Doha is a metropolis rich in culture, sprinkled with stunning attractions. It is the capital city of the richest country in the world – Qatar. With its rapid growth and transformation, Doha is positioned to soon become one of the most visited cities in the Middle East.
From architectural wonders, fine dining restaurants, amazing shopping malls and bustling local markets (souqs), the city has many things for you to experience.
About Doha Bus
Each open-top bus tour provides a hop-on, hop-off facility at a variety of interesting locations and, wherever possible, Doha Bus tours looks to enhance the visitor sightseeing experience by providing complementary experiences.
It was in 2012 that the idea of the Doha Bus was first conceived. After extensive market research in Qatar, it was established that tourists and visitors would welcome a new brand for city sightseeing tours in Doha – one that could be trusted and be sure of the good quality and international standards. It was from this point that the vivid yellow branding on double-deck open top buses started to appear around Doha.
Doha Bus is a great way to get introduced to some of the main places in an effective and efficient manner.
Once on the bus you will be treated to a complementary beverage and an audio guide that will illustrate to you the things you are seeing, and inform you of the history and culture of Qatar and its people, their humble beginnings and lightening growth. Since the audio commentary system is GPS guided, you can sit through the whole tour, which is about 2 hours 15 minutes, or get off at any location along the way – when you get back on you won’t have missed a beat. The audio is available in seven languages – Arabic, English, German, Portuguese (Brazilian), Japanese, Korean and Chinese. You will also get a complimentary map to help plan your day!
Your ticket is valid for 24 or 48 hours and permits you to hop on and off the bus as you wish, where you wish. So if you decide to stop off for a spot of shopping at The Pearl-Qatar, you can shop and once you’re ready to continue to the next interesting spot you can hop back on the next bus coming along.
Take the tour
Doha Corniche The Doha Corniche is indisputably the most attractive part of Doha studded with lush green surroundings and remarkable modern architecture. The Corniche is a palm-fringed boulevard and twin carriageway, extends in a horseshoe shape and runs 7 km along the Doha Bay and the city’s seafront.
Surrounded by skyscrapers, the Doha Corniche is lined with magnificent hotels, cafés, the structural masterpieces such as government buildings; gorgeous parks with children’s play areas, cool green lawns and a significant number of other stunning landmarks, such as the Museum of Islamic Art and the Qatar National Theatre.
Souq Waqif Souq Waqif, a labyrinthine market near the city’s waterfront, looks deceptively old and is a great location to start your tour on the Doha Bus. Head to Grand Hamad Street opposite Bin Zaid (Fanar) to find the stop.
Souq Waqif, meaning ‘standing market’, dates back nearly a century, to a time when locals and Bedouins would travel to the area to buy and sell fish, goats and even wool. At that time, this part of the city was the shoreline of the Arabian Gulf.
Over the years, the market fell into disrepair and was abandoned as malls and other shopping options grew. Then in 2006, the first phase of a restoration reopened the souq, funded by the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah al Thani and his consort Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. The cobbled lanes and whitewashed buildings, made using traditional Qatari architectural elements including mud rendered walls and exposed timber beams, look to be from a bygone era.
The Souq is renowned for its selection of spices from the region and South Asia (sumac, saffron, preserved lemons), and for selling colourfully wrapped chocolate and sweets by the kilo.
Each covered alley sells a different commodity. Down one, tailors make bisht, traditional robes for formal events and weddings that incorporate gold thread. Another sells honey from Yemen and dates from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman. One area yields a baker selling Iranian bread and another selling local floor coverings and bags. You can also find Arabian 12-string ouds (a pear-shaped stringed instrument) and darbuka (Arab drums).
Museum of Islamic Art Set in the MIA Park on the waterfront, the museum building stands out as an architectural gem. Once inside, you will see masterpieces of Islamic art, including metalwork, ceramics, jewellery, woodwork, textiles and glass, collected from three continents and dating from the 7th to the 19th century.
