Doha is a city of two worlds: look in one direction and you’ll find skyscrapers soaring towards the clouds; look to the other and you’ll hear the Azaan (call to prayer) from a nearby mosque. The balance between the ancient traditions and cultures of karak tea drinking and shisha-pipe smoking and the world of technology and commerce is a delicate one.
Qatar prides itself on how safe it is. Whether you’re male or female, young or old, living in Doha is really easy living when it comes to safety. Getting into a cab at an odd hour is stress-free, as is walking around the streets at night. It’s probably why most places stay open as late as they do. In fact, there are cell phone charging stations dotted throughout certain places in the city, like the Corniche for example, where people leave their phones on charge and take a walk or a run and find their phones right where they left them when they return!
Living in Doha will turn you into a foodie by default. The culture of Doha is heavily wrapped up in food, as families and friends can be found dining at the city’s many restaurants and cafés. From brunch and high tea to casual eating or haute cuisine, you will find an enormous variety of food in the city. Arabic food such as mixed grills, kibbeh, machboos and malabiyah are all easily available, and while the Arabic selection is extensive, Indian, Sri Lankan, Chinese and Mexican, to name just a few, are also easy to find.
One of the best things about living in Qatar is that you will no doubt get caught up in the beautiful Arabic language. This includes using words like habibti, (‘dear’, female), khalas (‘finish’), la (‘no’) and inshallah (‘if God wills it’) on a daily basis. These words all become second nature once you get the hang of it.
With Qatar hosting the World Cup in 2022, Doha is already the talk of the town, with massive developments taking place and new people moving to the city all the time. From one day to the next there is new infrastructure, new roads and even new cities being built, and this adds to the charm of living here – it’s always changing.
Living in Doha means you can make friends, who quickly become like family, with people from around the world. Due to the sheer number of expats living in Qatar, many without the luxury of a nuclear family nearby, people tend to open up a lot more quickly, and building a network of support is quite easy… the best part is that these people are from a global community who are likely to become lifelong friends.
Doha is in the middle of the world, so if you are looking for a city that allows you to travel to other countries, this is it. Places like Goa, Colombo and Istanbul are all accessible in just a few hours, and if you looking to explore the Middle East, cities like Amman, Muscat and Beirut are a short flight away. Living in Doha means you will have access to myriad travel options.
Doha is developing at a rapid rate thanks to its natural resources of gas and oil, but its people are savvy, too, when it comes to development. This can be seen in the ever-changing spaces of Doha. Most recently, it launched the Qatar National Library, paying homage to its East-meets-West culture and stocking books, comics and religious scriptures all in one place. Qatar will soon launch the Qatar National Museum and is currently working on launching Sidra Medicine, a state-of-the-art hospital in Doha. From one day to the next you can see and feel the face of the city changing and that palpability is thanks to its rapidly developing economy.
Doha is the perfect place for art fanatics to live. The city is home to numerous museums and galleries, sponsored by the Qatar Museums Authority, which brings in hundreds of global contemporary artists as well as exhibiting traditional pieces and a host of ancient Islamic art. Locals might find themselves going from knowing absolutely nothing about the art world to having names like Ai Weiwei and Richard Serra rolling off their tongues. Aside from the major names that showcase here, you will also get to grips with art in its many shapes and forms, from film to tapestry.