The North of Qatar

Qatar is a funny place. In fact, it’s a funny word that nobody truly knows how to pronounce! It may be funny, but it is one of the richest countries in the world. Oil and gas trillions have made a major global player out of the small Gulf state. In fact, the country of Qatar, approximately the size of New Jersey, will be hosting the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament! There is a massive construction effort to get ready for the tournament like I’ve never seen before all around the country. Most people never get out of Doha, the capital. So I decided to take a tour of the North of Qatar.
The North of Qatar, North of Qatar, Doha
The North of Qatar is a strange place. It’s strange because it is so different from Doha. Doha is a massive city with an amazing skyline that has sprouted up in the last ten years more or less. It has the world-class and visually stunning Museum of Islamic Art (below), a fancy Souk and everything you could ever want. The North of Qatar does not. In fact, there isn’t much of anything. But that’s why it’s so cool to see!
The North of Qatar, North of Qatar, Doha, Museum of Islamic Art
If you travel around the new Gulf States like Bahrain, Dubai or even Oman you’ll see massive buildings, modern luxuries and spic and span clean cities-just like Doha. The second largest city of Qatar is a little town in the North of Qatar called Al Khor.
The North of Qatar, North of Qatar, Al Khor, fishing
Al Khor is a town that houses a lot of Qatari people and migrant workers. They are cleaning it up for the World Cup and there is a lot of construction. The main attraction and really the only current attraction is the fishing harbor. This is where the fishing dhows leave from and return to with their daily catch that supplies fish to much of Qatar. It’s not the most exciting place in the world but it’s interesting to see for sure.
The North of Qatar, North of Qatar, Al Thankira, beach, magroves
Next up as you head up the North of Qatar is a little sleepy beachside town called Al Thakira. It is most famous for a small Corniche and a little family beach where you can see mangrove trees. They’re very proud of these trees yet to the visitor they seem strangely out of place. That said the beach is lovely!
The North of Qatar, North of Qatar, Al Zubarah, Al Zubara, excavation site, UNESCO
Finally, as you cut across the desert in the North of Qatar you will arrive at the crown jewel of the North, Al Zubarah. Al Zubarah is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and very preserved at that. The old fort looks stunning and stoic in the vast desert.
The North of Qatar, North of Qatar, Al Zubarah, Al Zubara, excavation site, UNESCO
It’s a very cool place to visit as the inside is essentially a museum. Nearby is an excavation site where they are unearthing ancient ruins out to the sea. Those are always cool to see. The North of Qatar tour also included a lovely lunch next to Al Zubarah fort.
The North of Qatar, North of Qatar, Al Zubarah, Al Zubara, excavation site, UNESCO
So the North of Qatar is not a blow you away destination. However, if you’ve traveled to Doha before or around much of the Gulf, it’s a nice change to see the way it used to be in the Gulf. It really lends perspective and I got a lot out of it. In fact, I got exactly what I wanted to get out of it!

Disclaimer: I have a business relationship with Azamara Club Cruises and receive financial compensation. Everything was written and experienced by me and has not been influenced in any way.

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  1. I’ve been to Doha several times and you nailed it, I’ve never been outside of the city at all. I didn’t know they had a Unesco site either. I’ll have to check it out if I get sent there again for work. I have been to the museum though!

    • I actually didn’t know until I did a little research either. Doha is very similar to Manama, Bahrain so I wanted a little something different from my time there. I was also in DOha as you can see from the photos but I like to mix it up. It’s a very small country!

  2. It will be interesting to see how much changes in Qatar by 2022 when they host the World Cup. But good to hear that there is still some semblance of the Gulf States as they once were in North Qatar. BTW, did you see any of the stadiums under construction while you were in Qatar?

    • Hey Ray! Yes I saw 3-4 of the statdiums already under construction although some were just clearing space in the middle 0f nowhere! There are a few stadiums already built from they hosted the Asian Games and some crazy handball tournament they built a massive stadium for! I specifically asked the guide to point that stadium stuff out to me as you might imagine! I will be back for the 2022 WC for sure! I already have tickets to Russia 2018!

    • Good stuff, Buddy! I am already looking forward to following your Russia 2018 adventures! Hopefully, I can make it to that World Cup, as well. But as of now, I am planning to go to the Qatar 2022 tournament as I want to visit at least 100 countries before I die (up to 23 at the moment) and want to combine this trip with visits to Kuwait, Bahrain, and UAE (time permitting) during this tournament. I’m sure you’ll be visiting this area again a few more times over the next few years, so I’ll be looking forward to changes that you see here in the Middle East along the way. 🙂

  3. I thought Doha was one of the coolest cities I’ve ever seen but I haven’t seen that many foreign cities and I’m from Kansas!

    • Haha, I like Kansas! Well BBQ in Kansas City, Missouri at least! Although I’ve been to Lawrence for a KU game and that was a lot of fun! Plus Doha is cool, I just wanted something different.

  4. Qatar is really cool place to visit instead of Dubai, like Dubai more expensive from Qatar, i would say Qater is best place to visit, than ks for sharing..

  5. Awesome place. I really want to visit Qatar!

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