"Doha - The Big Tree" Top 5 Page for this destination Doha by jungles

Doha Travel Guide: 599 reviews and 1,827 photos

My New Home

I'm told that the word "Doha" actually means "The Big Tree." I'm not sure how it got this name; just about the only trees here are the date palms which are no bigger than date palms anywhere else.

As you're flying into Doha, the first thing you notice is definitely not the trees. What you will notice is that it's a bunch of squat, whitewashed buildings stuck in the middle of absolutely nothing. There's nothing but sand and water for as far as the eye can see. Once you get down on the ground and start to explore a bit, though, you'll find the country is not quite as empty as it appears from the air. The longer I've been here the more I've discovered, and while Qatar's sights will never attract throngs of tourists, they are interesting enough to warrant a visit if you're in the area.

Qatar's economy is booming right now because of its huge gas reserves. It is set to become the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, which is why it's also well on its way to having the highest per capita income in the world.

Qatar is the only country whose name begins with the letter "Q," but it's not really a "Q," it's actually a "qaaf," which is an Arabic letter that has no English equivalent. The correct pronunciation of Qatar is somewhere between "cutter" and "gutter," but definitely not "cuTAR" (this actually means "train" in Arabic).

Doha is basically one huge construction site right now as the whole city is trying to get ready to host the 15th Asian Games in December 2006. The Asian Games probably doesn't mean much to you if you're not from Asia, but it's the second largest sporting event in the world after the Olympics. This is meant to be the event that puts Doha on the map, as the city is trying to bill itself as the next Dubai. I'm afraid they still have a long way to go though before they catch up with their glitzier neighbour. Tourism is still pretty much unknown here; when people come to Doha it's usually for business reasons. Even so, there are a few things to keep you occupied if you find yourself here. For more info see the tips on this page, or for things to see outside Doha see my Qatar page.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:safe, clean, sunny, good shopping
  • Cons:not much nightlife, alcohol expensive, not many cultural activities
  • In a nutshell:Dubai's (Very) Little Sister
  • Intro Updated Apr 28, 2006
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Reviews (28)

Comments (26)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2009 at 6:44 AM

    Hi, Wendy, thanks for your interesting description of that faraway place...

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Feb 5, 2007 at 10:56 PM

    Hello dear "neighbour" :-) Great pages here Wendy, superb tips! Good to see that your zoo is better than ours! We also have an "Aussie Legends" here at Rygdes. Doha is so underestimated, but it looks lovely. Greetings from Dubai :-) Jess

  • uglyscot's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2007 at 1:46 AM

    i was told that Qatar is growing fast. When I first visited it was like an overgrown village, then the shopping malls arrived.... next?An imitation Dubai from all accounts, and Palm Island has gone!

  • victorwkf's Profile Photo
    Dec 5, 2006 at 6:15 AM

    Great tips and photos of Doha, you must be busy watching the asian games there right now :)

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Nov 30, 2006 at 5:41 PM

    Great pic of Big Orry - Doha 2006 Asian Games mascot. Doha is the place to be on Dec 1. Have a great opening night. I'll be watching... from lvie tv. Cheers from Penang.

  • barryg23's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2006 at 12:49 AM

    Enjoyed reading your page on Doha, I don't know this part of the world at all but i'd love to visit. Must be an interesting place to live. Hope you enjoy the Asian games.

  • lmkluque's Profile Photo
    Oct 18, 2006 at 10:20 AM

    Well written Wendy! Enjoyed touring Doha with you and your fascinating photos!!

  • MM212's Profile Photo
    Sep 25, 2006 at 10:28 AM

    Great tips and insight. Wish I had seen your pages before my trip last May. Thanks for posting.

  • Sep 19, 2006 at 3:36 AM

    Who are the Al-Amaniya? hehehe I never heard of special celebrations for a specific family in Qatar.

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Aug 9, 2006 at 10:45 PM

    Very interesting glimpse into a place I doubt I'll ever see.

jungles Used To Live Here!


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