Doha is the capital of Qatar, the lavish city boasting countless magnificent high-rise buildings and skyscrapers but equally mysterious with a vast desert along with a long standing history and culture. This city connects over 160 destinations around the globe, is one of the most bustling and busiest “transit points” with many international routes to major cities of Europe, America, Africa, the Middle East… And Qatar is also the world’s richest country by per capita with a population of nearly 3 million people, the capital Doha is definitely a tourist destination you should visit at least once in your lifetime in Middle East. So, is 3 days enough in Doha and what to do in Doha for 3 days? Let’s check out our suggested Doha 3 day itinerary (Doha itinerary 3 days 2 nights) on how to spend 3 days in Doha perfectly to help you plan a perfect trip to this mysterious land!
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Below we will do detail a 3-day 2-night itinerary to visit Doha, the richest capital in the world to learn about its history and culture as well as must-have experiences. A simple but complete itinerary for those who are planning a trip to this mysterious country for the first time.
Apply for a Qatar tourist visa
Currently, to attract more tourists to Doha, Qatar has simplified the paperwork and waived fee for the online transit visa (or VOA) if you book tickets of Qatar Airways and transit in Doha.
- Visa fee: Free
- Applicable when you fly with Qatar Airways (the state-owned flag carrier of Qatar) and book a Multi-city flight ticket (passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure).
After successful booking of Qatar Airways, you go to the airline’s website, in the “Discover” section, go to the “Free transit visa” section.
Then click on “Apply Now” to submit your profile.
The visa application to transit in Doha is also very simple, the documents you need to prepare are:
- Color scanned copy (or photo) of your passport information page, along with all pages with immigration stamps or visas of countries you have been to.
- Scanned copy of one-way flight ticket to Doha and one-way flight ticket to the third country of Qatar Airways.
- Hotel reservation confirmation in Doha (optional).
Normally, the result will be notified after about 4-5 working days from the date you submit your application, and you just need to print it out and bring it with you when entering Qatar.
A few important notes:
- You must apply for a transit visa at the latest 7 days and at the earliest 30 days before the date of entry to Qatar.
- The maximum duration of stay for a transit visa is 4 days (96 hours) from the time of entry.
- Doha transit visa is valid within 30 days from the date of issue (usually counted from the date you submit your application). Therefore, you must notice your application time reasonably so that your visa is always valid during your stay in Qatar. In my opinion, you should submit your application before the date of your entry to Qatar from 20 to 15 days is better. (This note is relatively important, because I once knew of a case when a person applied for a Qatar transit visa exactly 30 days before the date of entry, and on the date of entry, the visa expired, so he could not enter Qatar).
- Passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure.
- Have at least 5000 QAR (~ 1374 USD) in cash or in a valid international card.
- There is a hotel reservation confirmation confirmation printed and clipped to the passport.
- Fee: Up to now, the visa application fee to Qatar is 27.78 USD plus the service fee via VFS Global 14 USD. Total 41.78 USD.
- You can book tickets of any airline. However, Qatar Airways is the best choice because the online Qatar visa procedures with this airline will be easier and have a higher chance of being approved.
- Validity of stay: Short tourist visa: 30 day on a single trip, longer tourist visa: 3 months.
- You can apply for a Qatar tourist visa up to 90 days before your departure date and at least 4 days before your flight date.
Normally, your Qatar tourist visa application will be approved after 4 working days.
Visa application results will be notified via email.
Successfully applying for a Qatar visa online, you need to print out the electronic visa and bring it to the airport for boarding procedures.
- The way to apply for a visa is also online. Registration link: https://qatar.vfsevisa.com/Qatar-Online/QROnline/VisaCategoryAndPricingDetails/DisplayVisaCategoryAndPricingDetails/#no-back! (After applying for a visa).
Please note that, after completing the application and paying the fee, you will not be refunded whether you have qualified or not. Therefore, please carefully check the application file and review each step to not lose your visa unfortunately.
Some notes before traveling to Doha
- Doha has a hot desert climate: Summer is extremely hot and long, last from May to September. The temperature here is about 38 degrees Celsius and often reaches 45 degrees Celsius. Although hot, it rarely rains. Winters are milder, with an average temperature of about 23 degrees Celsius. And winter is the best time to visit Qatar.
- Exchange rate: 1 USD = 3.64 Qatari Rial (QAR).
