The Middle East has been always been a place of wonder for travelers. With so many shades of beauty around; the endless desert around, the beautiful oasis and the modern megastructures; as if all jutting out of the bare sand. It all sounds and looks surreal. You really need to see it to believe it. And even when you see it, it’s no enough because this place pulls you back for more, and more, and more!

This was my second visit to Doha and a shorter one at that. People say it’s all about the megastructures and the uber-luxe hotels in Doha but trust me there’s a whole world beyond it. The world that most travelers fail to discover. Yes, it’s about The Torch Hotel and countless 6★ & 7★ hotels along the corniche, but it’s about so much more. Here’s a quick refresher on some of the things you cannot afford to miss if you are here for a short trip or even a hop-over as well.

 

Katara Cultural Village

The Katara mosque is the highlight of this cultural tour. Some compare it with the Shaikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, but I would say both are quite unique in their offerings and cater to different tastes of style. The intricate carving and the tile mosaic will simply blow your mind. Unlike most architecture in Qatar, this monument has an abundant of blue tiles.

The part of the culture village also includes an amphitheater and the Al Jazeera Media Cafe; the highlight of this joint are the smart table which allows you to order on the table-tops as well as challenge your friends to a game of air hockey while your order is prepared.

Then you have the renowned bird towers of Katara. These interesting bird pens are famous for their size and their unique design consisting of punctured holes into the walls.

 

Go Deep into Desert

The reason this makes the list is that a large part of the Doha desert still lay untouched by tourists. Very few locals know their way around this vast sea of sand and there’s only one word that’s truly fitting here; pristine. For sure you can partake in a few touristy activities at the edge of the desert (like ATV rides, dune bashing, etc.), but as you go deeper into the desert you will lose sight of all civilization and the vastness of this massive dryland will make you feel small. The sand here is truly flawless and it’s just miles and miles of gorgeous desert.

Come winters, you are allowed to camp out here. Although most camps take place closer to the city limits, you can surely hire a private tour to take you into the deeper parts of the vastness. And when the sun comes down, enjoy stargazing and be mesmerized by the beauty. The sky, the stars, and the horizon far far away. It’s really as poetic as it gets.