Qatar is a stunning desert country that has become popular for its enormous skyscrapers, luxurious hotels, picturesque beaches, and world-class shopping malls. While Qatar is known for its vibrant culture, exquisite cuisine, and rich history, there are sure etiquette tourists should remember when visiting the country. From dress codes to language etiquette to dining habits – understanding local customs before you arrive can help ensure your trip is as enjoyable as possible.
This post will highlight some of the most important dos and don’ts related to visiting Qatar. Then you can have a fantastic time while still showing respect for the locals. Let’s explore how to keep strong etiquette while visiting Qatar.
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Greetings in Qatar often differ depending on the circumstances, though most share one common factor—respect. Standing is usually customary in public when greeting others, especially the elderly.
When meeting men and women from Qatar, it’s essential to pay attention to social cues. For example, if a woman offers her hand first, you can take that as an indication of a warm welcome.
However, depending on their religion or cultural upbringing, some people may not be comfortable with physical contact between members of the opposite sex. So, it’s best to let them initiate any handshakes or other hand gestures.
Take your shoes off
The Qatari culture of hospitality is renowned, and when invited into someone’s home, it is essential to remember to take off your shoes before entering. Refined etiquette from their Bedouin desert culture may also be observed at meal times — the sharing of large, communal plates of food placed on the floor.
It would help if you always thought twice before declining an offer from a host, as this could be a sign of disrespect. However, understanding and respecting these customs in Qatar will put you in high regard amongst the locals.
Regarding capturing the beauty of Qatar’s impressive architecture, culture, and attractions, some places are off-limits for photography. To maintain the authenticity and respect the values of the religious and military sites, as well as construction areas, photography is prohibited in these locations.
As for public spaces, taking photos of strangers is considered a severe offense here and can land you in hot water. So remember that while out exploring Qatar’s incredible landmarks and culture, take your photos with thoughtfulness, respect, and responsibility.
Behavior in public
When it comes to behavior in public, the rules in places like Qatar need to be strictly followed. It is important to remember that Qatar believes in having a friendly and safe environment for everyone who visits the country. As such, they expect those visiting their country to behave accordingly.
Specifically, they take offense if anyone disrespects their religion or speaks against their values. Moreover, there are repercussions for spreading harmful messages about their culture or government officials on social media.
Political speech (other than what is permitted by the state), vulgarity, obscene gestures, and words are strictly off-limits for locals and foreigners alike.
When eating out or grabbing a bite from the roadside stall, etiquette in Qatar is very different from Western culture. For instance, unlike in Europe and America, where forks and knives are used, most Qatari meals are eaten with hands.
While each restaurant may have an individual set of rules, being respectful to the servers is always expected. Expressing rude gestures, such as pointing your index finger, should always be avoided.
Saying ‘thank you’ or leaving a small tip can also go a long way in expressing appreciation.
Were you invited over to a traditional Qatari home? Don’t be surprised if you find yourself sitting cross-legged on the floor and eating with your hands – this act of dining forms part of many traditional customs here.
In Qatar, coffee is an essential part of the culture. Traditionally made with roasted coffee beans and aromatic spices like cardamom and saffron, the Arabic coffee is served in dallah pots with little cups to add a sense of intimacy. This beverage experience can be enhanced by dates, adding a sweet touch that will linger after each sip.
The iconic dallah pot is considered a symbol in the Gulf region and appears in many public spaces as a monument honoring the traditional brewing practice. Plus, there is strict etiquette when enjoying this particular drink. Hosts must taste the coffee first to test the flavor before offering it to guests, and they must also use their right hand to take the cup.
Once done drinking, you wave your cup in completion. With its rich cultural significance, aroma, and flavor that keeps people coming back for more, it’s no wonder why Arabic coffee is so popular among residents of Qatar.
The Bottom Line
Traveling to Qatar can be a wonderful experience. The country is rich in culture and has something for everyone. Therefore, being aware of Qatar’s cultural norms should always be top of mind when visiting this beautiful place.
This includes dressing conservatively, abstaining from alcohol in public, and being mindful of your actions and words. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your trip will be pleasant and respectful.
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