- Time zone: Doha = Vietnam – 4 hours.
Doha 3 day itinerary — Day 1: Fly to Doha
Start your journey from Tan Son Nhat airport and it takes 8 hours to arrive at Hamad International Airport. If you flying with Business Class grade of Qatar Airways, it will be a great experience, from the private design cabin, to relaxation, entertainment, food and drink will make you satisfied, and want to stay on the plane forever.
Tips: You should book your flight early, it is best to arrive in Doha in the morning to have more time to visit. To find cheap flight tickets and suitable flight routes you can visit Google Flights, Kayak or SkyScanner.
After resting, you can spend the remaining time of the first day you can join the 2-Hours Dhow Cruise with Doha Corniche Walk on one of the typical wooden boats of Arabia. You will have an opportunity to discover Doha’s magnificent waterfront from both land and water on this 2-hour tour. The tour take you to Al Safliya Island, passing several landmarks such as the Dubai Towers and the Museum of Islamic Art, then watch the sunset along the Doha Corniche on a walking tour with a guide.
You will treat a dinner with Kabsa, hot tea and sweets (the sweets and pastries in Doha are so delectable). Kabsa biryani (a traditional Arabian fragrant rice dish), is a rice dish with meats such as chicken, lamb, beef and vegetables with various spices such as black pepper, cloves, saffron, cinnamon and lemon to make the dish more rich and attractive.
In the evening, you can hang out, strolling around Doha old town, finding some coffee shops or bars to sipping coffee, chatting and watching people pass by and enjoy the vibrant and mysterious atmosphere of Arabian night.
What to do in Doha for 3 days — Day 2: Exploring history
Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Mosque
Address: Al Muhandiseen St, Doha, Qatar
In Doha, there is an extremely large and spectacular mosque, which can accommodate thousands of Muslims come to pray. You can visit Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Mosque, opened 2011 which is also known as Qatar State Mosque. Located on a top hill, this sandstone mosque is very large, with an area of 175,164m2, enough for 11,000 male followers, with air conditioning and a special adjoining house large enough for 1200 women, and the entire mosque can hold a congregation of 30,000 people. The mosque also features over 90 domes, in which 28 giant domes cover the central hall and 65 other domes cover the outer quadrangle. There are three main entrance doors and 17 side entrances for the mosque.
Address: 7GPH+VQ8, Doha, Qatar
Hours: 9AM–5PM/Friday: 3–9PM/Sunday: Closed
If you are a curious person, then stop by to visit the Msheireb Museums with the shimmering ceilings and go back in time to the first pages of the history of the oil industry, the scene of a picture full of blood and tears of slavery and human trafficking and the great expectations of the Qatari government, to make Doha a world-class educational and cultural destination. A small country, and rapidly getting rich on oil and gas, but soon set its sights on a successful transition from a resource economy to a knowledge economy by 2030.
Address: 9G6F+CR3, Doha, Qatar
Katara Cultural Village, also known as a cultural valley, is an interesting place that attracts a large number of tourists to visit, especially for those interested in learning about the cultural imprints, passionate about art, culture and architecture. Although it is called a village, the value it brings is much more than that.
This is a village that was sponsored by a project to preserve Qatari culture and contribute to cultural exchange with other countries, it is named after “Catara” which is the ancient name of the Qatar peninsula, it helps visitors understand more about Qatari culture.
When it comes to “Katara cultural village” don’t let the name “village” fool you about the scale and size as well as the stature of this place. Although called a village, Katara owns many world-class architectures. The name of the cultural village makes many people imagine that this place has a simple, rustic style of a group of people living in the locality. Simply called a village, the value that Katara cultural village brings is not only encapsulated in its size but also in the depth of the culture of the country of Qatar.
With an area of only 1 km2, the village is nestled on the east coast of the capital of Doha, yet it is an interesting destination in Doha that integrates all the unique and distinctive historical features of the country and the people of Qatar. Many cultural works in the village are a source of artistic and cultural inspiration for the whole community, some typical works such as the Mosque, the open-air theater in Greek-style, the cinema, the exhibition hall, museums, multi-purpose halls, traditional handicraft stalls, traditional markets, even the beach…
Katara Qatar Cultural Village is an interesting combination of old values and contemporary art space to create a panorama of a country where the cultural value of the nation is established through the strong association between ancient origins and modernisation. Most of the buildings here are built in a distinct architectural style called fareeji.
