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Moving to Doha

What Qatar lacks in size, it makes up for in diversity. Expats moving to Doha, the peninsula's capital city, will discover an emerging metropolis filled with people from every corner of the world. The multi-ethnic makeup of the city's population is reflected in both the social and professional spheres, and expats should be prepared to make allowances for the different ways in which different cultures go about life.

Living in Doha as an expat

By mining and exporting gas and oil, Qatar has managed to build its economy and advance its cities at a tremendous pace. The capital city of Doha is constantly developing and offers its large expat population many job opportunities, particularly in the petrochemical sector, construction, IT, business and tourism.

Due to the high property prices, expats living in Doha generally reside in housing provided by their employers, and there are several areas and suburbs to choose from. Many expats reside in large compounds, but freestanding villas and flats are also available.

From its transport and healthcare systems to parks and housing, the city is growing at an astonishing pace. The main form of transportation remains driving, but Doha is rapidly expanding its railways and metro system, and commuters can also use Mowasalat buses and Karwa taxis to get around.

Healthcare in Doha is among the best in the Middle East. The public healthcare system is free for Qataris, while expats are often subsidised. Private healthcare is also available and is often more popular among expats, but is costly. We suggest investing in health insurance or negotiating with employers to include health benefits in contracts.

Cost of living in Doha

The standard of living in Doha is generally high, but so is the cost of living. New arrivals should negotiate an adequate salary package to cover all components of life in the emirate. Petrol is relatively cheap, but accommodation, education and food are all expensive.

Expat families and children

Expat children can make friends and orientate themselves easily in one of the many excellent public or international schools in Doha. International schools generally follow the International Baccalaureate (IB), British, American, Canadian, German, French and Indian curricula. Homeschooling is also an option, though the regulations are often vague, and Doha also has many options catering for special-needs students.

The city is becoming more and more family friendly, with plenty of activities for families to enjoy together, including various sports, parks, cinemas, and a host of festivals. There are also many social clubs and establishments where expats can integrate into the local culture and make new friends.

Climate in Doha

One of the largest challenges for expats in Doha is adapting to the extreme desert heat. Temperatures are high, rising above 104°F (40°C) between the summer months of June and August. That said, from October to May the climate is moderate and perfect for dining al fresco or playing a round of golf. In the winter, people are often surprised by the low temperatures and the lack of central heating.

Overall, an expat's experience is what they make of it. We recommend expats go in with an open mind and prepare to tackle the myriad challenges and grab the opportunities that this exciting futuristic city will throw their way.

Cost of Living in Doha

With one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, it's expected that Doha's cost of living might be quite high. On the contrary, it’s one of the more affordable Gulf-region destinations. The 2021 Mercer Cost of Living Index ranks Doha 130th out of 209 cities surveyed and shows that prices are competitive even among major world cities.

With tax-free incentives, the cost of living in Qatar's capital city can be quite attractive, but all this depends on the expat's employment package, their lifestyle choices and how they choose to spend their money.


Cost of accommodation in Doha

Accommodation in Doha is generally financed by an expat’s employer, and the type of housing arranged is based on the number of family members present.

Within expat compounds, rent often includes access to communal areas, such as a gym, pool and even mini-markets and nurseries. The prices of stand-alone villas are set by the landlord and/or owner. These tend to rise in cost annually, despite laws intended to protect renters. It is best to keep this in mind when arranging a lease.

There are areas in Doha where expats can own property. Among the most popular are the Pearl development project, a mix of commercial, retail and residential space (that includes apartments and villas) built on reclaimed land. Buying property is expensive and complicated, and most expats prefer to rent.


Cost of food in Doha

Qatar relies heavily on imports for nearly everything, from fruit and vegetables to meat and other goods, and food prices in Doha are therefore high. Buying local will always save a buck or two, but buying the brand names that expats recognise from home will cost a pretty penny. It’s best to shop around for certain items, as they can vary by several riyals depending on the outlet.

There is a range of grocery stores, from the bargain favourite Carrefour to the more expensive Mega Mart, which tends to feature international brands and speciality items, such as organically farmed eggs. There are also a host of neighbourhood shops and local establishments, such as Food World, Family Food Center, Al Meera, Lulu Hypermarket and Qmart. 


Cost of schooling in Doha

Some employee packages include schooling for children and many have a maximum number of children they will fund. Some policies afford school compensation for children from three years of age and others only from age five. These details vary, so it’s best to check with the expat's recruiter or the hiring business's human resources department from the onset of contract negotiations.

