Carly’s Qatar Travel Blog
by Carly Charteris / 2022-05-24 12:12:09
In February 2020, a month before global travel was suspended I was fortunate enough to visit Doha in Qatar for the very first time. Previously I had transited the airport when heading to and from Vietnam but this was my first experience of visiting the destination.
I travelled with my Mum and we commenced our journey with Qatar Airways from Birmingham Airport and on boarding the plane we turned left, Business Class featured a spacious comfortable seat, full size glasses of champagne, exquisite dining, beautiful amenity kit, white company pyjamas and inflight entertainment on a huge personal screen. I had previously flown in economy with Qatar Airways and was equally impressed with that cabin and the crew. It is understandable why this is an award winning airline!
We arrived into Doha 7 and a half hours later, arriving after dark the short transfer to our hotel was our first view of the bright lights of the skyscrapers situated in downtown Doha. We were mesmerised and so excited to explore this new destination. As you would expect with a Middle East destination the hotels ooze luxury from the moment you check in. Like hotels situated in the Emirates the hotels are where you will find bars that can serve alcohol, but as with UAE the main lobby bars serve teas, coffees and of course cakes!! High Tea in Qatar is something else!
Visiting in February the weather was wonderful, perfect for relaxing by the pool but equally not too hot to head out and explore. There are many hotels that you can explore Doha city centre and the corniche by foot and on our first day we did just that, trusting our sense of direction we headed out to explore. First impressions, clean, safe and very friendly people, we were definitely going to like it here!
The following day we headed into the desert for a full day excursion which included Camel rides, Qatar Tea in a Bedouin Tent and a jeep safari. Now I have done a jeep safaris or dune bashing in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi but this really was a unique experience from those. The highlight was for sure taking a paddle along Khor Al Adaid Beach the shore of the inner sea in the middle of the desert. Situated some 100kms south of Doha and surrounded by desert it was one of the most tranquil and beautiful places in the world I have ever visited.
A few days later after relaxing and enjoying our hotels’ facilities we headed out again for a day of exploration. We decided to take the recently opened at that time Metro train system, the Doha Metro, Qatar Rail is fully electronic – so no drivers, spotlessly clean and lots of white and gold to be seen. There are family carriages (women & children only), standard carriages and Gold Club carriages. Most standard journeys are QAR2, approximately 44p, what a bargain or you can opt for the Gold Club upgrade from QAR10 per journey which is around £2.20 per journey. If you plan to hop on an off all day a daily ticket starts at QAR30. For us we were just doing a return journey so our ticket was 88p return each. We took the metro to Souq Waqif. Now Souq Waqif is wonderful I felt like I was strolling through the set of Disney’s Aladdin – but this was the real deal. The fragrance of the herbs and spices, the colours of the fabrics, the glimmer of the lanterns and vases on sale…. It was everything and more. A short walk from the Souq is the Islamic Museum of Art, a welcome rest from the heat we escaped into the air conditioning and explored some of the Middle East’s greatest treasures in a beautiful setting. Before heading back to our hotel via the Metro we couldn’t resist taking a traditional dhow boat trip across the bay.
On our second from last evening we headed out to a ladies night at The Secret Garden, this is the Marsa Malaz Kempinski’s sensational rooftop bar. Aside from the fantastic views over The Pearl-Qatar, great music and atmosphere it included 3 complimentary drinks for Ladies. I find bottomless brunches and Ladies nights in the Middle East both great value and fun and Doha’s offering is quite exceptional.
So after 5 nights it was time to head home….. little did we know what was to come the month after, however we absolutely LOVED Doha and the Qatari people are wonderful hosts. Although less touristy that the UAE, English is widely spoken. Doha is a fantastic airport to transit through but do allow time to stop and stay, with short transfer times from the airport to hotels and an abundance of modern city life, spectacular beaches and culture on offer it’s not only the perfect stop over but the perfect standalone destination, especially in our winter months…. Visit now you won’t be disappointed and I for one can’t wait to return now travel is back open!