Dunes, Dhows, and Modern Doha
Qatar is a small nation with an outsize global footprint and a rich and interesting history. The sands of the Arabian Desert and the warm waters of the Persian Gulf dominate landscapes here, with modern, wealthy, and bustling Doha the pearl at the heart of it all. Learn more about the fascinating history and present of this peninsula on a four-day exploration that focuses on the capital Doha while also taking in lesser seen sights in the surrounding deserts. Wander through atmospheric souqs, museums, and modern architecture in the capital. Sail out onto the Persian Gulf in a traditional dhow to take in the sunset and views of the city. Venture north to view rock carvings, a ghost town on the coast, and a UNESCO World Heritage-listed fort. Head deep into the dunes of the south on the final day of your private trip to learn more about the local environment.
Travels to: Qatar
Days 1-2: Doha (Qatar)
The trip begins in Doha, Qatar’s capital and largest city. Start with a cultural briefing by an expert in Qatari culture. Then head over to the National Museum of Qatar to learn more about local history. Spend time wandering the vibrant alleys of Doha’s main market, Souq Waqif. The Falcon Market and Falcon Hospital are located right next door. Then explore the newly built Katara Cultural Village, which showcases traditional architecture and design.
- A cultural briefing including components on Arabic, Islam, culture, and history, led by a local expert
- The National Museum of Qatar and its exhibits on local history, natural history, and the modern nation of Qatar
- Vibrant Souq Waqif with its alleys and stalls filled with handicrafts, spices, textiles, and other interesting finds
- Doha’s Falcon’s Market and Falcon Hospital, where the renowned birds (and their accoutrements) are traded and cared for
Day 3: Northern Qatar, Doha
Head out of Doha to explore the north of Qatar, home to many of the historical sites in the country. Stop first in Al Khor to explore the fantastic fish market there. Then continue to the Al Jassassiyah Rock Carvings. Over 900 mysterious and ancient carvings can be viewed here. Further along the coast stop at the ghost town of Al Jumail. Al Jumail was once a thriving fishing village but was deserted when Qatar oil boom began. Al Zubarah Fort, Qatar’s only site on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is the last stop today. Back in Doha this evening head to the beautiful corniche to board a dhow for a sunset cruise on the Persian Gulf.
- Al Khor fish market, where much of Qatar’s fresh seafood is brought ashore
- Al Jassassiyah Rock Carvings, home to over 900 examples of ancient and mysterious rock art
- The ghost town at Al Jumail, once a busy fishing village
- Al Zubarah Fort, Qatar’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site
- A sunset dhow cruise on the Persian Gulf
Day 4: Southern Qatar, Doha
On the final day in Qatar, time permitting, head out on a safari south into the Arabian Desert. Explore the dramatic dunes and other desert landscapes of the area. Learn about local flora and fauna and the ecological and geological factors that give diversity to this stark landscape.
- A driving safari through the dunes and deserts of southern Qatar
- Learn all about local flora, fauna, and geology
Dates & Prices
- Private trip prices vary by season and are subject to hotel availability for your travel dates.
- Listed prices below are based on double occupancy and a 2 traveler minimum.
- Hotel upgrades, additional nights, and solo traveler prices are available on request.
Land tour price, per person, starting from:
- Shared accommodations as noted in the itinerary. Contact MIR for hotel upgrade prices.
- Meals, as noted in the itinerary: 3 breakfasts.
- One arrival and one departure transfer. Additional arrival and departure transfers available at additional cost.) MIR will arrange for travelers to be met upon arrival and seen off on departure, whether or not we make your air arrangements.
- Ground transportation throughout itinerary by private vehicle (type of vehicle depends on number of travelers in your group).
- Evening private dhow cruise per the itinerary.
- Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees, as outlined in the itinerary.
- Services of experienced, English-speaking local guides, drivers, and other staff, as noted in the itinerary.
- Complete pre-departure electronic document that includes detailed packing suggestions, reading list links, country-specific information, maps, travel tips, and more.
- Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements, on request. (Please note that international airfare is not included in the land tour cost.)
- Electronic final update bulletin with any late news, updates, and important information.
- International airfare and taxes/fuel surcharges.
- Meals and drinks not specified as included in the itinerary.
- Single supplement if requested or required.
- Baggage handling.
- Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, email, laundry, and alcohol.
- Gratuities to local guides, drivers, porters, and other service personnel.
- Visa fees, excess-baggage charges, airport departure taxes, vaccinations, and other medical costs.
- Expenses incurred as a result of delay, modification, or extension of a tour due to causes beyond MIR’s control.
- Travel-related insurance including cancellation, medical, and evacuation insurance.
- Optional pre- or post-tour extensions.
Level 2: Moderate, but Customizable
This ‘Essential’ itinerary designed for private travel to Qatar features long days walking and standing, some long days of overland travel, some stair climbing, unpaved sidewalks and streets, uneven surfaces and steps, absent handrails, and lack of elevators. While some of these challenges are inherent in the destinations and sites, as one of our Essential Series programs this trip can be modified as needed for those travelers who are looking for a less challenging (or more challenging) program.
There is a significant amount of touring on foot, and those travelers planning to take the program as written should be able to walk one to two miles a day comfortably. Footing can be an issue and travelers should be able to negotiate streets of packed dirt, cobblestones, uneven surfaces (possibly steep and/or wet), and deal with situations without handrails or ramps. Some attractions are only accessible via steep staircases. Museums rarely have elevators.
Past travelers have also encountered challenges with plumbing, bureaucratic service, variety of locally available foods, and availability and quality of public restrooms.
Accommodations in the basic program are generally four-star hotels. Upgrades are available, please call for details.