Al Khor Island, also known as Purple Island, is not one of the most popular day trips from Doha—even some veteran Doha expats will be genuinely stumped when you ask about it.
But don’t let that put you off; it’s well worth visiting this deserted and interesting corner of Qatar.
Despite its name, Purple Island is surprisingly green especially given that it is in a country that gets less than 71 mm of rain per year. Its lush mangrove forest will provide a welcome blast of green to any Doha dweller.
The island is situated near Al Khor and is only a forty-minute drive from Doha. After parking your car, you will set off on your walk along a raised pathway which leads you to the island. Either side of the pathway are the mangroves that seem to be teeming with life, making it an excellent nature trail for your children. They will enjoy spotting fish and crabs, collecting sticks and stones and discovering unusual looking plants and flowers. Take a bucket and a magnifying glass and let their imagination run wild!
Update, 30 Jan 2016: The pathway leading out to Purple Island has been demolished. To get to the island, you must wade through 1–3ft of water (depending on the tide levels) for approximately 500 metres. This may be difficult with small children in tow, especially if the tide rises while you’re on the island. You can keep an eye on the tide schedule on the Qatar Meteorology Department’s website, qweather.gov.qa. Don’t forget to bring water shoes for the walk!