Visiting Qatar for the first time? Make sure you know the dos and don’ts of Qatar
Is this your first time visiting Qatar? I’m guessing you already thought of the dos and don’ts in Qatar. No worries. We have got you covered. Today, we will look at what you should do and not do if you are visiting Qatar for the first time.
First of all, you should know that Qatar is one of the most visited countries in the GCC and there’s a lot to see. With tall skyscrapers and breathtaking views of the beaches, you are about to enter heaven on Earth. So let’s get started with the dos and don’ts in Qatar.
Don’t worry, you can take plenty of photographs in Qatar. Be sure to take photos of the sights and savour the moments so that you can enjoy them later. Many of you have already planned on recording your whole vacation.
Well, just be cautious when you are vlogging or taking pictures. Taking pictures or recording an individual without his/her permission is a criminal offence in Qatar. Locals, especially Qatari women, are not likely to like having their pictures taken, so it’s not a good idea to take pictures of them.
You should also avoid taking pictures of Government institutions, protected areas like military sites and some archaeological sites etc due to security reasons. Photographing or recording in a public place with the intent to offend or defame can get you two years in prison and a fine of up to QR 10,000.
Like I said, just be cautious and have fun!
Public places are not to be littered or left with waste
These are two of the most important things you need to know. Qatar is one of the strictest nations when it comes to cleanliness. Under Law No.18 of 2017 on Public Hygiene, the Ministry of Municipality has announced heavy fines for those who disagree with keeping public places hygienic. Any violations of this regulation could result in a penalty of QR 10,000.
In accordance with Article 12, smoking is not permitted in closed public places, such as hospitals, health facilities, ministry buildings, government offices, public office buildings, elevators, shopping malls, cinemas, theatres, etc.
It is illegal to drink in public
We all know that Qatar follows the customs and laws of an Islamic country. As per 270 Article on the Qatari Legal Portal – Al Meezan, “whoever drinks any enhanced beverages in a public place shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months and/or a fine not exceeding three thousand Qatari Riyals (QR 3,000). The same penalty will apply to any person who is found drunk on the main road or is intoxicated and disturbs others.”
So public drunkenness or drinking of alcoholic beverages is illegal. Licensed, hotel restaurants and bars are the only places where it is available. In case you plan to drink, please make sure to bring your photo ID with you. Places serving alcohol will ask for an original photo ID. When it comes to dos and don’ts in Qatar, this is one of the most important ones.
Dress code in Qatar
Dressing in Qatar is pretty simple, dress modestly in public. You only need to make sure that your dresses are not too revealing or too short. For women, your skirts should not be short, and your shoulders must be covered.
You would be denied of entering into certain locations if you don’t follow this.
It is rude to point your fingers at someone in Qatar. Make sure that you never sit with your legs crossed in such a way that the foot of one leg is resting on the knee of the other leg. The locals consider this as an insult when your foot is facing another person’s face.
Pork products are not allowed
For the avid foodies out there, I’m really very sorry to tell you that Qatari restaurants or hotels don’t serve pork. Make sure that you have the license to buy pork if you are planning on buying pork from Qatar.
Speaking of dos and don’ts in Qatar, remember that are also banned from bringing pork and pork products into the country. Be sure to satisfy your appetite completely before entering Qatar.
Qatar does not encourage public displays of affection. Respect local culture and be aware of your surroundings when you are visiting. At the same time, savour every moment that you breathe in Qatar, ’cause there is so much waiting for you.
There are strict penalties for drug possession, use, and trafficking in Qatar. In accordance with Article 35, anyone possessing, purchasing, or selling drugs for trade purposes is subject to a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A fine of QR 200,000 to QR 400,000 will also be imposed.
Folks, there is no tradition of tipping in Qatar. But it is not prohibited at the same time. You will get to see ex-pats tipping in restaurants, cafes and other places. It’s entirely up to you whether to tip or not.
Gambling is prohibited in Qatar. Article 274 says that “Gambling means any game in which the probability of gain and loss depends on uncontrolled chance and each party agrees to give an amount of money or any other benefit to be agreed upon, in case of loss, to the winning party.”
According to Article 275, “whoever gambles shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months and a fine not exceeding three thousand Qatari Riyals (QR 3,000) or one of these two penalties. if gambling occurs in a public place and is performed openly or in any place or house-made for this purpose, imprisonment can be extended to six months and/or a fine not exceeding six thousand Qatari Riyals (QR 6,000).”
In Article 277, it states that “for gambling and drinking offences, the court shall confiscate the materials, money, and equipment used in the offence and shall order the closure of the place where the offence has occurred, and which may only be re-opened for a legal purpose after the approval of the Office of Public Prosecution.”
So this is it friends. Like I said earlier, there is no need to worry. Pack your bags, visit Qatar and have a blast!