Expats should keep in mind that tuition at international schools is expensive and can increase depending on the child's age and if they are to be involved in after-school or extra-curricular activities.

The best schools and nurseries often have long waiting lists, so if expats are trying to decide between two schools or have a particular institution in mind, it’s best to get on the waiting list as soon as possible.


Cost of healthcare in Doha

Qatar’s Hamad hospital and clinic system provide free healthcare to nationals and residents. Expats need to obtain a health card either from the employer’s Human Resources office or via the hospital system directly to use these services. Emergency services are free, while visits to the government clinics without a health card will incur a fee.

Expats should note that, because everyone in the country does have access to these services, lines can be agonisingly long and the appointment system is not as punctual as in other countries.

There are a variety of private hospitals in Doha that offer excellent outpatient and surgical care, and many expats have insurance policies included in their employment package that may cover the costs of these private service offerings. If such a policy is not included in the package, it can often be purchased from one of the private hospitals directly.

Expats can also pay in cash for services used, or obtain a similar policy via Qatar Insurance or similar companies in the city. That said, most complicated procedures and oncology are dealt with at Hamad, so if an expat does choose one of the other hospitals, a serious condition will likely mean a referral to specialists at Hamad, in which case a health card is essential.


Cost of transport in Doha

Doha has been upgrading their transport network in recent years and have well-established and maintained bus routes powered by Mowasalat. Buses, along with the new metro system and plans for developing an integrated rail structure, are a great and affordable way of getting around in Doha. Avoiding traffic by taking the metro also saves time.

Taxis, both private and public, are widespread. Public taxis are metered and while options such as Uber are also available, the costs do not differ greatly. During peak traffic hours, it's best to book a taxi in advance.

Quality used cars tend to have a high resale value in Qatar, and online platforms such as Qatar Living are updated regularly for more information on this. Car insurance varies based on the make and model of the car, as well as the number of accidents or traffic violations the owner has incurred. For those who own new cars, comprehensive insurance is required until the loan is paid off. In some cases, travel expenses may be covered by employment contracts, which may include initial flight tickets and even a car.


Cost of living in Doha chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Doha in January 2022. 

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

QAR 10,800

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

QAR 7,300

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

QAR 5,700

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

QAR 3,750

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

QAR 11.30

Milk (1 litre)

QAR 7

Rice (1 kg)

QAR 7

Loaf of white bread

QAR 5.30

Chicken breasts (1kg)

QAR 30

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

QAR 23

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

QAR 25

Coca-Cola (330ml)

QAR 3

Cappuccino 

QAR 18

Bottle of beer (500ml)

QAR 50

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

QAR 200

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

QAR 0.65

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

QAR 310

Basic utilities (per month for standard household)

QAR 340

Hourly rate for domestic help

QAR 31

Transport

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

QAR 2.10

Bus/train fare in the city centre 

QAR 2.50

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

QAR 1.75

Accommodation in Doha

Finding suitable accommodation in Doha is a priority for expats moving to the city. The task of manoeuvring one's way through the bureaucracy of a foreign property market can be challenging, and the accommodation scene in Doha is developing rapidly in the run-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Areas are constantly changing and accommodation is being upgraded – it can be hard to keep up, even for Doha residents.


Types of accommodation in Doha

Expats living in Doha will have a choice of accommodation options available for them depending on the neighbourhood or area they prefer. From villas and apartments to housing on sprawling, fully equipped expat compounds, new arrivals will be sure to find something to suit their individual needs.

Compounds are great for families to make friends with neighbours who share garden spaces and a swimming pool and can get to know each other. While some compounds offer standard and basic amenities, upscale luxury facilities abound in others, from gyms and tennis courts to restaurants.

Demand for compound accommodation is high, making it difficult to secure, but expats may find villas and apartments equally attractive. Freestanding villas also have a homely feel to them and those who can afford all the luxuries of living in Doha can enjoy a large house with a decent-sized garden. Additionally, apartments are often suitable for single residents and young professionals, though some have multiple bedrooms. 

Furnished vs unfurnished

Most accommodation in Doha comes fully furnished, which saves expats from having to ship their goods to Qatar. If this isn’t a preferred option, unfurnished and semi-furnished options are also available. Those who are interested may want to negotiate an adequate shipping and start-up allowance in their employment contract to cover furnishing costs.


