Smaller than the islands of Vanuatu, the Bahamas and Fiji, the Qatar peninsular juts out into the Persian Gulf, bordered only by Saudi Arabia to the south. This tiny country which covers just over 10,000 square kilometres boasts the highest GDP per capita in the world, thanks to its vast oil and natural gas deposits that were found in the 1940s. Qatar boasts an unemployment rate of less than 0.1% and a ridiculously high percentage of millionaires which is around 14% of the population. Interestingly though Qatar is often rated as one of the worst places to work in the world with the government blocking the formation of unions for migrant workers, which make up a staggering 94% of the workforce. Having said that, looking at the country from a traveller’s perspective, there is frankly little to dislike. Surrounding Qatar, the Persian Gulf is classed as a mediterranean sea and boasts surface temperatures of around 24 to 32˚C (75 – 85˚F), couple this with world-class tourist amenities and it’s easy to see why Qatar is known as tourism’s gem in an otherwise intimidating Middle East.
Sitting on its eastern coast facing Abu Dhabi is Qatar’s much-loved capital city, Doha. One of the most dynamic and modern cities in the Middle East, Doha exemplifies the country’s growth and is quickly developing its own unique style, atmosphere and allure. With a population of just under 1 million, Doha and its suburbs house around half of the country’s population and the city sees many high profile sporting events such as the Asian Games and the future 2022 Soccer World Cup.
One of the best ways to view Doha’s mesmerizing skyline and learn more about this fascinating city is to take a stroll along Doha’s renowned promenade, Al Corniche. The Doha Corniche spans about seven kilometres and is decorated with palm trees and well-manicured parks, while spectacular skyscrapers tower over the promenade and surrounding bay. Aside from the soothing and relaxing ambience it exudes, the Doha Corniche conveniently offers the best route to reach the numerous attractions in Doha, such as the Museum of Islamic Arts which showcases numerous collections and artefacts, significant to Islamic history.
Found on a floating barge, the Msheireb Enrichment Centre offers an insight into the country’s illustrious past and also its vision for the future. The Pearl and Oyster Fountain which looks particularly spectacular at night pays homage to the vital role the pearling industry played in the early development of the country before the discovery of oil and gas. If you would like to view the Doha Corniche from another angle, take the ten-minute boat ride out to Palm Tree Island and swim in its pristine waters, enjoy native delicacies in its restaurant, and spend hours bathing in the sun, while appreciating the landscape and the iconic structures that dot Doha’s skyline. In a city that refuses to set bounds on its development, Doha progressing at a staggering rate and we thoroughly recommend a trip to Qatar’s vibrant capital.