You’d think that having no car will stop me from indulging my itchy feet?
Last Friday, after feeling healthy joining Nike’s Fun Run, my friend and I decided to have lunch in Pearl of Beirut, a seafood restaurant located in Al Khor. I have been there last Eid al Fitr with my other friends. Food was sumptuous and value for money, worthy of a repeat.
Al Khor is a small town located about 50 kilometers northeast of Doha. As we had no car, we knew that going there was going to be an adventure by itself, but we were both game.
How to Reach Al Khor
By commute, there are 3 ways:
- Hire a taxi or a private car (commonly called carlift). Price for 1-way is about 120QR from Doha. You may be able to negotiate with a private car especially if you will hire them roundtrip.
- Take bus 102 or 102X. 102X is express bus and it goes straight to the destination. This is the cheapest option. I recommend purchasing Karwa Smartcard prior to alighting for lower fares. If you have no Smartcard, you can purchase a 24-hour validity card from the driver which costs 20QR. Check www.mowasalat.com for bus timings.
- Ride the sharing taxis plying various routes in Qatar from Al Ghanim Bus Station. These sharing taxis are parked in a lot beside the bus station. There are barkers who will assist you and taxis will depart when full. Fare to Al Khor is 15QR.
Choose Your Own Adventure
The bus will be arriving in 15 minutes and our attention was caught by the barker shouting “Al Khor, Al Khor”. We inquired and thought it might be the fastest option as there wont be no other stops in between. The fare is also reasonable at 15QR. We negotiated to be dropped off at Pearl of Beirut Restaurant, in front of the Fish Market by the corniche. We were charged an extra 5QR.
The ride from Doha was uneventful and took us about 40 minutes.
Going back to Doha was a concern but obviously we didn’t allow it to affect our appetite. After lunch, we waited outside the restaurant hoping a taxi/private car would pass by. 10 minutes has passed and it seems as if we were not in luck. We decided to just walk back to the sharing taxi station which will be quite a walk. In a bit bus 102X passed by and we did not stop it as we were unsure if it was Doha-bound or Al Khor-bound. Then bus 102 came. We stopped it and found out we were on the right side of the road. The bus was Doha-bound.
The bus ride was a very long 1.5 hour trip to Al Ghanim bus station. At one point the bus was full of male passengers. We learned that we should have taken bus 102X, the express bus.
Oh well, next time we know.
At the Resto
I have to say that based on experience it is always wise to call ahead for reservations (4472 0123).
Based on the vehicles parked outside the restaurant, overflowing to the streets, one can say that this is an attraction by itself. Even during the heat of summer mid-day, groups of diners, mostly Filipinos, flock to partake their seafood.
I cannot blame them. This time, since it was just the 2 of us, we were having difficulty choosing what to order. Looking at the groups beside us made it more difficult as it was possible for them to order more viands. Pearl of Beirut serves Filipino and Indonesian cuisine and seafood is the specialty.
We stuck with the mainstay order of black pepper crab (this is the 2nd of the 2 visits I am ordering this one), grilled squid and stir-fried kangkong. We were very sure we have ordered a lot and resolved to take home the leftovers.
Yet we were not yet super-stuffed, as we still had room to order dessert. Leche flan!
I am very sure the calories we shed that morning was instantly gained over lunch. We were so full that we had to skip dinner.
Discovering the shared taxis by accident is the cure for our itchy feet. The days are starting to get cool and going out commuting will not be much of a hassle as it is during summer. I just know that this food trip and new DIY trips isn’t that far out of reality. Oh, and did I say, Pearl of Beirut’s prices are as reasonable as reasonable can be?