Tag

featured

Browsing

Supermarket prices in Qatar on average are the same as back home. So no need to pack teabags in your suitcase.

Supermarkets in Qatar are very similar to those found elsewhere in the world. There are some major brand retailers like Carrefour and Lulu as well as local brands like Al Meera. They all have similar pricing and similar products. You can save money by shopping around, but people tend to settle on their favourite and just stick to that.

We have put this section together to try and give you a feel for the kind of prices you will find in supermarkets here in Qatar. It’s not kept up to date, and the images provided are simply samples taken from whatever supermarket we were in at the time. But it will give you a good idea.

Bathroom

With bathroom products some brands use different product names and sizes for the same item. For instance in the UK there is ‘Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste 75ml’ and in Qatar there is ‘Colgate Total Pro Whitening Toothpaste 75ml’. In the UK ‘Head And Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo’ comes in a 500ml bottle, whereas here in Qatar it comes in a 600ml bottle.  Where quantity varies we keep the UK price the same and adjust the Qatar price to match the same quantity/volume.

All Prices shown in QAR – Exchange rate 25th April 2018

Qatar UK
Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste 75ml 8.25 10.16
Head And Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo 500ml 21.25 25.41
Gillette Fusion Proglide Razor Blades Refill 8 Pack 113.75 121.94
Always Ultra Normal Size 1 Sanitary Towels With Wings 14 Pack 22.5 9.65
Panadol Actifast 14S 7.17 15.24
Dove Original Roll-On Antiperspirant Deodorant 50ml 12.75 6.75
Average 30.945 31.525

What is Ramadan – A dummies guide for non-Muslims

Ramadan is the Islamic Holy Month during which Muslims commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. During this period, from sunrise to sunset Muslims practice fasting. They abstain from eating and drinking (yes even water) from dawn to dusk. And many give up things like smoking and sex 24/7 for the entire holy month. It’s a time for pure thoughts. So no saying or even thinking bad things about others. A time for extra prayer. And a great deal of charity work/donations.

Ironically although Ramadan is a month for fasting, there is a great amount of eating getting done in the evenings when it’s ok to do so again.

When is Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar Islamic calendar. Because the lunar calendar shifts around 10 or 11 days to the left of the Gregorian calendar (the calendar you are probably familiar with) each year, thus Ramadan arrives around 10 or 11 days earlier each year. In 2018 it is expected that Ramadan will start on May 15th. But this is only confirmed upon the sighting of the new (crescent) moon.

How long does Ramadan last

29 to 30 days. Ramadan ends on the sighting of the next crescent (new) moon. And then there is a massive celebration and public holiday called Eid al-Fitr.

Is Ramadan a Good Time to Visit Qatar

There is never a bad time to visit Qatar. The very hot season, the cold season and what I call the Mediterranean season all have their benefits. And Ramadan also has many great benefits. Especially if you like eating. One major benefit of staying in Qatar over Ramadan is the amazing hotel rates. You can enjoy massive discounts for accommodation during the Holy Month.

It is especially worth being around for Eid al-Fitr. This festive end to the month of Ramadan lasts 3 days (much longer if you work for the Government). And is kind of like Christmas holidays in the west. A time for family, vacations and a lot of fun. Including even more eating.

What to expect during Ramadan in Qatar.

Qatar is one of the countries that embrace the Holy Month in full. During daylight hours all food and drink outlets are closed for business. You can still go shopping and buy food and drink, you just can’t consume it until daylight ends (in public).

During Ramadan the streets appear much quieter during the day. Working hours are reduced so that people can get home and rest while fasting. Being hungry and thirsty can be quite challenging, so the best place to be is at home where you can conserve water by not talking and stay cool in the comfort of your home air-conditioning.

Another reason the streets seem empty is because everyone is in the supermarkets shopping for ingredients to use in the evening’s festivities (Iftar). During Ramadan every day resembles Christmas Eve in Tesco back home in UK to me. With frantic shopping taking place to ensure your loved ones will enjoy the very finest fare to break fast with at sunset. And once the shopping is done there is all the cooking and food preparation to be done.

Malls and shopping centres look and feel different when all their food outlets are closed during the day. They are quiet. Not only because there is no one chatting over coffee in Starbucks, but because music is not played during Ramadan either. Some public places instead of playing music, play readings from the Holy Quran.

Most hotels cater for those not fasting by setting aside somewhere for daytime meals to be eaten out of sight of those fasting. Of course, you can eat and drink all you like in your room, but nowhere in public.

