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QR free transit visa - DIY Doha night tour?

QR free transit visa - DIY Doha night tour?

Old Dec 4, 16, 4:45 pm
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Astronomer View Post
Following with interest.

I am hoping to do something similar this coming Thursday. Get into BOS around 1700 on the flight from DOH and then flying to DEL at 0225 I think.

Is it possible to hire a taxi to do a city tour and then bring me back to the airport or would that be too expensive?

Also is there a place at the airport where I could leave my trolley bag? I am traveling in Biz so perhaps the lounge will let me?

Lastly for some reason the online visa thing didn't work for me and I am wondering how the visa on entry process works (I know my passport is eligible).

Thanks all
Are you asking about a nighttime DIY tour of BOSTON?
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Old Dec 4, 16, 4:46 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Are you asking about a nighttime DIY tour of BOSTON?
I am sorry I meant getting into DOH from BOS. I'll correct my original post
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Old Dec 6, 16, 12:45 am
  #18  
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OK, so this is how it all happened.

QR833 from Bangkok tipped out into the Departures area on Level 1 (we didn't need to clear transit security, which having had to clear it on our outbound transit seemed to be a complete waste of time and an unnecessary scrum, even as a J passenger). We had almost 10 hours in transit before QR175 departed for OSL.

As a J passenger we wanted to leave our bags in the lounge lockers before heading into Doha for a couple of hours to just have a quick look around and use the transit visas we had applied for and got (after some faffing around with the quality of the scanned passport image).

We headed from our arrival gate along to the main concourse and up the escalators to the Al Mourjan Business Lounge on Level 3. Heading right as we entered the lounge and the room where the lockers is just next to the entrance. We found a staff member in the locker room who will allocate you a locker and give you a locker number tag as well as recording your onward flight details. Probably best not to mention that you plan to leave the airport (see NOTE below).

What you will need:
Your passport
A copy of the transit visa as a printout (but it's probably not needed)
Your boarding passes
Some QAR money - an absolute minimum of QAR80 to get to/from the Souq

Might be useful:
Your phone with some offline maps installed (maps.me works well)

From there you now need to get back to Arrivals, and this is the bit that is not signposted. But what you need to do is go to Level 2 - exit the Lounge and take the Lift (not the escalator) down to Level 2, where you will be arriving on the output side of transit security. Here you need to speak to someone and explain that you wish to go through to arrivals - you effectively need to walk through the transit security scanners the wrong way (against the flow of people) so just speak to someone as you do this.

From the other side of the transit security scanners, head to the left, along the corridor, and now follow the signs for Arrivals.

In the Arrivals area, continue past the bulk of the immigration counters to follow the signs (if you are a J passenger) for the First and Business Class Lounge at the far left of the immigration hall. Show your arrival boarding pass to get into the arrivals lounge, and proceed directly to the dedicated premium immigration counters on the far side of the lounge.

The immigration agent didn't need or ignored the printout of the transit visa, he just processed our passports and I assume found the transit visa from that. Although the rules state that you should present a printout of the transit visa, it seems that in practice that it's not needed.

Once through immigration you can then walk through baggage and customs into the Arrivals area. Follow the signs for the Taxi rank (from memory to the left). The whole process took about an hour, and that included time for us to faff around as we didn't really know what we were doing and it took us time to get the right answers that we needed to walk the wrong way through transit security.

The taxi downtown will be QAR25 Flagfall plus the distance to down, and to the Souq Waqif this ran to a total of QR50 for us, and took no more than 15 minutes. From there it was easy enough to meander through the Souq and watch life go by and snap a few pics. As @N1rotate suggested, from there we continued to wander over to the waterfront and up to the Museum of Islamic Arts - the hardest part of this was crossing the busy road that runs along the waterfront, we had to wait several minutes for the pedestrian crossing to change. If you're wandering around after midnight, be careful if you want to wander across grassed areas as the irrigation systems turn themselves on with no warning and you might get a free shower.

