Things to do in Doha
Doha has a reputation for not being the most exciting place on earth; however, should you find yourself here for a longer visit there is a variety of activities and events. Start off with a city tour of the city, which should take you about 2 hours and from there you will have a good idea of what you would like to see.
- Beaches. There are a number of well-maintained private beaches in Doha owned by hotels, which permit public access for a fee. Hotels with beaches include the Grand Hyatt, Diplomatic Club, InterContinental, Sheraton, Sharq Village, and the Four Seasons, with fees ranging from QR 180 for weekday passes to annual family memberships. Additionally, the Katara Cultural Village operates Doha's only public beach, with an entry fee of QR 100. On private beaches western swim wear is acceptable, but on public beaches women should dress more modestly (i.e. with long water shorts and t-shirts).
- Dhow tour. Day or evening dhow cruises can be arranged with any of the dhows docked along the Corniche. Many cruises offer meals as well as entertainment, and can be booked for large tours or for more informal arrangements.
- Doha Debates. The Qatari government has worked hard to make Doha an educational centre in the Middle East. One of the benefits of this is the Doha Debates, where top political and academic minds in the Arab world come together to discuss difficult issues in the Arab World. Past debates have discussed whether Palestinians risk becoming their own worst enemy, whether the Sunni-Shia conflict damages Islam's reputation as a religion of peace, or if Muslims are failing to combat extremism.
- The debates are always very thought-provoking and a good window to understanding the current state of the Arab world. Tickets are extremely limited but can be obtained from the website above.
- Update: The debates have been suspended, and it has not been announced if/when they will resume in the future.
- Doha Film Institute. Showcasing a wide range of international and art films, DFI also hosts two international film festivals, in November and in March. Films are screened at the Museum of Islamic Art and at Katara Cultural Village; tickets can be booked online.
- Doha Golf Club, West Bay, , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. 6:30AM-11PM daily. The only golf club currently open to the general public. QR 590 weekdays, QR 795 weekends (nonmembers).
- Drag racing, 52nd St (near the intersection with E Industrial St in the Industrial Area, Al Rayyan), +974 4450 9357/9114/9358/9113, fax: +974 4469 3938/2192. Drag racing is promoted by the Qatari government on an organized racetrack so young drivers do not feel the need for crazy driving on the streets of Doha. For a fee you can race your own car, or you can watch one of the regularly-scheduled professional races.
- Jungle Zone, Hyatt Plaza (near Khalifa Stadium). 3500 sq m of animal-themed children's attractions, Qatar's most popular indoor theme park.
- Kayaking, , e-mail: [email protected]. Entalek Adventures offers guided sea kayaking trips within Doha, or further afield along coastal mangroves and secluded beaches, with opportunites for birdwatching and camping. They also conduct guided snorkeling trips, and can rent out fully-outfitted kayaks (QR 200/day). Trip descriptions and schedules can be found here , and bookings can be made directly online.
- Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, Al Rayyan, . Horse racing takes place during the winter months, with races scheduled every Thursday beginning at 4PM and lasting until about 9PM. Gambling is prohibited, but attendees can enter free raffles to guess the winning horses, with substantial prizes (including cars). These races are very popular. The Club also hosts an Arabian horse show every March; details are published in the local press.Free.
- Sailing, Al Isteqlal Rd (West Bay Lagoon, near the InterContinental Hotel), , e-mail: [email protected]. Regatta Sailing Academy offers sailing courses as well as a range of boats for hire, including funboats, dinghies, and even two 30-foot yachts.
- Sheesha. A typical Middle Eastern activity in the afternoons is to find a sheesha cafe and smoke some fruit-flavoured tobacco. One of the best places in Doha is Ras-Naswa at the non-Sheraton end of the Corniche. Located in a picturesque old-style building reminiscient, in colour and texture if not grandeur, of the red Mughal structures in India, Ras-Naswa has a nice outdoor garden and serves decent Middle Eastern food.
- Al Shaqab Horse Centre (Just "Al Shaqab"), Al Shaqab, P.O. Box 90055, (+974) 4454 6320, e-mail: [email protected]. 7:30am to 3:30pm. A state of the art horse riding facility/ equestrian centre highlighting the importance of the Arabian horse and the detailing the history of equestrianism in the areaVaries.