Your dress code should be much more conservative during Ramadan. Ladies should try and avoid showing too much skin. Qatar has become quite tolerant of Western dress, but during Ramadan it would be most disrespectful to have too much on show. Even men need to be more covered up. Avoid shorts as much as possible outside the hotel. Three quarter lengths are not too bad, but just try and avoid dressing in a manner that will cause offence. And for goodness sake try and avoid using expletives when you are conversing in public. You should avoid that always here in Qatar anyway. But during Ramadan be extra careful with your language.

All bars and restaurants throughout Qatar stop serving alcohol during the Holy Month.

Driving in Qatar During Ramadan

Driving gets a little quicker and impatient during the day. Thirsty and hungry drivers on their way home to rest tend to be in a little bit of a hurry. Then in the evening just before sun down, everyone is rushing to get to their break fast location. It’s tradition to do a lot of visiting during Ramadan, so you spend the whole month breaking fast with different relatives and friends. And you will be in a hurry to get to where you are going to break your fast the moment you are allowed to. Then it goes quiet. Everyone is inside eating. The roads are deserted. Until everyone has eaten. And then everyone needs to get somewhere else. Another relative to visit, or business that you were too tired to undertake during fasting now needs to be attended to. And of course… more shopping.

Iftar

Everyone is listening for the call to prayer at sunset because it’s the signal to break your fast. Anyone not in hearing distance of a mosque, will almost certainly be tuned into the radio listening out for the moment you can start eating and drinking. And the name for this moment is ‘Iftar’.

Iftar is best shared with friends and family. Some people have their Iftar at home. Some like to take picnics to parks or the Corniche. You can see them setting up their spreads before sunset and then sitting patiently waiting for the signal to begin.

Nearly all restaurants have a special Iftar menu, and a great many have Iftar buffets. If you are staying in a hotel, then an Iftar buffet is almost certainly going to be on offer. Iftar buffets range in price from around QR 50 (GBP 9.85 USD 13.75 EUR 11.25) to around QR 350 (GBP 68.90 USD 96.20 EUR 78.60). As with everything you get what you pay for. The more you pay, the better the fare on offer. But how much can you actually eat?

Each month we are going to seek out the best value budget hotel in Qatar and publish it. This month it’s the Rawdat Al Khail Hotel.

At the time first published the Rawdat Al Khail Hotel was just QR 133 (GBP 26, USD 37, EUR 30) per night. Today (20th April 2018) the price online has risen to QR 200. When I visited today the price for 1 person was QR 139 and for 2 persons QR 145 at reception.

There is no food served in the hotel and no in-room Wi-Fi at the Rawdat Al Khail. Food is no problem at all because there is so much available in just a couple of minutes walk from the hotel. And the extremely close restaurants serve really good food at ridiculously low prices. Expect to pay QR 20 or even lower when eating in these venus.

There is a gym, but no pool.

The Rawdat Al Khail is located close but not in walking distance of most of Doha’s major tourist destinations. There are plenty of facilities around it, but a cheap taxi ride is required to get to the interesting places. I have read reviews online, and the theme that runs through the online reviews is that; this is somewhere with good basics (sleep, shower, with good food nearby).

Expect to pay around QR 10 for a taxi to nearby hotels that have bars (if you are into that type of thing) and around QR 15 to get to places like Souq Waqif).

Check in: 2pm
Checkout: 1pm

Doha Bus Hop On Hop Off- The easy way to get around Qatar’s top tourist destinations

Qatar Quick RecommendedOne of the best ways of getting around some of the top tourist destinations in Qatar, is to use the Doha Bus ‘Hop on, Hop off’ service. You buy a 24 hour or 48 hour ticket and then literally hop on and off the bus whenever you want (9am – 6pm). You also get a bonus free Night Tour thrown in.

Doha Bus Tour Map
Doha Bus Tour Map

Doha Bus have three tour routes (Red Line, Green Line and Orange Line). All three are available to you and you simply have to decide which tourist attractions you want to hop off at. No parking issues, no hailing taxi cabs, just wait for the next bus on the route to pick you up when you have finished (approximately every 20 mins).

You can buy tickets online or at ticket sales kiosks located in prime locations around Doha. The tickets represent exceptional value starting at QR 90 for a child, QR 180 for an adult and QR 455 for a family (24 hour period).

