A Perfect Day in Doha

A perfect day in Doha may involve a trip to the desert for the thrill of dune bashing and a swim, or a few hours shopping for traditional souvenirs at Souq Waqif, or breakfast, lunch, and dinner at three of the many fine cuisine restaurants in the city, or a visit to the Museum of Islamic Art or to the private collection of Sheikh Faisal, or a leisurely walk along the corniche, or window shopping for luxury cars at The Pearl, or a dhow dinner cruise. The options are endless.

Al Waab St, Doha, Qatar
Go shopping at Villagio Mall, an opulent Venetian-style shopping mall traversed by water canals and a fleet of gondolas offering rides to the shoppers. The Mall is inconspicuously partitioned into two sections: one geared to cater to middle class patrons which resembles an elegant shopping mall in the USA, and the exclusive side with high-end boutiques (Cavalli, Roles, Versace, Louis Vuitton, etc), French restaurants and designer jewelries, all under a lavish glass dome and flanked by balconies evocative of an old Italian town.
Al Souq, Doha, Qatar
Souq Waqif is one of the top tourist destinations in Doha and one of the most traditional markets in the region. A hundred years ago, this was the place where the Bedouins traded livestock, spices and general goods, but now, the old souq has been restored and the new one looks like a 19th-century Qatari market, with mud shops, exposed wooden beams, antique shops, modern art galleries, a wide variety of restaurants, and divan-like outdoor cafes to smoke shisha and drink chai-karak, the local tea. This is the perfect place to look for traditional Qatari clothing for men and women, spices, antiques, pearls, and oud--an incense as well as a perfume made from agarwood. The market is patrolled by the Heritage Police Officers who wear uniforms from the 1940s and ride regal Arabian horses. As any traditional market, bargaining is expected. Most of the shops in the souq close around 1pm and reopen at 4pm, but the many cafes and restaurants remain open all day.
Al Corniche St, Doha, Qatar
Grab breakfast at the Sheraton Hotel, located at the south-eastern end of the corniche. This newly-refurbished hotel, also known as The Pyramid of the Gulf because it’s shaped like an Aztec pyramid, offers breathtaking views of the bay and the city. Plus what a better way to start your day than having a scrumptious breakfast at one of the oldest iconic landmarks of the city?
Al Asmakh St, Doha, Qatar
Have dinner at Al-Mourjan, the only restaurant on the Corniche, located right under the gigantic Oryx statue. You can eat inside, but it would be a shame if you do, for the real treat of Al-Mourjan is the outdoor eating area placed out into the water. At high tide, the steps leading to the tables are covered in water, giving its visitors the illusion on floating while they eat. The place is expensive, exclusive, it exudes Arabian glamour, the food is scrumptious, the service is speedy and friendly, and the view of the ocean and beyond is out of this world. If you only have one day in Doha, this is the place to watch the sunset while feasting on Al Mourjan’s Arabian cuisine.
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