Karwa Bus No. 727….To Nuaija District from Hamad International Airport

That morning, my desire to went to downtown was so rushed. I couldn’t wait to get a closer look at Doha. But my rush was stopped for a moment, I continued to calculate in detail fo transportation budget which I needed for five days in Qatar. So that I didn’t leave too much of remaining balance in Karwa Smartcard later.

Short breakfast with bread at airport bus terminal.

My calculation decided to top up the balance for about 30 Riyal for entire trip, majority of trip would use city bus. This amount didn’t include Karwa Smartcard price for about 10 Riyal.

Ticketing Vending Machine.
Karwa Smartcard is the only access to enjoy Karwa Bus services.

Avsec: “Hi, No No No….Sir, Sorry, you can’t capture the building”, the South Asian looking officer approached and stopped me when pointing my camera at a side of Hamad International Airport from the airport bus platform.

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry sir….I don’t capture the photo yet, I’m sorry”, I immediately put my Canon EOS M10 into a folding bag.

Avsec: “Nice….Nice”, smiling while shaking his head. “Where will you go?

Me: “I’m waiting for bus no. 727 to Nuaija. Do you know, When it will come?

Avsec: “Oh, you better ask to Karwa Officer….Him (he pointed to a fat officer who was busy with his clipboard)”.

I went to him and asked the status of Karwa Bus No. 727, then he asked me to wait about ten minutes.

Just in time, the bus arrived.

Nervous, my first time in using Qatar city bus. If Dubai, Bahrain and Oman prefer red color for their city buses, Qatar had decided to use green color for it.

I was the first passenger on bus which had just been parked. A few minutes later, one by one, Hamad International Airport workers entered the same bus.

Preparing fo heading to Nuaija District.
A side of Hamad International Airport.

During trip, Karwa Bus slowly and leisurely ran while crossing city’s streets. Like other modes of public transportation in civilized cities, it ensured that every passenger felt safe.

Payment was made by tapping Karwa Smartcard on tap machine which located next to driver. You need to know that steering wheel in Qatar is placed in left side. While there, I entered and got off a bus always from front door. Of course, before getting off from bus, I had to check remaining Karwa Smartcard balance on the same tap machine.

Riding bus for thirty minutes, my eyes continued to stare at all the prints of city’s architecture which was passed, as well as various activities of local people who were observed.

Dropped off at Nuaija intersection.

As soon as I got off from bus, the wind hardly blew against me, carrying soft particles of sand with it. “Is this the taste of desert wind? “, my heart mumbled for a moment. My naked eyes had to be sacrificed to repeatedly hit by soft sand. I couldn’t longer look for my rayban glasses which I didn’t know where I put it in my backpack. The temperature of twelve degrees Celsius forced me to immediately reach Casper Hotel, where I would stay.

Al Emadi Hospital which I passed on the outskirts of D Ring Road.
Fresh flowers grown with hydroponic techniques.

After walking for a kilometer and a half and in twenty minutes, I finally arrived at a hotel Which appeared to be the result of turning a residential complex into a simple inn.

Casper Hotel.

Later I would tell to you how comfortable that simple dormitory is….?

26 Tourist Attractions in Doha, Qatar

Maybe, a person who was influencing me to go to Qatar was Valentino Rossi. Yes….The living legend of premium iron horse racing had indirectly influenced me to visit Losail International Circuit through television screen for a long time. During the years of watching MotoGP that too, the intention to visiting Qatar began to disturb my sleep at night.

That dream had became a beautiful reality when for five days I was able to explore Qatar in early 2020. Now is the time for me to tell you about its beauty. Here are a few of the memories which I got in the country which rich in “black gold”:

1. Hamad International Airport

It can be said that Hamad International Airport (HIA) is a perfector to Qatar’s tourism gateway. Since seven years ago, HIA had succeeded in replacing the role of Doha International Airport. You need to know that naming of this airport is taken from the name of Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

That sunny morning, I agreed with the splendor of this airport which was located on the shores of Persian Gulf. This is the airport which holds an asset of “Yellow Bear” worth 6.7 million US Dollar…Wowww.