Finding accommodation in Doha

For the most part, accommodation remains one of the main benefits included in the lucrative expat employment packages. This takes much of the hassle of manoeuvring the property market out of an expat's hands. 

Before moving, expats can familiarise themselves with available property and living options through online realty websites and platforms such as Qatar Living, JustProperty and Property Finder.
 
Expats who don't have the luxury of their employer's assistance in the search for property should enlist the services of a relocation company and a local real estate agent. These professionals have an intimate knowledge of Doha's property market and are often in a position to alert their clients to potential options before they are publicly advertised. Agents also help foreigners negotiate any language barrier in Qatar and can have any necessary documents translated.


Renting accommodation in Doha 

Most expats rent accommodation, rather than buy in Doha. Both the Ministry of Municipality and Environment and the Real Estate and Residences Registration Office oversee and manage matters on leases and land investments in Doha. When renting accommodation in the capital, expats must enlist real estate agents who will ensure the necessary documents get certified and registered through the correct governing body.

One of the main things to understand is Qatar’s culture. This influences the local way of living as well as its laws, and as such, couples cannot live together unless they are married (though in practice, many do). When looking into renting in Doha and the move to Qatar, do consider this.

Leases

If the employer is organising an expat's accommodation, they will negotiate the lease with the landlord. If not, expats may have to pay one year’s rent upfront or in quarterly instalments. The majority of expats in Doha choose to pay rent with post-dated cheques. Over the stipulated lease period, rent cannot increase.
 
Rental contracts in Doha are drawn up in Arabic and expats will receive a copy translated in English or their home language.

Deposits

Deposits are normally a month's worth of rent. For some expats working in Qatar, this may be included in an accommodation allowance, so do negotiate for it where possible.

Utilities

Tenants are normally responsible for paying utilities. 

It's essential to receive an inventory detailing the standard of facilities and the available utilities in any rental. This ensures landlords and tenants know who is responsible for utility fees or general maintenance issues and it helps to avoid any conflicts when at the end of the lease period.

Notice periods

Expats must usually give two months' notice but face high penalties for breaking a tenancy contract. When negotiating with a landlord, make an effort to understand what happens in the event of early termination.

Areas and Suburbs in Doha

The best places to live in Doha

Doha, the capital and business hub of Qatar, boasts an assortment of diverse communities mixed together within different areas. Occupation, budget and length of contract usually dictate where an expat will live, but this isn’t always the case.

For expats whose employers don't provide them with accommodation in Doha, choosing an area to live in demands some practical consideration. Rather than searching for tree-lined lanes and quiet neighbours, choosing an area of the city close to the main income earner’s place of work should take priority.

Doha is situated between several smaller hubs, such as Al Khor and Ras Laffan to the north, and Mesaieed to the south. These towns mostly offer accommodation to expats who work in the oil and gas industry or are employed by the ever-expanding ports. Expats living in these communities can expect a highway commute of approximately 35 to 50 miles (56 to 80km) to the capital. This means that sometimes even those employed by these sectors prefer to find accommodation closer to the amenities and energy of Doha.

Ultimately, whether in a compound, a free-standing villa or an apartment, one thing takes precedence when choosing accommodation in Doha: traffic. Schools and shopping malls are well situated to service all areas but traffic makes travel time a major concern when choosing a place to live.

Doha has an area suitable for every expat, be it those who prefer luxury living, coastal views and proximity to traditional markets, those who lead more active lifestyles, or expat families who’d prefer living near parks and good schools.

Check out some of the best neighbourhoods in Doha below.


Waterfront living in Doha

West Bay/Al Dafna

West Bay is home to most of the foreign embassies in Doha and a fair amount of diplomatic accommodation in the aptly-named Diplomatic Area. West Bay is popular among high-income families living in the large villas that line its two-lane main roads. This area is serviced by the City Centre Mall, perfectly situated in the financial district. Many of Doha’s best attractions can be found here, including the renowned Qatar National Theatre, as well as many world-class eateries.

The Pearl-Qatar

The Pearl-Qatar, where the trendy half lives and plays, is a portion of reclaimed land off the Qatar peninsula. The presence of high-end apartment buildings, luxury shops and restaurants makes this a popular area for high-income expats and wealthy Qataris. Access is made easy by a double lane road going in and out. Upmarket jetties offer secure mooring space for large yachts.

