Doha, a city that is relatively new on the scene. This city has had a tremendous growth spurt in the past few years and courtesy of the Qatari national airline (Qatar Airways) has been put on the world map! I had the pleasure of recently travelling to Qatar to experience what this country had to offer. The capital of Qatar, Doha is generally associated with a quick transit through the airport, many travellers only experience Doha's International Airport before continuing on to a final destination.
After my recent visit I can say Doha is definitely worth the stay, a few days would be perfect!
What is most relevant on arrival to Doha is the sheer amount of cranes that litter the skyline. There is a huge construction boom with many projects in direct support to the 2022 FIFA World Cup infrastructure. Le Sail is an entire city being built just north of Doha's West Bay and it will serve the many visitors during the world cup.
A brand new metro line is also under construction with 150 stations serving the entire city.
New roads and walkways, public parks and cultural sites are all amongst the many construction projects currently taking place.
During my stay we stayed at the Mondrian Hotel which has just recently been completed. This hotel is perfect for a 2 night stopover or more if you choose with a great lead in room option that provides all the modern luxuries. It also enjoys fantastic views all round.
It even has a shopping mall right next door! It offers a variety of restaurants from traditional arabic food, the best Japanese in Doha and even western style tavern serving up amazing burgers!
The staff at the Mondrian were beyond fantastic, every detail is taken care of and they will ensure your stay is just perfect!
A great place to visit in Doha is Katara which serves as a cultural centre for locals and visitors, with many open public spaces you will see many people enjoying the sun and sights. The golden Mosque within Katara is one of the many sights along with the famous pigeon towers that still house a colony of pigeons. There are plenty of food outlets if you want a bite to eat and all the modern necessities are available.
Another must is a visit to the desert sand dunes outside the city, its only about a 45 min drive before you are met with an expanse of sand as long as the eye can see. You can opt for either a personal 4WD or if in a group the monster bus to cross the dunes before making your way to a desert camp. You can even stay a night at the camp in one of the most luxurious tents I've ever come across. If you choose to take up a short visit be sure to pack your swimming clothes as this is one of the few places where the sand dunes meet the sea.
You may even come across an Oryx which is the national animal of Qatar and the logo on Qatar Airways aircraft. An arabic style buffet lunch is also provided.
Upon returning to Doha the other must visit would have to be the Souk, this Souk although looking old was actually built in 2001 after a huge fire burnt down the original. The souk is littered with many small stalls selling local artifacts and souvenirs and even pets. Amongst the stalls there are also a few traditional restaurants where you can eat the way the locals do.
Many cafes also offer outdoor seating with Shisha, tea and coffee.
Haggling in this part of the city is considered okay.
Overall Doha is more than just an airport we transit through, next time you are flying with Qatar Airways break up your journey and stay a few nights.
See the sites that this city offers, you wont regret it!