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Doha, Qatar


7 Tips for Living in Doha

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: Advice for people moving to Doha or thinking about moving there.

This is a must read if you're moving to Doha or thinking about moving there.

Living in Doha as an expat or digital nomad can be an exciting and enriching experience. This vibrant city offers a unique blend of traditional Qatari culture and modern amenities. However, adjusting to life in a new country can be challenging. Here are seven key tips to help you navigate your new life in Doha.

1. Understand the Local Culture

Qatar is a country steeped in tradition and culture. It's important to respect local customs and traditions. For instance, during the holy month of Ramadan, eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours is considered disrespectful. Dress modestly, especially in public places like shopping malls and parks. Learning a few basic Arabic phrases can also go a long way in building rapport with locals.

2. Choose Your Accommodation Wisely

Doha has a variety of neighborhoods to choose from, each with its unique charm. The Pearl-Qatar, for instance, is a man-made island with luxurious apartments, high-end shopping, and gourmet restaurants like Al Sufra and Isla Mexican Kitchen. West Bay is another popular area, known for its stunning skyscrapers and close proximity to the city center. Consider factors like proximity to work, availability of amenities, and your budget when choosing where to live.

3. Get Familiar with the Transportation System

While Doha has a reliable public transportation system, including buses and the newly launched Doha Metro, owning a car can be more convenient. Traffic can be heavy during peak hours, so plan your commute accordingly. Taxis and ride-sharing apps like Uber and Careem are also widely available.

4. Explore the Local Cuisine

Qatari cuisine is a delightful blend of Middle Eastern and Indian influences. Be sure to try local dishes like Machboos (a spiced rice dish) and Harees (a creamy wheat dish). Doha has a vibrant food scene with a variety of restaurants to choose from. Al Mourjan, located on the Corniche, offers stunning views of the Doha skyline along with delicious Lebanese cuisine. For a taste of traditional Qatari food, head to Al Jasra Traditional Food.

5. Stay Active

Doha offers plenty of opportunities to stay active. The city is home to numerous parks, like the Aspire Park and the MIA Park, where you can jog, cycle, or simply enjoy a picnic. The Corniche, a seven-kilometer long waterfront promenade, is another popular spot for outdoor activities. Doha also has several gyms and sports clubs that offer various fitness classes.

6. Network and Socialize

Building a social network can make your transition to Doha easier. There are several expat groups and clubs that organize social events and activities. Networking can also open up opportunities for professional growth. Remember, it's important to respect local customs and traditions while socializing.

7. Make the Most of Your Time

Living in Doha offers a unique opportunity to explore a new culture and lifestyle. Visit the Museum of Islamic Art, take a dhow cruise along the Corniche, or explore the traditional Souq Waqif. Take advantage of the city's central location to travel around the region. Above all, keep an open mind and embrace the experience.

Living in Doha as an expat or digital nomad can be a rewarding experience. With its rich culture, modern amenities, and friendly locals, Doha is a city that welcomes everyone with open arms. By understanding the local culture, choosing the right accommodation, familiarizing yourself with the transportation system, exploring the local cuisine, staying active, networking, and making the most of your time, you can truly enjoy your life in Doha.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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