The State of Qatar is one of the most exciting countries in the Middle East, with the population predominantly young, the economy expanding, and the pace of modernization quickening every year.
It is the home of Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel and of Qatar Foundation's Education City, one of the most ambitious and far-reaching centers for education and research in the Middle East. A peninsula of some 5,000 square miles, Qatar has a landscape of sand dunes in the south and flat, rocky desert with scattered cultivation in the north.
Read more about Qatar here.
Arabic is the national language, but English is also widely spoken.
The country code for Qatar is +974. City or area codes are not used.
The emergency phone number is 999.
The national currency is the Qatari Riyal (QR), equivalent to $1 U.S. purchases QR 3.65 (fixed rate). The QR is divided into 100 Dirhams. Most major establishments accept major credit cards; some will accept U.S. Dollars. Bank notes are available in denominations of 500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1. Currency exchange can be done at the airport, currency exchange dealers and banks.
Voltage is 240 AC at 50 cycles (As for electrical sockets, British-style plug with one grounding blade and two flat blades are used. Even Indian/South African-style plugs with two circular metal pins above a large circular grounding pin can be used.)
The country has a moderate desert climate with hot summers and mild winters. Winter nights can be cool, but temperatures rarely drop below 7°C. Humidity levels can be extremely high on the coast during the summer months. Rainfall is scarce (average 70 mm per year), falling on isolated days, mainly between October and March.
While in Qatar, one is required to dress modestly in public. Women should wear dresses that cover their arms and legs, as it is considered respectful to local culture and traditions. Men should avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts in public. Local Laws in Qatar reflects the fact that Qatar is an Islamic country, and the laws here should be respected at all times. The penalties for possession of or trade in drugs are severe, often resulting in imprisonment. Alcohol cannot be imported in the country and it is a punishable offence to drink alcohol in public, except at designated hotel bars.
Any intimacy between men and women, in public, can lead to arrest. During Ramadan, eating, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset is forbidden for Muslims. Non-Muslims too, are expected to refrain from eating, drinking or smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. There are some large establishments, including five-star hotels that cater to non-Muslims during these times.
Read more about Qatar culture here.
The Ministry of Interior offers a number of immediate on-arrival visas that are granted from the airport to enter the country without the need to obtain a visa in advance. More information on-arrival visas can be found here.
Online visa application service for Qatar is available for nationals of some countries, read more information here.
Hamad International Airport (HIA) is the international airport of Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Learn more about airport facilities and services here.
An average restaurant tip is 10%, although some restaurants automatically add a service charge to the bill. Tipping of bellmen, hotel doormen, tour guides, taxi drivers etc. are done at an individual’s preference.
Local taxis, ‘Karwa’ are available for hire. Additionally, the ride-hailing service ‘Uber’ and ‘Careem' is widely used in Qatar.
Read more about Karwa taxi service in Qatar here.
Qatar has numerous hotel options to choose from. Online bookings can be done via websites such as Agoda or TripAdvisor.
Places to see
Qatar is well-known for its towering skyscrapers, luxury hotels and impressive museums including the iconic Museum of Islamic Art. Please see links below for more information on places to see and things to do in Qatar during your visit:
This information is available for download here
Institute for Population Health