Visit their website https://dohabus.com/ for more information, or call them on +974 4442 2444

 

You can easily buy a new ooredoo or Vodafone SIM on arrival at Doha International Airport

Once you have made it through customs it may be a good idea to buy a local SIM for use during your stay in Qatar. Qatar enjoys absolutely excellent mobile coms, with fast and reliable mobile data. You will need your passport for ID when buying a SIM in Qatar, and they will take a copy of your passport and register it against your SIM.

There are two mobile networks operating in Qatar; Vodafone and ooredoo. Both charge QR 35

to buy a new SIM. And both have very similar pricing for data and calls. It would take a great deal of comparison to try and decide which one to go for on price alone. And I would not want to be sued by either of them by saying one had a better network than the other. So the choice is yours. But ask them both about their Fexi plans because I believe they represent the best value for visitors.

As you step out of the automatic sliding doors that separate customs from land side arrivals you need to turn left if you want a Vodafone SIM, or right if you want an ooredoo SIM.

Vodafone Qatar

For Vodafone once you have walked to your left you will quickly come across a WH Smiths store. This is where you can buy your Vodafone SIM.

If you walk out of customs and turn right, you need to walk to the end of the building (follow signs for buses) and you will see a big ooredoo stand by the escalators.

Take you new SIM, pop it into your phone and you are good to go.

Want to know more about the prices of Fast Food in Qatar? Here is a price guide for what to expect to find in food courts across Qatar. This section will be updated as often as possible, but please treat it as example prices only. Also please be aware that exchange rates change much faster than this price guide can be updated.

McDonald’s Prices

McDonald's Menu Board prices
McDonald’s Menu Board 4/1/2018
Sample Exchange Rates 10/01/18 0.2028 0.2747 0.229 13.8453
QR GBP USD EUR PHP
Big Mac Meal 18 3.65 4.94 4.12 249.22
Big Tasty Meal 20 4.06 5.49 4.58 276.91
Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal 19 3.85 5.22 4.35 263.06
McRoyale Meal 19 3.85 5.22 4.35 263.06
Chicken Mac Meal 19 3.85 5.22 4.35 263.06
McChicken Meal (Original) 18 3.65 4.94 4.12 249.22
McChicken Meal (Spicy) 19 3.85 5.22 4.35 263.06
McArabia Chicken Meal 19 3.85 5.22 4.35 263.06
Grand Chicken Meal (Spicy) 23 4.66 6.32 5.27 318.44
Grand Chicken Meal (Special) 22 4.46 6.04 5.04 304.60
Chicken McNuggets Meal (6 pcs) 15 3.04 4.12 3.44 207.68
chicken mcNuggets Meal (9 pcs) 19 3.85 5.22 4.35 263.06

Link to McDonald’s Qatar Home Delivery menu click HERE

Burger King Prices

Burger King Menu Board Prices
Burger King Menu Board 4/1/2018
Sample Exchange Rates 10/01/18 0.2028 0.2747 0.229 13.8453
QR GBP USD EUR PHP
Whopper Meal 18 3.65 4.94 4.12 249.22
Double  Whopper Meal 22 4.46 6.04 5.04 304.60
Triple Whopper Meal 24 4.87 6.59 5.50 332.29
Big King XXL Meal 22 4.46 6.04 5.04 304.60
Chicken Whopper Meal 21 4.26 5.77 4.81 290.75
Chicken Royale Meal 22 4.46 6.04 5.04 304.60
King Chicken Fillet Meal 22 4.46 6.04 5.04 304.60
Chicken Steakhouse Meal 21 4.26 5.77 4.81 290.75
Chicken Crisp Meal 15 3.04 4.12 3.44 207.68
Chicken Tenders Meal (10 pcs) 17 3.45 4.67 3.89 235.37

Link to Burger King home delivery menu click HERE

KFC Prices

KFC Menu Board Prices
KFC Menu Board 4/1/2018
Sample Exchange Rates 10/01/18 0.2028 0.2747 0.229 13.8453
QR GBP USD EUR PHP
Dinner Meal 21 4.26 5.77 4.81 290.75
Crispy Strips Meal 21 4.26 5.77 4.81 290.75
Mighty Bucket Meal 25 5.07 6.87 5.73 346.13

Link to KFC home delivery prices click HERE

It’s easy to get FREE WiFi on Arrival at DOH

When you arrive in HIA (Hamad International Airport) Qatar or DOH as it will appear on your ticket, you can get access to the airports free WiFi. After disembarking from your aircraft simply turn on your phone and connect to #HIAQatar Complimentary

Select #HIAQatar Complimentary from available Wi-Fi to sign into the FREE HIA Wi-Fi
Select #HIAQatar Complimentary from available Wi-Fi

After connecting to #HIAQatar Complimentary you should see the screen below. There are two ways to get free internet at HIA, if you flew with Qatar Airways you should select [Connect using QR booking] if you arrived with any other airline you need to select [Connect using SMS]. If you select [Connect using SMS] you will need to enter the phone number of your mobile.