2. Karwa Bus

As a person who adhered to backpacker ethic codes, I was only faced with two choices to get to downtown…..Train or bus?. That time, bus was my first choice.

Haven’t seen and boarded it yet, I already imagined that I would ride a modern-looking city bus when I left the airport.

Doha city buses are known as Karwa Buses and require a KARWA Smart Card to ride them. All Doha city buses are operated by the state transport company “Mowasalat”. The average one-way fare is also very affordable, which is around 2.5 Qatari Riyal.

3. Al Ghanim Bus Station

After checking in at Casper Hotel and putting all my equipments down, I started exploring Doha. The first place which I traced was Al Ghanim Bus Station as final destination for Karwa Bus number 12 which picked me up from hotel.

Located in Municipality Ad Dawhah, Al Ghanim Bus Station is an important landmark. This bus terminal certainly covers most of Karwa Bus routes in Qatar. Al Ghanim Bus Station takes on the role of a central terminal in Qatar as well as being the headquarters of Mowasalat. If you intend to explore Qatar tourism by bus, surely you will often visit this terminal.

4. Abdul Aziz Nasser Theater

This is a performance space for multidisciplinary arts which supports local and international artists. Located in Doha downtown with a capacity of almost a thousand seats. Even to facilitate the implementation of large events, this theater is directly connected to Al Mirqab Hotel which is located right on its west side.

5. Al Fanar Mosque

I visited this mosque after exploring Al Ghanim Bus Station. The location is only a kilometer in north of terminal. Al Fanar is a Qatar Islamic Cultural Center better known as Al Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zaid Al-Mahmood Islamic Cultural Center. Apart from introducing Qatari culture through Islam, the Fanar Cultural Center also organizes social and educational activities.

6. Souq Faleh

Souq Faleh and Al Fanar Masque are only separated by Al Tarbiya Street. It’s one of many old markets in Doha. If you are an Abaya lover, then this market is right place to hunt it, because the price which is offered is relatively cheaper than other markets.

7. Domes Mosque

While I was busy in visiting Souq Faleh, suddenly I heared the call to Dzuhur prayer. It seemed that I should end my exploration for a moment and heading to an old mosque in southeast. This mosque with many domes and pillars still proudly stands in the middle of modern city. The Dzuhur prayer was filled with worshipers who came from all over. And it was my first congregational prayer in Doha.

8. City Souq

Adjacent to Al Fanar Mosque in east, right at a corner of the intersection of Al Tarbiya Street and Al Bareed Street, is a modern shopping mall with a seven-story which then looks to dwarf the Central Municipal Center building in opposite. I entered it just to hunt for a fridge magnet and then took some photos of situation inside.

Known as City Souq, this mall provides clothes, garments, shoes, perfumes, children’s toys, stationery, blankets and abayas. Practice haggling before shopping at this place !.

9. Souq Waqif

More than two centuries old, doesn’t make Souq Waqif change its architectural form. Being the only ancient traditional market in all of Qatar.

Waqif means standing. Because during pioneering period, not a single stall was built. This was due to overflow of sea water from Doha coast which inundated market. Even at the beginning, buyers would come by boat or ride camels to get around inundation and sellers would stand around all day offering their goods.

10. The Pearl Monument

Leaving Souq Waqif for a moment for me to revisit on next day, I targeted The Pearl Monument at across of Al Corniche Street which provided underground crossing facility under it. I think, not only travelers, even all Qatari citizens should be obliged to visit this monument which in the form of gaping pearl shells. Through this monument, all visitors should know that prior to 1939, era before oil discovery in their earth belly, Qatar was a poor country whose income which was depended on catching pearl shells in Persian Gulf.

11. Corniche Promenade

Visiting The Pearl Monument made me happy beyond measure, in addition to exploring Qatar history, my eyes were spoiled by beautiful view of Doha Corniche. The seven-kilometer long promenade reveals the arch of Doha Bay which was crammed with skyscrapers at the end. Meanwhile, distribution of traditional dhow boats which are quietly anchored along the bay becomes a natural interior which makes situation more charming.

