A Personal Travel Diary to Qatar - Our Experience
Banana Island by Anantara
Shortly after we arrived, along the waves of the Persian Gulf from the embankment in the center of Doha, we reach the Banana Island pier. Still, it seems that you are transported somewhere to the islands of the Indian Ocean.
Sandy beaches, several accommodation options, but of course, you need to take either secluded villas with private pools or picturesque bungalows located on stilts above the bay’s emerald waters.
Anantara is essentially its own ecosystem with its own spa, many restaurants and other entertainment you may want during your vacation. The restaurants here are truly excellent, as evidenced by both the award-winning restaurant awards and the many guests who come here for dinner from the mainland.
In Doha, it is worth taking a few hours to the Museum of Islamic Art and the fresh (opened at the end of March 2019) National Museum of Qatar.
The first is the creation of IM Pei (the same one that put the pyramid in the Louvre). As the name suggests, it contains a collection of Islamic art dating back to the 7th century. It also hosts an exhibition dedicated to Syria. Yes, connoisseurs of antiquities will forgive me, but it is worth going here first for the sake of a good shot of the bay and the city from one of the terraces.
The second museum focuses on Qatar: its flora and fauna, peoples, and traditions. Local history, zoological and botanical, in short. In addition to the interactive exhibition, it is worth going here for the incredible architecture of Jean Nouvel(this building was inspired by the desert rose) and a good souvenir shop.
Camel racing is a fascinating sight that can be watched on the big screen but more interesting from the car window.
A particular highway for cars is parallel to the eight-kilometer track, and we don’t even know which is more spectacular – camel races or spectator cars. If an accident occurs during the camel race and the camel race, no one pays attention and does not stop. The show must go on!
Al Shaqab is an equestrian center with show jumping grounds, stables and an equine health center. You come here and want to become a Qatari horse! For them, there are jogging tracks, a hundred-meter pool and, attention (!) A spa. A total of under a thousand horses, including graceful Arabian horses. The best of them is in the Emir’s stables.
FYI: getting around in Qatar is relatively easy. You have multiple options to choose from, such as Uber, taxies, metro, and even Doha van rental services if you are travelling in a group.
Dairy farm Baladna
After Qatar declared a blockade in June 2017 by neighboring Arab states, the country was faced with the acute issue of providing itself with everything it needs on its own, including dairy products, which were previously imported from the UAE. And today, in the middle of the desert, they built the Baladna farm, which means “Our Motherland” in Arabic, with 14,000 cows, where milk and dairy products are produced for the domestic market. An example of Qatari import substitution. In addition to the farm, there are restaurants, cafes, and an amusement park where you can come for breakfast or lunch with the whole family, and at the same time, watch the milk production process.
Safaris are organized just in the desert, just an hour’s drive from Doha – on the border with Saudi Arabia. And here, driving by car can be combined with rest and dinner at the Al Bahar camp from the local tour operator Gulf Adventures at sea.
First, you will have about an hour’s drive through the dunes, then soaring up at a sharp angle, then falling. And then you will be brought to a camp on the shore of the Persian Gulf. Here you can come to your senses, plunging into the calm turquoise waters of the sea, look around the desert. And then there will be a sunset and dinner right on the beach, hummus, tabbouleh, briani and tortillas, which were baked right here.