Doha in a day. What to do in Doha during a stopover.

Doha in a day

Following the generous offer of Qatar Airways, letting travelers, connecting in Doha spend a night there for free, you might be wondering what the capital of Qatar has to offer and what to do in Doha in 24 hours.

I have had a chance to enjoy the stay over in Qatar and here is my version of a Doha in a day guide. Originally posted in 2017, last updated in March 2018. Enjoy!

Museum of Islamic Art (MIA)

MIA is arguably a top attraction in Doha. I am not a huge fan of museums, but this one has really interesting objects on display and runs temporary exhibitions on specific topics from time to time.

Museum of Islamic Art in Doha

You’d find beautiful objects from carpets to scientific instruments gathered all over the Islamic world. On top of that, the building itself is beautiful from both outside and inside, featuring nice view over the Gulf from the Museum’s cafe.

Qatar’s hot weather (during July, when I visited, temperature soared to over 40 degrees Celsius / 104 Fahrenheit!) makes this museum perfect for a visit during a daytime. As of July 2017 the entrance is free.

Location: Google Maps

Souq Waqif Old Quarter

Souq Waqif can be considered as Doha’s city center. It appears old, but was actually renovated in 2008. Nevertheless, it looks cool and is a very pleasant place to walk around, have a meal at one of the restaurants and enjoy the market. The section with birds is particularly interesting.

Souq Waqif

Location: Google Maps

Have a Karak tea / hookah / shwarma

Karak tea (Karak chai) is the integral part of Qatar’s culture. It is a sweat kind of tea with milk, served hot. You should definitely try one while you’re in Doha. A good place to do it and also enjoy hookah is Asherg cafe, located right at Souq Waqif. It is a cheap place by local standards, but they are good.

When you get hungry and ready to have a snack, shwarma is not a bad choice. I’ve had one at Yamal Al Sham. It wasn’t bad at all.

Majlis Al Dama Board Game Club

I have discovered this place quite spontaneously. While walking around Souq Waqif I have noticed a building, where I could see a dozen of men playing some kind of board game. I have walked up to the window to see what kind of game they play and we got invited inside by a friendly gentlemen, Mr. Khalid.

Doha Dama Club

Mr. Khalid explained us the rules of this traditional game called Dama and offered to try and play it. We have done a trial game and were invited for a small tour of the club afterwards. He has also told us a lot about history of Qatar, how divers have gathered pearls back in time and how the traditional boats were made. Very interesting!

This is not a tourist attraction, but a local club where men gather to play this game. Please be considerable and not intrusive. If you get invited, enjoy!

Location: Spice Souq, Souq Waqif

Katara cultural village

Katara was opened in 2010 and hosts a few museums, offices and restaurants resembling traditional architecture. It is a bit away from Souq Waqif and MIA, but might be worth a visit if you have time and desire. There is also a nice beach at Katara, so you might enjoy a swim as well.

Katara Cultural Village

Location: Google Maps

Shopping in Doha

Doha has a few shopping malls with variety of stores and also a cinema, so it could also be an option for some time spent, especially during hot daylight hours.

Doha Festival City Mall

We have visited the Doha Festival City Mall. Apparently, it is adjacent to IKEA, where you could try some Shawarma. Quite unexpected :).

Getting around Doha

We’ve found Uber quite convenient for getting around. The cars are sometimes weird. Drivers try to preserve them in original state as much as possible. This is getting ridiculous to the point of them leaving the plastic covers and factory stickers on.

Uber car in Doha :)

We’ve managed to survive the stopover in Doha without a local SIM card, using wifi from various establishments. It was not always convenient, but doable for Uber. I’d also recommend you to save for offline use a map of Doha on Google Maps.

Have you been to Doha? What is your experience and places worth visiting?

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