use greetings and formalities as they are particularly important when dealing with Arabs. It is considered impolite to start any conversation or request without at least saying ‘Good morning’. Make an effort to learn about the ways, traditions, customs and religion of your host country.
be mindful when talking to or asking local or Arab women for information or directions, if you are a man. Respect the fact some women in this region are private people in public places. They are more than willing to help other women, so if you are in a mixed group, let the women do the talking!
dress modestly in Qatar, which is a Muslim country with conservative dress codes for both males and females. Avoid shorts and short skirts, strapless and crop tops and other forms of revealing and transparent clothing especially to work, schools, malls, parks and other family-friendly destinations. Government offices will turn away people for inappropriate clothing.
take the now fully operational Doha Metro for faster and cheaper transportation! Or hail taxis, which are safe, clean and metered. The majority of the drivers speak English. You can order a taxi by using the Karwa, Careem or Uber apps and have a car at your location within minutes.
bargain with shopkeepers in local souqs. Always counter the original offer with a lower price than you expect to pay and work slowly upwards to what you wish to spend.
look out for separate counters and sections for men and women in banks, ministries and other public service centres.
stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. At temperatures reaching over 40°C in the summer, you need at least two litres a day. Deep yellow urine is a sign of dehydration. Don’t forget to use a high-factor sunblock and wear a hat or cap to protect you from the sun’s UV radiation.
look or stare at people closely especially women. This general courtesy is particularly important in a society where modesty in dress and behaviour is mandatory.
be offended if your handshake is refused by the opposite sex. Handshakes are often refused to members of the opposite sex. It is not meant personally, but simply a religious and cultural prohibition applicable to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
take photographs or videos without permission of people (including the police or armed forces) or sensitive sites in public or private spaces. Many men and women here are priavte and strongly object to being photographed or videographed.
be annoyed if your guest/contact is late – schedules are more flexible in Qatar.
sit with the soles of your shoes or feet facing towards your hosts; it is considered insulting. Equally, don’t sit with your back to other guests.
drink too much alcohol so that your behaviour is affected in public. Alcohol in Qatar is a strictly regulated concession and there is zero tolerance for drink-driving, drunkenness or rowdy behaviour.
go barefoot in the sea where stonefish lie camouflaged along the shoreline. Although rare, the poisonous defence mechanism causes excruciating pain and needs a hospital visit. Also be on the lookout for jellyfish, particularly in the summer months.
forget to read about the Public Hygiene Law with violations up to QAR25,000 and jail sentences. Do not throw or leave waste on the streets or public spaces. Spitting in public spaces is also prohibited.