12. Museum of Islamic Art

Right at the eastern end of Doha Corniche, there is building which is erected like floating on the shores of sea. It’s the Museum of Islamic Art which exhibits the richness of Islamic culture from three continents which is more than 1,400 years old. This is Qatar’s flagship museum which is founded by the sister of their Emir, H. E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The existence of this museum has ordained Qatar as the cultural capital of Middle East region.

13. MIA Park

MIA in this park name stands for Museum of Islamic Art. As name implies, before visiting it, everyone can be sure to understand that this park is located right in front of Museum of Islamic Art. The park is often be the official state venue for national holiday celebrations, besides that, this park is often used as a venue for musical performances, bazaar activities or other regular concerts. Meanwhile, specifically on Tuesdays and starting at 17:00 hours, this park becomes a special public area for women who are usually led by personal trainers in cardio and fitness training.

14. Doha Hop On Hop Off Bus

For those of you who don’t want to bother exploring Doha. Qatar Tourism provides Hop On-Hop Off Sightseeing Tour. So you just sit down from the top of this bus and will be delivered to several tourist destinations in Doha. This bus spans thirty minutes in operation. Passing through Qatar’s main tourist destinations, namely Souq Waqif, Katara Cultural Village, The Pearl Qatar and the Museum of Islamic Art. To pamper travelers, this bus also stops at Marriott Hotel, Sharq Village and Spa, Sheraton and Hilton Hotel.

15. West Bay

Day Two….The air was very windy and cold of course. Boarding Karwa Bus number 12 and continuing with number 64, I headed for West Bay. The skyscraper complex seemed to be waving at me when I looked at it from the other side of Doha Corniche yesterday afternoon.

Now I was right in the middle of this business area on east coast of Doha. An area that covers three districts at once, namely Al Qassar, Al Dafna and West Bay Lagoon. Finally up close, I could enjoy the Burj Doha, the most iconic building in Qatar.

16. City Center Doha

Tracing every inch in Wes Bay streets, I came to one of the oldest shopping malls in Qatar. City Center Doha which is located in the business center but is targeted to serve customers from the middle economy class. Located right in the middle of West Bay area, this shopping mall is directly connected to three luxury hotels, namely Shangri La Hotel, Rotana Hotel and Merweb Hotel.

17. Doha Metro

For the first time I ride Doha Metro. Qatar’s newest mass transportation system which has been in operation since last year. The three-line MRT (Red Line, Green Line and Gold Line) owned by Hamad Group is ordained as the fastest driverless train in the world with a cruising speed of 100 km/hour.

This time, I enjoyed its luxurious facilities from DECC Station (Doha Exhibition & Convention Center) in Wet Bay to Katara Station which is the access to visit Katara Cultural Village.

18. Katara Cultural Village

Doha Metro dropped me off at Katara station. It only took a half kilometer walk to reach Katara Cultural Village, a cultural center in Qatar. Located on east coast between West Bay and The Pearl, this cultural village dates back ten years.

Katara itself was the name for Qatar before 18th century. The word “Catara” in the first century AD was pinned to naming Qatar Peninsula which is located in south of Persian Gulf.

19. Aspire Park

My third day of exploration in Qatar I started a little bit late. Waiting for the sun to rise, because I would play in an open area, namely Aspire Park. The name of this park is taken from the name of an area, namely Aspire Zone which is the well-known name of Doha Sports City in Baaya District.

Karwa Bus number 301 dropped me off at Villaggio Shelter Bus at exactly 11:44 am. I walked to the park which is located in the west of Qatar. Aspire Park is a beautiful and spacious park which is equipped with a playground, fountains, several coffee shops and even the only artificial lake in Qatar.

20. The Torch Doha

Still in Aspire Zone Complex, stepping a little to east, I was right under a 300 meter high hotel. Often referred to as Aspire Tower, although its official name is The Torch Doha.

The work of an architectural consultant from France, this building is currently the tallest building in Doha. This 36-floors hotel has contributed to Qatar as a focal point for the 15th Asian Games.

21. Khalifa International Stadium

Khalifa International Stadium is right next to The Torch Doha. Often called by the name National Stadium. Like their magnificent airport, this football arena also bears name of the Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. This is the official home of Qatar national football team with forty thousand seating capacity.

