DOH City Tour / Leaving the Airport

Old Jul 5, 15, 6:31 am
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DOH City Tour / Leaving the Airport

One of my booked flights to Doha has been changed, meaning that instead of a very pleasant 3 hour layover I have a 7.25 hour layover. I am now due to arrive at DOH at 1815 and leave at 0130.

I would love to do the free City Tour. However from reading various threads on FT it looks like check-in for the tour ends at 1845, so I will be cutting it very fine. I have also read that the last tour of the day seems to be quite busy - does anyone have any personal experience of this - if I make it to the desk in time, is it likely to be fully booked?

As I understand it, the desk is in the main departures area, after transfer security. So if I go to the desk and it is fully booked, is there any way to leave the departures area to go into the city on my own, or will I have missed my opportunity having already gone through transfer security?

For that matter, does QR let you leave the airport independently on a layover, or are there restrictions based on layover time etc.?

Thanks for any thoughts/advice. I'm just trying to get my head round the options and what the best way to proceed might be.
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Old Jul 5, 15, 7:59 am
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You will more than likely miss the free tour.

If you are eligible for a visa you can pay for this yourself and grab a cab, however...

there is really not that much to see and if this trip is during Ramadan the roads are congested from about 18:00 onwards.
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Old Jul 6, 15, 2:02 am
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Thanks. Ramadan will be over by the time of my visit so that shouldn't be an issue.

To anyone that has done the tour... is it expected/appropriate to tip the tour guide and/or driver? In which case, does it have to be in Qatari currency or would something else like USD be acceptable? What I'm getting at is - can I get away without getting any Qatari currency for the tour?

I might try to register for the tour, if the flight is on time, but otherwise just spend the time pottering around the airport.

Thanks for your help.
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Old Jul 6, 15, 2:24 am
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Originally Posted by steve76 View Post
To anyone that has done the tour... is it expected/appropriate to tip the tour guide and/or driver? In which case, does it have to be in Qatari currency or would something else like USD be acceptable? What I'm getting at is - can I get away without getting any Qatari currency for the tour?
I'm not an expert on Qatar, so people with more experience please correct me: I've tipped my drivers/tourguides either in USD or Qatari rials, and they seemed happy enough with either.
I did tip a bit, but then again, on our tour we were only 2 (friend and me) and got quite a nice talk about life in Qatar and why they're there etc., so it seemed very appropriate.
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Old Jul 9, 15, 4:51 am
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Originally Posted by steve76 View Post
As I understand it, the desk is in the main departures area, after transfer security. So if I go to the desk and it is fully booked, is there any way to leave the departures area to go into the city on my own, or will I have missed my opportunity having already gone through transfer security?
Its easy to go back through transfer security. Just take the elevator up and talk to one of the security guys there and they will let you through.
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Old Jul 10, 15, 4:49 am
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Thanks for the responses. I might just stump up for the visa and do a bit of sightseeing under my own steam. I assume that there are no complications I need to be aware of in leaving the airport during a layover - for instance, they don't track the fact that I've left and offload my baggage, or anything crazy like that?
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Old Jul 19, 15, 3:21 am
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Originally Posted by steve76 View Post
Thanks. Ramadan will be over by the time of my visit so that shouldn't be an issue.

To anyone that has done the tour... is it expected/appropriate to tip the tour guide and/or driver? In which case, does it have to be in Qatari currency or would something else like USD be acceptable? What I'm getting at is - can I get away without getting any Qatari currency for the tour?

I might try to register for the tour, if the flight is on time, but otherwise just spend the time pottering around the airport.

Thanks for your help.
Just did this tour with a full minibus (18 people in all). Neither the guide nor the driver expected a tip.

But I would not set high expectations for it. It's the sort of thing you do when the only alternative is twiddling your thumbs at the airport. You know there's not much to see when the guide points out embassies and hotels to the audience.
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Old Jul 19, 15, 9:18 am
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Originally Posted by KACommuter View Post
Just did this tour with a full minibus (18 people in all). Neither the guide nor the driver expected a tip.

But I would not set high expectations for it. It's the sort of thing you do when the only alternative is twiddling your thumbs at the airport. You know there's not much to see when the guide points out embassies and hotels to the audience.
For someone who has an 8+ hour layover and would like to see Doha, wwiuld you recommend this city tour or making the trip by ourselves?

