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Qatar Airways Launches Free Doha City Tour For Transit Passengers

Old Jan 6, 16, 12:46 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: remdk
Trip report of the tour with pictures and answers to some ambiguity.

http://focusedflyer.com/2016/01/06/qatar-airways-free-doha-city-tour-review/

In post 135 of this thread Brighterside suggests that the free tours have been replaced by tours costing QAR 40. This has yet to be confirmed but be warned that changes may be happening right now.
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Qatar Airways Launches Free Doha City Tour For Transit Passengers

Old Aug 11, 15, 8:34 am
  #61  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Originally Posted by Aldebaran View Post
Yesterday (Friday) I did the Free Doha City Tour. Last month I managed to book a flight from HKG to MXP via Doha, planning a 14 hours long layover in order to benefit of this tour. It was my first flight via DOH and also my first on QR.
I located the Doha City Tour desk at midnight, shortly after my arrival, but there were no infos about schedules or opening times of the desk (I learned all the main infos reading this thread). So I decided to go to the desk at 5.50am and there were 12 passengers already waiting (a few of them with several passports in their hands). At 6.20 arrived the Doha Tourism representative and in 20 minutes precessed all the bookings. I only had to show passport and onward boarding pass and opted for the 8am tour. I was instructed to be back at the same desk at 7.15. When I arrived, at that time, a last minute passenger was allowed to fill the last available place for the 8am tour and quickly processed with the documents.
The Doha tourism representative escorted the group to the immigration and then to the exit of the airport, where our guide was waiting for us. No visa fee or any particular formality.
At 7.40 we left the airport. The bus used was small, with about 25-30 places, and was full also in the jump seats. I don't remember the exact number of participants but the only free seat was the one beside the driver, used for bagagge storage.
Being a morning holiday the traffic was nonexistent and in few minutes we reached the first stop, at a marina facing the modern Doha downtown and the Banana island resort private pier for a 10 minutes photo session, then we continued on the corniche to modern Doha and the beaches. We had a 10 minutes stop at a mosque, then at the Pearl Marina. Last place was the souq in the old town for a 30 minutes stop. At 10.30 we were back at the airport with the Doha tourism representative waiting for us. He only instructed the group to go to the immigration for the formalities and disappeared. All the group went to a long immigration and security queue, but I managed to go to the emptty premium pax desks for First/Business and OWE/OWS passengers and in a couple of minutes I was airside.
The tour was quite tiring because the temperature was high (at 7am 35 C, at 10.30 around 38 C) and the guide offered a bottle of chilled mineral water to everyone.
With this tour I learned I had to keep my expectations about Doha low: the town is quite small and there are no significant places of interest so the tour is for the most part a bus ride around the modern city. On departure I was lucky to have a window seat on the left side of the aircraft, so I was able to have a better view of all the places visited during the tour.
Sounds good. I assume you arrived on CX from HKG-DOH? I have a similar flight planned except that I'm going from DOH-DXB-LHR. I wonder if they'll let me on the tour due to the recent data points for regional tickets. Does anyone have any more recent data points?

Another question is that do they care about your citizenship? Eg: they only accept those who are part of the visa-on-arrival program?
richh1833 is offline  
Old Aug 12, 15, 10:03 am
  #62  
 
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At the Business Class Lounge right now, wanted to do the tour but it was fully booked. There was only one evening tour at 19:30, I arrived at 17:45. Many more people wanting to do the tour were denied.
ritesa is offline  
Old Aug 12, 15, 2:49 pm
  #63  
 
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Originally Posted by ritesa View Post
At the Business Class Lounge right now, wanted to do the tour but it was fully booked. There was only one evening tour at 19:30, I arrived at 17:45. Many more people wanting to do the tour were denied.
This side trip is now extremely well known. I went past the loonnngggg queue at about 5pm a couple of days ago.
There were approx 40 people in the queue. Goodluck to all those who factor in this tour as a Doha highlight.
I notice the tour is splattered all over Tripadvisor.
in2it54 is offline  
Old Aug 12, 15, 7:33 pm
  #64  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Bugger - I had deliberately structured my flights from a late arrival/ short transit to a day where I had an early arrival 5.15pm and long transit so as to do this trip

Looks like we'll be .... out of luck
baggyred is offline  
Old Dec 13, 15, 1:09 am
  #65  
 
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any recent data points on middle eastern connections and doha city tours? Flying from HKG on CX to DOH and 12 hours later I'm flying from DOH-DXB.
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Old Mar 12, 16, 6:43 pm
  #66  
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Landed at 6pm, off QR740 from LAX, raced to the tour desk and at 6:15 was told it filled at 5pm. Was offered to standby if I came back at 6:55pm. I dropped my hand luggage at the Business Lounge lockers (complimentary).

I was #22 of 20 allowed. (About 5-10 others also wanted standby after me, but gave up when all 20 showed up.

She let me come with the group and pay for my own visa $28USD (100QAR) This process took 1 hour for non J passengers to clear. During the process one Indian National was rejected and a spot opened (#21)

The agent on my behalf asked for me to join as 1 extra but the bus driver refused and said max 20 pax.

I ended up odd man out, but decided on an UBER to Souk Waqif, Islamic Art center and the corniche.

I spent about 3 hours people watching in the busy and quasi authentic (read touristy) Souk Waqif, quite popular with locals and expats.

Lots and I mean over 300 locals go to the nearby banana island to stargaze/smoke cigarettes with their group and I meandered through their group and took photos of the far off modern skyline.

UBER was 35QAR ($10) each way.

In the end for ~$50 (169QAR) I made my own tour and that was fine.

What did sorta upset me was the fact they couldn't let me have the last seat on the bus or give me the pass of one guest who wanted to back out last second. (Once through immigration you can't back out).

