Qatar is a Muslim country. A few rules must be followed:
- Use greetings / formalities, it’s impolite to start discussing with people without using greetings first.
- Dress modestly, it’s better to cover shoulders, arms, knees and avoid transparent clothes.
- Use your right hand to eat and drink.
- Watch out for separate counters and sections for women in banks and utilities.
- Wait for shaking hands with people. Handshakes are often refused to members of the opposite sex.
- Do not ask an Arab lady for information or directions if you are a man.
- Do not refuse the welcome coffee, since it is a hospitality symbol.
- Do not take photographs without permission of people or sensitive sites.
- Do not stare at people closely, it is considered impolite.
- Do not sit with the soles of your shoes/feet facing towards your Qatari hosts, it is an insult.
Most Qatari feel honored to see their guests speaking a few words in Arabic, so learn the basics:
- Hello / Welcome = marhaba or ya hala
- Peace be upon you = assalam alaykum
- And upon you be peace = wa’alaykum salam
- Good morning / Good afternoon = sabah al khair / massa al khair
- Goodbye, Go in peace = ma’a salaamah
- How are you? = kaif haalak?
- Please = min fadlak
- Thank you = shukran
- God willing = insh’Allah
- Yes / No = na’am or aiwa / la
- Congratulations = mabrook
- On your right / On your left = ala yameenak / ala shamalak
- 0 / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 100 / 1,000 = sifr / wahad / ithnain / thalatha / arba’a / khamsa / sitta / saba’a / thamanya / tissa’a / a’ashara / mi’a / elf
- Sunday / Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday / Saturday= yum al ahad / yum al ithnain / yum al thalatha / yum al arba’a / yum al khamees / yum al jum’a / yum al sabt
Practical information about Qatar
Here is some advice when living in Qatar:
Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Use a high-factor sunblock on you exposed skin and wear a hat/cap.
Take along a light jacket with you since air-conditioning is used everywhere.
Bargain with shopkeepers in the souqs.
Be careful with alcohol. Drunkenness & drunk-driving are strictly prohibited (as well as drug consumption).
The work week is from Sunday to Thursday (Fridays and Saturdays are days off).
Government offices are open from 7.00am to 2.00pm.
Shop opening hours are 8.30am – 12.30pm and 4.00pm – 9.00pm.
Driving in Qatar
Upon arrival in Qatar, visitors can drive for one week with their valid national driving license.
After approval by the Traffic Department within 7 days of their arrival in the country, drivers can use an international driving license for up to six months. After this 7-day period, they must apply for either a temporary (for rental cars only) or permanent Qatari license.
No compulsory vaccine for visiting Qatar, but hepatitis A and B are recommended, and be sure about diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis vaccines.
To avoid the risk of dehydration, it is necessary to drink enough water every day (Tap water is generally safe to drink).
Newspaper: There are three local English newspapers Gulf Times, The Peninsula and Qatar Tribune, plus The International New York Times. Arabic dailies published in Qatar are Al Arab, Al-Sharq, Al-Rayah and Al Watan.
Television: Al Jazeera is the most watched news channel and is broadcast in Arabic and English. The BBC World service is also available.
Radio: QBS radio is in English on 97.5 FM.
"Karwa" Taxis are operated by Mowasalat and are well-known for their turquoise green color. They are all modern, air-conditioned and their drivers wear a uniform. Expect delays during rush hour.
For booking a taxi, please dial (+974) 4458 8888 (7 days a week – 24h/24 – Booking fee: 4QR).
More information: « Travel to Milipol Qatar ».
Between tradition and modernity, Qatar is a pleasant tourist destination with plenty of sites to visit and a lot of cultural and natural treasures to discover. More information: « Tourism ».
Residents of 33 approved countries (including the UK & Ireland, most of continental Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia & New Zealand) and other GCC countries can obtain their tourist visa (valid one month), which is issued upon arrival in Qatar. Travelers from other countries must apply for a visa at a Qatar embassy before they arrive in the country.
Download your travel guide to Qatar: Welcome to Qatar