Layover in Doha, Qatar

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polardabar

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Hi,

I've got about six hours in Doha during a layover next month and I was looking at my options. I haven't been there before so I was keen to go out into the city, even for just a bit, but in the visa application, they insist on booking a hotel. Given that I wouldn't even stay in the hotel, I called the embassy, which confirmed the information. $55 for the visa and $95 (the cheapest option) for the hotel.

Do you think it's worth it? Should I just stay at the airport instead? Is there still an option to pay for lounge access?

Cheers!
 

con+insult=consult

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Hi Polardabar

Depends on if you've been to DXB before - if you have, you can skip DOH. Not much to see there really. If you haven't, it may be worth your while, but it seems DOH is still a couple of years away from being a must-see destination. (Note: I've never been to DOH. My parents live in DXB and keep visiting my sister in DOH, and this is what they say about DOH)

About lounge access - Who are you flying with, and what FF status(es) do you currently hold?
 

Happy Trails

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This might fit the bill:

Doha City Tour | Qatar Airways

Enrich every step of your journey with a complimentary tour of Doha, courtesy of Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority. Visit four key landmarks including: The Pearl-Qatar, for the finest quality shops and restaurants; Katara Cultural Village, a centre dedicated to celebrating arts and heritage; Souq Waqif, for traditional jewellery, spices and handicrafts; and the Museum of Islamic Art, for its stunning architecture and beautiful seaside park. All of this, while you wait to connect with your next flight.
For more information, simply head to the Doha City Tour desk on arrival.
An amazing experience awaits you.


Prebooking is not required.
The tour will take approximately two hours and 45 minutes and visit the Museum of Islamic Art, Katara Cultural Centre, the Pearl-Qatar, and Souq Waqif.
An English speaking guide will accompany the tour and guests will be provided with a bottle of mineral water.
Eligibility is subject to immigration approval and is available on a first come, first served basis.
The tour is available to customers with a transit time of 5-12 hours who arrive in Doha between 04:00-19:00 local time (GMT +3).
Additional terms and conditions apply. Please check with the Doha City Tour staff for eligibility.
 

polardabar

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Thanks for that, con+insult=consult.

I've been to DXB and I probably wouldn't go there again unless it's convenient.

I'll be flying QR and only have Silver on QF.
 

polardabar

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Thanks, Happy Trail.

Another thing I need to note is that I don't hold an Australian passport, so I wouldn't be eligible for VOA. That's why I'm thinking if it's either worth paying for the visa and the hotel (that I won't stay in). I guess this tour would be worthwhile the visit, and there's enough time to do it.

Still, I don't think that I'd be able to do it as I land after 19 h (I just checked my itinerary). I thought it would be good to go for a stroll when it cools down a bit, but I'm not sure if anything would be open (although the travel date is post-Ramadan).
 

con+insult=consult

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Thanks, Happy Trail.

Another thing I need to note is that I don't hold an Australian passport, so I wouldn't be eligible for VOA. That's why I'm thinking if it's either worth paying for the visa and the hotel (that I won't stay in). I guess this tour would be worthwhile the visit, and there's enough time to do it.

Still, I don't think that I'd be able to do it as I land after 19 h (I just checked my itinerary). I thought it would be good to go for a stroll when it cools down a bit, but I'm not sure if anything would be open (although the travel date is post-Ramadan).

I was gonna ask you about Ramadan, but you've already looked into that :)

The Middle East does come alive after sunset in Ramadan, and it's more suitable for tourists since you don't have to worry about eating out. However, if it's only 6 hours after 1900 hrs that you've got to go about, not sure what you could really do apart from roaming the souks.

As for the lounge, have a look at this place: Lounges | Hamad International Airport
"Economy passengers will be able to gain access to the lounge for a nominal fee of QAR 200 (USD 55)."
That should be ~ AUD 70-75... worth it if you're going to be there for 6 hours, and TripAdvisor folks seem to like it (at least the first few posts :p)

Edit: Seems there is a city tour at 7:30pm.... may be worth a shot? Post #91 on this TripAdvisor discussion says there's a city tour available at 7:30pm....
http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g294009-i3512-k6797927-Oryx_Lounge_Doha-Doha.html

Edit (again): Here's more info : http://www.qatarairways.com/global/en/offers/doha-city-tour.page
Enjoy !!
 
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Alanslegal

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Can you book a refundable hotel, one that you can cancel up to 6 pm on the day of arrival ... get the visa ... once you're through, cancel the booking.
 

polardabar

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Can you book a refundable hotel, one that you can cancel up to 6 pm on the day of arrival ... get the visa ... once you're through, cancel the booking.

That's an interesting idea. As far as I know, one needs to go through the official Tourism of Qatar webpage, so I'm not sure if it would work. But some could possibly work if I can also find them on booking websites. I'll look into it. Thanks.
 
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Posts
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This might fit the bill:

Doha City Tour | Qatar Airways

Enrich every step of your journey with a complimentary tour of Doha, courtesy of Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority. Visit four key landmarks including: The Pearl-Qatar, for the finest quality shops and restaurants; Katara Cultural Village, a centre dedicated to celebrating arts and heritage; Souq Waqif, for traditional jewellery, spices and handicrafts; and the Museum of Islamic Art, for its stunning architecture and beautiful seaside park. All of this, while you wait to connect with your next flight.
For more information, simply head to the Doha City Tour desk on arrival.
An amazing experience awaits you.


