If you’re reading this, then you’re wonderful- thank you! I just read a great post about a trip to Greenland; while it seemed expensive to visit, it also looked stunning. Now, a country I never thought to visit is sitting comfortably on my travel list. This is why I blog and why I love to read others’; there’s so much to learn!
If you’re interested in Greenland, or want to be, click this sentence to read the post .
For today though, I’m talking about somewhere a lot less icy – Doha, Qatar.
My new favorite thing to do is spend layovers outside the airport. That’s what I did in Madrid, and before that, Doha. Hamad International (Doha) is actually a wonderful place to spend a layover but I’d heard so much about the city itself that I was itching to leave the airport.
I read a blogpost that helped me execute my plans effectively so I hope this is helpful for someone reading! If you’re here for the pics only, I’ve got you on that too!
1.How I got out of Hamad International- Once I disembarked, I headed to the information desk to triple confirm that I could leave the airport. After being told I could, I headed straight to customs, showed them my hotel reservation (they ask for this), paid the ~$30 fee for a visa, changed some money to Qatari Riyals and got in a taxi to my hotel. All of this took me less than 30 minutes which was amazing. Tip- Google the visa requirements for the country before you get to customs!
2.Where I stayed- I booked a hotel room before flying out of Miami, but Qatar Airways offers travel accommodation if your layover is longer than a set amount of hours (I think 8, but don’t quote me). Sometimes they do it automatically, and other times you have to ask. Sadly I didn’t ask. The hotel was about 10 minutes away from the airport (100 QR round trip ~$30) and cost me $61 for the night. It was nothing fancy but it was clean and comfortable which worked for me. Tip –If your layover is as long as mine, don’t be like me, ask if you can get free accommodation first!
3. What I did- The hotel has a partnership with a local company that does city tours, so I made a reservation with the concierge for 6:45pm. The 3hr tour cost me 150 QR (~$40) and this is what I got up to!
Museum of Islamic Arts
It was too late to go in, so we hung out outside for a bit; about 15-20 mins, because it was cold and windy and my jacket was made for Florida style cold.
Almost everywhere is on the seaside, but this place had an outdoor area where people come to eat fish and smoke shisha. It has a stunning view of the city’s skyline. The building lit up in orange lights is appropriately and hilariously named “condom tower”.
A “Souq” is an open-market, and it was my favorite stop on the tour. The market was just colorful and still vibrant at nearly 10pm. I walked through the corridors quietly, with my phone in hand trying to frame shots. There are a few restaurants and shisha bars here as well.
This tourist attraction is primarily filled with restaurants and stores, so I walked around for a bit, window shopping at all the designer stores I definitely cannot afford. It’s also really common to see stores like Maserati and Ferrari; which was not surprising at all since half the cars on the road were luxury ones.
We also visited Katara Cultural Village, Villagio and a mansion style building where diplomats are received. Neither of these are pictured, but you can click the names to view images.
“This is Doha” my tour guide said as we made our way back to the hotel. He was such a pleasant host, I wish I remembered the name of the tour company to link it here.
One word describes what I got to see of Doha – LUXE. There’s a lot of construction going on, but what is finished is beautiful and I can tell it’s even more stunning during the day. This is my only regret, that I couldn’t see the city in the daytime.
Naturally, I cannot wait to go back. Have any of you visited Doha? What did you get up to? Leave me a comment to let me know and also tell me how you like to spend your layovers.
As always, thank you for reading!
All photos shot and edited on iPhone 6s+
same footprints, different sands.
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This was a great read (with nice photos!) of a smart way to make use of your layover. I rarely make the most of layovers – especially after dark or in places – but I’ll have one of about 10 hours in Lisbon next year and I’ll be sure to take notes from your book and explore. Thanks for the idea! x
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Thanks a lot, girl. I decided last year that I was going to be more active about my layovers. no more staying at the airport if I could help it. Oooh nice! Enjoy it. I almost booked a flight with an intentional layover in Lisbon but that fell through. I really want to visit so I think I’ll just book a full trip there.