Let me tell you about the time in Qatar and provide you with information that you might not have considered when planning your trip here. You will not only learn that Qatar is in the GMT or UTC+3 time zone, which means that the time here is the same as in Eastern Europe Countries and Turkey, but also about how stores, the metro, and other facilities operate, as there are some peculiarities here.

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Hotels in Doha

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Tours and Activities

Time in Qatar: time zone, daylight saving time, and general Information

There are no particular peculiarities in this section, so here is a brief summary:

  • Qatar is a small country, and the whole territory is in one time zone.
  • There is no daylight saving time in Qatar.
  • The time zone of Qatar is GMT+3 or UTC+3.
  • The time difference between London and Qatar is 3 hours.

For this reason, European tourists who are sensitive to time zone changes may occasionally experience symptoms of jet lag when flying to Qatar.

time in qatar
On the GMT+3 time zone map, Qatar is located in the blue zone.

Here are 10 reasons why you should visit Qatar.

Working hours for stores, banks, and the metro in Qatar:

It is useful to know that

Qatar is a Muslim country, which means that Friday is a day off. Many establishments operate on a reduced schedule on this day.

On any day of the week from Saturday to Thursday, all establishments operate on a standard schedule without any breaks or reduced hours:

  • Grocery stores are open from 8 am to 10 or 11 pm
  • Major shopping centers are open from 10 am to midnight, and some are open until 1 am
  • The Doha metro operates from 5:30 am to midnight, and until 1 am on Thursdays and Fridays
  • Banks are open from 7:30 am to 8 pm, and sometimes later.

However, on Fridays, there is a midday prayer that no Muslim can miss, and here is how some establishments operate:

operating hours in qatar
Standard operating hours for a major shopping center in Doha:
  • On Fridays, the Doha metro operates from 2 pm.
  • Banks are open from 7:30 am to 11:00 am, and then from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
  • Grocery stores usually open at 2 or 3 pm. For example, the largest hypermarket in Doha is open on Fridays from 8:00 am to 11:00 am, and from 12:30 pm to midnight.

Important note:

If you are arriving or departing from Qatar on a Friday or have any important business on this day, plan everything in advance taking into account this schedule. You can only get to the airport by taxi. You can only exchange money at banks, as no one in Qatar will accept dollars.

Here are some useful articles on this topic:

  • Qatar currency, where to get the best exchange rate, what to bring with you, exchange offices at the airport, the 22-rial banknote, and more.
  • Doha metro: how to buy tickets, passes, which carriages not to enter, and much more.

The prayer time in Qatar, or when you won’t be allowed to sleep

These are just general points. If you are a Muslim, then you already know everything, and if not, then there is no need to delve deeper.

  • Muslims are obligated to pray 5 times a day at least, seven days a week. These prayers are called Salah (namaz).
  • During prayer time, the muezzins from every minaret of every mosque sing “Azan.” In simple terms, this is a call to prayer. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to escape this anywhere.
    • The only advice that may be of help is to make sure that there are no mosques near your hotel. At the very least, the farther the mosque, the better. You can find detailed information about hotels in Qatar, what to expect as a tourist, and where and how to find accommodation in the linked article.
prayer time in qatar
This is the time for six prayers (during Ramadan month) in Qatar. Just for general understanding, pay attention to the timing of the first two prayers.
  • The prayer time changes daily and depends on the position of the sun. In reality, the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th prayers go unnoticed by tourists. The only difficulty is with the first two because they take place before sunrise and start as early as 4 a.m.

On the punctuality of the locals

Let’s put it this way, there are no special problems here. Qataris are definitely more punctual than residents of some Asian countries or the Caribbean Dominican Republic, where being three hours late is not considered being late.

You can do business and make deals with the locals in Qatar. Overall, they are punctual guys who keep their word and promises.

But, there is a catch 🙂

The local residents who are citizens of Qatar are punctual, comprising about 15% of the country’s population. The remaining 85% are migrant workers, mostly from India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and so on, who tend to be quite slow. They have their own sense of time in Qatar – let’s call it “Pakistan time” 🙂

If you book a tour with them at 9 am, you’ll start at 10 am if you’re lucky. If you arrange to meet somewhere, they’ll probably be late and tell you they’ll be there in 5 minutes. Keep in mind that “Pakistan minutes” are roughly 20 European minutes 🙂

For those who are visiting Qatar and Doha for the first time, there is a lot of useful information available.

In conclusion, time in Qatar, especially in terms of time zones, should not pose any difficulties for tourists. The main thing to remember is that on Fridays, everything works differently than on other days of the week, and you should plan your visits to attractions and shops accordingly.

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Qatar

  • Flights at the best prices with discounts
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars
  • Hotels and apartments in Doha:
    • Hotellook – compare prices when booking around the world.
    • Agoda – the best selection of hotels in Qatar.
    • Booking – the main competitor of Agoda.
  • Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
    • GYG – more than 400 tours
    • Viator – excursions and activities throughout the country
  • Travel insurance: EKTA
  • Airport transfer: Intui
  • Internet and Calls: