Have in mind that you should not sit in a way that shows the soles of your feet or shoes to your Qatari hosts as this is considered impolite....if you are not local.
You should also dress modestly when you are out in public areas as a show of respect towards the culture and tradition of Qatar.
I have to admit that on this second trip to Doha I felt more relaxed than the previous one I had last year.
I went to the souk several times for dinner and watching the crowds passing by I noticed that this etiquette of prohibiting tourists from holding hands, hugging in the street or wearing short sleeves did not seem to bother locals at all….at least the moment I were there! I came across several such instances and I was expecting that somebody might interfere or call the police to arrest them but luckily this never happened.
Locals were enjoying their food or smoking pleasantly their shisha and nothing seemed to disturb them.
I have heard of a case from the manager of one of the hotels I stayed when one of the staff politely told the local father of a child that his child was disturbing other guests.
The father got furious and started shouting. In minutes the police showed up and arrested him. Neither the manager nor the rest of the staff or people watching all this thriller taking place could do anything. The guy was taken to prison for one night and let free the next morning when people from the hotel went to the police station.
I guess, these rules are too strict and have been set by elderly locals. I don’t know how to explain this as you are never sure what to expect.
The best thing to do is to take precautions to avoid unpleasant surprises!
TIP: The photos show though how locals can show up in 5* hotels and nobody can tell them nothing.
Driving in Doha can be dangerous and I suggest that it is best to be avoided.
Most of the frustration comes from the demeanor of the roads. It was a passive aggressive war zone drawn along class divisions. Locals in luxury cars often race up and down the streets, flashing their headlights at any car in the way. They don’t mind if all the lanes are full. In contrast, nearly 80% of the population was a foreign, mostly male labor force. Of those foreigners with cars, the habit is to excessively obey certain laws of the road for fear of extreme repercussions.
Roadside cameras monitor speed. Red light cameras issued 10,000 riyal tickets (approximately $2740). The roads were full of tension between those driving too fast and those driving unbelievably slowly.
Finding a middle class route through town was a task of aggression; the drivers of fast-paced luxury cars are impatient and show no respect at all to the rest of the cars because it is their own country and nobody knows better than a Qatari!!
People frequently turn from outside lanes, cutting off one or two lanes of traffic in the process.
Double parking was commonplace, so was parking on the curbs. If there was a code of conduct it remained a mystery to me.
The reclamation of sea for urban expansion has altered the contours of the seabed and changed the directions of water currents in many places like in Wakrah, Lusail, Sealine and Al-Khor. These are danger zones and are not safe for swimming.
The safe ones are only those in Al-Ghariya, Fuwayrit, Shemal and the Dukhan.
It is advisable for the public to avoid going far into the sea but swim nearer to the shore.
The water that comes out of faucets in Doha is safe to say, wash your face with or brush your teeth with, but I was warned by several people there not to actually drink it. The guy I was working with (who lived there) said that HE drinks it, but only because he's used to it. He recommended drinking only bottled water. My hotel, the Doha Marriott, provided a large bottle of water for me each day for free.
First I saw this in the restroom I thought it was for men's toilet. Luckily before I was about to urinate in it, I asked the Janitor that was near by. Found out that it was for people to wash thier head before they go pray. In Qatar there's a Mosque everywhere. Even in the Mall.
Qatari drives very crazy. There are average of 5,000 accidents each day. And there are lots of round abouts. Traffic can get ugly in the city.
Don't take a picture of anything with out a permission. Especially the women. you can ask the Local to take a pictures with you (male). And do not stare at the women even thier are very gorgeous (if you can see their face) I guess that's why they cover thier face, so no one will look at them in a wrong way if they are married. Must respect thier Culture.
Qatar is one of the most stable nations within all of SouthWest Asia. People ask if it's dangerous, and that's what I tell them. Sure, there have been very isolated incidents of violence against people, but that is rare. I feel safer exploring Doha than I do exploring many of the cities in the US. The people are friendly and open-minded overall. This is usually true in wealthier nations.
In general, it's smart to assess the risk though. If you're not here by choice, and you're not comfortable with your surroundings, it's better that you don't venture out.
My philosophy: A boat is safer in the harbor, but that's not what boats are designed for.
I don't think Europeans will have too much trouble driving here, certainly not the Brits and Italians. There are many roundabouts and blinkers are not used as much or as well as they are in England. Some drivers do not turn their head lights on at night, making for an interesting night time driving experience. Americans, just take a taxi. No offense, but unless you know your stuff, don't try it.