Back in December, returning home from Myanmar I had the opportunity to experience Doha for a day, thanks to the “Transit Accommodation” program from Qatar Airways. Basically, if your transit time in Doha is between 8 and 24 hours, the airline will provide a transit visa and accommodation included with your ticket. The level of service from Qatar Airways is simply outstanding, and they now offer direct flights to Doha from Miami, which makes them a great alternative for traveling to the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Qatar is the richest country in the world; its oil and natural gas reserves have fueled a high-income economy. Just a few hours in Doha were enough to witness the ongoing transformation and billions being invested in infrastructure. There is construction going on everywhere; the buildings and skyline are truly amazing and you can feel the efforts being made to promote tourism as well. Qatar will also be the first Arab country to host a FIFA World Cup, coming up in 2022.
I’ll tell you more, but the bottom line is that Doha captivated me. I want to see and experience more of Doha and Qatar in a future trip. The accommodation provided was the Concorde Hotel, a wonderful place close to the main sights and attractions. From there I wandered throughout the city.
First I walked a few blocks along Banks Street until I reached the famous Al Corniche street and its seaside promenade. I spent most of the afternoon there, where the promenade overlooks the Doha Bay and the skyline views are breathaking. Dozens of modern skyscrapers with more under construction are what I spotted in front of the Corniche with its very long walkway, and to my right, traditional dhow boats along the water. I kept going towards the West Bay slowly and enjoying the breeze of the Persian Gulf, occasionally stopping and taking photos. The West Bay is one of most prominent districts; this is the section where the tallest and most modern skyscrapers are found.
As the sun started to go down and warmly glow all over the Corniche, I saw more and more people walking down, jogging, and biking; a diverse crowd seems to be attracted to the area. This is no doubt a popular location not only for Qataris but also expats that call Doha home.
On the way back to the hotel I came across another landmark, the Souq Waqif. This is an open market, bazaar-like, with endless alleys and passages that made feel like I was in a movie set. Bustling with people all around, the place is sort of magical and mysterious at the same time. The market dates back at least a hundred years, but the original was demolished and rebuilt just a few years ago in traditional Arab architectural styles. Imagine a place where you can shop for spices, traditional garments and handicrafts, and enjoy a tea or meal in one of the many restaurants. This is wonderful place to explore; unfortunately, it was a long day for me and the jet lag started to kick in. I didn’t stay as long as I wanted, but I am sure next time in Doha I’ll be having tea and watching the world pass by in this souq.
All the photos were shot with the Fuji X-E 2 and the 18-55 lens kit.
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