Travel to Doha
Flying to Doha
Qatar Airways operates direct flights from the UK to Doha. Indirect options include flights with Pegasus Airlines or Turkish Airlines via Istanbul or flights via Frankfurt with Lufthansa. It is hard to find cheap flights to Doha, so booking well in advance is recommended. Qatar Airways also runs direct flights from the USA.
From London - 6 hours 50 minutes; New York - 12 hours 35 minutes; Los Angeles - 18 hours (including stopover); Toronto - 14 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Sydney - 17 hours (including stopover).
Travel by road
Driving in Doha is not for the faint-hearted. Qatar has a high rate of traffic accident fatalities relative to its population. There are many reasons for this: constantly-changing road layouts, widespread mobile phone use, a lackadaisical attitude to seatbelts and the fact that many Qataris are so wealthy that if they total their 4x4 one day, they buy a new one the next.
The Qatari government is trying to crack down on dangerous driving and there are numerous (steep) fines for speeding, undertaking, jumping red lights and using your phone while driving.
Driving is on the right and the minimum driving age is 18, although you usually need to be at least 21 to rent a car. Depending where you come from, you may be able to drive using your national driving licence for up to seven days; check with the Traffic Department at Madinat Khalifa on arrival. Otherwise, you can apply for a temporary three-month licence when you arrive and extend this when it expires. International Driving Permits are valid for six months in Qatar.
The Arabian Automobile Association (tel: 4481 0500; www.aaaqatar.com) is Qatar's main motoring organisation and can provide more information on driving in Qatar.
Emergency breakdown services
Arabian Automobile Association (tel: 4481 0500, in Qatar only).
Routes 5 and 59 link Doha with Saudi Arabia to the South; Route 59 then joins up with Route 95 into the UAE. However, getting across the border can be difficult for foreign nationals, and impossible for women travellers, as women drivers are not allowed in Saudi Arabia. The difficulty of crossing the borders mean car hire companies will rarely allow drivers to leave Qatar.
Qatar itself is very easy to explore by car as it’s a tiny country; the drive from the Saudi border in the south to Madinat ash Shamal in the very north of the country is only 160km (99 miles), taking around 2 to 2.5 hours.
For several years there has been talk of a planned 40km (24-mile) causeway linking Qatar and Bahrain. Originally scheduled to open in 2014 or 2015, the project is now stalled, and the bridge is not expected to be completed until just before Qatar hosts the World Cup in 2022.
There are land border crossing points from both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but no cross border buses from either country.
Time to city
From Saudi border - 1 hour 30 minutes; Riyadh - 5 hours; Abu Dhabi - 6 hours.
Travel by Rail
There are currently no rail services to and from Doha, but plans are afoot to construct a railway network connecting Doha with other cities in Qatar as well as to neighbouring countries. See Qatar Rail (www.qr.com.qa) for more details.