Prebooking is not required.
The tour will take approximately two hours and 45 minutes and visit the Museum of Islamic Art, Katara Cultural Centre, the Pearl-Qatar, and Souq Waqif.
An English speaking guide will accompany the tour and guests will be provided with a bottle of mineral water.
Eligibility is subject to immigration approval and is available on a first come, first served basis.
The tour is available to customers with a transit time of 5-12 hours who arrive in Doha between 04:00-19:00 local time (GMT +3).
Additional terms and conditions apply. Please check with the Doha City Tour staff for eligibility.

We did this tour in April. Not a bad way to waste a couple of hours - but I wouldn't go out of your way for this tour if you don't already have to spend the time in the airport. We went at around 1pm (can't remember the exact time) but that is not a recommended time as it is quite hot outside, and a lot of the traders in the souk go home in the heat of the day.

As to the Visa - it's something organised through the people who take the tour, not a normal visa. As a group we were walked through immigration both ways to get our stamps in and out. Didn't seem to be any requirements except being on the tour. They pretty much just took down our passport details on a form filled in by them. There were quite a few different nationalities in our group.
 

polardabar

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I wouldn't be able to go on the tour as I don't arrive until 19:40 + immigration = no way. I'm hoping I could still get a taxi to the city, go for a stroll, have a drink at a bar with a nice view and head back. I can't imagine a lot would be open between let's say 8 PM and midnight, but I'm hoping at least something would be.

Any ideas?
 

Limewood

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We will be going via Doha in J late Sept. on return leg to OZ, CDG/DOH arrive 5am depart next day 2am for PER so booked 2 nights accom, no idea what we'll do while there?.
 

polardabar

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We will be going via Doha in J late Sept. on return leg to OZ, CDG/DOH arrive 5am depart next day 2am for PER so booked 2 nights accom, no idea what we'll do while there?.

I believe there's enough stuff to do during the day. The tricky bit is trying to fit something in at night, I think.
 

polardabar

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Just FYI, I ended up going into the city. I walked along Al Corniche, took some photos and then went to the Souq. It was still bustling although it was close to 10 PM, so I walked around a bit, took some photos and then sat down to bring my temperature down. It was still low forties at that time, so I had a refreshing drink and a sheesha. It gave me the opportunity to soak in a bit of the vibe, but given that it was way too humid for my taste, I headed back to the airport, refreshed over there and got ready to board. All in all, I'm pretty chuffed I decided to head out. Thanks for the tips, everyone. Cheers!
 

Danger

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What's the going rate for a Qatari visa for an Aussie? Is it correct that they do not offer transit or short-stay visas? I've got several flights coming up where I'll connect in DOH on separate tickets and face the unpleasant prospect of having to fork out for visas each time, just to reclaim my bags and go back airside.
 
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What's the going rate for a Qatari visa for an Aussie? Is it correct that they do not offer transit or short-stay visas? I've got several flights coming up where I'll connect in DOH on separate tickets and face the unpleasant prospect of having to fork out for visas each time, just to reclaim my bags and go back airside.

You can now apply for a free short stay visa (up to 96 hours). Must apply between 7 - 30 days prior to arrival.
Refer to Transit visa for short stopovers for details.
 

Danger

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You can now apply for a free short stay visa (up to 96 hours). Must apply between 7 - 30 days prior to arrival.
Refer to Transit visa for short stopovers for details.

I was excited to come across that link yesterday but unfortunately the fine print is no good. One of the requirements is that both the inbound and outbound flights must be on the same ticket, something that's not possible to do with an award and revenue booking.

However, I did get an email back this morning (very quick turnaround) from the Qatar Embassy in Canberra who said:

About your inquiry to visit the State of Qatar we pleasure to inform you that up to 8 hours no need for transit VISA the traveller can have that kind of visa on arrival, other wise Please search on the website of the Ministry of Interior www.moi.gov.qa on the type of your country (your citizenship ) OR The link for HUKOOMI web site Home page - Hukoomi – Qatar E-government and you will find the request for a visa to the State of Qatar and all explanatory information in this regard.​

I phoned the person who replied to confirm that this visa would allow me to go landside and pick up my luggage and she said yes. I'm not 100% confident but will take a printout of her email and hope for the best. One (or possibly both) of my transits will have more than eight hours between flights but I'm hoping if I delay going through Immigration until it's within that window I will be okay. The official also didn't say how much it would be and the links are pretty useless.
 
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I was excited to come across that link yesterday but unfortunately the fine print is no good. One of the requirements is that both the inbound and outbound flights must be on the same ticket, something that's not possible to do with an award and revenue booking.

My apologies for the bum steer Danger. I was looking at that link for my own purposes recently for a brief stopover that's all on the same PNR, so missed your specific requirement.
Best of luck with your alternative plan (which looks like it has a reasonable chance of success).
J
 
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