Owned by Qatar Football Association, this stadium was the witness where Australia was overthrown by “the blue samurai squad” with Tadanari Lee’s only goal in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup final.

22. Villaggio Mall

My visit to Doha Sports City, ended by entering Villaggio Mall. This mall in the outskirts of Al Waab Street was developed by Gondolania Entertainment, therefore the concept of gondola tourism in Venice was adopted in this one-story shopping center.

Designed in it’s 150 meter long indoor canal complete with gondola boat, reminds me when I visited The Venetian in Macau 4 years ago.

The main retailer at Villaggio Mall is Carrefour, but this shopping center also accommodates 200 stores selling well-known brands from America, England, Italy and Germany. Come on, those who like shopping, please stop by here!

23. Al Koot Fort

The fourth day, I intend to explore the MDD (Mshreib Downtown Doha) area, which is a replacement city for Mushayrib District whose its development is planned in detail.

But before entering MDD area, I took time to stop at the 93-year-old Al Koot Fort. It was the services of fourth Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani who built this fort with the aim of protecting Souq Waqif from notorious band of thieves at that time.

After stopping at Al Koot Fort or Doha Fort, then I stepped into the MDD area. Let’s see what’s in MDD?

24. Msheireb Museum

The main tourist spot which I visited in Mshreib Downtown Doha was Msheireb Museum which was developed by Msheireb Properties (Qatar National Real Estate Developer). I diligently traced four historic heritage homes which make up the main part of Msheireb Museum. Namely Bin Jelmood House which reveals the history of slave trade in that country, Company House which reveals the story of pioneers of Qatar’s oil industry workers, Mohammed Bin Jassim House which is a house built by son of the founder of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Jassim Al Thani and Radwani House which is a duplication of original Qatari house model.

If you go to Qatar, you have to come here…. Free ticket anyway.

25. Msheireb Tram

Riding the Msheireb Tram is an easy way to experience the beauty of MDD. This mass transportation was launched by Msheireb Properties with a two kilometer long loop track and is able to connect every spot on MDD in just eighteen minutes.

You have to feel the comfort of an American-made electric tram that uses a filtering glass panel which is said to be able to prevent sunlight from entering the tram cabin by up to 90%.

26. Doha Free Metrolink

Before leaving Qatar, on the last day I tried to try out Doha Metrolink which is a feeder bus network to connect anyone with Doha Metro Station within a radius of two to five kilometers.

There is no charge for using this feeder bus service. The Qatari government provides forty-two Doha Free Metrolink lines that operate from six in the morning to eleven at night.

If you want to travel cheaply in Qatar, look for a hotel which is passed by this bus route. Especially if the hotel is a bit far from the downtown, it will definitely save your pocket more…. Hihihi.

Hopefully this COVID-19 pandemic will end soon and you can immediately travel to Qatar….Amen.

Hamad International Airport….The Best in Middle East

On exactly 5:16 am, a white apron shuttle bus belonging to Qatar Aviation Services (QAS) completed its task of transporting all Kuwait Airways flight KU 621 passengers. Qatar Aviation Services itself is the main company which focuses in ground handling at Hamad International Airport (HIA) .

Go to immigration counter.

From arrival time, it would take thirty minutes to complete the immigration process, then crossing exit gate and enjoyed fresh situation of Arrivals Meet and Greet Hall.

Baggage conveyor belts.

Arrivals Meet and Greet Hall

Bottom view.
Top view.

Hunting for information about Qatar tourism at information desk, I was silent watching a display in neon box. The pattern which shows that HIA has obtained Airport Carbon Accreditation Level 3. This shows that the airport is able to respond to climate change through energy optimization programs and is successful in collaborating with stakeholders in managing third party emissions.

Information desk.

The time that was too early morning was able to put me to sleep in a chair covered in brown leather and located under a date palm tree which towered over the room.

Waiting chair….

An hour and a half later, I was shocked. The sun peeked at hall and airport visitors were already busy passing by. I stepped to airport’s east wing to wash and prepared to leave the airport.

Toilet.
Very clean.

