Unless you’re travelling First or Business Class (and even then), most of us don’t want to be cloistered inside aircrafts or aeroports for long hours. Sometimes, however, the best deal on paper mandatorily inolves long stopovers- which is how I recently landed up with over 13 hours to kill at Doha airport between flights. Apart from being stranded overnight without accommodation at Heathrow once (thank you BA!) I’ve never been on a stopover longer than 6 hours so this was going to be a new experience for me.
Thankfully Qatar Airways organise a complimentary (that’s right you don’t have to spend a penny!) city tour of Doha. You just have to turn up at the city tour desk near the entrance to terminal B and then present the boarding pass for the onward journey (and be travelling on Qatar Airways of course). There are about 4 tours a day (info here) and you can choose from the time that suits you best.
Once you are signed up, you are given an assembly time. Then a designated staff member escorts you out of the airport and on to a bus. The bus tour lasts about 3 hours airport back to airport. The bus comes with a guide who explains some of the major points of interest in the city.
You don’t have to always sit and stare outside windows. The bus actually stops at certain points of interest- near the Museum of Islamic Art, at the Katara Cultural Village, Qatar Pearl and an old fashioned souq.
Visually Doha is impressive- every building seems an architectural feat. And nothing is more impressive than the pearl- built out of reclaimed land. Funny thing is – I flew above the very same point on my onward flight.
At the Souq you get to spend 30 minutes walking around the market. You are allowed to shop – but remember don’t buy anything you can’t get past security because when you get back to the airport you have to once again go past border control and security.
So thank you Qatar Airways for the complimentary tour!