A middle east holiday in Qatar, UAE

As one of the emerging Middle East destinations, Qatar is a holiday destination successfully mixing the old with the new. Although heavily modernised now, there are still a few areas such as the remaining labyrinth of souks at the heart of the city of Doha to get a real taste of the culture and tradition of the country.

The official language of Qatar is Arabic but English is widely understood thanks to the country’s status as a British protectorate from 1917 to 1971.

Expected temperature in April will sit around the 30˚C mark and will be hot but tolerable. It is recommended that tourists do not visit during the summer months of July to September as the heat is intense and unrelenting.

Qatar is a dry country. Most of the hotels and a wide selection of the restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol (although quite expensive to buy), but drinking outside of these establishments is not allowed. While here you can enjoy the local delicacies of curries, kebabs, falafel and biryanis as well as shawarma – the Middle Eastern equivalent of the Turkish doner kebab.

With impressive skyscrapers being erected all the time, the landscape of Qatar is continually changing. You also have your pick of the most beautiful beaches to soak up the sunshine. Here are a few must-see attractions to get the most out of your stay in this beautiful country.

Museum of Islamic Art

Standing out as an architectural gem, the building of the Museum of Islamic Art is set in the park of the same name by the waterfront. You can while away the hours inside with a selection of masterpieces of Islamic art collected from three continents and dating from the 7th century all the way up to the 19th century. The masterpieces available to view include metalwork, ceramics, jewellery, woodwork, textiles and glass.  This is a great attraction to understand more about the culture and history of Qatar.

Camel Racing

The Qataris are very passionate about this sport with serious money invested into training the camels to race and in the jockeys used. Beginning in October and ending in April, if you visit in April you will be around for the closing ceremonies. Just 30 minutes’ drive west from Doha on the Dukan road, you will find the purpose-built camel racing track and all the excitement of the events. Arabic riders take on the larger camels and 1ft high robots are used on the smaller camels controlled by their owners from 4×4’s alongside the track. The robots even come with whips and the owners can speak to the camels from a speaker. The winner of the race gets a handsome cash prize and a brand new car to drive away in. A very odd, but very enjoyable day out.

Khor al-Adaid

Known as the ‘Inland Sea’ the Khor al-Adaid area – located in the south-east of the state of Qatar – is surrounded by crescent-shaped sand dunes with some as high as 40 metres. As you can imagine, four-wheel-drive is necessary to tackle the terrain and you should not attempt to drive it unless experienced. You can also join a tour operated trip of this UNESCO World Heritage Site with both day trips and overnight camping trips. If you choose to stay overnight you will be treated to the delights of the Qatar sky at night and can enjoy a delicious barbeque under the stars. As well as driving along the dunes, you can ride camels and even sand ski if you’re feeling adventurous.

A hub of opulent hotels, beautiful beaches and inviting restaurants, Qatar is an all-round destination for a holiday in April.