DohaNovember 13, 2014 in Qatar
Overview of the Doha City Tour:
If you have a long transit at Hamad International Airport, you can go on the Doha City Tour for free, no Visa needed. Details can be found on the official website http://www.qatarairways.com/global/en/offers/doha-city-tour.page
When we touched down at HIA, the first thing we did was head to the registration counter for the city tour as we were afraid there would be many people and insufficient vacancies. Turns out that our group only consisted of a very small handful of people - Ivy and I, a solo Korean tourist, and a couple from Nigeria with their 2 children. We registered our details with the counter staff and were told to come back in a couple of hours time.
When we came back, we had to fill up a document for the tour, which we had to hand over when we leave the airport for the tour. The usual checking of bags and passports had to be done at the customs before leaving the airport.
Our tour guide was a Nepalese, and he was nice and appeared knowledgeable, and was able to answer most of the questions asked by an (annoyingly) inquisitive couple. However, said couple had an early flight to catch and as a result the usually 3-hour tour was cut short and the Museum of Islamic Art was dropped from our itinerary.
An air-conditioned shuttle bus brought us around, and we received a complimentary bottle of mineral water each. On the bus, the tour guide shared with us some trivia about Qatar. I forgot most of it (oops) but I remembered him saying that Qatar was a very young country that is trying to modernise as quickly as possible and turn itself into a city state. That would explain the skyscrapers and construction works that were everywhere.
Ivy managed to get a couple of decent photos of some of their buildings from the moving bus.
At the end of the tour, the bus brought us back to the airport. The tour guide didn't ask for tips, but I really wished we could tip him. Although the tour was very rushed, I think he did his best. However, we didn't have any sort of currency in small enough denominations, so we shuffled away guiltily. Thank goodness the inquisitive couple tipped him; he deserved it most from them as they had been obnoxious throughout the whole tour, even asking him about his base salary which wasn't much. (Ivy and I went uh-oh when he said tips were important to supplement his income) If you go on this tour, remember that tipping is not compulsory, but nice to do so, and carry some spare change on you.Read more