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Posted On: 14 October 2019 09:30 am
Updated On: 16 February 2020 11:37 am

Adventure activities to try in Qatar on a 48 hour layover

Sumaica Asad
Sumaica Asad
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“What I love most about this crazy life is the adventure of it.” -Juliette Binoche

Qatar offers a lot of exciting activities. You can tick some of these thrilling adventures off your bucket list on your layover in Doha.

After the Ottomans left this area in 1915, Qatar became a British protectorate, going on to gain independence on 3 September 1971. In 1995, H.H. Hamad bin Khalifa took over and the country progressed rapidly under his guidance, going on to host international events, opening Ivy League universities, winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup and attracting thousands of expats to this tiny state. In 2013, H.H. Hamad bin Khalifa stepped down, giving reign to his son, the current Amir, H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad.

This country might be tiny in size but it makes up in the kindness of its people, the tolerant attitude of the society and great opportunities for everyone. So keep reading to find out how you can glimpse that hospitality while doing something exciting.

Disclaimer: This layover plan is based on an arrival time of 9 am (Qatar standard time). If your arrival time is different, you may consider rearranging the order of the places to visit depending on the opening hours of each location.

Some of these activities are seasonal. All the related information is mentioned below. However, it is best to get in touch with tour operators beforehand and confirm everything while planning your trip. Also note that transportation is provided for most of these tours, by the tour operator at an additional cost.

Transportation in Qatar

Hamad International Airport (HIA) offers you a wide variety of transport options, including car rental, limousine, taxi, bus and metro services.

Hiring a taxi: All airport taxis are operated by Mowasalat; a Qatari state-owned company. You can board a taxi at the Taxi Pavilion located at the left end of the Arrivals hall. All taxis are metered and the minimum flag down fare at the airport starts at QR 25 (USD 7) and QR 1.20 per kilometre between 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM and QR 1.80 per KM between 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM.

Bus service: Doha’s bus network connects Hamad International Airport to various destinations across the city, offering a convenient transport option. You can buy or top-up the Smartcard at ticket vending machines located at Arrivals, Ground Floor, Bus Pavilion at Hamad International Airport. The machine only accepts Cash – Qatari Riyal (QR) 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 currency notes. Since it does not have a refund feature, you are advised to pay using the exact amount. There are three types of Karwa Smartcards to choose from:

- Classic Card: QR 30 (USD 8): rechargeable card for long term / future journeys.
- Limited Card: QR 10 Card (USD 3): two inner-city trips within a 24 hour period
- Unlimited Card: QR 20 Card (USD 5): unlimited trips across Qatar within a 24 hour period

Doha Metro: The Doha Metro is fully functional with all stations now open with HIA being accessible to Qatar residents and visitors through Doha Metro’s Red Line. A single journey costs QR 2 for Standard cardholders (including Family Class), while a day pass costs QR 6. A single journey costs QR 10 for Gold Club members, while a day pass costs QR 30. You can top up you reusable cards with Travel Credit, which can be purchased at ticket vending machines in all Doha Metro stations. There is also a free MetroLink service to different locations from all Doha Metro stations.

Please ensure you are carrying enough Qatari Riyals to pay for your trip as taxis and buses only accept cash payments in local currency. ATMs are located in proximity to the taxi pavilion for your convenience.

Day 1

1.Option #A. Camel Race


Camel racing is a part of Qatari tradition; started as a form of entertainment on weddings. Now it’s a sport enjoyed at a professional level attracting tourists from all over the region. The racing season starts in October and ends in February; the final race is called H.H. the Emir’s Main Race. Qatar uses Robot jockeys to control the camels after banning kid jockeys in 2004. These camel races use female camels as they are gentle and easier to control. It’s a huge multi-million industry that attracts people from all over the world.

Details

Location: Al Shahaniya Camel Race Track
Tour duration:
4 to 6 hrs
Time:
seasonal, January till April, check with the tour operator in advance
Phone: +974 5576 8688
Tour Cost:
QR 250/USD 68.5 per person approx
More info:
Camel Race Track Tour

Option #B. Skydiving


What’s not to love about jumping from a plane? Hello, adrenaline rush! Skydiving is a bucket list adventure. One that you can tick off here in Doha. For newbies, there is something called tandem jump where you are strapped to an instructor and thrown out of a plane. But if you are a seasonal jumper, you can book solo jumps. All the equipment can be rented from them as well.

Details

Location: Exit 44, Um ul Shukhot
Distance:
70 km, 1 hour
Tour duration: 2 to 3 hours
Time: seasonal, October-May
Tel:
+974 4032 9173
Cost:
starts from QR 1150/USD 316 for Tandem jump
More info:
https://www.skydiveqatar.com/

Option #C. Kite Surfing


Kite surfing is an action sport in which the surfer harnesses the power of the wind with a large controllable power kite to be propelled across the water. It combines aspects of other sports like Wakeboarding, Sailing, Surfing, Snowboarding and Parasailing. Even if you have never kite surfed before, you can take a beginner three-hour class here in Doha. Water sports are one of the best ways to cool down in the scorching summer heat and do something fun.

Details

Location: Fuwairat, Zakhira, Sumaisimah, Al Wakrah
Time:
Varies depending on weather
Tour duration: 2 hours
Phone:
+974 3315 5628
Total Cost:
varies, QR 550 for 2 hours
More info:
Aqua Sports

2. Half-Day Desert Safari at In Land


You cannot come to the desert and leave without experiencing the Inland Sea. Golden brown sand stretched as far as your eyes can go with the ocean on one side. There are various tours available, from a half-day one to a full day option as well.

