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Posted On: 12 October 2019 08:30 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 10:18 am

Budget friendly things to do in Qatar on a 12-hour layover

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Stopping over in Doha for 12 hours? If you have a budget and you like to stick to it when you're traveling, don't worry. We have put together a bunch of budget-friendly places in Qatar you can visit while you are on a 12-hour layover in this fabulous country.

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 visiting order depending on the opening hours of each location.

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 Qatari Riyal (QR) or USD 7 and QR 1.20 per kilometre between 5 am to 9 pm and QR 1.80 per km between 9 pm to 5 am.

Bus service:
Doha’s bus network connects HIA 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 HIA. The machine only accepts Cash – 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.

Check out the map below:

Budget friendly things to do in Qatar on a 12-hour layover

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.

1. Take a tour of the National Museum of Qatar

Budget friendly things to do in Qatar on a 12-hour transit: NmoQ National Museum of Qatar

The National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) is dedicated to bringing to life the unique story of Qatar and its people. It actively gives voice to the nation’s rich heritage and culture and demonstrates our extensive network of ties with other nations and people around the world. Designed as a vibrant and immersive space, diverse communities can come together and experience Qatar’s past, present and future. When you visit the museum, you’ll get to learn more about Qatar’s ancestors and the dhows that were once a very important part of the country’s legacy, how the early cities were formed and the transformation of the country that has led up to modern Qatari society. Exhibitions in the museum merge historical objects with modern influences and signify the impact made by the rapid change in the Qatari lifestyle through innovative presentations and contemporary techniques with whole walls turning into movie-like screens and mobile phones guiding visitors through the thematic displays.


Location: Near Ras Abu Aboud Bridge, Corniche Street, Doha - Qatar
QR 50 (visitors); Qatar residents: free; child (age 16 and under): free (age 16 and under);
Culture Pass Basic (Free membership): Entry to all Qatar Museums: QR 50 (visitors); children (age 16 and under): free +discounts on gift shops and museum eateries (upon presentation of valid Culture Pass Basic membership); For more information on the Culture Pass and how to join, click HERE.
Distance from airport: 17 minutes (13.3 km)
Average taxi fare:
QR 30
Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday: 9 am - 7 pm, Friday: 1:30 pm - 7 pm
+974 4452 5555
E-mail: [email protected]

2. Walk around the traditional Souq Waqif

Budget friendly things to do in Qatar on a 12-hour transit: Souq Waqif

Right across from MIA is Qatar’s traditional market Souq Waqif (which means the standing market in Arabic. Why not walk around this beautiful must-visit attraction in Qatar that isn’t to be missed, and through its twisting alleyways where you can buy all sorts of goods from saffron, traditional Qatari spices, nuts, perfumes, household items, traditional Qatari clothing, ready-to-wear clothes, fabrics, shoes, toys, sweet and so much more. And, when you’re tired and want a bite to eat, take a seat at one of the many local restaurants and enjoy the Qatari cuisine on offer, but if you’re looking for something else to soothe your hunger, there are many other international cuisines on offer, too.


Location: Souq Street, Al Jasra, Doha - Qatar
Depends on what you buy; prices start from QR 2
Distance from airport: 18 - 20 minutes (14 km)
Average taxi fare from airport: QR 25
Distance from MIA: 1.5 km (10 minute walk)
Average taxi fare between MIA and Souq Waqif: QR 10
Opening hours: 24/7, although some shops will be closed late at night

Budget friendly places to eat at Souq Waqif

Um Abdelaziz / Al Refaa (Qatari cuisine)
Location: Near Gold Souq, Souq Waqif, Doha
Timings: 4 pm - 12 am
Cost: QR 35 for two people (approx.)

Shay Al Shoomos (Qatari cuisine)
Location: Beside Qatar Airways, Al Jasra Street, Souq Waqif, Doha
Timings: 8 am - 1 pm; 6 pm - 10 pm
Cost: QR 60 for two people (approx.)

Al Aker Sweets (Qatari desserts)
Location: Near Qatar Police, Souq Waqif, Doha
Timings: 9 am - 12 am
Cost: QR 65 for two people (approx.

Shujaa Restaurant (Afghani BBQ)
Location: The Bird Souq, Souq Waqif, Doha
Timings: 4 pm - 12 am
Cost: QR 35 for two people

3. Take a stroll along the Corniche Promenade (if weather permits)

Budget friendly things to do in Qatar on a 12-hour transit: Corniche

A trip to Qatar wouldn’t be complete without a stroll along Qatar’s beautiful Corniche. Watch the waves as they crash against the shore and enjoy Doha’s spectacular skyline that will take your breath away. You can also see Orry the Oryx, one of Qatar’s iconic landmarks that stands tall over the Corniche and was the official mascot at the Asian Games 2006 held in Doha.

