A layover in Doha happens if flying with Qatar airways, but what to do if you have a 13 hours transit and want to stay at the airport? The truth is, there’s nothing much you can do inside Hamad International airport. However, if you arrive early in the evening in Doha, you can go out and visit the capital city of Qatar. It was not the first I was transiting to Doha.
But my flight arrived in Doha at 11:00 PM, so leaving the airport wasn’t an option because it was too late.
My 13 hours transit in Doha was the most unpleasant experience. Now, if I’m searching for air tickets, I look at the time of the layover because I don’t want to experience the 13 hours again. So if you have such a long layover in Doha, I propose going out and exploring the capital of Qatar.
Doha is a beautiful city. Too bad they often underestimate Qatar’s capital because they think there’s nothing to do. In fact, there are a lot of things to do. For example, on my previous layovers in Doha, I managed to visit Doha City. I was amazed at how beautiful the place is; of course, you can’t be compared Doha to Dubai and Saudi Arabia.
Here’s my blog post on Doha. These might give an insight into Qataris capital >>> Long Layover in Doha: What to Do.
Free tourist visa
Visiting Qatar, some nationalities need a prior visa. And for those not entitled to a free tourist visa, it is best to check with the embassy. Most European passports will get a visa stamp on arrival for 90 days of entry. Check on this link if you are eligible for a free tourist visa.
Doha Is A Busy Airport
We knew that Qatar Airways is the best airline in the Middle East. And they can be the cheapest sometimes, depending on the destination. So while searching for a flight to Saudi Arabia, Qatar was the cheapest I found. But the transit in Doha was tedious. And for the ticket price, I could choose the short transit of 1h 30 minutes or the longest of 13 hours.
Then I thought, if I only have more than a one-hour transit, I wonder if my luggage will be able with me as this has already happened once on my previous trips that luggage arrived two days later. I want to avoid happening again because I’m not staying in one place I will be traveling around. So I opted for a 13 hours layover in Doha.
Qatar airways free transit hotel
Depending on your ticket type, you can opt for free accommodation if you have more than eight hours of transition in Doha. People flying in business class will surely get the transit hotel. I bought a low-priced ticket, so I have no right to a free hotel. This is what happens if searching for cheaper flights. As long as I arrive at my final destination, it doesn’t matter; that is what adventure is about.
So how To Spend 13 Hours At The Airport? I know it’s too long to stay inside the airport. You can book an airport hotel, but it is costly. I was looking for that, but it’s a mad price for the night. I took the bullet of staying inside the airport because going out was not an option; it was almost midnight when I arrived in Doha. So what I do is walk around the airport until I get tired. However, you can do a few things while inside Hamad airport.
Shopping And Dining
In addition, if you have space in your suitcase or have money to burn, shopping can be another option. Besides, it would help if you did something in your 13 hours transit in Doha. There are plenty of stores at Hamad airport, including gold shops.
By the way, speaking of gold, Qatar has reasonable prices for gold. However, if you plan to purchase some jewelry, you should do it in the city center because you can get a discount. Shopping for gold at the airport is expensive because it is a fixed price.
Apart from shopping, there are many restaurants inside the airport, from local food to international cuisines. And no need for local Qatari currency because credit cards are accepted unless their machine breaks.
Free Internet At Doha Airport
The same as many airports in the world, Doha has pretty good wifi. The free internet may be the first thing you’d like to do once entering the arrival terminal. Make sure to carry your booking reference or the ticket number with you, because you need to log into the free internet at the airport.
Keep your booking all the time because once you’re inactive, you need to log in again. The internet in Doha works well. It can handle making a call through Facebook messenger. However, other apps like WhatsApp only work for messaging but not for calling.
Go For A Relaxation
There’s more you can do during a 13 hours transit in Doha. I was bored after walking for hours until I came to a place to relax, but of course, an extra cost for my trip. Hell ya, we live only once, so why not. After sitting for more than seven hours on a flight from Brussels, I feel my backache. Thus, I opted for a massage which helped. Having this at the airport is good, especially if you come from a long flight. Take a massage, and you’ll be ready for your next flight.
Get Asleep In The Quiet Room
I have been transiting to Doha many times, but this was the first time I was in a quiet room. And that is because I only have short layovers on previous trips. So the only thing in the quiet room is a matter of luck to have a space. You’re not the only one searching for a place to sleep. I came here twice, and it all engaged, so I went to a bench and sat for a while. Then two hours later, I returned and was lucky that there was a space.
But the thing is, if you go to the bathroom, you might lose your place when you come back because there are people constantly looking to spend in the quiet room. It isn’t pretty comfortable; it is just a recliner bench, but at least more pleasant that you can lie down. But if you want luxury, you can opt for lounges, but they cost more. And while the quiet room is free!