Review of Qatar Airways Complimentary Doha Tour

Review of Qatar Airways Complimentary Doha Tour

Posted on Posted in Doha, Featured post, Qatar, Qatar Airways

If you are arriving in Salalah through Qatar Airways, you have a good option to Explore Doha, Qatar before landing at Salalah (or on the return flight). Don’t miss the opportunity to have Double Fun! This can be done on any destination you are flying with Qatar Airways (not just Salalah), but since this blog is about Salalah, so we have mentioned Salalah specifically.


Exploring Doha on Transit

There are two options for Exploring Doha on transit. First is Qatar Airways Complimentary Doha Tour, which is organized by Qatar Airways, second is to self explore Doha. Which one is the best?

We had a transit time of 13 hours (we made this booking intentionally to explore Doha), which left us 10 to 11 hours to explore the city. The remaining time is to complete the immigration process and reach the transit lounge. So this left us with two options; first one was to avail Qatar Airways Complimentary Doha Tour, which would let us cover many places in just 3 hours (duration of the tour) while the second one was to take our visa on arrival and explore the city ourselves.

If we avail option 1, then we would only use 3 hours out of available 10 hours. If we opt for option 2, then it would result in waiting for taxi after each stop (time waste as taxis are not readily available, which we experienced ourselves later on in the day trip) and walking to find a taxi in 38 deg C (it was Sept-2015 when we were in Doha). Making the most of both these available options, we just created a third option by combining both of these options and decided to take visa on arrival by ourselves (check visa on arrival eligibility) then explore Doha with Qatar Airways’ 3 hours tour followed by covering the remaining city in additional 7 hours by ourselves.

We arrived in the airport and moved to Doha City Tour Desk in the Transit Lounge (near Lamp Bear) and checked the time for the tour, we had plenty of time to go through the immigration process. The lady on the counter reserved the place for both of us (this reservation is on first come first serve basis and will end if the total space of 33 passengers is occupied) and advised us to approach Information Desk (outside of the Arrival section) after the immigration process for further instructions.

After immigration, we approached the Information Desk for communicating to the Doha City Tour Desk that we have cleared the immigration process and now waiting for the tour to begin. Two Spanish guys were also waiting there for the tour. They had a similar plan to explore Doha themselves after the Complimentary City Tour. We were joined by 12 more passengers who didn’t apply for immigration, but opted for 3 hours city tour only. They were not allowed to leave the tour group and had to return with the same group to the Airport after the trip. Visa for them (only for the tour) was arranged by Qatar Airways free of cost. However, we paid visa fees QAR 100 (USD 27.5) per person as we applied for Visa on Arrival ourselves and wanted to explore Doha after the Free Doha Trip.

Waiting Area at Arrival
Waiting Area at Arrival

 

Details of Qatar Airways Complimentary Doha Tour

Qatar Airways can arrange Complimentary Doha Tour if your transit time is more than 8 hours. The complimentary city tour will include 3 hours city tour visa, 3 hours city tour on a bus with a travel guide, a bottle of water and pick and drop to the airport. For availing your complimentary city tour, you have to go to Doha City Tour Desk in the transit lobby and get registered. This is on first come first serve basis.

Bus
Bus Interior with Tourists from different countries. The guy standing on the right, wearing red shirt is our guide

 

The 4 stop overs covered by the tour are Museum of Islamic Art, Katara Cultural Village, The Pearl Island and Souq Al Waqif. All of these places are beautiful and have cultural significance. Qatar Airways Complimentary Doha Tour is indeed a must thing to have if you are flying with Qatar Airways.

Museum of Islamic Art Doha
Museum of Islamic Art (Stop 1)
Doha Skyline
View of Doha Skyline from the first stop point on the tour
Katara Cultural Village
Pigeon Towers and Mosque at Katara Cultural Village (Stop 2)
View of Doha's Skyline from Stop 2
View of Doha’s Skyline from Stop 2
The Pearl Island Doha
The Pearl Island, Doha (Stop 3)
Souq Al Waqif
Souq Al Waqif (Stop 4)
Another view of beautiful Souk Al Waqif
Another view of beautiful Souk Al Waqif
Souq Al Waqif
We bought Doha’s Souvenirs from this shop in Souq Al Waqif

 

Some Random Photographs during the Tour from the Bus

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Zig Zag Towers Doha
Zig Zag Towers
Tornado Tower
Tornado Tower on the left

Timings of Qatar Airways Complimentary Doha Tour

There are four city tours daily. So you must have a transit time falling in time of the tour and have sufficient time to complete the tour. These tours are spread across different times of the day to cater all the possible transit times expect for the late night transit time. The timings are as follows:

Tour 1            8:00 hrs

Tour 2            11:00 hrs

Tour 3            16:00 hrs

Tour 4            20:00 hrs

Registration for these tours closes an hour before the tour start time. So check your arrival time at Doha Airport and the tour time.

If you want to experience Qatar Airways Complimentary Doha Tour then book your Qatar Airways Ticket with appropriate Transit time by clicking here.


What Else Did we visit in Doha on our own?

We visited Villaggio Mall, Aspire Tower, City Center Mall, and corniche on our own, after finishing Qatar Airway’s Complimentary Doha Tour at Souq Al Waqif. The rest of the passengers went to the Airport after Souq Al Waqif.

