and the locals are quite friendly.

Practical information:

Visa: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport holders can stay in Qatar for less than 30 days without a visa. Travelers must have confirmed their next destination or return ticket.

Qatar Tourism Authority: https://visitqatar.com/en

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