Souq Waqif in Wakra Nearing Completion

The new Souq Waqif being constructed in Al Wakra is due to be opened on December 18th 2014, which is of course Qatar National Day.

Souq Waqif in Wakra Nearing Completion

Built to look old, aged and traditional it is very convincing. You feel like you are walking in a commercial area that has existed for generations. Yet it is completely brand new.

And the location is breathtakingly splendid, right on the sea shore next to Wakra Marina. With cafés, restaurants and retail outlets it’s going to have a bit of everything for everyone. I can already see myself sat outside Al Aker Sweets enjoying a nice plate of kunafah, watching a beautiful sunset with the salty smell of the sea in the air. Perfect!

There is no doubt about it, Al Wakra is evolving. And this development has been well planned, with what appears to be ample parking. Although I truly hope the guy who designed Souq Waqif Doha’s car park has had nothing to do with the parking here. Because this place is going to be a fantastic family destination that is going to be simply buzzing with people driving here.

Souq Waqif in Wakra Nearing Completion

Souq Waqif in Wakra Nearing Completion

Souq Waqif in Wakra Nearing Completion

NOTE: It’s no longer free to park in the long stay. Now it’s QR 2 per hour, QR 45 per 24 hour.


Here is a video to help you find the Long Stay

Directions to HIA Long Stay Car Park Video
Two min Video Directions

And here are step by step instructions

HIA Long Stay Car Park Directions 1
1) Move into the left lane

HIA Long Stay Car Park Directions 2
2) Turn left

HIA Long Stay Car Park Directions 3
3) Turn left again

HIA Long Stay Car Park Directions 4
4) Yes this left turn 😉

HIA Long Stay Car Park Directions 5
5) Stay in the left lane and then filter turn left

HIA Long Stay Car Park Directions 6
6) You have reached your destination 😀

Long Stay Car Park is still free at the time of writing this article. Now catch a shuttle bus and enjoy your flight.

Just got a WhatsApp message from my son saying that he has his, and his GF’s boarding passes in his hand. Yay! Now I can relax. He actually made it to LHR on time, now all he has to do is get on the damn plane. He is flying Emirates as Qatar Airways was too expensive, so he gets a brief shopping trip in Dubai on his way over here.

Tomorrow we are booked into the Marriott for my favorite Friday Brunch, and we have lots of great stuff planed for the two weeks they are here. They will be staying in the Wyndham Grand as that was by far the cheapest deal on Agoda. Get this, only QR 340 per night for a 5 Star hotel (about £56) what a bargain. Shame it doesn’t have a bar, but my favorite first two choices Radison Blu and Marriott (Corniche) which do have bars were twice that price :O

Looking forward to a fab couple of weeks eating great food, visiting great attractions, chilling and just spending time with my boy and his future wife.

Whereas most airports will go nuts if they catch you taking photographs, the new Hamad International Airport #HIAqatar positively encourage it.


It was great to see so many things of interest to photograph, and so many people photographing them.


Plenty of space for families to settle, both official


and unofficial


Great areas to keep kids happy


and grownups too



This truly is like no airport I have come across anywhere else


with big art


big spaces


and nobody hassling you for taking photos


and just a little work still going on


And if I had longer, there would be loads more images. Well done Qatar! This airport is truly magnificent!

So here I am sat in the brand new shiny Hamad International Airport Qatar. I’m glad I took the time to come here this afternoon in advance of this evening’s flight to figure out the Long stay airport parking. I left home in Abu Hamour tonight and was parked in a space in the airport within 30 minutes hassle free.

Once in a parking space in was a tiny walk to the bus pickup point where a bus was ready and waiting. A very helpful chap assisted me by popping my baggage onto the bus for me and within minuets we were on our way to the bus terminal which is just a short hop away.

On arrival at the bus terminal the same nice chap took my baggage back off the bus and set it down outside for me. Yes he did work for the airport and he wasn’t just a nice bloke who enjoyed carrying people’s luggage. Then a short walk from the bus into the main terminal which wasn’t much fun. I was a bit laden with heavy luggage and there wasn’t a trolley in sight. Although the walk from the bus to terminal was short, I was struggling and this was made worse because there were a million airport workers for me to battle my way through to get to the terminal doors. The workers use this bus terminal as well and they all seemed relieved to have finished work or something and were in groups chatting while I was on a mission to get past them. This was mildly frustrating but not the end of the world. Then up two sets of escalators to departures.