As you drive or walk done the Corniche Promenade, you can also see the Amiri Diwan which is the seat of the government from where Qatar’s Amir His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani leads the country on the opposite side. Among its manifold tasks and responsibilities, it keeps H.H. The Amir abreast of the most important developments locally and internationally, submits to him draft laws and other legislative instruments for perusal and approval, and delivers his instructions to the concerned authorities. The Amiri Diwan is next to Souq Waqif and opposite to the Corniche, so you can’t miss it.

Note: The Amiri Diwan is not open to the public, and taking pictures of it is also prohibited.


Location: Corniche Street, Doha - Qatar
Cost: Free
Distance from airport:
20 - 22 minutes (17.8 km)
Average taxi fare from airport: QR 25
Distance Souq Waqif: 0.5 km (5 minute walk)
Opening hours: 24/7

5. Go on a traditional Dhow cruise

Budget friendly things to do in Qatar on a 48-hour transit: Dhow cruise

Along the Corniche, you will see a number of boats called Dhows which are traditional sailing boats mainly used in the Arab region. If you have a little bit of time, you can book dinner on a Dhow cruise, otherwise you can enjoy a 20-minute trip on a Dhow, taking in the beautiful scenery and skyline of Doha. Ask the Dhow captain to blast your favourite song as the boat sails across the waters of the Arabian Gulf.


Location: Corniche Street, Doha - Qatar
Cost: You may need to bargain the fare here; average cost is QR 20 - 50 per person
Distance from airport: 20 - 22 minutes (17.8 km)
Average taxi fare from airport: QR 25
Opening hours: 24/7

4. Visit the Imam Abdul Wahhab Mosque Qatar’s grand state mosque

Budget friendly things to do in Qatar on a 12-hour transit: Qatar Grand State Mosque

When it comes to mosques in Qatar, none can beat the grandeur and magnificence of the Imam Abdul Wahhab Mosque nestled in a prominent neighbourhood of Doha and visible from a distance. It is not too far from the Corniche and has been built on a large hill so it can be seen from afar. The mosque was opened to the public in 2011 and is also well known as the Qatar State Grand Mosque. This Grand Mosque has a contemporary design with a traditional Qatari twist to its simple, yet elegant façade and its stunningly beautiful interior design and décor.

The façade of the Grand Mosque is made up of sandstone and has preserved traditional features of Qatar’s rich heritage and its prolific history. At night time, the mosque is lit up with strategically placed lighting that adds to the overall marvel of Qatar’s most prominent mosque. There are 93 domes on the Grand Mosque; 65 of them make up the outer quadrangle of the mosque, while 28 larger sized domes protect the central hall.

If you are a non-Muslim and wish to visit this Grand Mosque, entry is free, but there are some mosque etiquettes and guidelines that must be followed. Read more here:


Location: Al Mohandiseen Street, south of the Corniche, near Qatar Sports Club, Doha - Qatar
Cost: Free
Distance from airport:
25 - 30 minutes (20.2 km)
Average taxi fare: QR 40
Distance from Corniche: 11 minutes (5.1 km)
Average taxi fare between Corniche and Grand State Mosque: QR 20
Phone: +974 4425 0250

5. Do some shopping at Villaggio Mall

Budget friendly things to do in Qatar on a 12-hour transit: Villaggio Mall

Villaggio is located on Al Waab Street in the west end of the city. It’s housed on a total plot size of 360,000 sqm that hosts a dedicated mall area of 183,000 sqm, and, providing 90,000 sqm of world-class shopping at reasonable prices, 15,000 sqm of luxury brands and 3,300 car parking slots. It has Venetian styled interiors combined with an astonishing range of shopping, dining and entertainment venues to make it a unique and unforgettable attraction in Qatar; one that no visitor can afford to miss. There is a Venice-like canal in the centre where you can enjoy a Gondolania ride for just QR 10 per person.


Location: Al Waab Street, Al Waab, Doha - Qatar
Cost: depends on what you buy; prices start from QR 10
Distance from airport: 30 minutes (23 km)
Average taxi fare: QR 46
Opening hours: Sunday to Wednesday: 9 am - 10 pm, Thursday and Saturday: 9 am - 11 pm, Friday: 9 am - 11 am; 12:30 pm - 11 pm
Phone: +974 44227400
Email: [email protected]

Budget-friendly places to eat in Villaggio:

Pappa Roti
Location: Opposite Quicksilver, Villaggio, Al Waab, Doha
Opening hours: 8:30 am - 10:30 pm

Villagio food court
The food court has many budget-friendly food options with prices starting at QR 5.

What do you think of our things to do in Qatar on a 12-hour layover? Will you try them out when you are transiting through Qatar? Do let us know your thoughts in our Comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!

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