You will be taken to the desert and before the car enters the dunes, they will let out the air of tires. Then the dune bashing will begin; one hour of holding onto the handlebars above your head for dear life, hoping you make it out in one piece. Camps are set up in the desert for you to rest after dune bashing. You can also ride camels and take a dip in the sea before heading back.

Details

Location: In Land Sea
Distance:
50 km, 40 min
Tour duration:
6 to 8 hrs
Time:
all year round depending on the tour operator
Tel:
+974 3339 3323, +974 7745 1196 (Whatsapp for further info)
Tour cost:
starts from QR 170/USD 46.6 per person
Tour Operator:
Qatar Inbound Tours, Arabian Adventures

3. Camping in the desert


Have you ever camped in the desert? Think vast stretch of sand, beautiful starlit skies, good food and a relaxed, chill atmosphere. If you have 24 hr layover in Doha, desert camping is perfect. Doha is a desert. Sometimes it’s good to embrace that and see the beauty of it while ignoring the sand in socks, hair and everywhere else. There are multiple tour operators that offer desert camping in Doha, which includes dune bashing, a tour of in land sea, dinner and breakfast.

Details
Location:
In Land
Tour duration:
12-16 hrs, overnight
Time:
all year round
Tel:
+974 3339 3323
Cost: starts from QR 616/USD 169, includes Dune Bashing, Camel Ride, In Land Sea tour, overnight camp stay, dinner and breakfast
More info:
365 Adventures, Discover Arabia

Day 2

1. Option #A. Go Kayaking in Purple Island


Things to do in Qatar
Image credit: Discover Arabia

You don’t expect to arrive in a desert and be greeted with lush greenery. The outskirts of Al Khor, a coastal town, is covered with Mangroves.

Purple Island is located in the North of Doha, in Al Khor. Almost 3400 years ago, the island was home to a species of sea snail that produces a rare purple dye; used by select members of the society. And that’s how the island got its name. Kayaking in the cool waters surrounded by trees is something you don’t want to miss.

Details

Location: Purple Island, Al Thakhira
Time:
all year round depending on the tour operator
Tel:
+974 6696 3494 (Whatsapp for further info)
Tour Duration:
4 to 6 hours
Tour cost:
starts from QR 200/USD 54.7 per person approx
Tour operators:
Aqua Sports
More info:
Aqua Sports

Option #B. Quad Biking at Mesaieed


Things to do in Qatar

Quad biking should be a national sport. Trust me, driving up and down the dune is amazing. Be prepared for the sand to get in your socks, pockets and everywhere else. If there is one thing you will take away from Doha, it’s sand. And good memories of course. Try to book a tour around sunset so you can catch the sun going down in the desert; a mesmerising view you will not forget.

Details

Location: Mesaieed
Distance from Hamad International Airport:
50 km, 40 min
Tour Duration:
3 to 4 hrs
Time:
all year round
Tel:
+974 5576 8688
Tour cost:
QR 200/USD 54.7 per person approx
Tour operator:
Sandline Dunes Qatar

2. Katara Water Sports

Katara is a cultural village home to arts, theatre, music, conventions and exhibitions as well as restaurants, a beach and water sports. It is a leader in multicultural activities, bringing people together from all nationalities.

Do try parasailing. You are taken out in the sea on a boat, strapped to a huge balloon with a Mickey Mouse face and thrown into the air. They also offer other activities such as banana boat riding, Jet Skiing, Kayaking etc.

Details

Location: Katara Water Sports
Distance from Hamad International Airport:
23 km, 28 min
Time: 9 am-5 pm, Sun-Sat
Tel:
+974 4408 1985
Cost:
varies, from QR 50-400/USD 14-110

Restaurant Recommendations in Katara

Sukar Pasha

Location: Sukar Pasha
Timing: 8-1am, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Turkish
Recommendation: Tahinli Corek, Mixed Pide
Cost: QR 100/USD 27.4 pp approx

Khan Farouk

Location: Khan Farouk
Timing: 9-12am, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Egyptian
Recommendation: Koushari, Daoud Basha
Cost: QR 100/USD 27.4 pp approx

3. Helipad Yoga

Yoga on a helipad! This is why everyone loves Doha. As grand as it gets, things are available at all price ranges. Yoga is good and all but let’s be real, no one is here for the actual yoga class. It’s all about that helipad and the incredible view it has to offer. Best photo prop for your Instagram! Don’t forget to tag Qatar so your friends know that this is Qatar.

Location: Fraser Suites, St Regis
Cost:
varies, starts from QR 40/USD 11
Class duration:
1 hr
Timings:
seasonal, varies
More Info:
Fraser Suites, St Regis

4. Musfur Sink Hole

Musfur is the largest of accessible sinkhole caves in Qatar. It is relatively easy to reach and explore. People love visiting it, especially in the summer months because the temperature inside is quite cool compared to outside.

Sinkhole caves in central Qatar formed when water caused the dissolution of a layer of gypsum, causing an overlying stratum of lime-stone to gradually collapse. Musfur sinkhole continues to evolve and will do so in the future. Although it is accessible and safe to visit, take caution as pieces of the roof are known to fall.

Details

Location: Musfur Sink Hole
Distance from city centre:
50 km, 45 min
Average taxi fare: QR 50/USD 14
Time:
24 hrs
Entry cost:
Free

I hope that you have a wonderful time in Qatar. If you find this article informative, don't forget to comment and share it. You can also tag us in your photos on Instagram @ilqlive or tweet at @ilqlive.

If you want to find out what is happening in Qatar during your stay, download the Qatar Events App! Available on Android and IOS and the app is completely free!