Harshit Prasad bio photo

Harshit Prasad

Software Engineer - @blinkit, all about search systems - data and infrastructure stuff. Loves to talk about distributed systems and open source.

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After a prolonged period of COVID-related travel restrictions, I had the opportunity to travel once again and attend the FIFA World Cup ‘22 in Doha, Qatar. I also explored various other prominent locations in Qatar, and this blog recounts my experiences.


After experiencing a burnout phase from work, I decided it was time to take a break and plan a trip. With the tourism industry flourishing this year due to people wanting to travel after the two-year COVID restrictions, I pondered over which country to visit next. Finally, I settled on spending a few days in Qatar and attending the FIFA World Cup 2022, a once-every-four-years event that draws people from all over the world, regardless of their background or beliefs. I’m excited to share my life-changing experience in the upcoming sections of this blog!

First Day in Qatar

Upon my arrival at Hamard International Airport in Doha, Qatar, I immediately noticed the intense heat. Since I had landed around noon, I had anticipated the high temperatures.

qatar_airport 12:05 pm at Hamad International Airport — Doha, Qatar

Thanks to the official and mandatory Hayya Card for FIFA fans visiting Qatar, my immigration check was a breeze. The Hayya Card essentially served as a digital entry permit or visa, and also offered complimentary access to bus and metro services. After completing the immigration process, I hopped on the metro to get to the fan village where I had reserved my accommodation. The village was conveniently located near the airport.

qatar_fan_village Fan Village View From Far Near Metro.

The check-in queue inside the fan village was dauntingly long, with fans from all around the world arriving on the same day as I did. Despite the queue being quite sizable, I eventually managed to check-in after waiting for three hours.

Rather than waiting in the lengthy queue, the staff at the fan village were distributing token numbers to guests. After obtaining my token, I decided to take a stroll around the village. Although the amenities and overall arrangement were satisfactory, I felt that the prices were not commensurate with the value offered. However, one major benefit of staying at the fan village was the opportunity to meet people from all over the globe. Indeed, I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of individuals hailing from countries such as Vietnam, England, Brazil, and Mexico.

qatar_fan_village_2 Fan Village Entrance.

The fan village area boasted a plethora of amenities, including a grocery store, a medicine store, food trucks, beverages, large screens for watching World Cup matches together, enjoyable activities, football areas, open-gyms, and much more!

qatar_fan_village_sitting_area Fan Village Sitting Area to Watch World Cup Matches.

I found the cabins to be quite comfortable, although some were still being prepared for incoming fans who were expected to arrive in Qatar in the days to come.

qatar_fan_village_cabins Fan Village Cabins.

After completing the check-in process, I headed to my cabin. Although small and compact, I really enjoyed my stay there. While it may not have been the best value for money, it was certainly a good experience. Interestingly, my neighbours in the adjacent cabins hailed from England, Vietnam, and Germany.

qatar_fan_village_inside_cabin My stay in Fan Village.

After a long and tiring day upon arriving in Qatar, I took some time to rest before exploring the FIFA-related collectibles and guides that I had picked up from the airport.

qatar_hayya_guides Hayya Collectibles.

As it was approaching 7 PM in the evening, I had planned to head to Souq Waqif, the old market of Qatar in Doha for dinner, but instead, I decided to socialize with people in the fan village. I met a group of fans from the Netherlands and we grabbed some food for dinner, which included delicious Arabian-style Chicken Shawarma. We enjoyed our meal while watching a group match of the FIFA World Cup. The atmosphere was incredibly pleasant and soothing, just the kind of vacation I had hoped for!

qatar_dinner_match_fan_village Dinner while watching group stage match in Fan Village.

This was my overall experience at the first day in Qatar!

