Being Bulgarian is not always convenient. Especially when it comes to travel. I had almost forgotten this fact when I booked our flights to Yangon with Qatar Airways, including a long layover in Doha. I was so excited that I will have the chance to visit another Arab country that I took for granted that visa is not needed (as it is not needed fo UAE, for example).
Two hours later I realized that actually it was absolutely necessary and obtaining it is not just a formality. I needed to find a hotel who would be my sponsor and assist me with the procedure. I immediately emailed many of the best hotels in town and the replies I got were:
- We don’t proceed visas
- We don’t proceed visas for stay under 3 days (ours would be only 1 night)
- We don’t proceed visas for women
- We don’t proceed visas for Bulgarian citizens
- We do it for a fee of €150 and €1250 deposit (in case I decided to run away in the desert I guess)
As I was starting to accept the possibility of passing more than 20 hours at the airport a briliant idea came to my mind. Why not ask Qatar Airways if they can assists me with the visa? And guess what? Considering the long layover, they can be your sponsor and offer an accomodation in town too. And did I mention the free airport transfers?
All the rest was a piece of cake. As soon as we landed in Doha we approached the Transfer desk. The sweetest one was ready to go in one minute but I had to wait for another 15-20 minutes until I got the green light from the immigration. We then headed to the passport control, got the stamp and then, hello Doha! We found our driver, thanks to the Information desk at Arrivals, and he took us to the assigned hotel – Grand Regal Hotel, near Souq Waqif (the old market which was in my must see asap list).
On a final note, so far I am very satisfied with my experience with Qatar Airways (even though my luggage arrived severely damaged in Yangon) and I am very grateful that they offer this service for the long layovers, otherwise I don’t think I would have visited Doha so soon.