Author Topic: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)  (Read 16089 times)

Offline moish

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Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« on: July 05, 2015, 08:01:53 PM »
This trip was going to be my first foray into solo travel. I had to be in in Beijing before Pesach 2014 for a specific reason and it didnít make sense for my family to come along. They were going to head back to the States by themselves while I travelled east and eventually meet up with them for Pesach.

I could have easily taken the direct TLV-PEK flight with El Al, after all, this trip was booked when they still partnered with AA, but whatís the fun in that? Additionally, I figured that since I was going to be travelling alone, I might as well hit up some locations that wouldnít necessarily be conducive for family travel. If only you could have seen the face of the interrogation officer at TLV when I told her my itinerary. She simply didnít know what to do and had to call a supervisor to take over  :)

As with my previous TRís, I usually focus mostly on the destinations themselves, not so much with the means of getting there and hotels. Additionally, as itís a custom of mine to write TRís at least a year after it actually took place, I tend to forget many details. So I will, for the most part, let the pictures tell the story.

I figured that I didnít want to be bothered buying a local sim in each location especially given that some of my stops would be short, so I went ahead and ordered the T-Mobile Simple Choice plan which offers free data roaming. I had the sim card sent to someone in the US who activated it by making a phone call while located in the US, who then sent it to me. The free data roaming was going to cover all the locations I was going to visit besides for my connection in Amman, so it was a really good option. While it worked well for Waze, for some reason I had to manually refresh to get my new emails.

Well, letís get right to it. After getting some pre trip jitters (weird, right?), I was off. First destinationÖ


Doha

I arrived in Doha at a quarter to 6 on a Tuesday morning flying via AMM and KWI with RJ and QF (It was my first time in the AMM terminal which is certainly a huge upgrade over the old one, but I will miss the old lounge).

RJ TLV-AMM


New AMM terminal


New Crown lounge balcony


View from crown lounge


Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2015, 08:02:04 PM »
Food options for those that eat Rabbanut (JK  ;D )




KWI airport


Delicious pitted dates KWI-DOH


Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2015, 08:02:10 PM »
I paid for a visa then made my way to the QF arrivals lounge where I got a private room consisting of a recliner. This was the perfect place to daven shachris.



I then rented a car from Avis to get around ($46). I figured it would be more convenient than taking taxis everywhere. It was also more cost effective when considering the alternative of taxi to/from airport and left luggage office. I had downloaded the iGo GPS maps onto my phone, but I found that Waze worked better. My first stop was along the waterfront. Dominating the waterfront is the I.M. Pei designed Museum of Islamic Art which displays some of the finest art of the Islamic world. I was looking forward to visiting until I realized that they are closed on Tuesdays. Oh well, thereís always next timeÖ



Random mosque

« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 08:06:03 PM by moish »

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2015, 08:02:38 PM »
As a second option, I drove out to the Sheikh Faisal Museum which I found using Waze. Itís a huge fort which houses the personal collection of one Sheikh Faisal including old artifacts, cars, boats, and even his plane. It was an interesting collection to say the least.








« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 08:06:59 PM by moish »

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2015, 08:02:47 PM »
Dinosaur egg


Dinosaur head


Next I drove back to the Corniche area and parked near the Souq Waqif. Itís basically a typical Middle Eastern souk selling everything under the sun from spices to souvenirs to an Arab Rambo getup. I stocked up on souvenirs including some old Iraqi Dinars still bearing the likeness of Saddam Hussein.






« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 08:08:15 PM by moish »

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2015, 08:03:02 PM »
One thing you notice while driving around Doha is that almost every car on the road is a gas guzzling SUV like a Land Cruiser. I figured out why when I went to fill up at the gas station and a liter of gas is a mere one Rial (~$0.27). It was hard to feel sorry for a local driver who complained to me about the prices that had recently gone up, after coming from Israel and paying $8 a gallon. There are also only two options, premium and super premium.

After filling up, I drove back to the airport to return the car. I then went outside to be picked up for my 2pm sand dune bashing tour. I had pre-booked a shared tour for 300 Riyal (~$80) as opposed to 650 for a private one. I was promptly picked up but my driver had a really hard time figuring out where the other passengers lived. Doha is full of housing developments just thrown up in middle of nowhere so I canít exactly blame him, but it took forever until we tracked them down.

My driver


We then drove out to the outskirts of the city where we met up with some other SUVís joining us in a dune bashing convoy of sorts. The air was let out of our tires and then we hit the dunes. This was my first time dune bashing and itís really a lot of fun, although terrifying at some points, such as when you are sure your car will just flip over in its side down the dune. Thankfully, our driver wasnít as daring as some others, but it was still awesome.

Letting the air out



« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 08:10:10 PM by moish »

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2015, 08:03:22 PM »






Due to the late start, I had to end our tour a bit early in order to catch my next flight. At the airport there was a small mix-up with the terminal but itís irrelevant now since from the time the trip was taken until now the brand new terminal is in operation.

To be continuedÖ
« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 08:10:49 PM by moish »

Offline TimT

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2015, 08:15:22 PM »
Great TR, thanks. That SUV going down the hill like that looks scary.

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2015, 08:22:47 PM »
Great TR, thanks. That SUV going down the hill like that looks scary.
its a lot more scary when youre inside

Offline Moshe123

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2015, 08:23:55 PM »
Good stuff

Offline shwarmabob

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2015, 08:53:40 PM »
cool. That dress looks awesome for Purim.

Offline ual902

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2015, 09:42:17 PM »
Nice report keep posting more

Offline Copernicus

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2015, 10:56:05 PM »
Nice trip report.  I love that new terminal in Doha.  Very spacious.

What's with the interrogations on departure from TLV?  I have found entering Israel to be a breeze, but on departure I get interviewed by 4 or 5 different people at various stages and always get the third degree.

Offline Hershelsdeals

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2015, 11:53:47 PM »
Nice! Looking forward for more

Offline Emkay

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2015, 04:04:43 AM »
Great TR! Was waiting for this one, this is more my style hopper.