By this stage it was heading for 1am (and our bodies thought it was 4am) and we decided that the view of the corniche across the bay was enough, so we just picked up a cab and headed back to the airport. Cabs were plentiful, we had many optimistically slow down to pick us up whilst we wandered around, and it was no issue getting a cab.

The cost of the taxi back to the airport was QAR28 - flagfall downtown is QAR4 hence the return journey is cheaper. I would guess that a taxi from the Souq up to the corniche would have been less than QAR10. We had cash available to pay for the taxis.

Back at the airport, it was a breeze to get back in. The taxi dropped us off at Area 1 for Business/First, we wandered through a deserted check in area (which looked more like a 5* hotel lobby) straight to immigration. The single officer on duty just scanned our passports, checked our onward boarding pass, and gave us our exit stamps, we just had our mobile phones to put through the security scanner, and we headed back to the main concourse and up to the Al Mourjan Business Lounge. A few hours kip in the Quiet Room, and we had a very pleasant transit in Doha.

NOTE: Whilst working out that we needed to go through transit security the wrong way to get back to Arrivals, we spoke to a few people. One of those people, a lounge dragon at the bottom of the escalator to the Al Mourjan, insisted that we could not leave the airport because we had left our hand luggage in the lounge lockers. She understood exactly what we were doing, and knew about the transit visa, and was very insistent that we could not do what we were trying to do as it would be a security violation. We did press the point with her a couple of times asking why security cleared hand luggage presented any security issue, but she was insistent. But as is often the case in these parts of the world, we thanked her for advice, and went off and asked someone else out of her sight and got the right answer.

Hope this is useful to others contemplating their own DIY Transit Tour of Doha when the QR stopover city tour is not running or oversubscribed.
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Old Dec 6, 16, 1:49 am
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Thank you very much plunet for your very living description of a night tour of Doha. I would like to think that it will be a classic reference post for a long time to come. Well done!

I would like to add a word of caution however. Your 'journey' starts at the Western security area underneath Al Mourjan. There is also a 'mirror' Eastern security area underneath Al Safwa. The turns you describe may be different from there so it is a case of keeping ones eyes open. I have only transited DOH never arrived so I cannot say which left turns should be right, or right left etc from that side of the airport.

Thank you for your efforts. They are much appreciated.
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Old Dec 6, 16, 2:13 am
  #20  
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Originally Posted by remdk View Post
Thank you very much plunet for your very living description of a night tour of Doha. I would like to think that it will be a classic reference post for a long time to come. Well done!

I would like to add a word of caution however. Your 'journey' starts at the Western security area underneath Al Mourjan. There is also a 'mirror' Eastern security area underneath Al Safwa. The turns you describe may be different from there so it is a case of keeping ones eyes open. I have only transited DOH never arrived so I cannot say which left turns should be right, or right left etc from that side of the airport.

Thank you for your efforts. They are much appreciated.
Thanks @remdk - it's the least I could do considering the information I have cleaned from this and other forums. It is only luck that put me in the right place at the right time on a bargain OSL-BKK to try out the new Qatar transit visa and provide a write up. Happy to answer any questions that arise, and good point about the specific directional turns maybe different from other parts of the airport.
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Old Dec 6, 16, 6:17 am
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I did the same two weeks ago and it worked perfectly fine.

I also went to Al Mourjan after arrival to grab a bite before heading to the city though I didn't leave my carry on there (had about 13 hours layover, late afternoon arrival + early morning departure) as I booked a hotel close to Souq Waqif to sleep for a couple of hours.

In addition I booked both the Al Maha arrival + departure services and used the immigration lounges, don't know whether it saved time compared to the premium immigration lounges but as it is free as a gold or platinum memeber I thought I'd give it a try. The Al Maha service was a breeze - handed over the passports, sat down for a coffee and a date and walked out. It wasn't a problem at all to book arrival + departure services instead of transfer service even though it was a single booking.

If you want to safe some bucks you might as well take an uber x, worked perfectly fine for me. As you can use the airport wifi to request it it's simple and safes you the flag down fare from the airport (payed about 28 riyals to the hotel near Souq Waqif).

