Qatar-10 hour layover!
Let me just say, Qatar is AH-MAZING! Aaron and I avoided it for awhile concerned that It might not be the safest layover spot, but after doing more research we realized it’s totally ok. Thankfully on this trip back to Thailand, the cheapest flight also happened to have a 10 hour layover in Doha, Qatar! SCORE!
After a ton of research about what to do, here is what I found. First, if you are flying with Qatar airways and have a 5+ hour layover, there is actually a free 3 hour city tour you can do. We decided not to do that because we had so much more time, and we always prefer to wander at our leisure verses being on a tour bus. But it’s a good option if you are limited in time or fearful to wander on your own.
There seems to be not a ton to do in the morning, so we went to explore basically the only thing that’s open- the Islamic art museum. The architecture is pretty cool, and it had an awesome cafe inside for much needed coffee. The artifacts were nice, but since all the signs were in Arabic we never really knew what we were looking at. Next we wandered over to the corniche, which is basically the middle eastern term for boardwalk, and viewed the city skyline. I’m not sure if we are just jaded from our travels or from growing up near New York, but this wasn’t anything impressive. On to the next!
We walked over to the main attraction- the Souq Waqif! Basically it is an Islamic Market, and oh..my..goodness!!!! I could have stayed here exploring for DAYS! First of all the architecture was to die for…I thought I was walking through scenes of Aladdin the whole time. The smell of spices and view of fabrics and leather goods for sale just kept me sooooo happy.
We even managed to check off everything on Aaron’s list too! He had read about a market with camels for sale, and we found it! They even let us get on the camels for free. He also read about a market with falcons for sale, and we definitely hunted that down. I’m not too aware of falcons, but basically they are super vicious and I was really scared. Inside the market they all have hoods over their heads for training, and it just looked super intimidating. Aaron really wanted to hold one so we asked the guy working and he said no. But this was the ONE thing Aaron was most looking forward to about Doha so I wasn’t going to give up that easy!! I gave the man my quintessential “kimmy sad pouty face” (you know the one Dad!) and of course the man gave in! He armed us with the super thick leather glove, took the falcon’s hood off, and let us each hold it. It was REALLY heavy, and equally terrifying. I was pretty sure it was going to rip my face off if I brought it too close to my head. But we survived, and hopefully the man didn’t’t get in too much trouble!
And the FOOD!!! it was so amazing! Aaron is still talking about it 3 weeks later. Everything we ate we have access to in the States, but it was just prepared so differently! The tabouli salad only had lemon on it for dressing, but I have never tasted lemon like that before! It wasn’t acidic at all. The hummus was made with eggplant and pomegranate, and the grape leaves had such an explosion of flavor. I would fly back there just to eat again!! we tried arabic coffee too, and not really knowing what to expect, we were shocked when orange/yellow coffee poured out. It was seasoned with turmeric, and served with GIANT dates on the side. So yummy. Sadly after that our time in Doha was over. Seriously if you ever get an opportunity to visit, don’t let the falcons and terrorists scare you away!!!!! It was totally safe and totally worth it!