Hello! I had a change to do a short half day visit to Doha, Qatar on my way home from Melbourne. I was excited to see a new part of the world since I’ve never been to Middle East apart from short stop in Kuwait airport in the middle of the night. So this trip was something new and I couldnt wait to check it out.
It is super convenient to do a city tour in Doha if you have a stop over in Qatar in your flight plans and I would recommend this. After 15 hours flight from Melbourne it was a nice to get out in the city before continuing travels. Easiest way to do a tour is the find the Doha City Tours desk in the airport departure area. It’s close to all the shops and easy to spot.
My flight landed really early aroun 5am so there was no traffic. But i advice to try to get here as soon as you can because it seems the queues can get very long and it seemed painfully slow to get tickets sorted once people gathered up. The tour used to be complimentray on Qatar Airways but they recently changed it to cost 40 riyals (which is about 9€). Not too bad since everything is organised for you. The alternative way is to find a taxi outside the airport and drive to the city but the price is quite similiar just for a one way trip.
From the first glance Doha seems interesting and well developed city with lots to see. If you drive along the coast and the see the high rises on the other side and think that the business center there wil be a new one behind every turn around the gulf.
The parts of Doha I saw were really clean and it was not crowded at all at the morning hours. Maybe also becauses of going through all the main interests a tourist to see. I noticed huge amount of construction work that is beign done all over the city. This gives you an idea about the volume of the developed on the way.
The Museum of Islamic Art seems really interesting and I would loved to have time to make a visit inside. I was most excited about the Wahiq Souk.
Tips for all the best sights in Doha also listed by the tourism board.
First stop was a water side view spot not too far from the Islamic Museum in the wat
er front. This is one place I wish I had enough time to check out from the inside. We stopped to see local boats and the skyline on the opposite side of the bay. That look
ed stunning even if we heard there had
been a maaive sand storm just few days ago so the air wasn’t all cle
ar when looking that far.
Next stop was a really fancy marina area with all the brand clothing stores and r
estaurants. We you start getting the idea about the wealth situated in the country and we saw some spextacular yatchs.
Later on during the day we visited a local mosque with few other girls from the tour and got to know a friendly local man working there. He invited us in for a quick look after appropriately giving us scarfes to cover up. And the mosque was beautiful from the inside too! We learned more about the way of local prayers and history thanks to this man.
The part on the tour that I was most excited about t
he was the big local market Souq Wahiq. This was filled with little cafes, antique shops, restaurants, art and souveniers. We met some local people while walking around the market and where as other sights were all quiet in the morning there was life
here. The local food and spices smelled amazing and I can’t wait to get back here one day to try all the rest we missed now and well to shop!
Practical things for Doha
I found Doha very welcoming and the Hamad International Airport easy to get around. For the tour in the city you need to go through the border control to get out and all the normal things to get back in after but this happened in just minutes since the airport was not crowded.
You can book many different stop over activities from the airport or from local companies in the city. I would have loved to do a little sand safari on the desert or my own driver to show me around if I’ve had planned it in advance.
We are visitors in this country so as anywhere else in different cultures, respect the local habbits for example in clothing. I was wearing loose ankle lenght summer pants and a t-shirt and this was alright. It can also get really hot during the summer so prepare against the sun.
Time zone in Qatar + 3 so it’s easy to visit from Europe without a huge time difference.
It was interesting to explore Doha even just for one afternoon and I will continue one day around the Guld to also see the neighouring countries but this gives a little info already! Feel free to ask me if there is anything else.
Overall on Doha
It was a great half day in Doha and I learned many new things in just a quick visit. I would love to get around with more time one day and get in touch with the locals. I’m not sure if it’s the destination for me for a full week of holiday but I would easily spend here few days or long weekend to explore.
I have a guess that Doha is also one of the busiest places in the country so I would be curious to see some other parts of the country for comparison too.
I might do another post later to praise Qatar Airways and I’m really excited that they started flying to Helsinki last summer. The rest of the world is a little step closer from the North again! 😀