Doha Qatar travel guide is my personal experience of traveling to this tiny gulf country. When I first heard about Qatar Visa on Arrival for Pakistani passport, I instantly made a plan. Throughout this blog post, I will share with you how expensive is Doha in Qatar. And what you should expect in Doha. I visited Qatar two times, once in 2016 and then in 2019. Let me share both experiences with you.
Qatar has made its visa on arrival for all nationalities. If you have even have a stopover at Doha airport for more than 8 hours then you can also get visa on arrival free of charge. Requirements for this visa for Pakistani citizens are simply passport, onward ticket, polio card and hotel booking. You should also have a debit or credit card with you upon arrival. I was only asked hotel booking both the times I visited Qatar.
Doha Qatar Travel Guide: Which Time is Best?
This is very important to understand that Qatar is one of the hottest and warmest countries in the world. I went to Qatar first in November 2016 and second time in June 2019 (I will explain why I went in June). And both the times it was very hot in Doha. I could not go outside my hotel in Day time even in November. And second time when I visited in June, it was like a hell on earth.
So my clear advice here is, if you want to go for tourism then only go in December, January and February. Avoid rest of nine months which will screw you up if you go outside in day time. In June 2019, I could not even go outside at 11pm at night. The city did not cool down at night too. I went in June just because I was going to Malaysia for a family trip and we had a stopover for 24 hours in Doha, Qatar.
Best Flight Options for Qatar
Qatar Airways is the best option for flights to Qatar. This is because Qatar Airways is based in Doha and all of their flights will make a stopover in Doha. Qatar is not generally a tourism country. If you make a separate plan for Qatar then it would be expensive and not really worth it.
However, in case you are going to Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey or any other part of the world and you found a good deal with Qatar airways. Then it’s not a bad idea to have a day or two in Qatar. One to three days are more than enough to visit most of the attractions in Doha.
This way, you will visit Qatar almost free of cost. First, because visa on arrival is free of charge and you will find very budget accommodation in city center Doha. I did it myself two times and that’s why I am writing this guide for travelers like you.
Accommodation in Doha Qatar
When I visited Doha for the first time in 2016. I got a hotel room in Doha old city area and the hotel name was Dimand 2 hotel. I got that room for $40 USD per night. However, during my second visit in June 2019. I found that hotel prices have dropped. I found a hotel for $60 USD per night for my entire family. I checked options for solo traveler and $30 per night hotels were easily available on Agoda.com.
Transport & Food Options in Doha Qatar
Doha city is a small city which sometimes you can explore just by walking. However, they have recently started Doha Metro train which is very similar to Dubai metro train. I have personally used that metro train and I was impressed. It cost only 2 Qatari Riyal for a one way trip. That’s the best thing they have done to Doha. Taxis are also available everywhere and will cost $3 to $4 USD for a ride up to 5 KM. That’s what I experienced.
The next thing is food which is a mixture of middle east and South Asia. Pakistani and Indian Cuisine is easily available in Doha due to the fact that a lot of Desi expats live in this country for work purpose. I would go to small cafes in old Doha near my hotel and usually eat Chicken Tikkas and biryani. I did try some Arabic dishes too. The cost for food was $3 to $5 per meal in 2019 when I last time visited Qatar.
Top Tourist Attractions in Doha
Remember, Doha is not an authentic or cultural place. Doha is just like Dubai as far as real culture is concerned. Most of the people in Doha are foreign workers. There are many places you can visit in Doha. I will list the places which I visited during my two trips including some shopping malls and historical museums.
1) Souq Waqif in Doha
This is the only authentic place I found in Doha which has a traditional market. There are hundreds of shops selling different items. The narrow streets of this market will give you a real feeling of how Doha was in old times. There are many restaurants and cafes which serve different cuisines and shisha.
2) Qatar National Museum
This museum is recently built. It was just opened when I visited Qatar in June 2019. The entry ticket was 50 Qatari Riyal and this was an interesting place to visit the history and culture of Qatar. National Museum of Qatar is located on the main avenue near Souq Waqif.
3) Doha Corniche
Doha Corniche is a great place to hang around especially at evening time. You can take a small boat tour here for as little as 30 Qatar Riyals and also you will have a great view of Doha Skyline while sitting here. There is a long walking track (8 KM I guess) where you will see many local people with their families.
4) West Bay Doha
This is the downtown of Doha where you will see most of the high rise towers and skyline. It’s a green area with big footpaths and clean atmosphere. If you are staying at old Doha then you can hire a taxi which will take you to West Bay in a few minutes. Sheraton Hotel is also located here which has a nice design.
5) Villagio Mall in Doha
This was the best modern place I found in Doha. This shopping mall is designed in a way that it looks a big theme park. You will see fake clouds over you and a artificially created canal. This shopping mall was a life savor for me in the month of June. You can’t visit any other place except shopping malls in summer months.