Also, can you share what the process was like for you to get onto the tour (e.g., how long before the tour started did you check in).
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Old Jul 19, 15, 3:10 pm
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Originally Posted by Miami305 View Post
For someone who has an 8+ hour layover and would like to see Doha, wwiuld you recommend this city tour or making the trip by ourselves?

Also, can you share what the process was like for you to get onto the tour (e.g., how long before the tour started did you check in).
Even though it's slightly old, this thread might be useful for you. It would be interesting to get an update on that thought, maybe the procedure and/or tour-times have changed?

As for your question if it's worth it: it really depends on when you are there (which day and what time). If you are there on a day where the Islamic Museum of Arts is open, it might very well be worth it to go to town on your own. Or if you're there during the evening hours and would want to wander around Souq Waqif, that would be nice too. Downside: you have to pay for taxi and visa.

If you are there during the day and the museum isn't open, or you are not interested in it.. I don't really see a point. It's very hot. You have to get around in a taxi and there isn't much more to see (except if you like huuuge malls). In that case, the tour might be a nice way to get to see something without having to pay and without having to walk around under the scorching sun too much.
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Old Jul 19, 15, 6:43 pm
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Originally Posted by zehbra View Post
Even though it's slightly old, this thread might be useful for you. It would be interesting to get an update on that thought, maybe the procedure and/or tour-times have changed?

As for your question if it's worth it: it really depends on when you are there (which day and what time). If you are there on a day where the Islamic Museum of Arts is open, it might very well be worth it to go to town on your own. Or if you're there during the evening hours and would want to wander around Souq Waqif, that would be nice too. Downside: you have to pay for taxi and visa.

If you are there during the day and the museum isn't open, or you are not interested in it.. I don't really see a point. It's very hot. You have to get around in a taxi and there isn't much more to see (except if you like huuuge malls). In that case, the tour might be a nice way to get to see something without having to pay and without having to walk around under the scorching sun too much.
Thanks for noting the other thread. I saw it during my search, but wondered if the information was dated.

We are arriving on a Saturday at 5PM local time, and not departing until after 2AM. I was estimating that it would take 1-1.5 hours to clear customs/immigration, meaning we would get out of the airport by 6:30PM or so?

We were planning on heading to the Souq Waqif, but disappointed to hear that may not be worth the taxi/visa costs. The wife loves "huuuuge" malls, though we certainly have our fair share of those in the States!
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Old Jul 20, 15, 8:43 am
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Originally Posted by Miami305 View Post
For someone who has an 8+ hour layover and would like to see Doha, wwiuld you recommend this city tour or making the trip by ourselves?

Also, can you share what the process was like for you to get onto the tour (e.g., how long before the tour started did you check in).
I'd do the city tour as it is a "no hassle" approach. The last thing I'd feel like doing is organising my own trip to see the city in between 2 flights.

Process - go to the Doha city tour desk in the main mall and register. You'll be asked to return at a given time (mine was 18:30). Your name gets called then and you get given a voucher. Follow the CSR to immigration, where the voucher seems to waive the need for a visa. After that you get handed over to a guide. I was on the minibus by 19:00, and back by 22:00.
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Old Jul 20, 15, 11:32 am
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Originally Posted by KACommuter View Post
I'd do the city tour as it is a "no hassle" approach. The last thing I'd feel like doing is organising my own trip to see the city in between 2 flights.

Process - go to the Doha city tour desk in the main mall and register. You'll be asked to return at a given time (mine was 18:30). Your name gets called then and you get given a voucher. Follow the CSR to immigration, where the voucher seems to waive the need for a visa. After that you get handed over to a guide. I was on the minibus by 19:00, and back by 22:00.
Like grocery shopping when hungry, planning for travels when NOT in the air tends to result in over-expectations. I agree that organizing travels mid-trip may be overly ambitious.

Interesting to hear that the tour may skip past the visa requirements. Do you recall when you arrived? My flight into DOH lands at 5pm, which only gives me a chance to catch the tour you went on at 7pm.
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Old Jul 21, 15, 6:22 am
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Originally Posted by Miami305 View Post
Interesting to hear that the tour may skip past the visa requirements. Do you recall when you arrived? My flight into DOH lands at 5pm, which only gives me a chance to catch the tour you went on at 7pm.
I got to the desk at 6 pm, and saw there was a 6:15 as well as a 6:30 pm tour. I ended up on the 6:30 pm tour presumably because the 6:15 pm was full.
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Old Sep 22, 15, 3:18 am
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They have now updated the website to show specific tour times and check-in deadlines.
http://www.qatarairways.com/global/e...city-tour.page
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