With a 10 hour layover in Doha we wanted to get out and stretch our legs, all the more so since the lounge was alcohol-free for Ramadan. Thankfully it was quite easy to get into Doha. There are airline-sponsored tours (no longer free) but we had read that it was fairly easy to just do it yourself, so we decided to test that out.
After landing we made our way to the business class lounge. Eric found two key code lockers to store our carry-on bag and backpacks, then we took the elevator down to the 2nd floor security area. There we asked a security person where we could exit to transit. Everyone was super nice – no questions at all – and they let us exit the opposite way through security. From there we went left down the hall to the business arrivals lounge which had its own passport control, and were outside in less than ten minutes, about 5pm. From the main terminal we requested an Uber and headed to the Museum of Islamic Art first so we could get in before the 7pm close time.
Except… it’s Ramadan so the hours were 8pm-12am instead. Foiled! Instead we took a bunch of photos of the outside and walked along the cornice to Dhow Harbor to get better views of the skyscraper-filled downtown.
From there we took the (briefly air-conditioned!) underground tunnel to Souq Wadif to sightsee and window-shop.
Several of the restaurants looked quite nice, and if we didn’t have free food waiting for us in the airport lounge we probably would have enjoyed dinner in the Souq.
Ready for more air-con we headed back over to the museum, along the way passing back through Dhow Harbor, and the party boats were definitely in full swing! We were the first people inside the museum when they opened for the night and WOW – the building interior is beautiful.
The collection spans 1,400 years and includes both religious and secular art.
The price is a bit high at 50 riyals each for foreigners (~$13.75 USD) but the collection was quite interesting.
After about 2 hours exploring the museum we got an Uber back to the airport around 10pm. We still had about 4 hours of time for a light buffet-style dinner and showers in the lounge while trying to stay awake for our 2am flight to Namibia!
Walking around Doha in May was quite warm (think high 80s with humidity), even at night, but it still made for a nice diversion during our long set of flights and we’d definitely recommend it if you have a long layover.