List Of Things Not To Do When Visiting Qatar as a Kenyan

Considering the high number of Kenyans visiting Qatar every here, I found it vital to do a post listing on some of the things one should not do while in Qatar. Most of the things you going to read here are social factors. I hope this post will be of much assistance to you.

1. Never criticize the government; especially The Emir in a public forum.

2. Respect Islam. You don’t have to agree with Islam, or even like Islam, but you have to realize that Qataris are very serious about Islam, and won’t take lightly to an outsider questioning their beliefs.

3. You can drink in private, but don’t be drunk in public. Related to that, If caught drunk in public, the consequences will be severe. You can be deported back to Kenya.

4. Never offer anything with your left hand. That’s the hand that Indians and Arabs wipe their bums with. Unhygienic and highly disrespectful!

Related to the above point, learn to use the shattaf. This is the water sprayer next to practically all toilets in Qatar, and after a few tries, you’ll be spraying your butt like a pro and never go back to wiping with paper again. Step 1: spray your butt (aim carefully so you don’t get your back wet). Step 2: wipe with your left hand. Step 3: clean that hand really, really well. It’s not guaranteed that many places have toilet paper, even fancy hotels, so don’t insist.

5. Avoid shaking hands or engaging in any other bodily contact with Qatari women, unless they offer first (and they likely won’t; this is Islamic custom, and they’re very serious about it).

6. Speaking of the Doha Expressway (and any other road), don’t try to out-drive a Qatari. They are given much more lee-way in traffic enforcement than expats. If a white Land Cruiser pulls up behind you, just let them pass, and forget about it.Also, when driving, stop a meter before the white line. Those traffic cameras are all-seeing, and the fine for running a red light (even slightly) is at least 2,500 riyals (that’s nearly Ksh 69,000). It’s probably actually more than that, so be safe, or be broke.

7. Leave your expectations at the airport. While Qatar is the wealthiest country in the world at the moment, it has only been so for less than a decade. It’s still a developing country, so don’t expect the kind of public transportation, sanitation, or urban design that you might be used to “back home”.

8. Don’t expect the taxi drivers to know where anything is. Doha is constantly changing and most cab drivers have been there for a short time. Know where you’re going in advance, and know your street directions to the place. If you expect the driver to know where you’re going, expect to get lost at best and get cheated at worst. The majority of the drivers speak English. When ordering a taxi by phone do so well in advance as delays can occur.

9. Dress modestly in Qatar.This is a Muslim country with conservative dress codes. Loose trousers are acceptable for women but avoid shorts and mini skirts, strappy low-cut tops, see-through and transparent clothes.

10. Drink plenty of water in addition to other beverages ( don’t do it in public during Ramadan). At temperatures reaching over 40°C, you need at least two liters a day. Deep yellow urine is a sign of dehydration.

11. Enjoy Qatar at night as it is one of the safest places in the world.

12. Bargain with shopkeepers. Always counter the original offer with a lower price than you expect to pay and work slowly upwards to what you wish to spend.

13. Arab women and many older people strongly object to being photographed.

14. Do not bring in any pork products. Pork consumption is forbidden. Items will be confiscated and you may face fines or even jail time for smuggling.

15.Public hugging and kissing should be avoided. Do that in the privacy of your hotel room.

16. Streets are rather empty. And honestly speaking there are only immigrant workers visible on the streets.

17.  Use a reputable agency when applying for a job in Qatar.

Also, Check out this post: Qatar Visa Requirements for Kenyan Citizens

Victor Matara

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