The tour is fine for free, you may not get your moneys worth if you pay your own way. Never did I feel unsafe walking around the city, although pay attention when crossing streets, they drive fast and recklessly.
AMRivlin is offline  
Old Mar 13, 16, 1:55 am
  #67  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
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tried to sign up for the tour the other day but the agent said I was ineligible as my ticket was not ticketed by QR (i was on an AA award). oh well, ended up paying for the visa and went into town myself
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Old Mar 13, 16, 3:49 am
  #68  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Purposely chose a longer transit arriving at 5pm but seems like I am out of luck. If that's the case, I rather pay to use the gym facilities at the airport. The only highlight is the souk visit since the museum is closed at night.
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Old Mar 13, 16, 4:20 am
  #69  
 
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I did the tour in May 2015 as i had an 8-hour transit for my KUL bound flight. It was mid week and noon time. t was only 3 of us in the tour including my partner. It felt more like a private tour. Albeit not a great one. The departure was around 1 pm. it was hot but not unbearable.

I would do it again if it was my first time as it is free. Main benefit is that they waive the visa on arrival.

If I were flying economy with no lounge access, It is a no brainer. I would even do it more than once as it would be a great break from the airport


The bus is not very comfortable - Nothing terrible but poor leg room and the tour itself is alright. Given that we arrived at the souk at 2.30pm, all shops were closed and being a Tuesday (or Wednesday, not sure), the islamic museum was closed.

All in all it took like 3 hours (from the lounge to the lounge) which was a nice break from the lounge/airport.


Immigration and security lanes were very very quiet - both in the fast track and for the one other passenger in the tour who was flying economy.


Doha itself is fine but I am not sure I would be spending more than $100 to tour it myself if I am on route to somewhere else. Al the moment it is like a building site with some nice buildings and some nice views from the corniche. IMO there is not a must see place (as the mosque in AUH or the Burj Dubai in DUB).

Last edited by palermo; Mar 16, 16 at 11:57 pm Reason: typo
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Old Mar 13, 16, 7:00 am
  #70  
 
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If we miss the free tour (landing @ 5:35 pm) & want to do it on own (visiting Pearl-Qatar, Katara Cultural Village, Souq Waqif and the Museum of Islamic Art), how much would the cab cost? Visa on arrival is 100QAR? Can we pay using a cc?
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Old Mar 13, 16, 7:55 am
  #71  
 
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Originally Posted by kiyotaka View Post
If we miss the free tour (landing @ 5:35 pm) & want to do it on own (visiting Pearl-Qatar, Katara Cultural Village, Souq Waqif and the Museum of Islamic Art), how much would the cab cost? Visa on arrival is 100QAR? Can we pay using a cc?
You can only pay using CC. No cash
tboons is offline  
Old Mar 14, 16, 5:25 am
  #72  
 
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Can we pay taxi with cc, too?
kiyotaka is offline  
Old Mar 14, 16, 6:47 am
  #73  
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Originally Posted by kiyotaka View Post
Can we pay taxi with cc, too?
The entry visa can be paid with only visa or MasterCard. Cash not accepted.

I took uber to the city. Uber uses credit card.

It was 35qar (~$9.50) to and from souk waqif.
AMRivlin is offline  
Old Mar 14, 16, 6:51 pm
  #74  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
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Im expecting the same thing of the city tour being filled by time we arrive at 5:35 from JFK. With a US passport it was only $29 for visa? I've found the website explaining the visa fees to be quite difficult to understand. Thanks for your help.


Originally Posted by AMRivlin View Post
Landed at 6pm, off QR740 from LAX, raced to the tour desk and at 6:15 was told it filled at 5pm. Was offered to standby if I came back at 6:55pm. I dropped my hand luggage at the Business Lounge lockers (complimentary).

I was #22 of 20 allowed. (About 5-10 others also wanted standby after me, but gave up when all 20 showed up.

She let me come with the group and pay for my own visa $28USD (100QAR) This process took 1 hour for non J passengers to clear. During the process one Indian National was rejected and a spot opened (#21)

The agent on my behalf asked for me to join as 1 extra but the bus driver refused and said max 20 pax.

I ended up odd man out, but decided on an UBER to Souk Waqif, Islamic Art center and the corniche.

I spent about 3 hours people watching in the busy and quasi authentic (read touristy) Souk Waqif, quite popular with locals and expats.

Lots and I mean over 300 locals go to the nearby banana island to stargaze/smoke cigarettes with their group and I meandered through their group and took photos of the far off modern skyline.

UBER was 35QAR ($10) each way.

In the end for ~$50 (169QAR) I made my own tour and that was fine.

What did sorta upset me was the fact they couldn't let me have the last seat on the bus or give me the pass of one guest who wanted to back out last second. (Once through immigration you can't back out).

The tour is fine for free, you may not get your moneys worth if you pay your own way. Never did I feel unsafe walking around the city, although pay attention when crossing streets, they drive fast and recklessly.
lovefly88 is offline  
Old Mar 14, 16, 7:42 pm
  #75  
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Originally Posted by palermo View Post
... being a Tuesday (or Wednesday, not sure), the islamic museum was closed.
The Museum of Islamic Art is closed on Tuesdays (I found out the hard way).


Originally Posted by AMRivlin View Post
The entry visa can be paid with only visa or MasterCard.
You can pay with AMEX (at least I did in December) but the machine won't accept the chip in the card. Ask them to swipe it instead. It took a while to find a staff person who knew this detail; but once I did it worked just fine. (I don't have a MC or VISA.)

Last edited by Dr. HFH; Mar 15, 16 at 3:31 am
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