The Pearl Island – where garthering of luxury resorts, apartments, elite class, politicians, corporate chairmans or stars of Qatar. With an area of 4 million m2, The Pearl is full of high-end restaurants, hotels or shopping malls with the most famous brands in the world such as: Hermes, Giorgio Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo… Coming here, you can walk around the island, enjoy its tranquil atmosphere, cool sea breezes. This is also the first place where Qatar allows foreigners to own real estate.
Visitors here can comfortably shop with the most luxurious brands in the fashion world, in addition, outdoor restaurants and cafes are also one of the ideal attractions for tourists. Coming to the island, visitors also have the opportunity to see the luxury yachts floating on the sea, especially at sunset. The island is very clean and airy.
The pearl of Qatar is also boasts its longest “promenade” in the world. Pedestrian streets are not unfamiliar to many of us, but in Qatar, these streets are different from other parts of the world, because they are coastal pedestrian streets, “decorated” with chains of luxury shops selling upscale goods and services. The most unique is the 3.5 km long “La Croisette” street, which is considered the center of famous international brands and fashion stores.
After learning about Qatar’s history in the morning, you can go to The Pearl artificial island to have lunch and go for a walk to see… the yachts of the richest Arab billionaires.
The name “Pearl Island” comes from the traditional pearl diving profession in the shallow seas on the island. Qatar was one of the most bustling pearl markets in Asia, before the Japanese launched its cheap pearls. In addition, the island also has the appearance of a string of pearls.
When visiting the pearl island don’t forget to enjoy the specialties of Qatar. Visitors can visit the traditional markets in Qatar to sample specialties such as: Tabbouleh – a vegetarian Arab salad, falafel – battered fried chicken balls, mathrooba – a dish commonly eaten by the people of Qatar after the month of Ramadan… and many other savory dishes.
Doha desert safari
A must-try experience and a must-visit place when coming to Qatar is joining a desert safari tour in Doha desert – a part of the Arab desert, famous thousands of years ago, associated with the name “Silk Road”. You will experience the feeling of adventure when sitting in specialized Land Cruiser vehicles riding on the sand dunes of the desert at high speed. The car takes you through high slopes, out of sight, and then suddenly swoops downhill, one slope is followed by another. The sun slowly disappearing behind the sand dunes is definitely the most beautiful scene captured in the frame of days in Doha. At the end of the day, experience the BBQ party on Qatari rugs, enjoy the food while admiring the traditional Arabic culture such as watching belly dance, singing and dancing with the locals will definitely leaving unforgettable impression for visitors.
3 days in Doha — Day 3: Exploring new culture
Each destination contains a new culture, to learn the fastest a culture of a country, you should go to the local market. This place is considered as a miniature museum, the closest way to touch the culture, people, specialties and cuisine of a country.
Souq Waqif is known as the central and first traditional market of Doha. After more than 100 years, Doha has transformed into a modern metropolis with countless impressive skyscrapers. But with the same flow of time, Souq Waqif was still there, keeping its original appearance and vibrant atmosphere. Just like what people imagine about a Persian souq (market) often seen in the fairy tale “One Thousand and One Nights” with many interesting and unusual things.
Souq Waqif in the local language means “standing market”, is the first and oldest market in Doha. Over hundreds of years, this Persian market still retains the ancient look and atmosphere of a bygone era. Not only a place to exchange and trade, the bustling market in Qatar is also a place for national cultural interference and clearly shows the cultural identity of Muslims.
Located in the middle of the ancient commercial center of Doha, right at the entrance to Souq Waqif was a roundabout, above which was a huge wooden boat. Legend has it that the Qarmatians (Islamic people of East Arab descent) spent many days at sea in wooden boats called dhows before drifting onto the shores of the Qatar peninsula. Since then, the wooden boat has become a symbol of the origin of the Qatari nation.
Standing beside Souq Waqif were the white walls of the ancient fortress AI Koot. This ancient fortress was built in 1927 to protect the market from cunning thieves. Today, AI Koot with its round and square towers has become a unique feature in the architecture of the whole market Souq Waqif.
Behind the main market is the Abdullah Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center (Fanar) with the roof of the mosque winding in a unique spiral. This is also one of the architectural features that create the ancient beauty of Souq Waqif. And next to is Souq Waqif Art Center.
