20 March 2019

A Stopover in Qatar: Views of Doha

Thirteen years ago, I set foot in Europe for the first time. At that time I didn't know I would end up living there. And given I was from the Philippines, my foreign outlook was very much oriented toward North America: back in 2005, I have already spent some years living in North America, and in fact, I was scheduled to move to the USA later that year. My visit to Europe was just a short vacation before my upcoming move. And somewhere in this vacation to Europe, I somehow got the chance to visit Qatar for the first time. Though frankly speaking, I didn't do anything there.

See, we were booked on Qatar Airways. The flight connection time used to be very ideal, but for some reason they changed their schedules, resulting in a long layover for us. So our flight from Manila arrived at mid-morning, but our connecting flight to Vienna wasn't leaving until sometime past midnight. So the airline gave us hotel rooms to spend some hours and take a nap. After exiting the old Doha Airport, we were put on a hotel shuttle and I remember just sleeping. Then I also remember eating a very good buffet. That's it. Nothing much.

So this time, on my way from Europe to Asia, I opted to do an extended lay-over in Qatar. So I left Berlin Friday night, arriving in Doha Saturday morning. I had one night booked in a hotel. And my flight to Hanoi wasn't departing until Sunday evening. So I had quite some time to explore this small city.

I did some sight-seeing, but since it's a small country, there aren't much to do. I did visit some museums, I walked the Corniche, I saw old fashioned boats, and I saw the fantastic skyline which is across the bay. I also saw this giant Pearl Monument, which is a nod to the old industry that this region is famous for: pearl diving. Nowadays however Doha is this modern city, though if you scratch the surface, then you'll see that it still has quite traditional values.

Oh, I also saw family. That was rather fun!


  1. The skyline is freaky!

    I'd love to see what it looks like for a day or two, so the stop-over option is a very smart one. I have absolutely no interest in visiting this part of the world any longer (wow, sounds harsh! But it's mostly because of the obsession for shiny stuff and money, not Arabic culture, which i'd love to explore)

    1. Zhu,

      I can echo the obsession for shiny stuff part. One thing I didn't like is the fact that this glitzy glamour is actually due to the efforts of plenty of guest workers who are here, building these skyscrapers for a very low wage, only because they have no work at home and they need to send money back to their families. And unfortunately, these guest workers are treated more as second class citizens, almost like slaves.