Last month I travelled to Turkey and Saudi Arabia for nearly 3 weeks. Due to the fact that we flew with Qatar Airways, we have to do a transit at Doha International Airport. I purposely took the 8 hour transit in Doha to allow us explore the city a bit.
For those who plans to travel with Qatar Airways and will be transiting in Doha, here are a few info that you might help you.
Boarding Pass Wallet
During your check in time, you will be given a coloured boarding pass wallet which indicates your status.
Blue – Arrival in Doha
Yellow – Transit
Orange & Yellow – Short Transit
Burgundy – Premium Transfer for Business Class & First Class
We were given the yellow boarding pass wallet because were on an 8 hour transit.
When u arrived in Doha, u will have to get on a bus after coming off the flight. (Unless you are holding a Burgundy boarding pass wallet where you will board a car) The bus will make several stops based on the image above. If you are on a transit and holding a yellow or orange/yellow boarding pass wallet, get off at the Transfer & Departure stop.
If u want to get out of the airport for a short tour, get off the bus when it stops at the blue section which is the Arrival hall. Do note that if you stop at the yellow section which is the Transfer and Departure terminal, you won’t be able to get out of the airport.
Those who do not want to get out of the airport should continue to the Transfer & Departure stop
Once you get down at the Transfer & Departure terminal, you will need to get through a security screening. In case that your flight arrived late and your next flight is about to leave in a short time, you can show your boarding pass to the officer and he might allow you to skip the que. From there you will need to find your respective gate or you can refer to the transit counter.
There are not much facilities available at Doha International Airport. There’s a small food court, a duty free shop, pharmacy, money changer and a souvenir shop. If you have a 6-7 hours transit time and do not plan to get out of the airport, you can also get into the Oryx Lounge which is offered for qualified Privilage Club members. Economy class passengers can gain access by paying about USD40 for a 6 hour usage. There’s a shower facilities, F&B, Internet and some comfy seatings (there’s no sleeping couches).
Visa & Immigrations
When you enter the arrival hall you will see there is one information counter, the immigration counters, a money changer `and also the washroom. You can refresh yourselves at the washroom before proceeding to the immigration counters.
Malaysian citizens may obtain a 30 days visa on arrival, but you will need to pay 100 Qatar Riyal per person. The officer will ask for your credit card for the visa payment. Take note that they only accept credit card and debit card for the payment, not cash.
When asked about your hotel name in Qatar, just let them know that you are on transit. Based on my experience, immigration officers in the Middle East are the most unwelcoming and unfriendly. So be prepared.
Other nationalities can check their visa requirement here. If you are not entitled for the visa on arrival, you need to apply at the Qatar Embassy in your country.
Transportation to the city
After clearing the immigration and customs, just walk out of the terminal and you will find signboard indicating the taxi stand. Follow the sign and you will see the turquoise coloured metered taxi lining up. It only takes about 15-20 minutes from Doha International Airport to the city centre. The taxi ride starts from 25 Qatar Riyal.
The taxi ride from the airport to Souq Waqif cost us 35 Qatar Riyal which includes the premium charge for airport taxi. However, on our return trip to the airport, we took the taxi by the road near Souq Waqif and it only cost us 15 Qatar Riyal.
Places to go during a short transit
During our short visit, we only managed to get around Souq Waqif and the Corniche area only. Check out the post about my experience at Souq Waqif and The Corniche.
A traditional Arabic market place. It maintains the traditional Arabic architectural and atmosphere. The areas are separated based on what they are selling. For instance, there are the spice area, textile area, restaurants, hotels, souvenir shops, the animal souq, camel souq and also the falcon quarter. You could easily spend a few hours here touring the maze like bazaar.
This is the long seaside promenade that allows you to have a great view of the city skyscrapers. The Museum of Islamic Arts is also situated in this area.
Check out Wikitravel Doha article for more places to visit