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mistybleu Doha - A travel report by Amanda
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Doha,  Qatar - flag Qatar -  Ad Daw±ah
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mistybleu's travel reports

Two night stop over in Doha

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I haven't seen much of the Middle East; I suppose a little fearful as a woman. But with the likes of the UAE opening their 'doors' it has encouraged me to venture out and tentatively explore.

Arabian mounted police
Arabian mounted police
Doha – the capital of Qatar, is a relatively new destination for tourism, with the emergence of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and somewhat Bahrain; Doha in now on the forefront of the Middle East.

Located on the coast of the Persian Gulf, Doha is currently accessed via the newly opened (April 2014) Hamad International Airport which is 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) east of the former facility Doha International. Doha International is now Terminal B which serves all international airlines.

I’m not sure what the best time of the year to go but I went in March/April and the weather was bearable; when I researched the average temperatures it should have been around 30 degrees, but from May it can become incredibly hotter.

Some of the enjoyable things to do include: a stroll along the beautiful promenade – MIA Park in the Corniche. Early morning and late evening you’ll find joggers frequently here. Also on the waterfront in MIA Park is the Museum of Islamic Art. The Islamic Cultural Centre and the Qatar National Museum and Aquarium are located fairly close is the Souk Waqif. The Souk Waqif is definitely a tourist attractions, but it really is great and all sorts of things can be purchased here, as well as a great place to find a restaurant or coffee bar. The pearl quarter is also worth a visit. Traditionally a pearl deal, now more freshwater pears are sold.

Similar to Dubai that is a lot of construction and renovation going on, so you never know what open and available from month to month.

Whilst I didn't have any bad experiences traveling on my own, I still felt a little uncomfortable in the city exploring and not sure whether I would visit again.

Favourite spots:
Souk Waqif
Souk Waqif
For me the best thing about being in Doha was the shopping. They are reportedly renowned for the gold and pearls, and it was my mission to get a keepsake.

Souk Waqif (translates as standing market) was recently torn down and replaced with a wonderful traditional styled buildings, and I find it looks quite authentic. It has many restaurants and shops mainly for tourist and this has made it one of the most visited places in Doha.

But this is quite a unique market in my view, as they sell camels, birds (inc Falcons), kittens, puppies plus a host of other things. I would say set aside half a day to explore the various markets, in the heat of the day its best to walk inside the labyrinth where it is cooler, but then return early evening for dinner.

What's really great:
Doha travelogue picture
The Arabian Sanctuary (Al Maha Sanctuary) is home to the Arabian Oryx. I’ve seen the African Oryx and I was amazed to learn of the Arabian ones. The oryx is a majestic desert deer and is deemed as the symbol of Qatar and can be seen on the national carrier – Qatar Airways emblem. Whilst they are endangered, it was nice that they are protected.

There is a lot of renovation and construction around the city as it gears up for the World Cup 2022, but there are other sporting events to enjoyed including the WTA/ATP tennis tournaments. But for something different in this heat was to enjoy some ice-skating.

My favourite thing sand boarding and sand sledging, if not a little exhausting.

From 9am to 12am Thursday/Friday (for just QR20) its great to try gondola ride, inside the Italian inspired Villaggio Mall. The list is endless of what you can do in Doha.

Finally for me choose a great hotel and enjoy the facilities, as you just can't rush around in this heat.

The Royal Riviera, Corniche
The Royal Riviera, Corniche
I stayed in the Royal Riviera Hotel, which sounds like it should be in France instead of being in Qatar, but it was a pleasant hotel located in the Corniche (a business district) and only a five minute walk to the Arabian Gulf and the Museum of Islamic Art. Deemed as a five star hotel, it has free Wi-Fi, a gym and a rooftop swimming pool with a sundeck and restaurant. The location is only 5 minutes from the International Airport - well Terminal B and a 10-minute drive from Souq Waqif.

I really enjoyed being in the restaurant and enjoying the views from the vantage point. I would definitely stay there again.

Other recommendations:
Changing of the guards
Changing of the guards
I visited Doha en-route from Seoul South Korea, so whilst not regional, it is a great location to explore.

There are many places of interest dotted around the city and a lot of them you can enjoy from the road, but for others you need to spend some money and go inside. I have to say, that generally I found the entrance fees quiet reasonable although once or twice after paying the entrance fee I had to pay another fee inside to see additional area. Some of the things I did in Seoul which were brilliant:

Wander around Gyeongbok Palace;Explore Changgyeonggunggung Palace;Go back in time to see a traditional Korean village - Bukchon Hanok Village; Check out the view from Seoul Tower; Stroll along the Cheonggyecheon Stream; Visit modern culture and see the blue house – the home of the president is open to the public; Olympic Park – sight of the 1988 Olympics; And definitely enjoy Korean Bulgogi – aka Korean Barbecue.

Published on Sunday December 20th, 2015

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Sun, Mar 06 2016 - 12:52 PM rating by eirekay

Wonderful report! I would never have considered going but now it's on my list!

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