It was an odd but enjoyable experience to stay overnight in a Muslim Hostel. It was also a short lived one. On my first trip to Qatar in 2011, I spent a night in Doha B Hostel, Doha, Qatar.
I didn’t even believe there would be any type of “hostel” in Doha, Qatar when I booked my trip. Then a quick search on hostelbookers.com revealed the Doha B hostel. This was perfect and so I paid a deposit online and booked myself into a room. I had initially thought it would be a dorm room full of muslims. Of course, this hostel is strictly for men, as there is a blatant sex divide in Doha and Qatar, a muslim state. But when I arrived, it wasn’t busy and I got my own room, with an excellent double bed, television, air conditioning and free water.
I had never ever been to Doha, Qatar or indeed the Middle East until my flight landed in Doha that night! I had no Qatar Riyals so I got a taxi driver called Mohammed to stop off at a cash point on the way back to the hostel for me.
He dropped me off at the hostel, finding it no problem in a massive city. The address was 17 Alrayhan Street (Behind Al Ali Market). The thing is my flight there was slightly delayed and it was dark and gone 11 pm when I arrived at the hostel. This would not normally be a worry, but in a muslim state, everyone was seemingly asleep. After arriving at the gates of the hostel the whole place looked locked up with nobody in sight. Mohammed my taxi driver had left anyway and I was banging on the door. Out of respect I decided not to bang too loudly. It was only a matter of time. I think it took less than 10 minutes for a guy to come out for a smoke, dressed in full muslim gear, and he let me in.
The location of Doha B Muslim Hostel – also oddly part of the Hostelling International Group.
I had a booking reservation for a 6 bed dorm, and once inside the actual hostel was more of an enclosed courtyard with one main building in the centre (lounge, kitchen, reception) which was closed. The buildings to either side were the rooms. I walked all around looking for someone to help me find my bed for the night. The only other people I saw where muslims coming out of their rooms to use the toilets. There were no women around, all muslim men staying here. It was a bit odd. On a video below, live at the time I called it “bizarre in Qatar” as I was in my hostel for the night but couldn’t get my bed.
This was the administration office where a kind muslim woke the manager/owner who knew of my reservation and kindly let me into the office. He gave me a full receipt, took the rest of the money I owed and showed me my bed for the night. One thing about my experience in this place was that EVERYONE I met was friendly towards me. Nothing was hassle and I was the only foreigner staying there, which the guy confirmed. When they looked at my passport they called me Man from UK, which I had a good chuckle at. This became Jonny from the UK. Both the guys I met in the administration office were called Mohammed (as was everyone I met in Doha).
The central building in Doha B hostel. It was locked shut, which was a shame as it featured a cosy lounge and orange juice. It would have been a nice place to chill and chat to the Muslims, had I been earlier. This only gave me enthusiasm for the Muslim culture and a desire to see more of their lifestyle and ways.
This window was open so I could have climbed in. But they had been nice to me so I didn’t abuse my stay there.
The door to the section where I stayed – Villa 3. I actually found it odd that it was written in English, then remembered this country of Qatar used to be under British rule.
A local poster in Arabic writing.
Opening and working times for the reception at the hostel.
I loved seeing these pictures and it gave me a real buzz and eagerness to come back to Qatar in 2022. They were awarded the honour of being host nation at the World Cup in 2022. An amazing feat and from what I saw they would certainly do a great job in terms of hospitality. Now if they can just start selling hot dogs and beer…
There were a few of these flags hanging up in the hostel. Again, normally I’d ask for one as a souvenir or take one. But I was being respectful.
So I actually ended up getting my very own cosy air conditioned room – Room 501.
No idea what this means. Al Qeblah!
My bed in Doha B Hostel – I was in a twin room but I was on my own. I was half tempted to change my flight and stay another night, but I had an extra onward flight booked to take me back home to Australia and a staff party on the Monday night so my stay remained at just one night.
I took advantage of the random TV footage from the archives. It’s not often I get to watch TV on my travels. Mind you, I didn’t understand a word…
Got my Northern Ireland flag out in my bedroom for no real reason in fact…
Just really a few extra photos as I was travelling alone and it was night/early morning so I didn’t leave the hostel.
Qatar Riyals, possibly even upside down!
My Room Key for 501 and a night in Doha.
More Arabic TV channels.
Finally switching through the channels, I came across some football!!
Orange v. Green a repeat at 1am in Doha, Qatar. I watched most of it!
The corridor. Including a shower room which I used once.
Morning sunrise over Doha from the street where the hostel is.
The Qatar flag proudly flying over the Doha B Hostel.
Dusty street by Doha B Hostel at dawn.
And to be honest that was it! All over in a flash, as I waited on either a bus or a taxi ride through the city, and onwards again for a connecting flight.
My Doha experience had been far from complete as it was merely an overnight stop, but I got enough from my night in Doha B Hostel to warrant my return to the country, and indeed the Middle East. This is the one major part of the world missing from my growing travel repertoire. I need to go back!
And so as my purple and white Qatar Airways Jet flew me onwards to Kuala Lumpur, I remembered the enjoyable night in Doha. I’d like to thank the Doha B Hostel and its staff and residents for helping me on my journey. I hope to see you again in 2022, if not before…
City – Doha, QATAR
Population – 1.45 million (of 1.8 million in Qatar)
Visa Needed – No, but a passport stamp on arrival for British Citizens for a cost of a few US Dollars
Transport Used – Bus Transfer, Aeroplane, Taxi
Nationalities Met – Qatari, Indian, British
People I met – Mohammed (taxi driver 1), Mohammed (taxi driver 2), Mohammed (hostel owner), Mohammed (hostel helper). I am not joking they were all called Mohammed!
Strange Currencies – Qatari Riyal
Drink – Water
Food – Qatari Style Breakfast (appears in my Doha post)
Where I Stayed – Doha B Hostel, 17 Alrayhan Street, Doha, QATAR
Best Fact – Qatar will host the football World Cup in 2022 (and the year I was there, 2011 it hosted the Asian Cup)
Key Song –
RADIOHEAD – ANYONE CAN PLAY QATAR (GUITAR):
OUTSIDE DOHA B HOSTEL UNABLE TO GET IN AS IT’S MIDNIGHT AND THEY CLOSE THE DOOR AROUND 11 PM:
INSIDE DOHA B HOSTEL GROUNDS BUT UNABLE TO GET A ROOM AS RECEPTION IS CLOSED AND THERE IS NOBODY AROUND!!! BIZARRE IN QATAR:
DRIVING AT NIGHT THROUGH DOHA, QATAR:
WATCHING RANDOM MIDDLE EAST FOOTBALL IN MY HOSTEL ROOM IN DOHA, QATAR:
MY HOSTEL ROOM 501 IN DOHA B HOSTEL, QATAR:
EARLY MORNING IN DOHA B HOSTEL, QATAR:
WAITING FOR MY TAXI FROM DOHA B HOSTEL, QATAR:
INTRODUCING QATAR’S FIVE STADIUMS FOR THE 2022 WORLD CUP:
I LIKE THIS WEE VIDEO MADE BY SOMEONE ELSE WHO VISITED DOHA:
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