Hamad International Airport, Doha in Qatar with ‘Discover Qatar’ pledges by a good initiative offering the passengers an excursion of the city if the transit exceeds more than 5 hours. It is definitely the best option for an inquisitive traveller like me, who can further utilize the long halts, rather than compromising at the airport. There is no reason to complain anymore if you are travelling by Qatar airways and transiting at Doha- the glorious city itself invites you for a brief, yet memorable excursion.
Benefits of taking a tour with Discover Qatar:
- Affordable, easy and hassle-free.
- Pick-up and drop to the airport included.
- Very well planned covering the popular attractions of the city in a given time.
- Interesting narrative in english.
Ways to book the tour with Discover Qatar:
- Online: As per the transit hours, one can choose the preferred tour and time from here.
- At the airport: The counter for Discover Qatar Transit Tours is located at concourse A, towards Gate A4. One can ask the representatives for the details and can choose for the available tour.
I chose their most popular tour which is called Doha City Tour. It was for 2 hrs and 45 minutes. I purchased the tour for 75 QAR per person (also) payable at the counter at the airport only by debit or credit card.
Attractions covered in the tour:
- After we board the bus, the guide introduced us to the city, its origin, the facts about living and habitation and its development. It is very interesting to learn how a city which was majorly occupied by a desert few centuries back, is now one of the hubs for oil export, inviting expats from all over the world for employment.
- The striking feature as we leave the airport, was the pillars like obelisks where the verses of Quran were written in arabic. Absolutely neat and clean, the city boasts of a perfect skyline that can be noticed as we leave the airport zone.
- The first stop was near to the Museum of Islamic Art from where we had the best view of the Qatar’s skyline. We stayed there for 5-10 minutes for a photo opportunity.
- As we enter the commercial zone, the guide familiarized us with the stories of most of the high-rise buildings, that serve a major role in building the economy of the city. Each and every building had a specific theme that was very well resonated in its construction.
- Second stop was the Katara cultural village known to bring the local and international culture on a common platform, by festivals, exhibitions, workshops and performances. The blue mosque and the pigeon towers are a delight to photograph. We stayed here for almost 20-30 minutes.
- Third stop was the Pearl– an artificial beach created to redefine the luxury in Qatar. Maintained to depict the exquisiteness of the place, a walk around the island is definitely a worth. We halted here for 15-20 minutes.
- Finally, we reached the heart and soul of the city- Souq Waqif. As we strolled across the narrow lanes and alleyways, we discovered the traditional commerce and cuisine of the city. Colourful, flamboyant and vivacious, Souq Waqif explores the spirit of local handicrafts, native cuisine and conventional spices. The time allotted to visit Souq Waqif was 40 minutes.
- With visa-free entry for 80 countries, it is easy to get through the immigration. At no extra cost to apply for visa, Qatar can be easily explored.
- The buses are comfortable, can accommodate up to 46 passengers and free water bottle to drink is provided to all tourists.
- The best place in the bus is the first seat on the left (not at the back of the conductor). It gives uninterrupted access to front and side views.
- Souq Waqif is the last stop, so it is also possible to stay there as per one’s ease and comfort and return back to the airport by cab or bus.
- English is widely spoken.
- For local transactions in places like Souq Waqif, it is ideal to carry or convert to local currency.
I love travelling, exploring and discovering new cultures, new cuisine and new landscapes. Follow my travel journal on my social media platforms.