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While visiting Katara pre Covid 19 I discovered their exercise trail. Nestled up high, with the distant Pearl development to one side and the Lusail Highway on the other. It really is a great place to run or walk. Or just chill out and enjoy the green space if you are not feeling energetic.

There are several ways to the exercise trail. However the easiest is to approach from the Al Qassar Doha Metro station. Just follow the Katara exit signs and when you reach ground level simply cross the road near the security. Continue walking and take the first left after passing the ornate street light (photo below left). Its quite a big road – see photo below right.

English Park

The whole area is reminiscent of an English park due to its many trees, huge grassy expanses and park benches. Not to mention picnicking families and kids enjoying themselves playing or running up and down the hills.

If you want some peace and quiet it’s a great place to come and read a book or listen to some music.

Katara Exercise Trail distance markers

The trail itself is purple colour and made of that bouncy rubbery stuff. So that makes it easier on your knees if running. Furthermore it features distance markers so you know how far you have gone. In total, the length of the Katara circuit is around 2km.

Katara exercise trail with distance markers
Exercise trail distance markers

Its rewarding to come early in the morning. Or late in the afternoon. Consider combining an afternoon walk with dinner from Al Fanar food truck. So just order your food, sit on the beach and rest your legs as the sun goes down.

Atmospheric view of Katara walking trail
Atmospheric view of Katara walking trail

All things considered, when the COVID 19 restrictions have come to an end where better to go and exercise than the Katara exercise trail.

Coffee shops in Doha are easy to find. There are many types here, from global franchises to quirky locally owned places. You will certainly not miss out! However the price of your favourite coffee in Doha may seem expensive. Especially compared with other cities. So if you fancy a reasonably priced cuppa where do you go?

Fear not Qatar Quick has the answer. Read on.

Only five minutes walk from DECC metro station, opposite the Tornado Tower – you will see Monoprix supermarket. Monoprix is a French supermarket with several branches in Qatar. In my opinion, they also sell the best croissants.

Just next to the entrance, look left and you will see a red Volkswagen camper van with no roof. Might sound strange, but this is a coffee shop. They sell a range of their own Monoprix coffee from QAR 12 upwards. Not only that, they also sell tea, soft drinks and water as well as snacks.

Photo shows Monoprix Coffee Shop
This is actually a coffee shop!

There is a range of seating to choose from and if you go at night the lighting is awesome. Drinking coffee sitting among the skyscrapers is cool, but admittedly the street view is not amazing.

However its well worth checking out if you are in the area.

Shows seating area at Monoprix Coffee Shop
Simple seating options but comfortable

From here, its a short walk to the awesome Qatar Corniche. So why not visit at night and enjoy a stroll after.

Did you visit Monoprix Coffee Shop? Why not share your experience below.

Turkish Airlines fly to more countries than any other airline. Most of their flights connect through the recently opened Istanbul (IST) airport. They are a great full service option to fly from England to Qatar at a reasonable price. To inform Qatar Quick readers and to save money myself in the process, I decided to check them out.

In this post I will review my first experience of Turkish Airlines from Birmingham, England to Doha, Qatar. So, how was it? Read on to find out…..

Turkish Airlines plane in air
Turkish Airlines Plane – Photo from TravelCodex.com

In this article, I will review my first experience of Turkish Airlines from Birmingham, England to Doha, Qatar. So, how was my experience? Read on to find out…..

Turkish Airlines Air Fare

Getting to Qatar can be a costly experience, but I booked an extremely competitively priced return ticket from Birmingham, England (BHX) to Doha, Qatar (DOH) for just £332.29. Admittedly this may have been cheaper than usual as I was travelling mid March as the Covid 19 virus was reaching the Middle East and Europe. More about this later.

The Covid 19 Impact

As the Covid 19 virus spread across the world, Turkish Airlines announced that passengers who had booked flights within a certain time frame could enjoy changes to their tickets free of charge. As a result of this, I took advantage and found the entire process very simple. I contacted their call centre who explained my options and rebooked my flights without fuss. This policy is in place until the end 2020. Great start!

On the day before my flight, I checked in online finding this process simple. Upon arrival at Birmingham airport I proceeded to the fast bag drop counter and checked in my bags. Turkish Airlines offer a very generous 30kg on their economy flights to Doha – learn all about their baggage policies here.

On Board With Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines operate a zonal boarding process and I boarded from the rear of the plane. Subsequently this worked well and I received a friendly welcome from the hostess.

The flight was a busy one. Once seated I found the leg room ample (however I am only 1.70m tall) Turkish Airlines seat pitch is between 29-33 inches depending on the type of aircraft.

