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Travel Tips: Doha Qatar

Elvis Elvis

This was not a destination on our trip around the world; rather, it was a reluctant stopover on our way from Bangkok to Athens. We flew out of Bangkok on Qatar Airlines, and arrived in Doha, Qatar at 11:30 PM. Our flight to Athens was the next day at 12:00 PM. We had to spend the night.

Upon arrival at the airport, passengers with a transfer flight the next day do not go through customs; they are checked in at a designated counter. Passengers without hotel reservations are assigned a hotel. Hotel shuttles are available outside. Since we did not have a reservation, we were informed we would be staying at the Mercure Grand Hotel Doha.

TIP

Qatar Airlines arranged and paid for everything. The hotel, transfers and meals (dinner and breakfast) were all complimentary.

Staying at the airport is not an option.

You will not be able to retrieve your checked in luggage; it gets transferred to your next destination. So, you’ll need to pack an overnight bag.

After leaving the Doha airport, I wrapped a sarong around my shoulders. It was a simple gesture, but the difference in how I was treated was remarkable. People acknowledged me, and were friendlier.

Travel Tips: Doha Qatar

Our hotel was outside the main tourist area, and from the hotel, and during our drive to the airport, we saw only one woman on the street, and she was escorted. Qatar turned out to be a more pleasant experience than we had expected. Still, all things considered, I would not travel to or through Qatar as a single woman.

The hospitality at the hotel was a nice surprise. We arrived very late, and the restaurant had stayed open waiting for us with a delicious buffet dinner. The next morning, they served an international breakfast buffet, and after eating we were transferred to the airport.

TIP

Some of the hotels may require proof of marriage for couples. We were not asked to produce any proof. This may have been because we are older, or I had my shoulders covered, or it was late… who knows. But, young couples especially, may want to verify with the hotel when making a reservation.

Basics

Weather:

The climate in Qatar is arid, with mild, pleasant winters; and very hot, humid summers.

What to Pack:

The most important thing to emphasize here, for both men and women, is to dress conservatively. No shorts, no sleeveless shirts, that kind of thing. Take a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Money:

Currency is Qatari Rial (QAR)

Telephone:

Country code is 974

Mail:

Read and manage your postal mail online from anywhere in the world.

Language:

The official language is Arabic. Everyone we met spoke at least some English.

Holidays:

Qatar’s holidays are Islamic.

The big one is Ramadan, a month when everyone fasts between sunrise and sunset.
Eid al-Fitr is a 4 day feast following Ramadan. Eid al-Adha is a 5 day feast around March, when Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Qatar’s only non-religious holiday is National Day on, September 3rd

Friday is the Muslim day of rest and offices are generally closed.