Al Wakrah

Just south of Doha, Qatari residents will find the city of Al Wakrah. This city offers an escape from the big city in the form of more relaxed coastal living. Still, all the amenities and services required by an expat can be found here, including banking, schools, mosques and healthcare facilities.


Family life in Doha

Abu Hamour

In Abu Hamour, there’s a good mix of compound accommodation and free-standing villas, while easy access to most schools makes this area popular for teachers. The wholesale market, which includes a fish and animal market, is situated close by. Unfortunately, on hot windy days, a less-than-pleasant smell has been known to permeate the surrounding area. 

Al Gharafa

Al Gharafa is a large area in the city of Al Rayyan, surrounding Doha. It has an eclectic mix of free-standing villas, compounds and apartments. It is close to most of the major shopping centres and main roads and affords residents good access to Education City. For this reason, it’s become a popular area among expats who work for government agencies, such as the Qatar Foundation or Qatar University. It’s great for families, as it is a stone's throw away from Madinat Khalifa North, which is home to many schools and preschools, including Compass International School

Al Sadd

Al Sadd is one of Doha’s oldest districts and is popular with families. This spot is just outside the more crowded inner city, boasts various malls, including Royal Plaza Mall, and is located next to Hamad Medical Centre.


Shopaholics in Doha

Musheireb

Musheireb, also written as Mushayrib, is a busy downtown area close to the business district and the main market area of Souq Waqif. An older neighbourhood with many dated apartment buildings and aged flats, Musheireb is characterised by narrow roads and small shops, and claims high foot and vehicle traffic.

Al Jasra

Neighbouring Mushaireb, Al Jasra is in the heart of Doha. Filled with the energy of Souq Waqif, Doha’s largest market, Al Jasra offers walks along the Corniche and accommodation with a view.


Sports fans in Doha

Duhail

Duhail is a quiet area far from the hustle and bustle of the traffic-filled Doha centre. Its proximity to major highways and newer free-standing villas makes this a popular area for people working in Ras Laffan. It’s also home to a popular sports club and close to Qatar University.

Al Waab

Nestled between the municipalities of Doha and Al Rayyan, Al Waab is close to Aspire Park and the popular Villagio Mall, and offers easy access to most major routes. Though Al Waab is further from the Doha Corniche, Aspire Park provides a perfect outdoor environment for walking and jogging, or a simple picnic. The area consists of modern, family compounds and well-maintained free-standing villas. Traffic is sporadic, depending on school times and events held at the Aspire Park sports dome.

Lusail

Further north of Doha along the coast, Lusail is a city in the making. While public transport links to Lusail are still developing, the city offers luxurious accommodation and amenities. Qatar is a small country, so driving between cities such as Lusail and Doha makes for a short commute.

Healthcare in Doha

Thanks to the advanced system of healthcare in Qatar, expats and locals can easily access a range of high-quality public and private medical options in Doha.

Perhaps most significantly, the Hamad General Hospital in Doha's west side is a government-sponsored, state-of-the-art facility that provides free and subsidised healthcare to holders of the official Qatari Health Card. Non-holders will have to pay for routine check-ups, although service is free in the case of medical emergencies.

Close to the Hamad General Hospital is the Women's Hospital, which originally opened in 1988 to address the specialised medical needs of women in Qatar.

Rumailah Hospital specialises in convalescence, rehabilitation and treating the elderly. Close by are the National Center for Cancer Care and Research, and the Heart Hospital, which specialises in the treatment of adults with heart conditions.

See below for a list of public and private hospitals in Doha.


Public hospitals in Doha

Hamad General Hospital

Website: www.hamad.qa
Address: Hamad Medical City

Rumailah Hospital

Website: www.hamad.qa
Address: Al Khaleej Street

Women's Hospital

Website: www.hamad.qa
Address: Al Rayyan Road, Hamad Medical City


Private hospitals in Doha

Al-Ahli Hospital

Website: www.ahlihospital.com
Address: Ahmed Bin Ali Street

Al Emadi Hospital

Website: alemadihospital.com.qa
Address: Al Hilal West Doha

Doha Clinic Hospital

Website: dohaclinichospital.com
Address: New Al-Mergab Street, Frieg Al Nassr

Education and Schools in Doha

Education in Doha is of a world-class standard. A wide range of private international schools in Doha caters to a variety of needs and follow various curricula from all over the world, including British, American, French, German and Canadian.