Turkish Airlines Economy Class seats
Turkish Airlines Economy Seating – Beyzanur K

As a consequence of the covid 19 virus ALL passengers were asked to fill in a document stating their seat number and contact details which would be used for contact tracing if necessary.

A tasty brunch was provided and drinks – both non alcoholic and alcoholic were available. Moreover, the flight entertainment system offered a choice of films, tv shows, music and games and the Turkish Airlines crew distributed individually wrapped disposable earphones.

The 3.5 hour flight was soon over and we landed early into Istanbul (IST). I was keen to get off and stretch my legs. I soon realised this would be easy due to the size of the airport. It was HUGE!

Transiting at Istanbul Airport

Having shown my onward boarding pass to Doha, I passed through security which completed the transfer process. Very easy.

In the airport terminal there are loads of TV screens detailing departure gates and clear signage directing you.

I had 3 hours to look around so went to the central area of the terminal. There I found everything. It is hard to explain the size of this new airport. The space is so vast it took around 20 minutes walking through the shopping area. Please note there are limited travellators and no connecting trains. However there is a buggy service for passengers in need.

I felt like I was in a mall. All kinds of shops and restaurants including competitively priced duty free were available. There was a cosy looking bar if you fancied a beer and various restaurants and coffee shops too. All great for passing the time people watching.

Istanbul Airport Duty Free
Duty Free Shopping at Istanbul Airport – Photo by Hurriyet Daily News

Also available is an airport hotel, a sleep pod (€6/9 per hour depending on time of day) prayer rooms, ATMs, several paid lounges, lost and found and an airport assist centre. They even have two exhibition areas displaying photos and the history of the airport. You will not definitely not get bored!  

A top tip is to leave plenty of time to get to your gate for your onward flight to Doha. It took me 30 minutes and I was alone walking reasonably quickly.

Unfortunately the boarding gate was a bit too small for the amount of passengers but you can sit opposite the gate and enter last minute.

Istanbul to Doha

Once onboard, this Turkish Airlines plane was newer and as it was now evening, pillows and blankets were available. The crew were relatively accommodating but it did feel as though you had to ask for something rather than be offered it. Service onboard went relatively smoothly but was continually interrupted by frequent turbulence. Again non alcoholic and alcoholic drinks were available and many passengers enjoyed a glass of wine or a beer. Their food offering was excellent with ample choice.

The flight entertainment system was much the same as the earlier flight and thankfully touch down at Hamad International Airport was smooth. Exiting the plane was relatively speedy and after connecting to the free wi-fi I headed to arrivals and immigration.

All in all my virgin experience of Turkish Airlines was excellent. If you want to visit Qatar and enjoy the sights, experience and culture as well as save money then I would not hesitate to recommend them.

Fancy an experience and need a haircut while on holiday in Qatar? There are loads of options in most of the malls. These can be quite pricey but generally good quality. However….

For an authentic experience, why not visit one of Qatars many mens salons or saloons.

Bin Mahmoud Metro Station Qatar

Basically, there are loads of places to get a haircut in the area surrounding Bin Mahmoud metro station. To find them alight at the Bin Mahmoud station on the Gold Line and head for the Ibn Mahmoud West exit.

Bin Mahmoud Metro West exit Qatar
Bin Mahmoud West Exit – Qatar

At the top of the escalators be sure to turn left and left again. Exit using the door pictured below – Bin Mahmoud West exit. Check out this visitors guide to Doha Metro Stations if its your first time in Qatar using Doha Metro

Image showing West exit
Head towards this door to exit

Turn left again and walk straight. Cross Qatari Bin Al Fujaah Street and continue. Along the way you will see restaurants and shops on your left including several salons. Select one here if you like the look of a place.

Alternatively continue along the street until you reach Al Jazeera Street, then turn left.

Walk along this road and you will find more salons as well as a plethora of restaurants and shops. There is an astounding variety of cuisines and choice here. Select from Indian, Korean, Chinese, Thai, Nepali, Filipino or Arabic – including Egyptian and Lebanese.

Top Tip

One very important tip. BEFORE you sit down in the barbers chair agree a price. Some Qatar salons display prices while others do not. Generally a haircut should cost around 10 Qatari Riyals. If you want your beard trimming – cut throat razor style – this will cost more. Consider having a photo of your preferred hairstyle on your phone to show the barber as their English can be limited. Please make sure you are open minded when choosing to have your haircut here as the standard may not be what you are used to. The barbers are certified by the relevant Qatar ministry and certificates should be displayed inside. Depending on the salon you may even get a head massage using Ayurveda oils. All in all a memorable experience and hopefully a great haircut.