In departures there were loads of helpful staff, who politely and quickly guided me to my check in desk. Only one person in front of me, and I was checked in by a beautiful Filipina who cheerfully got me a decent seat and I was on my way to passport control in no time.

E-Gate tastic! I love my E-Gate card, no cue, but a slightly more complicated E-Gate mechanism meant even a technical guru like me need help. And the guy who was there to help struggled a bit as well, but it’s a million times better than the manual option and was over in minutes.

Security was no better and no worse than the old airport. No cue really, just the usual inconvenience of security doing their job ensuring we travel safely.

Yay! Now for the Oryx Lounge. I steam off at full speed to locate the Oryx only to find that my expensive Priority Pass wasn’t valid in the new airport Oryx Lounge, and apparently Priority Pass’s lounge won’t be ready until September! OMG!!! No Lounge Access!!! I am not happy with Priority Pass and they are going to be getting a stiff letter from me shortly.

So here I am, sat in Burger King on a hard bench seat eating a Double Whopper Meal for QR 29. Having paid USD 250 for my priority pass 🙁 But hey at least there is free WiFi here. Oh and Burger King need some more staff. Only two servers operating caused about 10 minutes of cue, which was too long for someone who was supposed to be in a nice comfortable lounge by this point.

Right….. of to take a look around

IMPORTANT! Click this > Click HERE for updated version of these directions

NOTE: It’s no longer free to park in the long stay. Now it’s QR 2 per hour, QR 45 per 24 hour.

HIA Long Stay Car Park Rates

For some unknown reason HIA don’t want you to know where their Long Stay Car Park is. But I sneeked in there this afternoon and drove around and around until I figured it out. So…. here is the secret they don’t want you to know:-


Look for the yellow “High Vehicles” signs. These are what you will need to follow.


Follow that yellow “High Vehicles Exit” sign and go first left on the very left. Do not follow any of the signs to the car parks as they are all short stay.


Keep following the yellow signs, keeping right this time.


you will take a 90 degree left bend and then go straight ahead.


When you reach this sign, don’t go right for the exit, turn left.


Your there…. YAY!!!


Free Long Stay Car Park at HIA

Now head for the big ‘J’ this seems to be where they are picking up from.

Hamad International Airport, Long Stay Shuttle Bus

Oh by the way, Long Stay is free still at the moment!

I will let you know more after I have tried this out tonight.

So at last I am looking forward to visiting Hamad International Airport as a flying customer instead of a press photographer. On previous visits only security were there to keep us company. So tonight I am so looking forward to seeing this beautiful building in use. To see the blocked off areas that were inaccessible to me earlier, and to see how passengers interact with the environment.

HIA Pre Opening
Image of Hamad International Airport terminal before it opened

I hope my  Priority Pass will be valid, as I believe not all lounges are open, and those that are have been reassigned for the business and first class customers (I am just a meager economy class peasant). But I will report back here with my findings later tonight.

I was just thinking how nice it was going to be, walking direct from gate to plane without using a bus next week. When I fly for the first time from the gorgeous new Hamad International Airport for a nice relaxing vacation. And I recalled all the buses driving around and around within the old DOH shuttling us from gate to plane, and then plane to gate. There was a veritable army of buses and bus drivers.

What became of all those buses and more importantly the bus drivers? I hope they got reapropriated into new positions elsewhere in the new airport.

So today as I was at the #HIA I decided to get to the bottom of the free parking status. I popped into the Car Park Management Office and spoke to a HIA representative there who answered my questions below. I’m a photographer not a journalist so these are not direct quotes as I can’t remember the exact words used, but this is the gist of it-

Q) How long is the free parking for?
A) It’s about to change, and probably next week.

Q) But I had read somewhere online that it was free until the 27th July.
A) It was but because the other car parks aren’t operating yet, this one is reaching over capacity as it houses long stay, short stay and staff parking. And we need to start charging reduce the demand.

Q) So next week you will start charging, any idea when?
A) A formal announcement will be made probably sometime next week announcing the changes.

Q) Any idea what the charges will be?
A) That is being finalised now and will be announced at the same time.

Q) What happens if someone parks their car next week, and when they come back from a month long vacation find that charges have been instigated while they were away.
A) They will not be charged if they entered the car park while it was free.

Free car parking to end at HIA