A new public bus system is currently being developed in Qatar. From the Central Bus Station (458 8888; www.mowasalat.com; Grand Hamad St), air-conditioned buses should soon start servicing Al-Khor, Al-Wakara and Masaieed among other destinations. Prices will cost QR2 for inner-city rides and up to QR7 outside Doha. The new taxi system is designed to bridge the gap in Doha until the new bus system is fully implemented.
If you’re driving around Doha, you’ll discover that roundabouts are very common, treated like camel-race tracks and often redundant in practice. Finding the right way out of Doha can also be difficult: if you’re heading south towards Al-Wakrah or Mesaieed, take the airport road (Al-Matar St); the main road to all points north is 22 February St (north from Al-Rayyan Rd); and to the west, continue along Al-Rayyan Rd.
Driving in Qatar is on the right-hand side. Numerous petrol stations are located around Doha and along the highways.
Authorities are strict with anyone caught speeding, not wearing a seat belt or not carrying a driving licence: heavy on-the-spot fines are handed out freely. Don’t even think about drink driving.
A foreigner can rent a car (there’s nowhere to rent motorcycles) with a driving licence from home – but only within seven days of arriving in Qatar (although expats resident in other GCC countries can drive for up to three months). After that, a temporary driving licence must be obtained, issued by the Traffic Licence Office. It costs QR150 and lasts three months – rental agencies can arrange this for you. The minimum rental period for all car-hire agencies is 24 hours and drivers must be at least 21 years old.
Car hire costs (which include unlimited kilometres, but not petrol) vary, so it’s worth shopping around. Major agencies charge about QR120/700 per day/week for the smallest sedan, though cheaper rates can be found at some local agencies. Most agencies have a compulsory Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) of around QR10 per day, which is a good idea to avoid an excess of QR1500 to QR2500 in case of an accident. A few companies also add a compulsory Personal Accident Insurance Fee.
The cost of a 4WD can be very high (around QR300/1800 per day/week); an ordinary sedan is perfectly suitable for reaching all the places mentioned here, with the exception of Khor al-Adaid. A 4WD is essential, however, for those wanting to explore the interior in greater depth or wishing to camp on a remote beach.
Al-Muftah Rent a Car (432 8100; email@example.com; Wadi Musheireb St) is a reliable and cheaper alternative to the major agencies, which include Avis (466 7744; firstname.lastname@example.org); Budget (468 5515; email@example.com), Europcar (443 8404) and Hertz (462 2891; firstname.lastname@example.org).