Thursday, September 3, 2009

Doha - Half-Day City Tour

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During my tour to Italy with my wife and her colleagues, we transited at Doha (capital and largest city of Qatar) while waiting for the next flight. Our tour guide engaged a local city tour of Doha. Doha does offer tour packages that allow tourists to experience Doha’s sight-seeing while waiting for the next flight during transit.


The moment I came out from the airport, I could see many luxurious cars on this oil-rich country. Since it was still early (7am++), there were not many cars around even in the city; I guess those rich locals don’t wake up so early.


After had our breakfast at the Kebab King restaurant, we headed to the camel market at Abu Hamour.


The market area can accommodate hundreds of camels of different breeds that are offered for sale. There were shelters and the people there who look after the animals and deal with the customers. I checked with our tour guide on the price of the camel. It was ranging from USD1000 – 2000. These kinds of camels are used for food consumption. While a fast racing camel would cost easily around USD500,000 and above. I got a shocked hearing this.



Hey camels, you been sold!!!


Before I covered with the camel scent, I left the market and stopped at Khalifa International Stadium, which is a multi-purpose stadium in Doha. It was the main venue for the Doha 2006 Asian Games.


Next to the stadium is the Aspire Tower which housed the Asian Games flame. It holds the record for tallest ever games flame and highest positioning of a games flame, which was visible throughout Doha for the duration of the games. Simply amazing!!!


On the journey heading to the city center in Doha Corniche, there were numerous highrise buildings under construction. Doha is now a more expensive city than Dubai in terms of real estate prices. Doha Corniche is a seven kilometre [4.4 miles] long, palm-fringed promenade and dual carriagway, which extends in a horseshoe shape around Doha Bay and the city's sea-front. It is lined with luxury hotels, clubs and apartments; various fine, important government buildings; lovely open, manicured parks with family facilities and public buildings such as museums and a library.




Our next destination will be heading to huge mall called City Center Mall and it’s the largest mall in Doha. Besides 350 shopping outlets, it also have Carrefour, two ice-skating rinks one of which is exclusively for women, 14-screen multiplex cinema, number of caf├ęs and restaurants in addition to two huge food courts, and a famous water park. City Center Mall, Doha also has a large entertainment centre as well as two 10-pin bowling centers.




Busy shoppers at the Carrefour


Feeling bored at the shopping mall as most of the items sold here were branded and expensive and I do not have any Riyals currency, haha…not sure if this is a good excuse to prevent my wife from shopping. It’s a common sight to see the locals at the mall with their branded handbag like LV, BV, Gucci, Coach and etc, to name a few. We rushed our tour guide to the last destination on our itinerary, south side of the Doha Bay. Here we could see the Doha’s skyline.


The building on the right is the Museum of Islamic Art.


One of the wooden boats docked at the bay.


After spending about 10 minutes here under the hot spanking sun, we quickly went into the air-condition bus to cool ourselves. The temperature outside was like almost 40 degree Celcius. On the way back to the airport, I saw this Pearl monument near the Doha Corniche. After doing some researches, I found out that in the early 20th century, much of Qatar's economy depended on fishing and pearling, and Doha had about 350 pearling boats. However, after the introduction of the Japanese cultured pearls in the 1930s, Doha suffered a major depression and Qatar became a poor country, plunged into poverty. I guess this is a memorable monument for the Doha-ian.


Goodbye Doha and we are boarding the plane to Italy!!!

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  3. Never been in Qatar! Doha seems to be progressive city!

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  4. Andy- Where did you book this tour?

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  5. My home country tour guide arrange for half day tour in Doha.

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  6. andy, is it possible to do doha sightseeing tour upon arrival without early booking? i'm traveling alone and will have 8 hours transit time at doha airport. and do i need to have a visa for that?

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  7. You may need to check with the airport few weeks earlier on the requirement for in-transit tour and how to go about the visa application for last minute tourist.

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  8. Doha is the heart of Qatar, with most of the population living in the city. The beautiful city is filled with plenty of things to do, whether its shopping, clubbing, relaxing, dining, or whatever other activities come to mind.

    The Doha Fort is the place where you can witness traditional paintings and other artworks of Qatar. The Palm Tree Island is the most serene and heavenly tourist attraction in Doha. Full of sandy beaches, the region has rides, shops, restaurants and everything else needed for unlimited fun in Doha.

    Some other popular tourist attractions in Doha are Entertainment City, Doha Zoo, Al-Rumaila Park and the Dahl El-Hamam Public Park.


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  15. simply beautiful pictures. the water looks beautiful, nice and blue.

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  16. What in the world is up with the camels. That cannot be comfy for them!

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  17. I love this post Andy, great pics. I love to put up similar photo's on The First Years Jet Stroller site, but nothing as good as these.

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  18. It's great to see a blog of this quality. I learned a lot of new things and I'm looking forward to see more like this. Thank you.

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  19. Thanks for the information about Doha. I had not thought of Doha as a vacation spot but the blog made me consider planning a trip to Qatar. thanks

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  20. Andy - nice segue from Italy to Qatar. Great travelogue - highlights the top attractions of Doha in a concise, appealing manner. Great blog. new movie rentals, online movie tickets, and movie rentals.

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  21. Looks like you had a lot of fun in Doha, I hope those camels are being treated fairly. I hear you can buy silver coins that celebrate the 2006 Doha games.

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    Thanks to you, Andy.

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