Doha, Qatar

Doha, Qatar

I lived in Qatar from August 2020 to July 2022. I left before the World Cup. I wasn't too disappointed, because I'm not a huge sports fan and I don't like crowds. My friends who were in Qatar during the World Cup said that it was a nice experience and well organized. They didn't understand the negativity in the mainstream media. Even Piers Morgan praised Qatar during the World Cup. There is definitely bias against the Middle East, but a lot of it is due to misinformation.

When I told my friends and family that I was going to move to the Middle East, they expressed concern for my safety. According to Nation Master, I am more likely to be a victim of violent crime in my home country of the USA. I am five times more likely to be shot, four times more likely to be killed, and 15 times more likely to be raped in the USA than in Qatar. While I was living in Qatar, I felt safe. People would leave their cars running when they went shopping (it is super hot, so keeping the A/C on is a must) and people held seats in cafes by leaving their IPhones or IPads on the table while they shopped. In both cases, hours later, the goods were still there when the owner returned. In contrast, I was in Oakland on a business trip in early 2023. I hadn't been to the USA since 2020 and my welcome back present was less than 24 hours after I arrived, my rental care was broken into while parked for 1.5 hours on a busy street.

I get questioned a lot as to what it was like living in the Middle East as a woman. My answer surprises many. Women are generally treated like VIPs when it comes to service.


@curvycurlyjourneys What's it like being a Western woman in the Middle East? My answer may surprise you. #doha #dohatravel #middleeast #femaletraveler #middleeasttravel ♬ original sound - Exclusively Kristen


You can live in Qatar and have a luxurious life. There is no income tax on salaries under a certain amount and salaries are high. Also, there are extra perks provided by companies to employees such as complementary roundtrip flights home once a year, complementary housing, complementary private school for the kids, and university tuition assistance for dependents.

Qatari national menswear: A thobe (long white shirt over loose pants) and a gutra, in white or red and white cloth, held on with a black rope known as the agal.

Qatar is a great place for families. It is a Muslim country, so sponsored activities are non alcoholic, which promotes a family-friendly environment. The one thing that I miss the most about living in Qatar is the extensive and amazing mocktail menus. Alcohol is allowed in Qatar. You can purchase overpriced drinks at Western hotel bars or go through a bureaucratic process to obtain a license to purchase alcohol (and pork) from the Qatar Distribution Company (QDC), which is a liquor store. There was only one QDC when I lived in Qatar, now there are two. 

I was in Doha during Christmas and New Year. Even though Qatar is a Muslim country, there were Christmas trees in a lot of places. My trip consisted of a massage at Eforea (highly recommended! If you download the Entertainer app, there is a discount); high tea at The Four Seasons; visits to MIA Park, Museum of Islamic Art, Souk Waqif, and Old Port; lots of eating; Christmas Eve dinner with friends; gym to counteract the gluttony; a NYE party in the desert at the Regency Sealine Camp; bachata and salsa classes; and, most importantly, catching up with old friends. 

Museum of Islamic Art Qatar     Sealine Beach
Left: Me on the terrace of the Museum of Islamic Art
Right: Half moon at Sealine Beach

Qatar became independent from the UK in 1971. Given its youth, Qatar has done a great job of using its income from natural gas and petroleum products to developing infrastructure and education. There are a few American universities in the country, such as Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, Texas A & M, Virginia Commonwealth, and Northwestern. I definitely recommend Qatar as a travel destination. It's safe, English is widely spoken, and there's a lot to do. However, go in December or January, the weather can be volcanically hot in the summer.

Street art at The Old Port Doha
Street art at The Old Port


Museum of Islamic Art
National Museum of Qatar
Msheireb Museums
3-2-1 Qatar Olympic & Sports Museum
Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
Old Doha Port
The Corniche
MIA Park
Crescent Park
Souk Waqif
Al Wakra Souk
Camel Race
Desert excursion


Uber works well in Doha and rides are inexpensive. There is pubic transportation, but it's not recommended because it doesn't go to many places. Also when it's hot, which is most of the year, you do not want to be outside.


Twisted Olive
Yugo: Asian fusion resturant.
Flat White: Cafe chain with good coffee. My favorite is the fruit granola salad.
Al Banuche Cafeteria: A hole in the wall with the best egg sandwiches. Cash only.
Al Jasra Restaurant: Tradition Qatari cuisine. Google maps is wrong. The restaurant is, if you are facing the golden thumb at Souk Waqif, in an alley to the left of the thumb and on the right.
Damasca One Restaurant
Santa Monica Breakfast Club: Good weekend brunch.
Chef's Garden: Organic restaurant.
Arsan Café: Located in an old police station in the north of the country, about 1 hour by car from Doha, with views of the Persian Gulf.
Kitty Cafe
Magnolia Bakery: Yes, THE Magnolia's that was made popular by Sex and the City. I love the banana pudding!
Marina Food Arena: Food trucks.
Destination Box: Food trucks and container restaurants.


Visa on arrival for U.S. citizens. For stays more than 30 days, visitors must purchase health insurance from approved insurers.

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