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Favorite thing: The riyal is the currency of the State of Qatar, and it is divided into subunits of 100 called dirham. As of 2011, about 4 Qatari Riyal equals one US Dollar, and 5.5 Qatari Riyal equals a Euro.
Qatar was long a British colony, and it shared a monetary system with a nearby colony, India. Until 1966 the Indian Rupee was the official currency of Qatar, when Qatar and Dubai introduced the riyal. In 1973 Qatar and Dubai separated their money and the Qatari Riyal was born.
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Get a phone card at the Doha Airport
Favorite thing: In Doha Airport, there are numerous pay phones around the upper departures level, but good luck finding a phone card. I checked around downstairs at the shops with no luck at all. Eventually the cell phone guy said I could buy a phone card at the cafeteria upstairs. I went up and looked around in confusion... where does one buy a phonecard at a cafeteria?
Sure enough, at the two cash registers right in the middle of the food court counter there is a sign that says phone cards are available here. They cost 30 Qatar Rial, or about 9 USD, and the cashiers take a variety of foreign bills (though change is in Rial).
The phones are easy to use, even for foreigners. Just press the button for your language, insert the card, and follow the instructions. The hard part is figuring out how to dial a local number.
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Favorite thing: Foreign workers -- or "third country nationals" -- make up a huge percentage of the population of Qatar. By some estimates, as many as 3/4 of qatar's 1 million people are foreigners. Of these foreigners, many do the jobs that Qataris traditionally find demeaning such as service work (hotel workers, maids, cooks, cleaning people) and construction (masonry, electrical, carpentry, etc). While there are a large number of British and Americans working in the oil industry, the other foreigners are mainly Thai, Indian, Pakistani, and Afghani.
Besides the Qatari state oil company, called Qatar Petroleum (http://www.qp.com.qa/), the following foreign companies have oil interests in Qatar: Mobil, Chevron, and Royal Dutch Shell.
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Electricity in Qatar
Favorite thing: The electricity standard in Qatar is is 240 Volts, 50 Hertz, as compared to the US standard of 110 Volts, 60 Hertz. If you bring electronics from America, such as radios, electric razors, computers, cell phones, or i-Pods, be 100 percent sure they are dual voltage or you will fry the device. Don't even think about bringing clocks, because the difference in Hertz messes with the speed, and things with motors, like blow dryers and vacuum cleaners, can burn out.
The plugs here have three chunky plugs, two horizontal, one vertical. Get a plug adapter for your dual-voltage equipment, and you can plug it right into the wall. Since Doha has a lot of foreign workers and visitors, adapters can be purchased at many stores in the city and they cost just a few dollars.
If you must bring something like a computer that is not dual voltage, you will need a transformer to change the power over to US standard. Transformers are heavy, expensive, and suck up a lot of power, so this should probably be a last resort.
Qatar Electricity and Water Corporation is the only supplier of electricity in the country.
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I don't even know what I'm drinking!
Favorite thing: Grab a drink at a local store and the label may not be easy to read since it's written in Arabic script. Don't worry, most American brands are the same colors and have the same logos around the world as you will see when you find Diet Pepsi and Diet Coke. If you read Arabic, you will also realize the names of the drinks almost sound like the original American names (though Pepsi becomes "beebsee" when translated.) Oh, and if you are still confused, just turn the bottle or can around and read the English side of the label.
From UAE to Doha by road
Favorite thing: Hi there, just wanted to check if you did make that trip to Doha by road from Dubai. Actually, I am also living in Dubai and am planning to visit Qatar in July 2008. I am going with my family so want to travel by road to save some money.
If you made the trip, what were all the procedures? You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
On arrival visa
Favorite thing: Unbureaucratic 2 week on-arrival visas are available for 55 QAR for nationals of the EU-15 countries as well as USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Monaco, Vatican, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Korea.
To get the visa you just go up the immigration counter and hand over your passport and the fee of 55 QAR. Credit cards are accepted. There are no forms to fill out.
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New meets old
Favorite thing: Doha is a city who is constantly growing! New buildings are rising at the corniche and the rest of the city, and new roads and bridges are build. Even though, it is still possible to see some of the old culture, and life around the country, and even in Doha...
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Qatar from above
Favorite thing: For some reason I always ends up arriving in Qatar at night, where it's not possible to see anything other than the lights from the streets and buildings. Once I was lucky enough to get a flight in the day time, and I have added a few of the pictures from when we where flying over Qatar...
Nothing else than sand really... :)
And wow it looks sooo small from above!
Do's & Don'ts
Favorite thing: Do's and Don'ts:
Do remember that Qatar is a Muslim country, and you need to dress appropriately. Both men and women should only wear shorts and sleeveless tops at the beach or around a private enclosed pool.
Do be prepared to bargain with shopkeepers, especially in the Souqs (street markets).
Do make sure to drink plenty of water, and watch for potential heat injuries, especially in the summer months. On average you should drink one pint of water for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees = eight pints/day). Headaches, nausea, and excessive sweat are some of the signs that you are dehydrating and overheating.
Do remember to protect yourself from the sun. A head cover is recommended to prevent severe sunburn. Sun block is also recommended.
