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QR free transit visa - DIY Doha night tour?

QR free transit visa - DIY Doha night tour?

Old Apr 12, 18, 10:31 am
  #46  
 
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Just an update - we're now back in the lounge after a pleasant wander around the souk and the waterfront. The instructions from plunet worked perfectly - we were stepping into a taxi within an hour of landing, including 10 minutes for a drink in the lounge when dropping bags off. The staff in the transit area were absolutely fine with us going through backwards. We were delayed a little at the arrivals lounge because we forgot to bring our inbound boarding passes, but that was sorted fairly easily. QR50 to the souk and then QR26 back from outside the art museum. Very quickly back through the business class departure line and then back to the lounge .

Much more interesting than 6 straight hours in the lounge - thanks again.

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Old Oct 21, 18, 2:04 am
  #47  
 
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Originally Posted by omk298 View Post
Just an update - we're now back in the lounge after a pleasant wander around the souk and the waterfront. The instructions from plunet worked perfectly - we were stepping into a taxi within an hour of landing, including 10 minutes for a drink in the lounge when dropping bags off. The staff in the transit area were absolutely fine with us going through backwards. We were delayed a little at the arrivals lounge because we forgot to bring our inbound boarding passes, but that was sorted fairly easily. QR50 to the souk and then QR26 back from outside the art museum. Very quickly back through the business class departure line and then back to the lounge .

Much more interesting than 6 straight hours in the lounge - thanks again.

​​​​​​
We are planning to do this In 2 weeks when we will have about 9 hours to kill, arriving at 5pm and leaving at 2 am.

This thread has been really helpful and it all should be straightforward to follow these instructions.

the only bits I am mildly confused about are:

the instructions to exit security backwards! If we were arriving at Doha as our final destination surely we would follow signs for arrivals, and if so what is to stop us just doing this?

references to getting immigration paperwork sorted in the lounge. We are uk citizens so I don't think we need a visa, do we need to do this? (We are in J)



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Old Oct 21, 18, 5:05 am
  #48  
 
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HSR1234 there is absolutely noting to stop you using the arrivals channel directly on disembarking. However there can be a number of reasons for using the transit channels.
1) you do not wish to take all your carry-ons with you into Doha.
2) you have prohibited items, such as alcohol, which need to be left inside the airport secure zone during transit
3) you wish to use the lounge facilities before leaving the airport, etc. etc.
Going through the transit route you will be able to use the lounges to deposit your hand luggage in the secure lockers in Al Mourjan and so on.
You will find much more information using the QR Forum dashboard widget About-DOH-airport .

UK Passport holders no longer require a Visa to enter Qatar.
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Old Oct 21, 18, 6:49 am
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Originally Posted by remdk View Post
HSR1234 there is absolutely noting to stop you using the arrivals channel directly on disembarking. However there can be a number of reasons for using the transit channels.
1) you do not wish to take all your carry-ons with you into Doha.
2) you have prohibited items, such as alcohol, which need to be left inside the airport secure zone during transit
3) you wish to use the lounge facilities before leaving the airport, etc. etc.
Going through the transit route you will be able to use the lounges to deposit your hand luggage in the secure lockers in Al Mourjan and so on.
You will find much more information using the QR Forum dashboard widget About-DOH-airport .

UK Passport holders no longer require a Visa to enter Qatar.

Thanks! That all makes sense. I think we will decide on the day which option to take which will probably just depend on how much hand luggage we have!
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Old Oct 21, 18, 12:30 pm
  #50  
 
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Originally Posted by HSR1234 View Post


We are planning to do this In 2 weeks when we will have about 9 hours to kill, arriving at 5pm and leaving at 2 am.

This thread has been really helpful and it all should be straightforward to follow these instructions.

the only bits I am mildly confused about are:

the instructions to exit security backwards! If we were arriving at Doha as our final destination surely we would follow signs for arrivals, and if so what is to stop us just doing this?

references to getting immigration paperwork sorted in the lounge. We are uk citizens so I don't think we need a visa, do we need to do this? (We are in J)
Heading straight through arrivals would be significantly easier/more straightforward, but this is FT! If your carry on is only light then that would be fine - we didn't want to have to carry ours around, so left them in the lounge. We didn't have any issues, but avoid telling the lounge staff what you're planning if you do that (based on a previous post).

You don't need a visa in advance now - I think technically it's visa on arrival, in reality it's just a stamp in your passport.
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Old Oct 24, 18, 12:50 am
  #51  
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Originally Posted by remdk View Post
...1) you do not wish to take all your carry-ons with you into Doha....
Originally Posted by omk298 View Post
... we didn't want to have to carry ours around, so left them in the lounge. We didn't have any issues, but avoid telling the lounge staff what you're planning if you do that (based on a previous post).
This came up for me recently. I do same day DOH-CDG-DOH turns from time to time. Last time I was at DOH I asked about this. The official word is that it's not permitted to leave the airport (regardless of whether on land or in the air) if your bags are in AM storage lockers. Now, it's true that they record your BP information when you get the locker. But I'm far from sure that they actually check. Especially on my DOH-CDG-DOH turns, I get back the same calendar day. Anyone else have any experience with this issue?

Last edited by Dr. HFH; Oct 24, 18 at 11:07 pm
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Old Oct 24, 18, 1:47 am
  #52  
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I had the issue when I did the original write up of my experience, but we just acknowledged what that member of QR staff had said, thanked them, and then avoided them and carried on with the plan.

