Doha's skylines at night

LONG EVENING LAYOVER IN DOHA: WHAT TO DO?

During my search for flights to India, Qatar Airways was the first airline popping up. However, the trip has 10 hours evening layover in Doha. The plane landed at 4:pm, and our next flight doesn’t leave till 2:00 am.

The abstract of three hours – one hour to go outside, including passport control, and we should get back two hours before the next flight – we have a complete of 7 hours to spend in Doha. It is a cheap flight, and we don’t get a hotel. So I wasn’t convinced in the first place. But the competitive price with Qatar Airways is hard to resist. It’s our third-time flown with Qatar Airways, and we never been to the city center.

I’m debating what we can do on a long layover in the evening. During day time should not be a problem but in the evening? After searching a lot of information about Doha, I came up with an idea of what we can do. 

 

Choose a backpack than a trolly

Qatar Airways economy class
The best airline with a world of comfort and space

If you have a connection flight, the luggage will tag down to the final destination. If you intend to go out of the airport, it’s sensible to carry a small backpack rather than a carry-on trolley. Also, try to get a seat in front for a quick exit of the plane. During online check-in 72 hours before departure, you can choose your seats without extra charges with Qatar Airways.

Moreover, check if you’re eligible for a visa-free. Nationals of 80 countries can visit Qatar on visa-free – it means you receive a visa on arrivals. For Belgium citizens, you get a visa stamp on your passport for three months at the airport, and the service is free. 

 

Transfer to the city center

Souq Waqif Mosque
Souq Waqif Mosque
Taxi and buses are a budgetary way to the city center. A cab costs a bit more, but if your time is limited, it can be a great help. The city center takes about 25 minutes; a cab ride cost 50-60 Riyal. The second option is the local buses, which are pretty cheap for 5 Riyal. Make sure to have local currency. There were five local buses outside the terminal, but only two of the coaches headed to the tourist spots. The number 747 runs to the old town, Souq Waqif, and the other bus 777 does the circular route, which goes down to the city center. The disadvantages of the buses cease after midnight — a possibility you need to take a taxi going back to the airport. Please check the bus timings here  

Getting around the city center

Souq Waqif Doha marketplace
Souq Waqif Doha marketplace

As visitors to Doha, you will notice that they’re less developed than neighboring Dubai. I’ve been to the Emirates, and I compare Doha to Abu Dhabi. However, far lesser in comparison to the two. Moreover, Doha is not a tourist destination, but slowly attracts visitors. 

Therefore since May 2019, the new subways opened in Doha. These days it makes it easier getting around the center. We haven’t used the metro during our visit, but good to know for next time. Even that taking the buses is a bit of adventure, but if asking anyone, they’d point you in the right direction. 

Evening things to do in Doha

To emphasize…fewer things that you can do in the evening. I’m so glad we could do something on a long layover. Below you see from the start to the last of our city tour. Anyway, if you’re not sure of what to do, you can always seek advice at the tourist information located inside the arrival terminal.

Museum of Islamic Art

Museum of Islamic Art in Doha
Museum of Islamic Art

The Museum of Islamic Art artificially constructed the peninsula in the Bay of Corniche. Something you can’t miss due to its striking structure. Art exhibits ten thousand works of inestimable value from the Muslim world spread out on three floors. Free admittance.
Note: Entering the museum with a backpack is prohibited, but the guard will store your bag securely at the locker.

 

The Corniche

Corniche the waterfront promenade
Corniche the waterfront promenade

If you ask anyone what a must things to do in Doha, you get the answer ‘ the Corniche.’ You’ll find the same spots if you go to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It’s a great place to stroll when it is dark as you have a fabulous view of skyscrapers through the coastline of the city. The individual structures of the buildings and shapes are incredible to see from this point. The area attracts many residents and tourists, also a place to hop on a boat of the West Bay.

The marketplace, Souq Waqif

Doha's market place Souq Waqif
Doha's market place Souq Waqif

Your trip to Doha will not complete without visiting Souq Waqif – located in the old part of the city. You can leisurely walk around without any hassles. Qatari people are not pushy compared to the one I’ve experience in Dubai. I never thought our night in Doha could be pleasant. The only thing that confuses me is the maze of streets. Wow, we never get lost in Fes Morocco. But the market place in Doha is tangled. In one word: everything you need: from gold jewelry and souvenirs, even street food is available.

 

Take A Bite

One of Doha's restaurant in the old town
So many choices to eat in the old town

Doha is a country with different nationalities of workers – therefore, the kitchen is a melting pot. Qatar has no real national cuisine. It’s no surprise you can dine your way around the world everything in between, and you’d spoiled by choice. However, I’m picky about food; thus, we ended up in a Filipino restaurant. After six hours of flight without a meal onboard (I dislike food on the plane), I’m starving. In the old town, you’ll find a lot of places to dine. 

Doha's city center

Doha City Center Mall
Doha City Center Mall

A few hours earlier were standing across the water (the Corniche) with behold Doha skylines; of a sudden, we’re standing beneath. The stark contrast between the city center and the old town is bizarre. It’s like Dubai packed with impressive buildings and shopping malls.

TIPS: How to get there
Coming from the old town Souq Waqif we took bus number 76 for 5 Riyal. The bus stop in front of the city center mall. From there, you can take the bus back to the airport.

 

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