Qatar is a country where sport, business and culture combine to create a dynamic haven full of masculine activities waiting to be explored. Whether it’s adrenalin pumping ‘dune bashing’ across the desert in a 4x4, checking out the largest multipurpose indoor sports dome in the world, or indulging in delicious cuisine, Qatar offers endless opportunities for those seeking adventure within a diverse Arabic culture.
Qatar is rapidly progressing, in particular in the arena of sport. After successfully hosting the 15th Asian Games in 2006 and the 2011 AFC Asian Cup football tournament, Qatar has emerged as a thriving base for world-class events. This was topped off by the announcement that the country will hold the FIFA World Cup in 2022, and an estimated half a million spectators will descend on the destination.
There are options aplenty for sports fans to sample. Head to the opulent Doha Golf Club for a round of challenging golf on the famously tough Championship Course, or take a lesson on the Academy Course with individual tutorials starting at QR 210 (approximately £36). For football fans, become immersed in the Qatari passion for football and experience an evening Qatari National League game.
For a more traditional sporting experience visit the 11-mile camel-racing track at Al Shahaniya to watch the sport known as the original ‘’sport of the sheikhs’’. Those with a thirst for adventure and the great outdoors should jump on a quad bike for a desert safari to the inland sea as the sun rises over the dunes, or alternatively leave in the evening and discover the vast desert under the stunning Arabian night sky (prices start from QR 1,200 (approximately £213) per person for a group of three, www.arabianadventureqatar.net
Though Qatar is evolving, it’s rich historical past and culture remains interwoven in the present. Experience the fascinating heritage through Qatar’s vast array of museums and historical buildings. Head to the Museum of Islamic Art which features one of the world’s largest collections of Islamic art; a symbol of Qatar’s rich and diverse history.
The Weaponry Museum is another highlight, showcasing Arabic weaponry dating back to the 16th Century, including a khaqnjar carried by Lawrence of Arabia himself. Experience a taste of traditional Qatari fishing culture at Al Wakra, a historic harbour and fishing village or take a piece of Qatari culture home from the Souq Waqif, a famous market dating back at least a hundred years. Pick up numerous gifts to take home including traditional garments, spices, and handicrafts.
A man who finds himself in Qatar for work rather than pleasure will certainly not be disappointed. Qatar boasts a thriving business sector, attracting industry figures from all over the world. The Doha Exhibitions Center features 15,000 square metres of event space and hosts a vast range of regional and international events. Similarly the stylishly designed Doha Convention Centre and Tower has added to the rapidly expanding global hub of Qatar’s business district.
International business and global gathering points also bring fine dining and accommodation services perfect for unwinding after a day of business or leisure.
The St. Regis Doha has recently opened two Gordon Ramsay eateries. The first, Gordon Ramsay Doha, offers fine dining in an intimate setting, whilst Opal by Gordon Ramsay serves Western classics in a relaxed bistro-style environment. The new openings give The St Regis Doha the widest dining selection within a hotel in Qatar, with ten distinctive culinary and lounge experiences including the first Jazz at Lincoln Centre outside of the US (www.stregisdoha.com).
For more traditional fare, delight in the flavours of Arabia at a traditional spice market, with inspiration from the streets in Southeast Asia. Other delicious specialities can be found in the Souq Waquif at Al Tawash, one of Qatar’s most popular restaurants, well-known for its signature Middle Eastern style and bustling scene.
For more information on Qatar, visit www.qatartourism.gov.qa
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