While expat children are eligible to attend some Qatari schools in Doha, most parents opt to send their children to international schools. These offer a smoother transition for children accustomed to studying their home country's curriculum. Some parents in Doha prefer homeschooling, although legislation on this issue is ambiguous, which presents its own challenges. Qatar's Hukoomi e-portal can help parent's find answers to some of their questions surrounding education.


Public schools in Doha

Public schools in Doha receive government funding and provide free tuition to all citizens and eligible expat students. Most students are Qatari, although expats with the right connections might be able to secure a place. The quality of education at these schools is excellent, and they’re a good option for foreigners looking to settle down in Doha long-term and want their children to be integrated into Qatari society.

Public and independent schools share the same compulsory subjects: Arabic, English, maths, science and Islamic studies. Overseen by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, public schools include preschool, primary school (grades one to six), preparatory school (grades seven to nine) and secondary school (grades 10 to 12).

At secondary school, students can select either general education or specialisations in a technical school such as those for banking, business administration, and science and technology.


International schools in Doha

Even though the standards of local schools are good, most expat children attend private international schools in Doha. There are various curricula, including the International Baccalaureate (IB), British, American, Canadian, German, French and Indian systems. Most families choose a curriculum similar to the one in their home country, while families who move frequently often prefer the IB curriculum.

When choosing a school, parents must consider a few factors, such as curriculum and whether it’s internationally recognised, facilities, proximity to home and work, and transport options. Rush hour in Doha means that children can spend hours travelling to and from school, and not all schools provide a bus service. Living close to school makes it easier for expat kids and their parents.

Expats should also make sure that a school is accredited by Qatar National School Accreditation (QNSA) and recognised in their home country.

Education in Doha can be a significant expense, so parents should try to negotiate school fees into their employment contract or ensure that they budget carefully. We also recommend that parents plan well in advance to secure a place for their child, as waiting lists are long and various documentation is required, including visa and residence permits, previous school records, records of the child's health history, and a letter of recommendation.


Nurseries in Doha

Expats with young kids can easily find a suitable nursery in Doha, either public or private. Sometimes, larger international schools will have nurseries linked to them.

Qatari kindergartens encourage children to be active and creative, aiming to help them grow and develop their personalities. Nurseries in Doha offer high-quality educational and play materials with experienced teachers. Young children are unlikely to face language barriers, as they learn both English and Arabic in public nurseries, while private daycares cater to additional languages.


Special-needs education in Doha

Empowering persons with disabilities is one of Qatar’s top priorities, and this includes quality integrated special-needs education in mainstream classrooms where possible.

In most cases, schools, both public and private, tailor support services to meet diverse needs. These programmes include learning-, physical- or developmental disabilities, behavioural-, emotional- and communication disorders, and students with autism and intellectual disabilities.

Comprehensive and integrated teaching incorporates adapting curricula, introducing and engaging with specialised materials and technology, as well as support from specialists and all school staff.

Though schools are becoming increasingly integrated, there are specialised schools that specifically cater to students with disabilities. Specialised schools include Al-Hidaya schools for students with intellectual disabilities and separate schools for students with hearing impairments.


Homeschooling in Doha

Some parents avoid the admissions process in Doha and decide on homeschooling. Doha Home Educators (DHE) has been pivotal in creating an organised network for homeschoolers and regularly organises lessons, activities and events. Given the vague homeschooling regulations in Qatar, DHE advises expat parents to follow the regulations of their home country.


Tutors in Doha

Tutoring in Doha, like elsewhere around the world, is a popular and growing industry. There are many online platforms where expats can find tutors for a wide spectrum of subjects, languages and curricula, from the IB, IGCSE and A-Levels to the Qatari curriculum. TeacherOn and MyPrivateTutor are among the most commonly used online platforms and .

International Schools in Doha

There is a wide range of international schools in Doha catering to the city's large expat population. These schools follow various curricula from all over the world, including British, American and the International Baccalaureate (IB). Expat children at these schools can continue with a familiar curriculum and be around other expat children who understand the difficulties of moving to a new country.

International schools usually carry high fees, but in return, teaching standards are usually excellent, with small classes and high-quality facilities being the norm.

Below is a list of some of Doha's most prominent international schools.


International schools in Doha

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ACS Doha International School

ACS Doha International School strives to provide a unique and well-rounded education to its students, with an emphasis on exploring and developing every child's academic, social, emotional and physical potential.

The highly regarded International Baccalaureate and American curricula are offered at ACS Doha International School. As part of the ACS International Schools Group, ACS Doha International School has strong links with its three sister schools in the UK.

