From Dawn to Late Night in Doha and Its Surroundings
Qatar was not our initial destination, but I love to book flights through places that I can knowingly take advantage of a free stopover. Flying Qatar Air through Doha gave me just that perfect possibility. When planning a stopover, it is necessary to narrow down how long we would need to do the things we wanted to do. Just like Brunei, we figure one full day would just about do it, but with flight times and a chance to take night photos, we stayed two nights and one full day. It was perfect!
We arrived at about 10:30 pm, pretty late at night for us. Enough time to pick up the rental car and head to the hotel and go right to sleep so that we could head out bright and early. Everything went rather well, until we hit the downtown area where we were unprepared for the amount of construction going on in the area that our hotel was located, and even using a GPS we had a bit of a difficult time getting there. We did get there, though, and fell right into bed.
It was imperative to get to the one and only UNESCO World Heritage site in Qatar, Al Zubarah, and since it was about an hour out of Doha. We decided to go there first so we wouldn’t be rushed, and then we could take our time doing the other sites around the city.
We love to stop along the road, and really take our time in a place. On the way to Al Zubarah, not only did we get to stop and buy some gigantic and delicious pomegranates, but we also got to see a group of Arabian gazelles and oryx. The desert is a harsh climate, and I’m pretty sure they were either owned or at least protected by the owner the land, but it was still interesting to view them. There must have been some recent rain because we also saw lots of people out picking some kind of plants along the road to take home as well.
Qatar is one of the places in the Middle East that holds camel races. The races are held late on Saturday afternoon. We were there on a Saturday, but really didn’t have the time to go to the actual races. Instead we were lucky enough to see the teams walking their camels on or around the track. Many of them had team colors, and it was a fascinating sight.
Back in Doha, we drove downtown on the way to the Corniche. We saw vendors, like this shoestring guy, and some beautiful architecture, like the building below.
The Corniche is a walking path where you can see the entire skyline of the modern part of Doha. It also is where the boats dock that will take you around the bay, and it’s a great place to park if you are on your way to the Museum of Islamic Art as well.
The boats are very distinctive and some have gorgeous carvings on the stern.
My absolute favorite part of the visit was to the Museum of Islamic Art, and one thing we loved about it was the hours. We were there in the late afternoon to early evening, and we were able to witness the Doha skyline go from day to night.
The sunset over the bay was beautiful, and we enjoyed a nice walk down from the museum while the last orange-y slivers of day faded into the desert.
At long last, we took a much needed break and headed down to the Souq Waqif where we found a great dinner of lamb, pilav, grapeleaves, and mezzes, chased down with tea. We’d only been in Doha for 24 hours, but boy did we pack a lot in.
Have you ever been to Qatar?