Two water bottles which had dried up since last night were now filled. I left front area of toilet which was decorated with a herd of long-horned deer scattered on a side of the hall. Shiny chocolate like a fighter deer.

Free water station.
Contemporary Dutch art, “8 oryxes” represents a herd of deer typical of the Arabian Peninsula.

In the airport’s west wing, I hunted for money changers. A little tricky to find it, a little bit to right from main hall. 144 US Dollars changed to 479 Qatari Riyals, then 70 Riyals were left to buy a 2.5 GB SIM Card with a validity period of 30 days.

Travelex Qatar Money Changer.
Oredoo booth.

Aku menemukan lagi karya seni kontemporer setelah menukar Dollar. Karya tanpa nama sebagai bentuk penghormatan kepada para pekerja pembangun HIA. TaI found another piece of contemporary art after exchanging Dollars. An anonymous work as a form of respect for HIA construction workers. It looked like their signature was etched on that work of art.

Italian taste art.

Still on west wing, finished in equipping myself with drinking water, SIM Card and some Riyal money sheets, it was time to go to downtown using airport bus number 727. To riding it, I needed a KARWA Smart Card which could be purchased at automatic ticketing machine in waiting room of airport bus terminal.

Waiting room of airport bus terminal.

Departure Hall

If four days earlier I went to downtown using the airport bus, then when I left Doha, I used Doha Metro to HIA. Just wanted to feel the difference. From Casper Hotel, I took a Free Doha Metrolink Shuttle Service. A brown colored pink bus dropped me off at Oqba Ibn Nafie Station. Gliding with Doha Metro, one station later, I arrived at Hamad International Airport T1 Station.

Airport station interior.

Before passing through airport car park, the HIA Mosque tower became the best view on skybridge route which connected Doha Metro Station and Terminal 1. Then,travelator helped me to relieve my tired calf muscles after five days of exploring hot streets of Doha.

HIA Mosque tower.
Terminal 1 parking lot.
Travelator to Terminal 1.

Now I was sitting in check-in counter zone waiting for Philippines Airlines flight number to appear on one of 12 LCD screens on wall. Like waiting for a lottery number, I was happy when the number actually appeared. I rushed to check-in counter PR 685 which seemed quiet.

Seventh line check-in counter.

Hi, please queue, Sir!” warning from a ground staff who automatically braked my steps. He pointed to a queue of Filipinos starting from an airport pole. They all laughed at me and lowered my face in shame.

Check-in counter.

After stamping my passport, I went down stairs and found an old dream. It was obvious how cute the Lamp Bear was sitting helplessly stuck to a black lamppost. Every passerby scrambled to immortalize themself with the ill-fated bear. A Bangladeshi finally helped immortalize myself with the bear.

Duty free zone with a Lamp Bear mascot in the middle.
Yihaa….

I started looking for gate D3, a gate from which I flew to Manila. Took an escalator and rode skytrain to concourse D. Within 2 minutes, the skytrain dropped me off at a new hall with many forks leading to all gates at councourses D and E. The junction was marked by contemporary art titled “Cosmos” in the center.

Going to gate D3.
HIA skytrain.
Contemporary French art called “Cosmos” which symbolizes the world’s traveling culture.

Finally I arrived at waiting room at gate D3 and waited for Philippines Airlines to arrive to pick me up.

Gate D3.

How about Hamad International Airport, how magnificent is it?

One Thousand and Five Hundred Dollars in Qatar Immigration

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Peeking Departure Hall.

I was still standing still holding the iron fence on a side of the Arrival Hall Hamad International Airport. Separated by a glass partition, I still stared to the bronze statue nicknamed “Lamp Bear” which is the pride of the best airport in the Middle East region. While other passengers moved very fast with their respective travel trolleys. The yellow bear statue rised as high as seven meters and made every traveler who crosses it like a swarm of ants which busy with their own desires.

Soon I would pass through the immigration counter to adding stamp collection on my e-passport. Reading some stories of several homeland travelers who weren’t a bit rejected, I was already prepared with a lot of questions at the counter later. Understandably, I came to a country with the highest per capita income in the entire world. Meanwhile, my income from a salesman profession in Indonesia’s capital city was only a fingernail compared to the income of this country citizens.