With a purpose-built campus situated in the Al Gharrafa district, ACS Doha International School has all the facilities needed for a high-quality education. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: American and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

American School of Doha

With more than three decades of history, the American School of Doha is a prestigious and well-regarded school. The school's student body is upwards of 2,000, and is made up of students from more than 80 countries around the world.

The American School of Doha's campus is easy and convenient to reach, being just 15 minutes from central Doha. The purpose-built campus includes facilities such as Wi-Fi, computer labs and ceiling-mounted LCD projectors in each classroom. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: American and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

Blyth Academy Qatar

Blyth Academy Qatar is an active international school that embraces diversity, celebrates differences in cultures and engages students in their learning.

The school's population ranges from ages 4 to 18 and is made up of students from more than 40 different countries around the world. Class sizes have an average of 20 to 22 students, ensuring that teachers are able to give individualised attention to students.

The curriculum offered at Blyth Academy Qatar satisfies education requirements for both the province of Alberta, Canada, and Qatar. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Canadian (Alberta)
Ages: 4 to 18

Compass International School Doha

Compass International School Doha is one of Qatar’s leading schools, providing the very best of British and international curricula for over ten years. The school places a high value on teaching with compassion and aims to provide a nurturing environment so that children are able to reach their full potential.

As a member of the Nord Anglia group of schools, Compass International School Doha has access to a wealth of resources, including collaborations with world-renowned institutes such as The Juilliard School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and UNICEF. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Primary Curriculum, English National Curriculum, Cambridge IGCSE, International Baccalaureate and A-Levels
Ages: 3 to 18

International School of London, Qatar

International School of London, Qatar (ISL) opened in Qatar in 2009. The school is an International Baccalaureate World School authorised to offer the prestigious IB curriculum at all levels – Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma.

While teaching is in English, ISL believes in the importance of maintaining children's home language. From age four onwards, mother-tongue students are taught in their home language five times a week. Currently supported languages include French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Dutch and many more. There is also support available for those speaking English as a second language.  Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate 
Ages: 3 to 18

Qatar International School

Founded in 1977, Qatar International School (QIS) holds the distinction of being the country's oldest international school. QIS has a large and diverse student population of around 1,900 students hailing from over 50 countries around the world. The teaching staff is largely British and the school's campus is home to purpose-built facilities. These include a swimming pool, a large sports hall and a number of subject-specific rooms for art, music and science. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: English National Curriculum, Cambridge IGCSE and A-Levels
Ages: 3 to 18

Sherborne Qatar

Sherborne Qatar is the daughter school of the prestigious British school of the same name founded in 1550. While the school has its roots firmly in its British heritage, Sherborne Qatar's community is truly multicultural. The school aims to produce happy children who are independent thinkers. 

Sherborne Qatar offers high standards of education and is a proud member of the Qatar Ministry of Education's Outstanding Schools Programme. The full British curriculum is offered, from Early Years to A-Levels. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: English National Curriculum, Cambridge IGCSE and A-Levels
Ages: 3 to 18

Lifestyle in Doha

The skyline of Doha is growing at a breakneck pace, and signs of the city's wealth are evident everywhere one goes, from super cars on the roads to VIP shopping experiences in its many luxury malls.

The growth in the population of expats working in Qatar is a necessary part of its development and there's an ever-increasing number of sights and attractions for the whole family. 

All things considered, though, Qatar remains a conservative country. It's an Islamic state and residents must abide by local laws and respect the Muslim mandate. Access to alcohol is restricted, the dress code in public areas must be respectful, and any public displays of affection are ill-advised.


Shopping in Doha

When temperatures skyrocket and all options at home have been exhausted, there is always a mall nearby where a few hours can be passed. With new malls continually opening as well as unique traditional souqs (local bazaars and marketplaces), shopaholics won’t be disappointed.

Villagio Mall, Landmark Mall and City Centre Mall are among the most popular hang-outs. Most Western brand names are represented, along with the usual fast-food outlets; this is by far the most popular weekend pursuit for locals and expats alike.


Nightlife and eating out in Doha

Don't be fooled by the conservative culture into thinking there is no nightlife in Doha. Expats looking for something to do at night will find plenty of options. Most international hotels have a selection of bars and nightclubs, although the dining options do outnumber the drinking holes.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has opened restaurants in Doha, and though there are only a few live music venues, many hotels and restaurants downtown offer contemporary and trendy dining experiences.