I think it's right that it probably is the case that you're not supposed to leave items in the lounge lockers and leave the building, but it's quite hard for them to do something about it unless other policies and processes are changed.
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Old Nov 3, 18, 12:19 pm
  #53  
 
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Originally Posted by omk298 View Post
Just an update - we're now back in the lounge after a pleasant wander around the souk and the waterfront. The instructions from plunet worked perfectly - we were stepping into a taxi within an hour of landing, including 10 minutes for a drink in the lounge when dropping bags off. The staff in the transit area were absolutely fine with us going through backwards. We were delayed a little at the arrivals lounge because we forgot to bring our inbound boarding passes, but that was sorted fairly easily. QR50 to the souk and then QR26 back from outside the art museum. Very quickly back through the business class departure line and then back to the lounge .

Much more interesting than 6 straight hours in the lounge - thanks again.

​​​​​​
Ditto!

Exact same experience and exact same price on the taxis!

Now back in a very quiet lounge, but very glad to have ventured out of the airport into town.

Very surreal experience being literally the only people in the check in area and security screening! Why canít airport security always be like this!
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Old Apr 10, 19, 3:37 pm
  #54  
 
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Originally Posted by plunet View Post
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.
Thanks for replying in my thread. I wanted to ask you some more in your own.

1. You left your bag in the business lounge. If I paid for access to the first lounge could I do that same? Make some excuse to leave and return in a couple of hours.

2. Iím alone. I would prefer to stop somewhere busy and take a few photos. I donít particularly want to wonder the streets.
Where would you recommend? And if itís only the corniche is there a hotel I could get dropped at?

3. We are saying £20 is enough for a taxi? What are the Uber prices compared?

Thanks.
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Old Apr 10, 19, 4:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Spinstorm View Post


Thanks for replying in my thread. I wanted to ask you some more in your own.

1. You left your bag in the business lounge. If I paid for access to the first lounge could I do that same? Make some excuse to leave and return in a couple of hours.

2. Iím alone. I would prefer to stop somewhere busy and take a few photos. I donít particularly want to wonder the streets.
Where would you recommend? And if itís only the corniche is there a hotel I could get dropped at?

3. We are saying £20 is enough for a taxi? What are the Uber prices compared?

Thanks.
No worries - that's what the forum is for!

1. I can't confirm if there is luggage storage in AS, maybe others can confirm?
2. I would suggest going to the Souq - you have the old Souq buildings and the Museum of Islamic Art which are all lit up, and you have a view towards the Corniche.
3. Uber will be cheaper as you avoid the airport surcharge when heading downtown of QAR25. £20 is more than enough but if you're going to flag down a cab you need local currency.

Hope you have a great trip
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Old Apr 10, 19, 11:36 pm
  #56  
 
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Originally Posted by plunet View Post
No worries - that's what the forum is for!

1. I can't confirm if there is luggage storage in AS, maybe others can confirm?
2. I would suggest going to the Souq - you have the old Souq buildings and the Museum of Islamic Art which are all lit up, and you have a view towards the Corniche.
3. Uber will be cheaper as you avoid the airport surcharge when heading downtown of QAR25. £20 is more than enough but if you're going to flag down a cab you need local currency.

Hope you have a great trip
Agree with this. Uber is cheaper than metered taxis when leaving the airport because of the surcharge. However, they are more convenient/easier to use.
There are ATM's and money exchange in arrivals if you need local currency.

The new National Museum is now open too. It is walkable from the Souq/MIA.
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Old Jul 8, 19, 12:06 pm
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I'm planning on trying this when I transit DOH in September - I appreciate all the details the OP (and now others) have provided, but I still have two questions

What did you say to the security guards when you went backwards through Transit security? Was this the part of "explain that you want to go through to arrivals" or did people use other wording?

How big are the storage lockers in the Al Mourjan lounge? I have a Pelican case (which is smaller than my standard rollerboard) and a messenger type bag. I assume both of those will fit?

thanks

tom
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Old Jul 8, 19, 1:37 pm
  #58  
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Originally Posted by Illini_Fan View Post
I'm planning on trying this when I transit DOH in September - I appreciate all the details the OP (and now others) have provided, but I still have two questions

What did you say to the security guards when you went backwards through Transit security? Was this the part of "explain that you want to go through to arrivals" or did people use other wording?

How big are the storage lockers in the Al Mourjan lounge? I have a Pelican case (which is smaller than my standard rollerboard) and a messenger type bag. I assume both of those will fit?

thanks

tom
To walk through security the wrong way just say you are in transit, you have visited the lounge, and wish to leave the airport. Every time I have done it the staff are completely unfazed, you just need to let them know what you want to do.

There are smaller and larger lockers, the larger ones easily take a full size BA hand carry, 56 X 35 X 25. The lockers are key operated, you take the key with you. An attendant will take a note of your flight details so have your onward boarding pass handy.

Have a great transit.
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Old Aug 25, 19, 8:58 am
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Lots of good info in this thread. Upcoming trip IAD-DOH-SEZ in J using AA miles, four passengers, first time through DOH.

transit info: arrival 16:15, departure 02:00.

I would like to book the 3 hour Doha City Tour, which offers departures at 18:00 and 20:00.

Assuming that we check luggage and do not stop in the lounge (thus avoiding the backwards-tracking method), how soon could we reasonably expect to get to the tour launch spot, which is described as "Concourse A, Gate A4". Tour info indicates that you need to be present 60 minutes before tour departs.

So do I book the 18:00 tour (preferred) and rely on only 45 minutes to deplane and get there? Or book the 20:00 tour and have plenty of time?
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Old Aug 25, 19, 9:07 am
  #60  
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Originally Posted by NightTripper View Post
So do I book the 18:00 tour (preferred) and rely on only 45 minutes to deplane and get there? Or book the 20:00 tour and have plenty of time?
You should be fine with the 1800 departure. For me, that would be the one. Take the tour, get back at 2100, plenty of time to eat, shower.
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