“Don’t worry, Donny. You have prepared well”, I thought to calming down myself. Flashback to a month before departure, when I spoke with a female staff on duty at the front office of Qatar Embassy in Jakarta via telephone. “Entering Qatar doesn’t need a visa, Sir. The important thing is to bring 1,500 US dollars, plane ticket to leaving Qatar and booking confirmation from the hotel where you’ll be staying”, he briefly explained at the time.

Now I was in front of the immigration counter and directed by an officerto queue in a line which was still closed with a tape barrier. There was no immigration officers at the counter yet. Five minutes later the immigration officer came and entering into immigration box. Adding another five minutes to prepare computer, camera and some other supporting equipment. After that, the first traveler in queue came forward. She was told to move her position to take her beautiful face in a photo. Over and over….I got suspicious, maybe he collected those photos for himself…..Hahahaha #joked.

It was my turn in third queue to be called, I had prepared my passport, booking confirmation from Casper Hotel, Philippines Airlines e-ticket, and credit card. Less than 1,500 US dollars, as I recall, I only brought it with the remaining limit of 500 US dollars. If it was rejected…. Well, I would stay for four nights at the airport and would wait for my return schedule…. Crazy gamble.

The last documents in front of the immigration counter.

A handsome officer with a thin beard in a white robe and turban caught my e-passport which almost fell on the counter. He had been flipping through that international identity for a long time. One by one, he looked at my track record. As far as I remembered, my green passport was already filled until page 32.

“Which countries did you go to before coming here?”, he asked, intently looking at me. “I went to Malaysia, India, Dubai, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain since 29 December, Sir”, I replied, slightly shaking with anxiety. He was still watching me, even before he asked again, I was a little proactive and tried my best to save the situation “This is my return ticket and this is my hotel booking confirmation, Sir”. He just slightly frowned as he said “Oh, No need … No need”. Ah finally, so easy, not as I feared.

Free Visa with one month old.

Welcome Qatar!, my mind cheered with joy.

It was time to exploring Hamad International Airport before going to downtown. Come on….!

Kuwait Airways KU 621 from Kuwait (KWI) to Doha (DOH)

KU 621 Kuwait Airways route (Source: https://www.radarbox.com/).

Early morning….Still at 03:14 hours….Situation at Kuwait International Airport was so peaceful with melodious instrumental music. At first glance I felt like I was on a side of Changi International Airport, which often played the same music.

The ticket which I got from Bahrain International Airport.

I took a seat at the very end of waiting chair, feeling a runny nose which still left little bit flu. Weirdest flu I’ve ever had in my life. It was mid-January, while COVID-19 began to spread a month before I was in Kuwait….I even interacted closely with Mainland Chinese citizens who were going to work to Oman a few days earlier at Dubai International Airport….Ah, I didn’t know.

Me and 12Go….True partners.

The loudspeaker started to call my flight number. “Half an hour late”, I thought in response. I started queuing to enter the “Blue Bird” airline. This was my second flight with it after a day before I rode it on Bahrain to Kuwait route.

Crossing the aerobridge.
Business Class.
Economy Class.

I kept peeking atTerminal 4 building. All I could imagine was how cold it was outside when I saw the dew covering every inch of the fuselage. While on the right, an Airbus A330 was doing the same process.

Seat 13K, strange seat numbering (ABC-HJK).
Alburaq inflight magazine accompanied me to fly for about 568 kilometers.

After going through 30 minutes of boarding process, finally, I slowly left Kuwait and left its beauty out of the air. Kuwait Airways flied away from its mainhub.

Sunny morning with beautiful city lights.
Goodbye Kuwait.

This was a Kuwait Airways flight which I rescheduled in the previous story. Tickets cost for about 21 Kuwait Dinar which I have prepared since 9 months before the flight. One other thing that became my fad when ordering plane tickets was trying different types of food. This time I ordered the Diabetic Meal (DBML), a low-sugar food with a little salt along with fruits and vegetables rich in fiber.

