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The Indian Experience - Doha

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After looking at options when booking my trip to India, it appeared the best route was to fly Qatar Airways via Doha. Never missing an opportunity for a bit of extra exploration of a new country, I decided it would be worthwhile also exploring the Qatari capital, and after a bit of research I found that staying an extra night in Doha would not be too difficult, and enough to get a feel for the city and country.

Having previously visited Dubai I had a lot of expectations of what it would be like (not all of them so great), but I was actually pleasantly surprised. I found that Qatar was a much friendlier, cheaper place to visit. Although not quite as developed as Dubai (no metro yet, for instance), it's much smaller size meant it wasn't such a problem as it was easily walkable.

After an eight hour flight from Heathrow, and witnessing the smell of curry breakfast (something to look forward for the next week!) and views of snowy Anatolia, I eventually arrived in Doha at sunset - and after getting diverted directly into departures, and having to go the wrong way back through security, I eventually made it through immigration, where all my Israeli stamps were nicely stamped over, and into arrivals, where I was picked up by my hotel.

Souq Waqif

Souq Waqif

After checking in at the hotel, I then had the rest of the evening to explore the capital, and made my way first through Souq Waqif, which I would return to later, towards the Museum of Islamic Art.

Inside the Museum of Islamic Art

Inside the Museum of Islamic Art

The museum was only opened seven years ago, and is beautifully built in Islamic style, as well as having free entry. Although the collection inside has pieces of art from across the Islamic region, without focussing very much on Qatar itself, it is still a must see attraction for its architectural beauty as well as its location overlooking the Corniche and with views of the skyscrapers across the bay in the newer areas of the city.

The Corniche and the MIA

The Corniche and the MIA

Heading back out along the Corniche I made by way to the Clock Tower and the Emiri Diwan Parliament building before heading back into the Souq. Having visited the souqs in Dubai, as well as Tangier before I felt ready to be hassled just by looking at anything. However I was pleasantly surprised. Instead I was able to browse even in non-busy shops at my own pleasure. And with fixed prices that were not already heavily inflated I didn't even need to bother with the hassle of bartering! A truly pleasant experience.

Deep inside the Souq

Deep inside the Souq

After exploring the winding back streets of the souq, and taking some pictures in the night time light I made my way to the final place, the sword arch monument, just south of my hotel.

Sword Monument

Sword Monument

Although construction in Qatar never stops, with building works next to my hotel in the centre of the city never ceasing to end, it didn't prevent me from getting a good nights sleep, and the following morning I awoke for breakfast in my hotel, before making my way to the bus station, where the pleasant Qataris once again surprised me, and eventually the airport for my onward flight to Kathmandu in Nepal.

Bazaar inside the Airport

Bazaar inside the Airport

The recently built Hamad Airport was also a pleasant experience. Plenty of shops, including a WHSmith, as well as plenty of seating and free WiFi. Something to look forward when I returned to transfer in a week's time.

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Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Qatar Tagged art market airport islam souq indianexperience Comments (0)

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