Qatar: where the past meets the future
Qatar is more than just a transit area; here are some reasons why you should take a look around the country
If you are travelling to Europe or the US, chances are that you will transit in Doha, Qatar, especially if you are flying by Qatar Airways.
The US$17 billion (S$24.6 billion) Hamad International Airport in Doha was the 16th busiest airport in the world last year in terms of international passenger traffic, according to Airports Council International.
Instead of spending two hours exploring the airport, ranked 10th in the world this year by Skytrax, why not spend a day or two exploring the oil-rich Gulf nation?
After all, the Muslim-majority country and its gleaming buildings offer an intriguing counterpoint to Western metropolises.
Doha is steeped in history, even as it undergoes rapid modernisation for the hosting of the 2022 Fifa World Cup Finals.
The Souq Waqif, which is Arabic for standing market, is one of the most important heritage sites in Doha. Its origins date back to when the city was just a village.
A showpiece of the region's traditional architecture, the souq - about the size of 23 football fields - is where you can find eateries and shops selling anything from spices to pets.
It is also where you will find the Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital, which treats injured birds.
Hunting with falcons is a popular sport in the region.
Another popular destination is the Museum of Islamic Art, which sits along the Corniche, or coastline, and faces the West Bay skyscrapers across the bay.
Designed by renowned Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei, the museum has a collection that spans 1,400 years.
Also, a temporary exhibition about the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali is running until Feb 25 next year.
While handball is highly popular there, Qatar has hosted a variety of sporting events, ranging from bowling to table tennis.
Spanish football giants Barcelona played Saudi club Al-Ahli in a friendly match earlier this month, due to Qatar Airways' sponsorship of both teams.
Also, the 25th edition of Qatar ExxonMobil Open tennis tournament, a fourth-tier Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour 250 Series competition, will be held next month.
Next month will also see the Gulf nation host the Asian Football Confederation Under-22 tournament.
Lim Say Heng's trip was sponsored by Qatar Airways.