I wasn’t a diabetic but just curious to taste it.
Watching “Gemini Man” during the flight.
Cabin situation for about 1 hour 40 minutes flight.

Sunny mornings along the Persian Gulf provide a comfortable flight into Qatar’s airspace. Kuwait Airways began to lower and exposed Doha’s face which was bright with the colors of earth’s light.

Preparing to tread in Doha.

I arrived at Hamad International Airport at exactly 04:45 hours. A giant yellow teddy bear stuck to a power pole was the first thing I recorded in my minds about this airport. I wanted to see it right away.

Dropping passengers at the airport apron.

On a cold morning, ground crews didn’t provide an aerobridge for this flight. Passengers have to get off in airport apron and took turns boarding in an apron shuttle bus. As soon as I left the plane door, my body was mercilessly pierced by cold air. Moreover, I had to wait for the next bus to go to the arrival hall.

Airbus A320-214.
Arriving at the arrival hall in 12 minutes.

I kept walking in search of the yellow Teddy Bear when other passengers queued at the toilet or scrambled for luggage on the conveyor belt. I finally found it, although I couldn’t get close because the doll was in the departure hall area.

It was okay, I would take a picture with it when I would go to home.

Welcome to Doha!

Kuwait Airways KU 614 from Bahrain to Kuwait

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KU 614 flight route (source: https://www.radarbox.com/)

Exactly on five in the morning I started to wash my body in the bathroom of Bahrain Plaza Hotel. That day, I would leave Bahrain and heading to Kuwait. After making sure all equipments wasn’t left behind, I went down to the first floor to hand over the key and headed to the nearest bus shelter. Not far, just three hundred meters at south of the hotel, right in front of Manama Cemetery.

Ten minutes later, the bus from MAN manufacturer numbered A1 arrived. Entering from its front door and tapping Go Card to pay the fare worth BHD 0.300, I drove to Bahrain International Airport for the next a hour.

Arriving at the airport on 07:45 hours, I went straight to 1st floor. Its check-in area wan’t better than the same counter owned by Halim Perdanakusuma Airport (second airport in Jakarta). The flight number which didn’t appeared yet on the Departure Hall LCD gave me time to exchange the remaining Bahraini Dinar (BHD). Apparently the money changer on the 1st floor didn’t want to accept small amount of Dinar, fortunately the Bahrain Financing Company (BFC) on the 0th floor was still willing to accept it.

On 9:30 hours, the check-in counter for Kuwait Airways flight KU 614 began to open. I briefly explained that I was going to Qatar with two non-connecting flights and would transit in Kuwait. The young male staff only once asked me about the Qatar Visa. “Qatar visa is free for Indonesian, Sir“, I answered to ending the conversation and he gave two tickets with the blue bird logo at once. The ticket itself I ordered on nine months before departure.

Kuwait Airways was the 27th airline which I boarded.

Smoothly passing through the immigration counter, I immediately headed to Gate 15 which was located in the corner of departure waiting hall with a narrow hallway which connects to the aerobridge. Waiting for boarding time, I continued to observe the flow of Gulf Air, a well-known airline belonging to the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Departure waiting room.

A little late, I started boarding on 11:51 hours. Couldn’t wait to experience the first time flying with Kuwait Airways, the airline belonging to the Kingdom of Kuwait.

Late for a hour.
Business Class.
Economy Class.

Immediately took a seat as stated on the boarding pass and preparing for a short flight of 420 km which would be covered in 1 hour 10 minutes.

Seat number 17A was where I sat.
Thank you 12Go for being an Affiliate Partner for travelingpersecond.com.
Alburaq inflight magazine.

It appeared that some of the airline’s aircrew were from the Philippines and some from African region. During the flight, I noticed that alcohol bottles weren’t visible on food trolley, it looked like the Kuwait Airways flight was an alcohol-free flight…..It was cool.

Watching “The Martian“.
The Low Fat Meal (LFML) menu which I ordered together with the ticket order.

That afternoon the air on the southwest bank of Persian Gulf was clear. This made my flight felt very smooth, with no turbulence at all. Nice flight.

Sunny weather in early January.
How did the feel, flying with Middle East people?.

