Cheap Flights to Qatar

Qatar has flown under the tourist radar for many years, but hosting events like the 2013 World Motocross Championship and the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup has helped to raise its profile. This constitutional monarchy is one of the wealthiest countries in the world thanks to its oil reserves, as well as a safe one for visitors.

With a mixture of enchanting desert landscapes, ancient palaces, lively souks, and modern architecture, Qatar is an intriguing destination. It's situated on a peninsula jutting out from into the Persian Gulf, surrounded by neighbors Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE across the water. Qatar is home to the top notch Al Jazeera television network, as well as a rapidly rising network of skyscrapers in Doha. Yet you'll still find antique passageways in the Al-Waqif Souk and wind-powered developments that hearken back to another time.

Visitors to Qatar will arrive at the international airport in Qatar. There are daily flights running between Manila and Doha, operated by Qatar Airways on a code share agreement with Philippine Airlines. Visas are issued on arrival for many nationalities, for a fee. Other nationalities including Philippine passport holders are required to arrange a visa in advance. Many hotels in Doha provide this visa service for international guests booking a room.

Doha's numerous souks provide a treasure trove for shopaholics, yet they are also worth visiting to soak in the local culture. The Souk Waqif is filled with cafes, shops, and modern restaurants along with traditional market stalls. A souk has stood on this site for centuries, which used to be used as a trading post for goats, sheep, and wool. Further options include the old-fashioned glittery Gold Souk and the Falcon Souk, which sells everything related to the art of falconry. This includes hoods and feathers, along with assorted falcons for sale.

It's not all traditional souks and Bedouin tents in Doha, however. An example of the city's postmodern architecture can be found by visiting the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by the architect responsible for the Louvre, I.M. Pei. It stands on its own customized island, with a virtual moat and extensive landscaping. Another museum with fascinating architecture is the National Museum of Qatar, which is a restored palace designed by Jean Nouvel to resemble a desert sand rose. It is currently closed for renovation, but is scheduled to reopen in December 2014. If you've a mind to get out of the city, head to the Khor Al Udeid, a region characterized by rolling sand dunes that you can explore by 4x4. The deserted city of Zubarah is also a popular day trip, where you can see the ruins as well as an imposing fort.

Did You Know?

•Modest dress is strongly encouraged for a visit to conservative Qatar. However, visitors can sport swimsuits or shorts on the hotel beaches and women are not obliged to keep hair covered.

•Because of its prime seaside location jutting out into the Persian Gulf, Qatar is a top spot for water sports. Kite-surfing is a popular pastime, as is cruising next to the beaches in flashy jet-skis. Most hotels will arrange for gear rental or jet-ski tours as needed.

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