Just like other Arab markets, Souq Waqif market is like a giant labyrinth with hundreds of small streets intersecting each other without any rules. The stalls and shops are placed side by side with a wide range of typical products. The stalls are pungent with spices. Aromatherapy shops are overflowing with agarwood (or oud) incense that Qatar people burn at home or office to show hospitality. The display areas of hand-woven rugs are colorful and delicately patterned. Magical lamps, ivory chess pieces, elegant boats, centuries-old guns and swords… All of them have a Middle Eastern style, mysterious, luxurious and irresistible charm.
Besides shopping, the market is also a place for visitors to rest and enjoy traditional Arabic dishes. Evenings here are often very crowded, the Muslim traditional black costumes covered from head to toe still cannot hide the beauty of the mysterious Middle Eastern women. Muslim women must be accompanied by men when leaving the house, so couples slowly walking together in white and black clothes is a familiar image that visitors can see anywhere in the market.
The special thing about this Souq Waqif market is that it is open 24 hours, visitors can come here at any time of the day. However, visiting the market in the evening is still considered the best when the lights throughout the market light up to create a shimmering, mysterious space. The night lights bring a sense of escapism to the dense space of shisha. The fragrant smoke from shisha makes the dishes more attractive and delicious than ever, making the masculine beauty of the men’s faces and the mystery of the women’s faces more gentle and affectionate.
In the “standing market”, visitors also cannot miss the Falcon Souq, where there are many trained falcons. This is a feature of culture, history and also a sport of the Qatari people.
An interesting point in the Middle East is that the falconry is recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of the Middle East and humanity. The falcon represents courage, perseverance, and spirit and freedom. Falcons are also a basic symbol of their owner’s status.
Museum of Islamic Art
Address: 7GWQ+6M7, Doha, Qatar
The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is located at the tip of the 7km Corniche Walk in the Qatari capital, Doha. The museum displays Islamic art from three continents dating back over 1400 years. MIA is the leading museum in the system of museums in Qatar. Under the leadership of Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the MIA museum played an important role in transforming Qatar into one of the cultural capitals in the Middle East.
The Museum of Islamic Art is a magnificent white five-story building with galleries, a library and an educational center, built on a man-made island on the outskirts of Doha. The museum displays more than 800 works of art and history from three continents, highlighting Islamic culture from the 7th to the 19th centuries.
Who designed this famous work is the legendary architect I. M. Pei (the famous architect who designed the glass pyramid at the Louvre Museum). Inside the museum are artifacts of Islamic art such as metalwork, ceramics, jewelry, woodwork, fabrics and glass from the 7th-19th centuries. Most of the works inside the museum come from Spain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, India and Central Asia.
The museum is a pearl of world architectural art, with the main milky white tones. A majestic cubism of square, octagonal cubes stacked in an unusual way, with the top tier recreating the traditional niqab costume revealing only haunting eyes of Muslim women. A chorus of light and shadow, aided by the blazing desert sun and the delicate illumination in the night.
In addition to an exhibition space of approximately 5000 m2, the museum also spends up to 45,000 m2 for the exhibition area, conservation area, library, education center… with about 1600 staff serving visitors and organizing related cultural activities. Completed construction in 2006, but after two years of focusing on interior design, the museum can welcome visitors in 2008.
Address: Al Waab St, Doha, Qatar
Hours: 9AM–11PM/Friday: 9–11AM, 12:30–11PM
Villaggio Mall is one of the luxurious and modern shopping malls of Doha with an area of nearly 360,000 m2. Located on Al Waab Street to the west of the city and in the Aspire area, Villaggio welcomes close to 50,000 visitors a day and around 1.5 million monthly. This place is also one of the stores of famous brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Gucci, Valentino,…
With an interior design in Italian Venetian style with canals and a roof painted with a dimmable sky representing day and night, Villaggio offers visitors a dreamy Venice experience. Dreaming of clear canals and gondola boats right in the heart of Doha.
Doha travel blog: Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Doha you can refer to
- Doha Hamad International Airport Transfers
- North of Qatar Tour from Doha
- Doha Day Tour
- Doha Desert Safari Day Tour
- Doha Hamad International Airport (DOH) Lounge Service
- Doha Al Wakra Souq Tour
- Desert Safari and Inland Sea Tour in Doha
Read more Qatar travel blog — The fullest Qatar travel guide for first-timers and Qatar guide here.