1. Villaggio Mall – Italy in Qatar

Villaggio Mall, Located in the Aspire Zone of Doha, is constructed with Italian theme. Yes that’s a mini Italy in the Middle East.
The mall has famous branded stores for shopping, including Carrefour. For shopping stores details, click here. Besides shopping options, mall has a nice food court, which is located along the Ice Rink. There are many options to choose from.
The mall also has an indoor canal, which offers Gondola ride. The tickets for the ride can be bought from the counter besides the main entrance of the mall. The cost of ride is QAR 10 per person, which is USD 2.75 per person. The ride is for around 10 minutes. There may be a big waiting queue for the ride, depending on when and which time of the day you are visiting. Maximum 4 persons can be accommodated in one Gondola. If you are a solo person and want to ride independently in the Gondola, you have to pay QAR 20. For timings and more details about Gondola ride, click here.
Villaggio Mall

There is also an indoor theme park in the mall “Gondolania”,  which offers Drop tower, Ferris Wheel, Arcade games, Laser war, Go Kart, Bowling Alley, Roller Coaster, Carousel, and many other options for kids and adults. For timings and the cost of rides, click here.

We visited the mall on the 3rd day of Eid Ul Adha, and it was full with people. Our Gondola ride wait was around 45 minutes. some of the people waited more than a hour for their turn.
The food court was also full and we had to wait there also for getting the table. The taxi ride from Al Waqif Souq to the mall costed QAR 18.5. and travelling was of 20 – 25 minutes.
If you have time (and the weather permits) you can visit Aspire Park, which is located nearby. On the way to Valliggo Mall, we were impressed to see these unique lights along the road.
DSC05298
Taken from the taxi
DSC05297

 

2. Aspire Tower – Tallest Building in Qatar

Visit to Aspire Tower (also Known as The Torch Doha) is a must due to its unique architecture. This tower is located in the Aspire Zone of Doha and visible from outside the Villaggio Mall. So if you plan a visit to Valliggo Mall, you can also visit this tower.

Aspire Tower

Aspire tower was a landmark for Asian games of 2006, which were hosted in Qatar. This is the tallest building in Doha (as of Feb 2016, when this blog was written) with a height of 300 meters (980 feet) and comprises of 52 stories. Dubai Tower is under construction, which will surpass this height.

The rest of the high rise buildings are in west bay and makes Doha Skyline.

 

3. City Center Mall, Doha

Although City Center Mall is huge and have many shops and restaurants, but the 5 storey mall is not really impressive (at least for us). We regretted our decision to visit this mall and missed the Lagoona Mall and Zig Zag Tower.

DSC05307

 

4. Doha Corniche

Doha Corniche is near City Center Mall. One can have a closer look at the photogenic and architectural stunning buildings that make the spectacular Skyline of Doha.

Burj Doha (Doha Tower)
Burj Doha (Doha Tower). Behind that is World Trade Center

 

Doha Bank Building
D-Shaped building is Doha Bank Building
Although there are a lot of buildings, but some of the worth mentioning buildings, which also captivated our interest, are as follows:
Burj Doha (Doha Tower) is a cylindrical building, and uses “ancient Islamic patterns” in its cylindrical design. The height of this building is 232 m (761 feet) with 46 stories. This building has changing color pattern (from white to golden) story-wise. This tower was previously known as Burj Qatar or Qatar Tower.

Tornado Tower is a sky scrapper with 52 floors (640 feet tall).

World Trade Center, this is next to Burj Qatar. The name of the Qatar Petroleum was displayed in rotation style in both Arabic and English on the top of the building at the time when we visited.
Doha Bank Building, is a D-shaped building, which is one of interesting architecture designs.
Sheraton Hotel Doha, its a pyramid shaped building with a nice display of colorful lights at night.
Doha Monument is located at the corniche and is an icon of Doha.

From the corniche, the traditional dhows are visible. These are used for dhow dinner or cruising the sea.

DSC_0354
Doha Dhow

If you want to experience Qatar Airways Complimentary Doha Tour then book your Qatar Airways Ticket with appropriate Transit time by clicking here.


Get Ready for Salalah after Qatar Airways Complimentary Doha Tour! 


 

 

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7 thoughts on “Review of Qatar Airways Complimentary Doha Tour

  1. Enjoyed your post. Was wondering if you would be interested in guest posting on my blog since we seem to be posting in the same niche. Maybe we could come to some agreement about exchanging content also?

  2. Hi, I will have a 13-hour stopover in Doha in January. I just want to clarify, if I want to explore city myself after the tour ends, then I would have to apply for a transit visa (online) first, right?

    1. There are two things you need to consider. If you want to explore doha only on the free qatar airways trip, you don’t need any visa. Qatar airways will arrange that if your transit time is in the trip time. There are 4 trips daily. Second thing is if you want to explore on your own after the free trip then you can ask the tour guide to release you at the last stop. For this you have to either get visa on arrival prior to start of the free trip or apply for online transit visa. You have to go through immigration and get passport stamped before joining for the free trip.

    1. You can avail complimentary doha tour if your transit is more than 8 hours. If you have more than 5 but less than 96 hours transit you can avail free doha transit visa and avail doha on your own. Free visa is provided by Qatar airways

  3. Is this service available if you fly into Doha on Qatar airways and continue with a code share partner after a 16 hour layover?

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