The city serves a wide range of cuisines, and for a more traditional dining experience, expats can embrace the cafe culture that made this region famous. Souq Waqif has an array of cafes and restaurants that offer a vast selection of regional cuisine, Arabic coffee and shisha.


Outdoor activities in Doha

Expats should note that the weather seriously affects the lifestyle of Qatar's residents. Summer months are a challenge, and July and August are characterised by especially scorching temperatures and high humidity. Outside activities in summer aren't an option, and during this time a lot of Doha's inhabitants move elsewhere to escape the warmest weeks.

Winter is an altogether more refreshing prospect. Dune bashing, camel racing and fishing excursions aboard traditional dhow boats are only a few of the invigorating options available. From October onwards, many hotels have weekly beach parties with international DJs and other live acts. For those wanting a more laid-back time, it's possible to pack a tent and head out to the desert for a night sleeping under the stars. There is something quite magical about watching the sunrise over the turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf.


Sports in Doha

Qatar's residents can partake in a range of sports. In fact, Qatar has a public holiday dedicated specifically to promoting a healthy lifestyle: their National Sports Day in February.

Avid cyclists can join a cycling group and get their whole family involved in events associated with the Qatar Cycling Federation. Sandboarding is a popular sporting activity, especially among younger residents, and major tennis and golf tournaments are among Doha's annual events.

Expats looking for a sporting activity to pass the time over a weekend in Doha are sure to find something.


See and do in Doha

Museum of Islamic Art

The Museum of Islamic Art can be found at the edge of Doha Port and was designed by the respected architect IM Pei. The museum is built to look like a fortress with its own moat and an avenue of palm trees. The museum houses the largest collection of Islamic art in the world, as well as a gallery, library and restaurant.

Katara Cultural Village

Katara Cultural Village was created to resemble a traditional Qatari settlement. Expats can go there to shop, eat and experience traditional Qatari life. Many festivals and conventions are held here, and expats can visit the planetarium, buy local arts and crafts, clay pots and jewellery, and see how they are all made.

Gondolania 

The fun at Gondolina is never ending, with an indoor theme park, Olympic-sized ice-skating rink and a gondola boat ride. Doha residents of all ages can indulge in a range of activities, from bowling and bumper cars to go-karts and a 4D cinema, or simply a meal at an upscale restaurant.

Souq Waqif

Souq Waqif is more than a century old and used to be a trading post for the Bedouin and local tradesmen. These days, expats shopping at Souq Waqif will be able to buy traditional Qatari dress, perfumes, incense and spices. Expats can also take a break from shopping and enjoy a cup of mint tea at one of the cafes.


What's on in Doha

Qatar Open Tennis Tournament (January/February)

The Qatar Open Tennis Tournament is a world-class sporting event that draws top tennis stars to the Middle Eastern country every year and attracts many tourists to Doha to watch their favourite players in action.

Qatar International Food Festival (March)

The Qatar International Food Festival is an annual event that turns the Museum of Islamic Art Park into a culinary playground for four days. Food-loving festival goers sample some of the best food in Doha, the Middle East and the world, and can enjoy demonstrations and shows by celebrity chefs.

Ajyal Youth Film Festival (November)

'Ajyal is Arabic for ‘generations’, highlighting how the festival encourages Qatar's residents of all ages to come together and attend the cinema. Following a different theme every year, it is one of the largest annual events in Qatar. The festival offers the chance for attendees to meet actors and directors, and even sit on judging panels.

Souq Waqif Spring Festival (December)

This is a family-friendly festival that includes circus performers, magicians, music, puppet shows and animal shows. There are also some quirky performers and even an opportunity to bungee jump.


Where to meet people and make friends

Doha offers many opportunities for expats to socialise and meet new people. Expats in this Middle Eastern city can find many ways to unwind and connect.

No.2 Qatar Book Club

On the last Wednesday of every month, this club comes together and celebrate their love for the written word. To join, prospective members are required to answer a membership questionnaire and the members should not miss more than three meetups in a row.

Dune Riders Club

The more adventurous expat might be interested in the Dune Riders Club. Catering for the whole family, this 4x4 club offers off-road experiences led by an experienced team. The group is open to anyone with a suitable vehicle.

The Hive Lounge

The Hive Lounge, part of the InterContinental hotel in the West Bay area, is a great place for expats to come together for a drink, a meal or just to watch a game with friends.