Inside of Salon
Qatar Mens salon and barber

If you fancy a beer drop into the Centro Hotel where there is a very basic bar with reasonable – for Qatar – prices. Check out the area using google maps…..

Once you are done exploring you can choose to return to Bin Mahmoud station or walk all the way to the end of Al Jazeera street until you reach C Ring Road, then turn left. A short walk will bring you to Al Saad Metro station – also on the Gold Line. Continue past Al Saad station and you will find the 5 star La Cigale Hotel which is another neat place for a tipple.

Happy exploring and please share your experiences with us below

So, you can now use Doha Metro to and from Hamad International Airport. Awesome news but how exactly do you do this? In short, continue reading.

Hamad International Airport – Doha Metro red line

First of all, collect your bags and after clearing customs, be sure to turn right to exit. The entrance to the metro is only 7 – 10 minutes away. There are now two options.

Look up to see this sign after clearing customs – turn right!

Use lifts if you have heavy luggage

Firstly, after exiting right, turn left and walk straight past the Flight Information screens, as a result behind them you will find the lifts. Alight at level 1 then turn left and follow metro signage.

HIA Lifts
Walk past the Flight Information screens to the lift behind

This route is recommended if you have heavy luggage. It is permitted to take a baggage trolley in the lift and all the way to the metro entrance if you wish to.

Most noteworthy is that the moving travellators start automatically and might take a few seconds to start.

Way to Metro
After turning left out of the lift you will see the Metro signage

Second option (and the default route if you follow airport signage) is to turn right after clearing customs and continue walking straight. Follow the sign for metro/buses. Why not read Brian`s article about taking the bus https://qatarquick.com/catching-a-bus-from-doha-international-airport-qatar

In a while (in the corner) you will see the Vodafone local SIM counter and another sign directing you left to use the travelators going up (not recommended with lots or heavy luggage) upon reaching the top turn right and follow the metro signs.

Metro Left/Vodafone
Sign showing where to turn left and Vodafone counter in the distance

Continue straight to reach the metro, meanwhile if you want to pray there is a public mosque on the way, just follow the sign. The shape of a water droplet inspires Hamad International Airport mosque’s architecture and is very unique.

HIA Mosque
The beautiful Hamad International Airport mosque

Once you reach the end, take the escalator or lift and most importantly at the bottom turn left – do not turn right for the reason that it will lead you to a one way escalator (up not down) and steps.

Buying your ticket – staff are extremely helpful

Next buy your ticket from the machines on the right or if unsure, ask the extremely helpful staff to clarify the process. Pricing information can be found here https://www.qr.com.qa/static-content?code=AboutTravelCards

Select from local currency (ATMs and money changers are easy to find before you exit the arrivals hall) or if you rather pay by card then foreign cards are accepted too.

Buy Tickets
Ticket machines and member of staff

Screens display expected train arrival times. Another point to note is that to enter the train, the doors will only open if the class of carriage is shown above the door.

Screen signifying doors opening
Only wait at the doors with the lit signs

Finally, jump on the train. Consider using luggage racks (if travelling standard class) but stay aware if your luggage has wheels.

Metro luggage rack
Metro luggage rack

For Al Wakra and Free Zone stations you must get out at Oqba Ibn Nafie station and simply cross the platform to change direction. To continue towards Lusail on the Red line stay on the train. In contrast if you want to use the Gold or Green lines you must change at Msheireb.

All stations have lifts so make your journey easier by using them.

Doha Metro lifts
All stations have lifts

Continuing your journey after arriving at your desired station

Most noteworthy is that certain stations are connected to a (currently) free bus service within their local vicinity. To clarify your route use the excellent journey planner function on the Doha Metro website or ask the staff. https://www.qr.com.qa/home

You can also view and download detailed bus route maps using this link. https://www.qr.com.qa/metrolink

Alternatively use a metered green Karwa taxi if you spot one (minimum fare QAR10) or try Uber/Careem if you are familiar with them. On the other hand simply walk to your destination if close by.

Use the Metro to return to Hamad International Airport

Similarly you can return to the airport on the metro and after tapping out at the ticket barriers you will see luggage trolleys. In addition there is airline check in counter information and public conveniences.

Luggage Trolleys
Luggage Trolleys

Remember if you are heading to the airport from Al Wakra or Free Zone stations you will have to change at Oqba Ibn Nafie and board the train for the airport. If using the Gold or Green lines change at Msheireb and choose the train to Hamad International Airport.

In conclusion using the Metro is very simple due to the excellent signage and helpful staff.


Happy travelling and let us your experiences below……….