Flying Qatar Airways from Los Angeles to South Africa, thought it might be a good idea to do a stopover in Doha, just to chill after the 14 hour flight… and a good way to see a bit more of the Gulf Region. So I arranged a stopover of 3 nights for 2 full days in Doha. Thought it would help shaking any Jet Lag before going on my mini safari.
I am glad I did, but only 1 full day is more than enough time to spend in Doha, unless you have other business. And the absolute jewel of Doha is the MUSEUM OF ISLAMIC ART. It is THE reason to spend a day in Doha if nothing else. Designed by I.M. Pei, it is a stunning building. And the exhibitions are the best of Islamic Art. I generally “do” museums rather quickly, but I spent several hours here because of the quality and unique nature of some of the works.
Also housed on the top floor for the Museum, IDAM by Damien Leroux. One of the finer European restaurants in Doha. Enjoy the Museum and have a fabulous set lunch… but make sure to dress well, this is fine dining, and they won’t let you in if you appear a bit iffy.
Close by is the SOUQ WAQIF… a short walk for those who can brave 40c heat. Recently refurbished, so not a truly authentic Souq, but very large and a good adventure. And the Gold Souk has air-conditioning, and the nearby galleries are quite pleasant. Easy to spend several hours wandering the various shops.
I found restaurants more miss than hit in Doha, the hotel food at the W was surprisingly better. Orient Pearl almost went out of their way to make for an awkward meal. My journey up to the Pearl-Qatar was very disappointing… to be fair it was still under a great deal of construction, but feels like a huge Las Vegas style Shopping Mall surrounded by mega apartment complexes. I oddly felt I was in the show The Prisoner, and expected a big bouncy ball to come along and thwart my ability to escape, trapped, forever to wander the Pearl.
With all the construction, I was unable to get to the Katara Art Center, so I have no idea if this was worthwhile or not. There was much construction making travel most unbearable in the northern section of Doha. Shopping at the Lagoona Mall and City Center was also merely a time filling event, useful if looking for everyday things, nothing much special was to be found. Perhaps a trip out to the Banana Island Resort for lunch could have been fun… but I was to hot and exhausted to do anymore sightseeing. Day 2 was finally done, tomorrow off to beautiful Johannesburg (ick).
I do hope to have the chance to return and visit the MUSEUM OF ISLAMIC ART again, it is well worth the time and effort. But one day is all you need for a stopover in Doha.
For those flying in on Qatar Airways, they have several offers for having a full 2-night stay to a simple tour of the basic sites of Doha.
Uber is quite easy to use, and you get to speak with the working locals.
WHEN LAST VISITED: October 2016
HOTELS STAYED: W Doha
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