Getting Around in Doha

Winning the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup was the catalyst behind the rapid expansion of Doha’s public transport, and today the modes of travelling in Doha are numerous and varied. Still, it seems driving remains the preferred and most common way for both expats and locals to get around.


Public transport in Doha

Described as a futuristic city, Doha's rapidly expanding amenities and its quickly developing transport infrastructure hold exciting prospects for the city. Public transport consists of buses, the recently established metro, taxis, and there are plans for a light railway system.

Buses

Public buses in Doha were introduced by the state-owned company, Mowasalat. These can be used to get around the city and commute to work but, for the moment, many expats still opt for their private car and driver.

The turquoise buses are easily identifiable, and they cover large swathes of Doha with extensive routes in and around the city centre and a few to the outskirts.

Bus fares can be paid with a Karwa smartcard and there are three main options, namely the Classic card, which can be used long term and recharged when necessary, the Limited card, which is limited to two journeys within 24 hours, and the Unlimited card, which allows limitless journeys within 24 hours. Smartcards can be bought and topped up at the Doha Bus Station, the airport, Qatar Mall and various other locations.

Metro

Doha opened its metro system in 2019 to give commuters a more efficient means of travel, and a way to avoid the notorious Doha road traffic. The lines branch out from the largest station, Msheireb in Downtown Doha, and connect with Hamad International Airport. Ongoing plans for extension aim to connect the city centre with surrounding suburbs.

Doha’s metro is efficient, air-conditioned and clean, while the regularly-updated Qatar Rail app and website are useful for information on schedules, and allow passengers to register and top up their travel cards.

Trains

Like the city of Lusail itself, the Lusail Light Rail Transit system is very much still a work in progress. The network will eventually connect Lusail and Doha, making for easy commuting between the two.


Taxis in Doha

People who don’t have cars often use the city’s turquoise taxis as their primary form of transport. These are publicly managed Karwa taxis, but Uber and other private taxi companies also operate in Doha.

There is a bit of a taxi shortage in Doha, but users can book them in advance through the Karwa app and website. Taxis are mostly clean, metered and well-regulated by the government.

Unfortunately, taxi drivers don’t always know their way around the city, making commuting difficult for new arrivals.


Driving in Doha

Driving in Doha can sometimes be a harrowing experience. Locals and foreigners alike tend to drive fast and recklessly, which is why many expats choose to hire drivers instead of braving the roads themselves. Traffic is at its worst in the early morning around 6am and in the late afternoon.
 
Motor vehicle accidents are common, and expats should exercise extreme caution when driving on the emirate's roads. Drivers tend to be aggressive, speed and take risks, so expats should always drive defensively. In the case of a traffic accident in Doha, we recommend always remaining at the scene of the collision. Always obey traffic laws – the government is trying to combat the problem and heavy fines apply to those caught speeding or running a red light.
 
Despite the danger, many expats still choose to drive in Doha because of the independence it affords and because fuel is so inexpensive. Qataris drive on the right-hand side of the road.

Residents who want to drive will need to apply for an international driving licence before arrival in Doha, or a Qatari driving licence two weeks after arriving in the country. Regardless, all expats residing in the country longer than 12 months will need a local license.

Expat employees often get vehicles, and in some cases drivers, as part of their employment packages, otherwise cars can be bought or rented. Both local and large international car rental agencies, including Hertz, Avis and Europcar, have services in Doha, making car hire easy.


Cycling in Doha

Despite the heat, cycling in Doha is growing in popularity and is promoted for its various health benefits. Reckless drivers make getting around by bicycle dangerous and unwise on main roads, but there are spaces and parks dedicated to cycling, and the Qatar Cycling Federation provides information, maps and advice.

Expats can also find cycling groups through social media platforms, while several bike shops dotted around the city offer rentals.


Walking in Doha

Doha isn’t exactly walkable, but certain areas make for pleasant strolls and there are many leafy jogging environments too.

Oxygen Park has paths for walking and cycling while Al Bidda Park and Aspire Park offer refreshing green spaces for running and picnics. Walking along the Corniche promenade and around the Museum of Islamic Art Park are also great areas to unwind and take in the view.


Sea travel in Doha

Qatar's shoreline offers cruises, tours and fishing trips as well as all sorts of watersports. Boats offer more than just travel: relax on a dinner cruise or spend an exciting afternoon on jet skis, wakeboards or kayaks.

It's important to check the company that is providing the service, enquire about their safety standards and wear a life jacket.