Designed by world-renowned architect IM Pei, the MIA building has become an icon. Standing apart on the waters of the Corniche, it draws influence from traditional Islamic architecture. The building is made from limestone, which captures hourly changes in light and shade.
Here you could take a break at the MIA café in the atrium of the museum or visit IDAM by Alain Ducasse for a flavoursome selection of contemporary French Mediterranean cuisine designed with an Arabic twist.
Katara An innovative interpretation of the region’s architectural heritage, this purpose-built development’s impressive theatres, galleries and performance venues stage a lively year-round programme of concerts, shows and exhibitions. Among Katara’s recreational attractions are a wide choice of dining options, including top class restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, and a spacious, well-maintained public beach with water sports.
When in Katara, don’t miss out on a walk through Katara’s gardens, halls and galleries, the fabulous amphitheatre, Opera House and drama theatre, the Golden Masjid and The Masjid of Katara. You could also enjoy a walk along the promanade or along the beach, that latter of which has an entry fee.
The-Pearl Qatar The Pearl-Qatar in Doha, Qatar, is an artificial island spanning nearly four million sq m. Here you can enjoy shopping in the many high-end retail shops or spend time at Medina Centrale which is home to shops, restaurants, an entertainment centre for the whole family, a cinema and much more. Take some time to walk along the beautiful boardwalk overlooking the marina filled with a variety of international cafés and restaurants.
Malls on the tour
City Center-Doha With it’s 270 shops and numerous dining options City Center-Doha has something for everybody. The mall is also one of the main stops on the Doha Bus route and is one of the best locations to begin your tour. From here you could opt for the Souq Waqif-Corniche-The Pearl-Qatar route or head toward Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC)-Education City-Al Shaqab.
You can find the Doha Bus booth on the first floor on the left, as you come up the staircase/escalator at the main entrance to the mall.
Lagoona Mall Elegant beams of natural light filter through uniquely designed skylights, gently diffusing light across the artistic mosaic tiles. Wide corridors and soaring, distinctive ceilings will welcome a discerning stream of patrons to shop within. Showcasing well-known names in fashion within luxurious confines, as well as fine dining establishments, Lagoona Mall offers shoppers a pleasant few hours of retail therapy.
The Doha Bus stop can be found right outside the main entrance, where buses come by every 30 to 40 minutes. Do consult your bus driver before you disembark.
New routes to explore
Education City In 2016 Doha Bus added a new route to the tour allowing guests to see a different side of Doha. The new route enables passengers to explore the Education City grounds, home to some of the world’s most prominent educational institutions and research facilities, as well as Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar National Library, Qatar National Convention Centre, and Al Shaqab among others.
The tour will weave through Education City’s hop-on, hop-off points every two hours, offering an opportunity to experience landmarks like the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and the Qatar Foundation Student Centre along the way. You could also time your stop to enjoy a delicious lunch at Doha’s first farm-to-table restaurant, Chef’s Garden, the popular restaurant at Al Shaqab Hotel.
This bus route starts at City Center-Doha and will stop at Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) every hour on the hour and at Education City every 90 minutes – from 9 am to 2:30 pm. The last Doha Bus trip will be at 5 pm.
Doha after dark: the Night Tour
Once you’ve taken in Doha by day, don’t miss seeing this spectacular city after sunset. The night tour on the Doha Bus is designed to ensure that you can marvel at and enjoy the fabulously illuminated skyscrapers of Al Dafna that rise up to the dark skies.
This Night Tour also includes a bottle of water and commentary in seven languages as does the day version. Though to get you into the spirit of the trip you can also sip on a complimentary karak – a Qatari sweet chai (tea).
If you already have a 24 hour or 48 hour ticket then your Night Tour is free of charge! All you’ve got to do is meet the bus at the Souq Waqif booth, buy your tickets and set off for a fun evening of sightseeing by night!