Strolling through Souq Waqif, Doha

When considering the Middle East as destination, remember this: not all cities are Baghdad or Homs.

Neither are they all Dubai.

As the capital of Qatar - the world's richest nation per capita, and one of the booming Gulf economies - Doha has of course been touched by the magic wand of international interest and investment. This has prompted skyscrapers to shoot up, hotels to fling open their doors and celebrity chefs to flock to launch restaurants: Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse and Guy Savoy, to name but a few.

However, Qatar - in contrast to some of its neighbours - has developed slowly and steadily, with an eye to protecting the local heritage and customs.

As such, you can still find beautiful, traditional elements that feel a lot like traditional Arabia - such as Souq Waqif. 

Admittedly, a lot of this authentic market has been restored, following a fire some years ago. But with its wooden-beamed, white-washed store-fronts, narrow alleyways, and vendors selling everything from frankincense to spices, from shawarma to birds, you'd be hard pressed to find a more authentic slice of the 'old Arabic world' in the accessible Gulf countries today.