Free Doha city tour

Doha Travel Blog

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Souq Waqif

On my way to Yerevan from Kuala Lumpur, I had a nine-hour layover in Doha, Qatar.  I normally try to avoid such long layovers, but that particular flight saved me over $200.  After a little bit of research on what I should do with such a long layover, I discovered that Qatar Airways offers free city tours for passengers on a long layover.  You just had to be careful of your timing.  With nine hours, I wasn't concerned.

Once I landed in Doha, I had a few hours before the next tour began.  Not a problem, there was lots of great coffee, food, and wifi at the airport.  I entertained myself quite easily until it was time to go.

At around 3 p.m., myself and about ten other passengers congregated around the city tour desk and were led by an airport official through security and immigration for our free transit visa.

Museum of Islamic Art
 Then we were loaded onto a small (air-conditioned) bus and sped off into the city.  I must say, the first thing I noticed about the airport and the roads into the city was how empty they were.  Apparently, it was because of Ramadan.  Because of that, all the restaurants, shops, and cafes would be closed.  Darn, I was really hoping to sit at a cafe and have some arabic coffee and baklava.

The tour was definitely rushed.  We visited the Pearl-Qatar, the Katara Cultural Center, and the Museum of Islamic Art and unfortunately spent only about ten minutes at each location.  Just long enough to look around and take a few photos.  That, actually wasn't so bad.  It was very hot.  And it being Ramadan, drinking water in public was discouraged.

New Doha, seen from Old Doha
 Our last stop was the Souq Waqif.  That was actually a rather nice part of the town, and we spend about 30 minutes there.  Sadly, there was NOTHING to do.  It was hot, we couldn't buy anything to drink, and the shops were closed.

By some strange stroke of luck, I found an Indian man selling pakoras and cheese samosas.  I purchased some and stared at them wistfully.  I couldn't eat them until I got back on the bus.  Even then, I had to be sneaky about it.  They were delicious, by the way.

If you have a long layover in Doha on Qatar Airways, I recommend doing the free city tour, but check your timing.  It'll be much more worth your while if you do it outside of Ramadan.

Paulovic says:
Congrats on your featured blog! Well done!
Posted on: Oct 10, 2017
planxty says:
(Pressed the enter key too early there!) but I have used Qatar Airways myself and throroughly enjoyed the flight although I only had a 50 minute layover and we had been late leaving London so I got to Colombo OK but my bag didn't! However, that is a great tip if I ever have to spend a longer time there.
Posted on: Oct 10, 2017
planxty says:
Many congratulations on the feature today, it is well deserved.
Posted on: Oct 10, 2017
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Souq Waqif
Souq Waqif
Museum of Islamic Art
Museum of Islamic Art
New Doha, seen from Old Doha
New Doha, seen from Old Doha
I honestly dont remember what thi…
I honestly don't remember what th…
Katara Cultural Center
Katara Cultural Center
Katara Cultural Center
Katara Cultural Center
Katara Cultural Center
Katara Cultural Center
Amphitheater from the Katara Cultu…
Amphitheater from the Katara Cult…
Old Doha, seen from New Doha
Old Doha, seen from New Doha
Marina from the Pearl
Marina from the Pearl
At the Pearl
At the Pearl
Empty shopping centre at the Pearl
Empty shopping centre at the Pearl
Buildings of New Doha
Buildings of New Doha
Souq Waqif
Souq Waqif
Souq Waqif
Souq Waqif
Shops at Souq Waqif
Shops at Souq Waqif
Shops at Souq Waqif
Shops at Souq Waqif
Doha
photo by: Stevie_Wes