A free city tour when you fly Qatar airlines and have a transit in Doha – sounds too good to be true? It is in fact exactly that – a free 3 hour tour of Doha city. It isn’t well advertised or promoted, but it is possible and it is 100% free. This is a joint initiative between Qatar Airways and the Qatar Tourism authority.
In this post I will tell you
- what you need to know before going on the tour,
- how to get a place on the tour and then
- how the tour will operate.
Details from Qatar’s own website http://www.qatarairways.com/global/en/offers/doha-city-tour.page
Find a journey within a journey
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.
Pre-requisites for the tour
- You need to be transitting through Doha and have at least 5 hours before your onward flight.
- Tours leave at 8:00am, 10:00am, 1:00pm & 17:30pm. Obviously you need to have registered for the tour before this time
- You can not pre-book. You need to line up and places are given on a first-come, first served basis. See below for more information about the process
- You do not need a visa for Qatar, a special immigration stamp will be provided if you get on the tour.
- You need to be flying on a Qatar Airlines flight.
How do I get on the tour?
The hardest part about getting on the tour is finding the sign-up desk. It isn’t well sign-posted and the desk location has changed a couple of times since the tours began operating in 2014. The best advice is to find the giant golden teddy bear. This part isn’t hard as the statue is a couple of stories high and is in a central area of main hall of the new terminal. Once you have located the teddy bear look around for a desk with a sign saying city tours, or a line of people in front of such a desk.
Tours are limited by the size of the bus and this carries about 20 people. On the bus there is limited storage room, so be prepared to carry your cabin baggage on your knee when on the tour.
When you get to the counter you will need to provide your passport and details of you onward travel, including boarding passes for your next flight.
Your name will recorded on a paper sheet and you will be told to return prepared to leave at a specific time. At regroup time you will be given a detail voucher – check the details to ensure they are correct.
What happens on the tour?
The group is taken down to immigration by a tour representative where your passport will be stamped. You are then taken to the mini-bus and your guide.
The tour bus is air-conditioned, a free bottle of water is provided and there is an English speaking guide. You can ask your any questions you have about the city and country.
The bus stops at the four landmarks listed and you can walk around, take photos etc. As it is a desert country be prepared for high temperatures. The final stop is at the Souk (market) where you can wander about for half an hour and can just sight-see, shop or purchase drinks etc.
You return to the terminal where you are processed again through immigration and return to the main terminal.
Some personal opinions from bloggers who have done this tour