Don’t wade in the coastal waters barefoot. Poisonous stone-fish frequent the shallows. They look like rocks but inject a poison into your foot when stepped on.
Do ask permission from people before taking their photograph. Many of the older people and most of the host nation women object to having their picture taken. Most government buildings, police, and armed forces buildings are off-limits for casual photography. When in doubt, ask first.
Don’t forget to use sun block on any exposed skin.
Don’t cross your feet in such a way as to expose the bottoms of your feet to Qatari hosts. Showing the bottoms of ones feet is considered an insult.
Don’t be afraid to go out at night, especially in the markets, malls, and along the Corniche.
Don’t hand over or receive items with your left hand. Don’t use your left hand to pick up food if eating with your fingers. Muslim convention holds that the left hand is reserved for “bodily functions”.
Fondest memory: Motoring Do's and Don'ts:
Do remember to keep your driver’s license, vehicle registration, road permit, and insurance documents on hand. There’s an on the spot $200QR fine when pulled over by the police.
Do wear seat belts at all times. Traffic in Qatar can also be hazardous at times.
Do check your tires often. Heat and road conditions can lead to blowouts.
Do check for no parking signs. Parking fines range from $300QR to $1000QR.
Do watch out for emergency vehicles and make way for them.
Don’t drive off road into the desert. The sand can “swallow” tires and leave you stranded. Seemingly hard packed ground can give way unexpectedly. Leave the desert driving to the experienced locals.
Don’t forget to bring your vehicle in for regular maintenance checks Don’t forget to keep your gas tank full, especially when traveling outside the city, and over long weekends.
Don’t forget to watch for camels crossing the roads outside of town. These large animals can prove fatal upon impact with a vehicle. Camels are also a highly valued animal, with prices starting at 100,000QR ($27,548 U.S.).
Don’t speed. Qatar police use high-speed photography and radar traps to catch those violating the speed limit. Fines start at $200QR. Driving through a stoplight is a minimum of $1000QR.
Favorite thing: great airline , i have travelled many times on a number of airlines my fave used to be Emirates but Qatar are far better the only thing that lets them down is the airport at Doha here can be seen the new airbus that took us from Manchester to Doha 20/6/2005
Qatar National Arabian Horse Show
Favorite thing: If you are going to Qatar in Nov/Dec, you might be lucky enough to be there while the National Arabian Horse Show is held! This is definatly a show to visit... Arabian Horses from the farms in Qatar are presented both in halter and liberty. The show is two days, and the last day the champions will be chosen... It is held at the Corniche, close to the Mövenpick hotel. It is just one of the best shows I have been to, not the biggest or with the best horses, but the people, atmospher, and surroundings are outstanding! and if the trip is arranged my the Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club, you will get a place in the VIP Lounge :)Related to:
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Qatar International Arabian Horse Festival
Favorite thing: The Qatar International Arabian Horse Festival is something you have to see if you come to Qatar in February or March (it's different from year to year), and are into those beautiful animals! There is Racing, Endurance, showjumping, dressage, and last but not least the Show! Where the finest arabian horses in the world is shown! Exhibitors, spectators, and breeders from all over the world is in Qatar this one week of the year. The show was also the main reason why I came to Qatar :)Related to:
Qatari Embassies Abroad
Favorite thing: In U.K:
South Audley Street London W1Y 5DQ, U.K.
4200 Wisconsin Ave., N.W Suite # 200 Washington D.C 20016, U.S.A.
Phone: 001-202-2741603, 2741636
Fax: 001-202-2370061, 2370059
2-3-28, Moto Azabu, Minato-Ku, Tokyo 106-0046,Tokyo,Japan.
Brunnenallee 6, 53177 Bonn, P.O.BOX: 48/53132, Germany.
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Buy One Visa & Get One Free !
Favorite thing: The joint Qatari-Omani tourist visa is issued to the citizens of the above mentioned 33 countries without any special conditions for a period of three weeks through Qatari missions abroad for a fee of 70 Qatari Riyals (19 USD) or through the country's entries for a fee of 55 Qatari Riyals (15 USD). The visa is extendable for one week through the Directory of Residents' Affairs for a fee of 70 Qatari Riyals (19 USD).
Conditions for joint Visit visa between Qatar & Oman:
The joint visit visa can be obtained from the entry points of the two countries or from embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions.
This visa shall be null and void if the holder enters any third country other than the two countries. In this case, tourists can get new visas at one of the country's entries.
Fees collected for this purpose will be according to each country's regulation ( 55 Qatari Riyals for Qatar).
The fine value for non renewal of the expired visa is according to each countryýs rules and regulations (200 Qatari Riyals per day for Qatar) regardless of which of the two countries issued the visa.
The holder of this joint visit visa will not be permitted to enter either of the two countries, if the visa is invalid unless he obtains a new one, he will be granted the visa from the embassy , consulate or the diplomatic mission of that country.
This visa will be stamped along with the other obtained visiting visa by the embassy or the authorities at the point of entry.
The holder of the visa can enter the other country directly without having to go to the country which first granted him the visa.
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