The emergency phone number for police, ambulance or fire department is 999.
Western women might experience harassment, but it will likely be more annoying than threatening; such as having a man circle around the block whilst you walk down the street, or whisper at you to get your number in the store, but for the most part it will be men staring since it's normal. Women from countries such as Nepal, India and the Philippines, working as housemaids, are subject to physical abuse. The Indian ambassador noted nearly 200 women working as housemaids sought refuge at the embassy in 2007.
An abaya, the long, black cloak and headscarf worn by local women, can be purchased at a variety of places in Doha.
Haze, dust storms and sandstorms are common.
Arabic is the official language, particularly the Gulf dialect. As Qatar was a British protectorate, English is the most common second language, and most locals would be able to speak basic English. As Qatar has thousands of guest workers from Canada, US, UK, Australia, South Africa, China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand and various other countries, a word or two of any languages spoken in these areas can be helpful. However, with such a mixed international population, English is the de facto language allowing the Qataris to communicate with the people who generally handle all of the menial jobs in their country, so it is widely spoken. If you can learn a few words of Arabic, your hosts and any other locals you may meet, will be very impressed and appreciative.
Respect the Islamic beliefs of Qataris and Bedouins: While there is no legal requirement to wear the hijab, women shouldn't wear tube tops and skimpy outfits, although there is no strict rule and women are free to dress as they feel. It is absolutely acceptable for any nationality to wear the traditional Qatari clothes, the thobe.
If you're dining with a Qatari, don't expose the bottoms of your feet to him/her. Don't eat with your left hand either, since the left hand is seen as the 'dirty hand'. Similarly, don't attempt to shake hands or hand a package with your left hand.
If your Qatari friend insists on buying you somethingâa meal or a giftâlet him! Qataris are extremely hospitable, and typically there are no strings attached. It is generally a custom to argue for the bill.