Later on we walked a bit around Corniche and Souq Waqif and then back to the hotel for some hours of sleep. In the morning we took another uber from the hotel to the airport for about the same rate and had some of the delicious sandwiches in Al Mourjan before our next flight.

I can highly recommend it, whether it's just some hours at the Souq with a hookah and a cup of tea or an overnight stay at a hotel (there are also some nice 4-5 star hotels which are decently priced at a rate below 75).
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Old Dec 6, 16, 2:09 pm
  #22  
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Originally Posted by plunet View Post
What you will need:
Your passport
A copy of the transit visa as a printout (but it's probably not needed)
Your boarding passes
Some QAR money - an absolute minimum of QAR80 to get to/from the Souq

Might be useful:
Your phone with some offline maps installed (maps.me works well)

[...]

The cost of the taxi back to the airport was QAR28 - flagfall downtown is QAR4 hence the return journey is cheaper. I would guess that a taxi from the Souq up to the corniche would have been less than QAR10. We had cash available to pay for the taxis.
I presume from all this that the taxis can't accept your credit cards?

Where do you get QAR cash, and what do you do with the leftover (assuming you're not necessarily expecting to visit Qatar again)?
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Old Dec 6, 16, 2:42 pm
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
I presume from all this that the taxis can't accept your credit cards?

Where do you get QAR cash, and what do you do with the leftover (assuming you're not necessarily expecting to visit Qatar again)?
No, the taxis don't accept payment by credit card.

I know that there is an ATM at the Souq Waqif which is where I usually withdraw some money in the local currency.

I usually keep my QAR for the next stopover so I unfortunately can't help you with that.

Last edited by Dani289; Dec 7, 16 at 1:57 am
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Old Dec 6, 16, 9:55 pm
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
I presume from all this that the taxis can't accept your credit cards?

Where do you get QAR cash, and what do you do with the leftover (assuming you're not necessarily expecting to visit Qatar again)?
There are plenty of ATM's in the airport. Minimum withdraw is QR100. That's enough for taxis. Or just take an Uber so you don't need cash then.
You can then use your card for food/drinks/shisa etc at the Souq. A lot of the smaller shops in the Souq wont take card if you are looking to buy any small gifts.

I also highly recommend getting one of the Dhow boats for a 15 minute cruise along the Corniche where you get to see the city lit up. Most of these are a bit further up the Corniche but you can walk there from MIA in about 20/30 minutes with a stroll along the Corniche.
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Old Dec 12, 16, 3:49 am
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As a J pax, I took advantage of the free hotel offer on my trip through DOH. I rode the free shuttle to the Oryx and left my stuff there. Easy taxi ride from there to/from Souq.
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Old Dec 29, 16, 9:52 am
  #26  
 
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Looking forward to your report!
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Old Jun 16, 17, 10:21 am
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Thanks to OP for the detailed report in #18 and others for chiming in. I am flying QR J today and just want to make sure the premium immigration in Arrival lounge can process Visa on Arrival?

Also, seems like OP didn't need to clear transit security to enter AM. Why is that? I did last time after arriving from CMB and saw mountains of people in "queue". Somehow it went reasonably quickly (I thought it was going to take an hour but it was more like 10 minutes). Anyway, would I need to clear it coming from BOS?
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Old Jun 16, 17, 11:17 am
  #28  
 
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italdesign every day a number of flights are excepted transit security screening at DOH and are sent directly into the departure areas. Which flights changes every day and the list is secret for obvious reasons. I am reasonably certain the the same flight is not excepted two days in a row. So you should assume transit security screening every time.

All arrivals immigration desks can issue a Visa on arrival if you are qualified, even in the Premium arrivals immigration lounge.

Last edited by remdk; Jun 17, 17 at 11:07 am Reason: What a difference a DAY makes!
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Old Jun 16, 17, 11:26 am
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Thank you, remdk, for this and for your reply in the other thread.
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Old Jun 17, 17, 6:40 am
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Thanks Plunet for a nice walk through the transit/tour process ^
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