Select if you have a QR booking code or Connect using SMS if you flew with another airline other than Qatar Airways
Select if you have a QR booking code or Connect using SMS

WARNING: The only disadvantage of using the [Connect using SMS] option is that you must have roaming enabled on your phone to receive the SMS Access Code if you are not using a Qatari SIM. If you are enabling roaming on your phone you may want to ensure that data roaming is turned off to avoid incurring expensive data roaming charges. Make sure you turn off data roaming before turning off your phone during takeoff.

You will receive your Wi-Fi Access code via an SMS if you chose the SMS option
You will receive your Wi-Fi Access code via an SMS if you chose the SMS option

Once you receive your Wi-Fi Access code, you simply enter it and your free WiFi will begin. Then you can turn off all roaming on your phone if you need to.

Now you can use the free WiFi to chat with whoever is meeting you on the other side in arrivals, and let everyone back home know you have arrived safely.

 

Qatar National Day Parade is something everyone should experience at least once. The last time I made the effort was 2010. Back then the parade was early in the morning around 7am if I remember rightly. And to get a seat you had to get there around 5:30am.

This year it was scheduled to start at 3pm. We left home and started walking at 11:30am. It should have only taken us 20 minutes to walk down from where we live, but with crowd control involving a much longer route it took us about 40 mins. Then an additional 35 minuets to find an entrance that we could actually enter, and clear security. Because there was only a short cue for the ladies security Vic was through in just a matter of minuets and was able to go searching for seats in advance of me getting through. My experience at security was not pleasant. Pushing, shoving, rude people. How I managed to stay calm I will never know. Being British I am accustomed to orderly well-behaved queuing. There was nothing orderly about this cue.

When I finally got through the metal detectors and was out of that horrible queue, the relief of being in open space again was overwhelming. I still had to have my bag checked, but I didn’t care now that I was out of that horrible queue. The police man checking my bag was very polite and he appologised for having to do it. I replied to his apology by saying it really wasn’t a problem and I could see he was having a challenging day. My bag only contained munchies for our long wait before the parade started, so it was a nice easy search for him. And that was that. I was free to walk around in open space. Phew!

Vic had gone ahead as she was through security a good 20 mins before me. But by the time she got to the seating (around 12:30pm) there was nothing left. But she had managed to secure a small space of ground in the shade of the seating where we could comfortably sit down and rest our weary legs and have something to eat and drink.

At 3pm we stood up and tried to find a spot where we could see the parade. We were in a group of people wedged between two seating stands. The ground was slightly raised so we could just about see the road through gaps in people’s heads. When the parade got under way properly around 3:30pm the view became a little more restricted with people holding up mobile phone (yup I was one of those), and placing babies on their shoulders.

The parade was a box ticked for a second time for me, and the first time for Vic. I’m still glad we went, but the crowds and the cues mean that we probably won’t made the effort again. We will leave space for others to go and enjoy instead.

If you are thinking about going along to see the National Day Parade 2018, then here is my advice; Leave home early, very early. We live near Rumailah Hospital and as soon as we left home we could see people parking to walk down from that location. We should have left home a good hour earlier to have stood any chance of getting one of the public (non VIP) seats. Make sure you take plenty of munchies and water as you will have a long wait, and perhaps a power bank as you are going to be playing with your phone a lot while waiting.

I decided not to take a camera this year. It was a good opportunity to test the camera on my new Samsung Galaxy Note 8. I am very, very happy with the Note 8’s cameras. The 2x optical zoom was a life saver yesterday. We were really far back from the action, and the 2x optical zoom got me just a little closer without using digital zoom. The images included in this post have not had any post production. They were imported into Adobe Lightroom, and with the exception of just one image that I cropped to make it level, they were exported back out again. No exposure or saturation adjustments. I am now very glad I upgraded my phone from my beloved Galaxy S7 Edge. I now have a camera I am very comfortable with, in my pocket at all times.

Qatar National Day 2017
The view you will get if you only arrive 3 hours early. I should have left an hour earlier and got a better position and possibly a seat.