A SMALL COUN­TRY WITH BIG AM­BI­TIONS

Dis­cover Qatar: the first Mid­dle East­ern coun­try to host the FIFA World Cup

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia - - DEALS - www.vis­itqatar.qa

There are some places in the world that give visi­tors a warm wel­come and im­me­di­ate sense of home. One such gem in the Mid­dle East is Qatar, shin­ing with its for­ward-look­ing am­bi­tion, and seam­less fu­sion of cul­tural her­itage with modern lux­u­ries and com­forts. It’s no won­der this com­pact coun­try was se­lected to host the world’s most pop­u­lar sports tour­na­ment, FIFA World Cup, in 2022. But you don’t need to wait un­til 2022 to ex­pe­ri­ence this emerg­ing des­ti­na­tion. Qatar is al­ready teem­ing with unique ex­pe­ri­ences, and visa-free en­try is avail­able to Sin­ga­pore­ans, Malaysians and Hong Kong trav­ellers. Once you’re com­fort­ably set­tled in your ac­com­mo­da­tion (Qatar’s ho­tels of­fer the best guest ex­pe­ri­ence in the re­gion, ac­cord­ing to Olery’s 2018 re­port), head out to Msheireb Mu­se­ums, a com­plex of four lov­ingly ren­o­vated her­itage houses in the heart of down­town Doha that take visi­tors through an in­ter­ac­tive tour of the na­tion’s his­tory. Af­ter lunch at one of Souq Waqif’s many cafés and restau­rants, cross the water­front prom­e­nade known as the Cor­niche to visit the Mu­seum of Is­lamic Art, where you can ex­plore 14 cen­turies of Is­lamic his­tory. De­signed by Pritzker Prize–win­ning ar­chi­tect I.M. Pei, the build­ing is a mas­ter­piece of its own. If you’re trav­el­ling with young­sters, cat­a­pult them into new heights of fun at the world’s first An­gry Birds World, a theme park based on the pop­u­lar dig­i­tal game. Take flight in the Blast Bomb, an 11-me­ter free-fall; Red Alert, a 360-de­gree spin; or Own the Sky, a 106-me­ter zi­pline. Take some qual­ity time in the Big Tree, which pro­vides great sci­ence, mu­sic and art edu­tain­ment. Thrill seek­ers look­ing to ven­ture to the great out­doors will find their adren­a­line fix on the rolling sand dunes of Khor Al Adaid. Opt for a 4x4 off-road sa­fari, which shows off the spec­tac­u­lar beauty of the “In­land Sea” and of­fers glo­ri­ous desert sun­sets and moon­lit bar­be­cues. So what are you wait­ing for? Book your­self to visit the gem of the Mid­dle East now... and again in 2022!

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