DIn the last quarter of flight, the plane began to lower and revealed the land of Kuwait which looked arid and hot. I myself couldn’t wait to get to know Kuwait International Airport which was the main hub of Kuwait Airways.

Middle East mainland which typical sandy brown.
Busyness at Terminal 2 Expansion Project.
Kuwait city view.

The time was 13:35 hours. After the plane came to a perfect stop, I immediately left the fuselage for Transit Hall of Kuwait International Airport. I would patiently wait until four o’clock on the next morning to heading to Qatar.

A320-251N Neo Generation of Airbus

Next Story—->

Reschedule Kuwait Airways after Kuwait Tourist Visa Failed

Exactly thirty days before my backpacking departure to Middle East Region, I started to get busy in hunting all visas needed, it were tourist visas to visiting Kochi, Dubai, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.

Among the six visas, I had a bitter experience when I finally failed to get a Kuwait Tourist Visa. This caused me to must satisfy to just enjoying Kuwait by transit, but of course it was better than nothing.

At the end of November, all information about Kuwait Tourist Visa which I got through internet (google, youtube and facebook) I recorded in detail. Until I phoned those contact numbers one by one. The best information which I have was that I could enter Kuwait by Visa on Arrival (VoA).

Conversation via Whatsapp with Kuwait Visa agency.

Calling several phone numbers which I got on internet, every ring which I sent was unanswered. So to immediately made sure, I rushed to Kuningan area in early December to directly ask at Kuwaiti Embassy.

It was quite difficult to find its location, because the address which was displayed by Google was never correct. I had to get lost in an unnamed embassy office in Patra Kuningan I Avenue . A large building which was guarded by a group of men in military helmets and armed with long barrels. The brake screech of my motorbike right in front of the entrance made them suddenly alert and raised their weapons to their chests.

Me: “Sir, is it the Kuwaiti Embassy, ​​is it?

Guard: “No sir, this is the Australian Embassy”.

Me: “How come google maps directs me here, sir?”.

Guard: “That’s wrong, Sir, a lot of people stray here like you“.

Me: “Do you know where the location is?”.

Guard: “Oh, I don’t know, Sir“.

Finally they lowered the position of weapon after knowing my aim. It’s just that I admits that I was impolite, asking something on a motorbike and right in front of the gate…. Hahahaha.

Address from other sources also led me to stray on Denpasar Raya Avenue. I didn’t know what office it was, fortunately its guard was able to give me clear direction to the Kuwait Embassy. Until finally I arrived at the Kuwait Embassy office on Mega Kuningan Barat III Avenue.

Pretty simple Kuwaiti Embassy office.

There were no visitors and only two security guarded it. They directed me to sit on a small terrace in left corner of the embassy. Until they called the staff who handled Visa application.

Finally my hope of exploring Kuwait were dashed after the beautiful embassy staff gave an explanation through a narrow slit in the visa counter.

For Indonesian citizens, Kuwait does not issue tourist visas, Sir. We only handle Working Visas and Diplomatic Visas. To be able to travel there, you have to get a Calling Visa from your friends or family in Kuwait,” She said.

Knowing my intention was gone then there wasn’t other way. I had to expedite the Kuwait-Doha departure ticket which I got since mid-April. After counting, rescheduling was more cheaper than buying a Bahrain-Doha direct flight ticket.

So from Bahrain, I was going to Doha with a transit in Kuwait.

Kuwait-Doha ticket.

I immediately contacted Kuwait Airways via Whatsapp in the first weekend of December.

Conversation with Kuwait Airways Customer Service.   
After fixed reschedule the flight, they gave me a payment link via email.
Link was two hours old. I needed to quickly make a payment via credit card.

In addition to rescheduling flights, of course I had to cancel hotel reservations on Booking.com.

Vera House & Hotel for 14.4 Kuwait Dollar per night.

This means, in the middle of my trip later, I wouldl visit Doha longer. From the previous plan, i.e three visiting days became five visiting days. And my exploration to Kuwait was only limited to transit. But this transit period had provided an unforgettable experience.

What kind of experience?….Hahaha, just read on next story!