Qatar is a geographically small country where most of its land is desert. But it is one of the few countries that can provide some of the most unique travel experiences. This seemingly small place is interestingly packed with numerous hidden places that cater to the amusement and entertainment of children and adults.
For travelers who have covered most of Qatar or people in search of off-beat, less explored, unique activities in Qatar, this blog will introduce you to some of the lesser-known fun and alternative things you can do in this quaint yet luxurious middle eastern country.
Non-Touristy Things To Do In Doha, Qatar
1. Find Public Arts
The whole country is ensconced in art and creativity. Qatar believes that art shouldn’t be confined to museums. So, from right in the center of the city to the remote desert areas you can hunt, explore and find out the art showcased for public viewing.
80+ public arts are displayed throughout the country. Some notable art installations include the Golden Thumb, Falcon, Bear at the Airport, Huge Roses, and a Giant Spider.
If there are any travelers who have been to Qatar reading this, do tell us in the comments below how many you have found, and do ensure you mention your personal favorites.
2. Race A Dragon Boat
The Dragon Boat Festival is a racing event that has been conducted in Qatar since 2014. Each boat would accommodate 10-30 paddlers with a steerer at the tail and a drummer at the front. The most entertaining part of the race is watching the seemingly effortless synchronization of the paddles that rowers achieve to row the boat. But, perhaps the most interesting part of the race is that there are no restrictions on who can participate in the event.
The paddlers are a growing community of expatriates of different nationalities, that gather together by the beach on weekends to practice for the festival.
If you want to be a part of this vibrant community or even just witness the endeavors of the racers paddling on the gulf coastline, check the official website for the latest updates.
3. Explore The Al Thakira Mangroves
The Al Thakira mangroves are an important ecosystem, that produces 4 times more oxygen than any other plant(s) inhabiting the region. It is said to be the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. You can explore the mangroves by kayak or boat, fish in the waters, set up camp for the night, and even swim.
You can spend some time immersing yourself in this wondrous natural ecosystem watching 1000+ species and migratory birds. It is also home to a very varied species of fish and crabs.
Since this place is practically in the middle of nowhere, you will need to carry all the necessary things including food and water. You can also plan in a way to ensure you visit the nearby Purple Island.
4. Spot The National Animal Of Qatar
Before you spot it, know that the national animal of Qatar is the Arabian Oryx. Although it looks similar to a deer, it is more of a variation of an antelope with super long and straight horns. In 1970, the animal was unfortunately on the verge of extinction. Thanks to the government and private initiatives, today, in Qatar alone, there are more than 1700+ of these wondrous animals alive and thriving.
You can usually spot them in the desert, during their feeding time which is usually an hour before sunset. You can also see them at the Al Khor Family Park and Zoo, Al Shu’aa Reserve, and at Al Dosari Park & Nature Reserve.
Trivia 1: Did you notice the Oryx in the logo of Qatar airways?
Trivia 2: The Arabian Oryx is also the national animal of Jordan, Oman, the UAE, and Bahrain.
5. Farm At Heenat Salma
The Heenat Salma is an eco-farm and camp located on the outskirts of Doha. You can gain first-hand experience of life on a middle-eastern farm by helping in the preparation of your food by harvesting and bringing farm-grown crops to the table. Beyond farming, you can also see the animals, the majlis, the library, and a restaurant. This place also conducts workshops that cater to all ages. Some of these workshops teach numerous farm-related activities that include sheep milking, palm weaving, pottery, and so much more.
The place can be best described as authentic with minimalistic art and warm hospitality. If you are looking for a getaway then this is the perfect suggestion. Along with taking a break from your routine, you can also gain practical experience here, ensuring you have a productive and relaxing vacation.
6. Locate Graffiti and Street Art
In the late 2020s and early 2021, splashes of color emerged as beacons of energy in urban environments across Qatar. With vibrant colors replacing previously plain walls, many artists contributed to the creation of “JEDARIART.” Through initiatives and festivals like “Pow! Wow!” artists strive to transform different public areas of the city like metro stations using bold colors.
As you drive through the streets of Qatar, you will find murals and wall art scattered everywhere. This city is filled with creativity and art aimed at declaring bold statements.
For all you social media influencers and ardent travelers, all of these pieces of art make for a great Insta-worthy travel picture.
7. Cycle The Olympic Lane
The country is also home to the longest continuous Olympic cycling lane which is about 32.869 km long and 7 m wide. It is fun to explore the vastness of the city using an eco-friendly medium of transport. The cycling track features 5 bridges and 29 underpasses to ensure non-stop riding where you can average a speed of up to 50 km/hr.
Trivia 3: Qatar holds two Guinness World Records. One for the longest continuous cycling path and the other one for the longest piece of asphalt concrete laid continuously.
Hope you enjoyed finding out about these lesser-known places in Qatar.
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