During the summer vacation of 2018, I decided to travel to Indonesia. This time, I chose Qatar Airways as my airline to return to Indonesia. However, there were no direct flights from Stockholm to Jakarta, so typically, this flight would have a layover in Doha. This flight usually takes around 18 hours, which is why layovers are common for this route.
Why did I choose a 36-hour layover instead of the 2-hour layover with Qatar Airways? Well, at that time, Qatar Airways was offering a free stay in a 5-star hotel for passengers with layovers longer than 12 hours. However, this offer was only valid until December 2018. But, I checked the Qatar website, and it appears they still have a stopover program, although now, there is a small fee to enjoy a 5-star hotel in Doha. Check out the Discover Qatar program here.
I chose the Hilton Doha hotel and stayed there for 24 hours. However, for this write-up, I won’t discuss the hotel stay itself but rather focus on the places to visit in Doha. During my stay, I used Uber for transportation. While there is public transportation available, such as buses, the scorching temperature of around 40 degrees Celsius at the time made me opt for Uber due to the unpredictable bus schedules.
The Hilton Hotel where I stayed
The sun in Doha during the late afternoon, it somehow feels exceptionally close to the Earth here Due to the intense heat, the birds found refuge in this pool to cool down Dhow, a traditional boat you can ride and one of the attractions in Doha A Dhow cruise in operation The gleaming tall buildings of Doha
The places I visited during my time in Doha were:
- Souq Waqif
- Museum of Islamic Art
- Katara Cultural Village
I visited all these places in just one day, and you can also add a visit to a shopping mall to your itinerary here.
I started my journey at Souq Waqif. Since I happened to be hungry, this place was perfect to explore, with various Middle Eastern restaurants to choose from. On a closer look, it’s essentially a marketplace. If I were to draw a comparison in Indonesia, it might be similar to Tanah Abang, but with a history dating back hundreds of years. The Qatari government has renovated this area while preserving the authenticity of its buildings.
Apart from restaurants, numerous shops sell Middle Eastern trinkets. As you venture into the alleyways, it’s like entering a labyrinth with each shop offering unique knick-knacks.
You can find a variety of restaurants here Chairs along the streets indicate that the shop is a restaurant Various shops selling trinkets
The Souq Waqif location is very close to the Museum of Islamic Art. If you walk there while braving the heat, you can see traditional boats moored along the pier. These boats can take you on a cruise around the Doha city bay.
Museum of Islamic Art
If you find yourself getting too hot in the Souq Waqif area, it’s a good idea to visit this museum to cool down. With its unique architecture, the museum offers free entry, so you must pay a visit.
The museum’s collection of artifacts is quite extensive. It showcases various Islamic historical artifacts from different countries and time periods. It’s safe to say that this museum’s collection is one of the most comprehensive in the world.
From here, you can also enjoy a view of the skyscrapers of Doha. So, prepare to spend quite some time here exploring all that it has to offer.
The Museum of Islamic Art building The Museum of Islamic Art building at night Artifacts inside the Museum Artifacts inside the Museum
Katara Cultural Village
When I arrived here, I was hoping to witness various cultural performances. However, it seems I came at the wrong time, as the place was quite empty of visitors. From what I observed, Katara Cultural Village mainly serves as a cultural hub and houses offices related to the arts.
To give this area a traditional feel, the buildings are constructed following traditional architectural styles. There are several art galleries open to the public, allowing you to enjoy art during your visit. While there are a few restaurants in the area, the prices seemed somewhat steep.
Traditional architecture is a key attraction The Golden Mosque in Katara Many places were closed as I arrived late
In my opinion, if you have limited time here, you can consider skipping this place and exploring other options.
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