How to get from Hamad International Doha Airport to the city center?
Hamad International Airport is located 15 km from Doha city centre. It may normally take 20-30 minutes to get to the city centre but I landed evening time and it took me almost an hour by taxi. There are few transportation options to get to Doha city centre:
- TAXI (around 20$) – depends on a traffic!! – which is really huge in the afternoon and evening time
- There are few shuttle buses during day time taking you from the airport to Doha city centre
- Public buses: 777, 747 and 109 will take you from the airport to the city
- IF Doha is your transit airport you can get a free visa on arrival and a shuttle bus which takes you around the city. You just need to ask for it at the airport. Well I didn’t know that at that time and I simply paid for both – visa and transfer. It may take a while to find an Immigration Counter (to obtain visa) at the airport.
Doha - visa on arrival.
For almost 80 countries there is free visa on-arrival available in the Immigration Counter at the airport. In 2014 I paid about 30$/fee depends on a country) and then you’re free to hit the city, so it wasn’t free at that time. Make sure your passport is valid at least for 6 months – this is an entry rule for the most countries in the world. Most countries which qualify for visa on arrival would get 180 days visa (without extention possibility) or 30 day visa.
Public transport in Doha city.
There are regular buses from the airport to Doha city center. You need to buy a smartcard and charge it (you can buy it at the airport). There are also about 3 shuttle buses during day time taking you from the airport to the city center of Doha. Public bus number 747, 777 or eventually 109. They all will take you to Doha city centre. Doha was my transfer city so I took a taxi to get to the city as fast as possible. I got out in the middle of the skyscrapers disctrict. It was a night time and the city looked unbelievable. It was warm and quiet on the streets, lots of construction sites. I generally felt a bit strange walking the streets, like someone was constantly watching me. Well except of hundreds of workers around the area. I personally would not be a fan of Qatar country, knowing the whole FIFA World Cup corruption mess and they way human rights are being discriminated.
City Centre Doha.
There is a huge shopping mall located just in the heart of Doha. I took few kilometers walk along the bay. I guess one day (and night) is definitely enough for exploring the famous Doha. Of course Doha has much more to offer. Especially if you want to see amazing Losail International Circuit, which you can find on my picture from the plane perspective. Doha city is surrounded by a desert landscape. You can escape the city taking one of the highways, leading to some absolutely amazing and empty beaches or safari adventure. The question is whether you are able to cope with incredible heat and a temperature way above 40 degrees.
Doha beyond the scope.
Hanging around the city don’t be surprised to be stopped by different people – both locals or foreigners (there’s probably more foreign people than locals)! I was stopped number of times – twice by a luxury shining jeep with dark windows (like a security patrol), You’re not even able to see passengers identity. They just asked me simple questions, what am doing in Doha and where am I going. It may be a security car, or may be someone was curious travelers, but they all paid attention to my nikon camera and sites I can capture with it.
What to wear and can you drink alcohol?
Doha is a multicultural city and there isn’t any dresscode in place. It was 40 degrees so I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Many people were out running in a sport outfit.
Alcohol is strictly forbiden in Qatar, except restaurant and bar areas in luxury hotels.