FIFA Match Days

I had the foresight to book three category-1 seating arrangement tickets six to seven months prior to the World Cup. The first match I attended was the Saudi Arabia vs Mexico game at Lusail Stadium, which was nothing short of spectacular. The stadium itself was one of the biggest, and it was set to host the FIFA World Cup Finals. I am grateful to the organizing team for providing free transport to fans, since most of the stadiums were located outside of Doha city center. Commuting to the games was made easy with the availability of free transport buses and metros. Although most of the matches were scheduled for night time, around 10:30 pm Qatar time, and the stadiums were located 1.5-2 hours away from Doha.

qatar_lusail_stadium Lusail Stadium - Saudi Arabia vs Mexico.

I attended the thrilling match between Germany and Costa Rica at the Al-Bayt Stadium. It was a neck-to-neck game and had me on the edge of my seat. Despite Germany’s excellent performance in the group stage round, they were disqualified as Japan outperformed Spain on the same day, leaving Germany with fewer points. It was a shock to everyone.

qatar_al_bayt Al-Bayt Stadium - Germany vs Costa Rica.

The intermission of the game at Al-Bayt stadium was truly amazingYou can watch it on this link. The last match I attended was Serbia vs Switzerland at the Stadium 974 in Ras Abu Aboud. This stadium is unique as it can be disassembled and transported to any location, and it was constructed using 974 shipping containers. It’s an iconic structure, isn’t it?

qatar_stadium_974 Stadium 974 Stadium - Serbia vs Switzerland.

qatar_stadium_974_inside Stadium 974 Stadium from inside - before match begins!

Exploring Qatar - Doha and Lusail

After watching FIFA World Cup matches, it was finally time to explore Qatar. My first destination was Doha city, where Doha Corniche was one of the most popular and exciting places to be. There were food trucks, entertainment options, and large screens to view the World Cup matches. I also visited some of the famous cafes in Qatar and the National Museum of Qatar, which had a unique and fascinating architecture.

qatar_doha_explore From top left - National Museum of Qatar, Doha City View, Doha Corniche.

I visited the oldest market in Qatar, Souq Waqif, which is most enjoyable during the nighttime. I recommend avoiding it during the day. While exploring, I purchased several Qatari keychains, collectibles, and traditional gifts. The atmosphere was so lively that I even witnessed Brazil fans celebrating and cheering for their team while I was there.

Some shots of Souq Waqif and Doha Skyline during night time.

qatar_souq_waqif From left - Doha Skyline & Souq Waqif.

The following day, I spent my time exploring the other renowned destinations in Doha such as Msheireb Downtown, Museum of Islamic Arts (MIA), MIA Corniche, and Katara Cultural Village. These sites had a strong connection to the cultural heritage of Qatar, and I devoted my entire day to exploring them.

qatar_mia_katara_village From top left - Katara Cultural Village, MIA Corniche, & MIA.

The only place that remained for me to explore was Lusail City, located outside of Doha. This developing city boasts beautiful skyscrapers and iconic architecture. During my visit to Lusail, I went to the Lusail Marina, a peaceful spot where one can enjoy delicious food and relax. Additionally, I explored Lusail Wonderland, an adventure park that was quite impressive, although a bit costly. Next, I visited the famous Palace Vendome mall, which resembled a large Arabian palace. Lastly, I stopped at the Qatar National Library, one of the largest libraries I have ever seen.

qatar_national_library_palace_vendome From top left - Qatar National Library and Palace Vendome.

Last Day

On my last day in Qatar, I had to pack up my things and bid farewell to the fan village. As I left, I noticed that more fans were arriving to witness the World Cup. The atmosphere was becoming more charged with excitement as the tournament neared its final stages. I wished I could have stayed until the finals, but it was time for me to depart.

The experience was enjoyable and the FIFA World Cup felt like a global sports festival that could be appreciated by individuals from all corners of the world.

qatar_last_day Last day in Qatar with my Vietnamese friend.

I was pleasantly surprised when my Vietnamese friend gave me a football team shirt from his home country as a token of his appreciation. I really appreciate his kindness, and I hope he reads this blog post.

Looking forward to FIFA World Cup 2026. Hope you enjoyed reading!