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Know Before You Go
- If you're travelling to Doha during Ramadan, you won't be able to eat or drink in public. Most restaurants are closed during the day as well, so do some shopping beforehand to make sure you have food if you're staying in self-catering accommodation.
- Make sure you pack your strongest sunscreen. The temperatures in summer can easily reach 50°C and only cool down to 40°C at night. It's also advised to stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day and to do your sightseeing in the mornings and late afternoons.
- Stay hydrated. With such high temperatures throughout the year, you need to make sure you are drinking enough fluids. Keep a water bottle in your bag at all times, and fill up with tap water to save money.
- Alcohol is strictly regulated in Qatar; you won't be allowed to bring any into or out the country. There are a few hotels that serve drinks, but it is expensive and will put a dent into your holiday budget.
- The official language in Qatar is Arabic, but many people speak English. Most signs around Doha also have English translations, and anyone working in the service industry will be able to assist you.
Getting Around Doha
- One of the best ways to get around Qatar is with a car. To rent one, you'll need an International Driver's License, and there are several rental agencies to choose from. Navigating the streets is also easy for tourists as most signs are in English and Arabic.
- Regarding public transport, there is a bus network that runs through Doha and neighbouring cities. The buses are air conditioned and cost QAR 4 for a trip within Doha. But you will need to buy a Faresaver card for QAR 30 to use this service.
- Taxis are available in the city but aren't easy to find. The demand for rides far exceeds the supply and wait times can be as long as 90 minutes. The meter starts at QAR 4 going up by either QAR 1.20 or QAR 1.80 depending on the time of day.
- If you aren't in the city for long and want to see as much as possible join the hop off hop on bus tour. The tour has an audio guide in seven different languages, goes to over 14 attractions around the city and costs QAR 180 for a day pass.
When is The Best Time to Visit Doha?
The best time to visit Doha is during its winter months. From November to April, temperatures drop to an average of 24°C making it a more pleasant time of year for outdoor activities. But the great weather conditions also mean this is when the city experiences its tourism boom. Expect prices for flights, hotels and tours to be at their highest during this period.
Doha's long summer months are its low season. From May to September, temperatures reach an average of 45°C during the day, making sightseeing uncomfortable for most tourists. But if you brave the heat, keep hydrated and wear enough sunscreen it's the cheapest time of year to visit. You'll find better deals on hotel rooms and flights to the city will also be cheaper than the popular winter months.
It's also wise to plan your holiday around the Holy Month of Ramadan or to visit just as it ends. With most restaurants closed during this period and not being able to drink in public with such high temperatures, it's not the best time for sightseeing.
Airports in Doha
Hamad International Airport
Hamad is the international airport for the city of Doha. It's the first Middle East airport to earn the acclaimed 5-Star Airport rating by Skytrax and the sixth in the world. The airport is a hub for regional carrier Qatar Airways, and it serves flights to destinations all around the world.
Getting To and From Hamad International Airport
The cheapest way to get from the airport to the city is on the bus. The buses run every 20 minutes from around 4:00 a.m. to midnight depending on their route. Prices vary and cost between QAR 2.50 to QAR 5 one way.
Taxis are available 24 hours a day from the airport. Head to the Taxi Pavilion at the end of the Arrivals hall to find the waiting fleet. The base fare at the airport starts at QAR 25 and goes up by QAR 1.20 until 9:00 p.m, it then increases to QAR 1.80 until 5:00 a.m. You can only pay the taxi driver in cash, so make sure you have enough money on you before starting the journey.
For those that want to have more independence while in Doha, you can rent a car from the airport. There are a number of service providers with a range of regular sedans to luxury high-end vehicles.