The FIFA world cup is set to take place in Qatar, a first for such a small nation, and the first time it’s taking place at the end of the year. Naturally, there will be a lot of questions about visiting Qatar and there is a lot of misinformation going around. So to help we’ve put together a short guide for anyone planning to visit.
Hay’Ya Card (Fan ID)
For any visitor, the first item on the to-do list must be to obtain a Hayya Card. Hayya Card is a fan ID, stadium pass (along with match ticket), public transport card, and entry permit if you’re planning to visit between November 1st and the 23rd of January. All international travellers, regardless of whether they plan on attending a match or not, must obtain a Hayya Card beforehand, locals on the other hand will only need it to attend matches or use public transport for free. Once tickets are purchased and accommodation booked you can apply for a Hayya Card, online via https://www.qatar2022.qa/
Getting In & Getting Around
The main way into Qatar is by flying into Hamad International Airport. The airport is the home base of Qatar Airways, which is one of the best-connected airlines in the world. You shouldn’t have too much difficulty getting into the country.
If you live in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, then you may want to consider driving in. Saudi Arabia is Qatar’s only land border and is connected by a single highway, the Qatar-UAE Road.
Getting around Qatar is really simple, the country is one of the smallest in the world, and most matches will take place in its capital Doha. The metro and bus services in the country are efficient and well run. With your Hayya Card, you’ll get free access. You can choose to go via taxi or ride-hailing app, if you prefer this then we advise getting set up on Uber or Careem beforehand.
Much has been made of the general prohibition of alcohol in Qatar as it’s only really available at a few high-end hotels or private clubs. For those fans who like to revel in a drink during games, organisers have set up designated fan zones, where alcohol consumption is permitted. Fan zones will be made easily accessible and set up to include food stalls, football-themed activities, VIP tents, and giant screens. Full list of fan zones has yet to be released so keep an eye out.
While football is the main attraction during the World Cup, there are plenty of sites worth visiting. The Museum of Islamic Art is a lovely way to spend a morning. If you want to shop the city boasts plenty of shopping malls, for a more traditional shopping experience we recommend the vibrant Souq Waqif, and for cultural immersion why not check out the wonder Katara Cultural Village. All this and many more sites will be a short trip away while you’re in Doha. Some of these could get very busy, so if you want to avoid crowds it may be a smart idea to go toward the end of the tournament when some fans have left.
Consider the UAE
One option that has been floated around is the idea of staying in the UAE and visiting Qatar on matchdays. With both Abu Dhabi and Dubai only a short flight or a 5-6 hour car journey (via Saudi Arabia) away, it’s something worth thinking about. For one accommodation will be cheaper in either of these cities, and neither will be as busy as Doha, ideal if you want to avoid all the frenzy.
As covered earlier alcohol is banned so taking your drinks out of fan zones isn’t allowed nor should you be drunk in public. Public displays of affection of any kind can get you into trouble although you may get away with hand-holding or linking arms.
Dress modestly, and make sure knees and elbows are covered, especially away from the beach or fan zones.