Qatar 2022: World Cup fans acclimatize to desert accommodation — in tents and portacabins

Doha, Qatar

As fans step into Qatar, they’re understandably in vacation mode looking forward to the prospect of a desert World Cup.

But what is the best place to stay in a country that is geographically located on a peninsula smaller than Connecticut and is the smallest World Cup host in history?

With Qatar set to host an estimated 1.5 million fans for the month-long tournament starting November 20, the scramble for accommodation is likely to heat up.

Jimmy and Kennis Leung were among the first fans to arrive at the Fan Village Cabins Free Zone, one of the largest sites available to supporters, and checked in on Thursday.

“They built this in the desert,” Jimmy told CNN Sport.

“It was too expensive to stay in a hotel or AirBnB in Doha, so this was a great option.”

Free Zone Fun Village is about a 20-minute metro ride from downtown Doha, but at the moment it’s like stepping into a dystopian world.

There are few other valuables around the village – one or two building sites and a main road – the staff will quickly direct you to reception. Reception is a 10 minute walk across a large car park.

There are endless rows of porta-cabins, organized in different colors and mapped alphabetically, with large gazebos containing hundreds of empty tables and chairs.

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Basketball courts, an outdoor gym and giant TV screens dot the complex where fans can play or relax.

More fans were expected during the tournament when CNN visited on Friday, but there were only a handful of fans.

Containers living in the desert... World Cup style.

Navigation also proves to be a bit of a problem, and Leungs admits to getting lost on the seemingly endless makeshift roads that connect villages. A buggy will drive you to the door.
Leungs works in the media and traveled from Hong Kong to watch her favorite team, the Netherlands, in Qatar in 2022.

“It’s very quiet now, but there are food options, and the rooms are nice, but a bit small,” adds Kennis.

As fans like Leon grapple with stepping into Qatar on Friday, news comes that football’s world governing body FIFA will carry out a U-turn, with no alcohol being sold at the eight stadiums that will host 64 of the tournaments. We were greeted by a match.

For supporters on a tight budget and unable to afford what the hotel has to offer, 8 The Fun Village offers “casual camping and cabin style” options.

However, some World Cup visitors were less impressed with what was offered.

“So many cabins and containers, big screens, we can all watch the game together, but the accommodation… what can I say?” China’s Fei Peng, who is in China, told CNN Sports.

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“This is the best option we have. It’s very expensive in Doha so you can’t expect much more.”

According to the Qatar World Cup Official Accommodation, a night in a Fun Village cabin in the Free Zone starts at $207 per night, but you can find cheaper options in Caravan City for $114 per night.

If you want to camp under the stars, tents in Al Khor Village are available for $423 a night.

If you’re on a tight budget, the self-proclaimed “Eco Farm” hut offers a more luxurious option at $1,023 a night., A stay on a cruise ship will cost you at least $179.

Cabin containers come with beds and air conditioning.

Many fans are expected to stay in Qatar’s neighboring countries and travel to and from the Gulf countries for matches.

Qatar Airways announced in May that it would operate an additional 160 daily round-trip flights in partnership with regional airlines at “competitive prices” to shuttle fans from Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Muscat and Riyadh. did.

There will be no baggage check-in facilities to speed up travel, and a dedicated transportation service will be available to move fans from the airport to the stadium.

Cities such as Riyadh, Dubai and Abu Dhabi can also be reached by car, all within seven hours.
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Those who come to Doha have to contend with the heat.

Due to the intense summer heat, the tournament was moved to the winter season. The average high temperature in Doha in late November is around 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit), and he is much better off than in July if the World Cup is normal. We conclude that the average maximum temperature will be about 42 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit).

If you come from a cold climate, the heat will sap your energy even in the winter. If you walk too much or too fast, you’ll quickly become drenched in sweat and need to stay hydrated.

Tournament staff scattered around Doha will advise you to avoid direct sunlight.

The heat tends to subside a bit, though not as much, in the evenings, and the nights are damp and sticky.

Luckily, Doha has fully air-conditioned inside the stadium, and the white-walled architecture also helps beat the heat.

With just two days to go before the first leg, Japan are putting the finishing touches on their preparations for a World Cup like no other.


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