Three soccer fans’ World Cup journey: How much does it cost?

Three soccer fans share their stories of travelling to Qatar for the World Cup and how much money they planned to spend.


World Cup signs with "La'eeb", the Official Mascot for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, at Villaggio Mall in Doha, Qatar on Nov 9, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

November 23, 2022

BEIJING – 1. Vlogger experiencing World Cup for the fans

Peng Fei is a vlogger and has been broadcasting on soccer and the World Cup over the last year. He said most Chinese soccer fans cannot go to Qatar in-person, so he wants to experience the games for them as an ordinary fan.

Peng said the expenses were mainly in three fields, tickets, accommodation and transportation. His total budget for the World Cup is 100,000 yuan (about $14,000), including about 50,000 yuan for tickets and 30,000 yuan for accommodation. He said the price of the same hotel and room type he booked had increased more than 10 times on the opening day.

“I hope soccer fans can keep calm and be rational while holding enthusiasm and dreams,” he said, adding “It is necessary to realize your dream within your capability.”

The BudX FIFA FAN Festival in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Nov 20, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

2. Vice president of a fan association

Liu Lei is a vice president of a China fan association. He went to West Asia with China’s national soccer team and has stayed there ever since.

With the help of local Chinese, he established a youth training soccer club in Dubai, in which three quarters of the 150 children participating are Chinese teenagers. “I hope I can do something beneficial to soccer, and also this is a way for me to make a living,” he said.

Liu said there are only about five Chinese restaurants in Doha, and the average cost of a meal is as least twice as that in Beijing. For example, A mapo tofu dish with rice costs about 200 yuan. In addition, water is more expensive than oil in Qatar. One liter of oil costs 2 riyals, while a 500ml bottle of water costs 1.5.

Liu said more than 40 flights from Dubai to Doha have been added in November, which take one hour to reach their destination. However, the price has risen to 15,000 yuan during the games, while the cost was more than 2,000 yuan before the World Cup.

“Accommodations are too expensive. I think many fans might choose to sleep in the streets. The weather is hot now, so there’s no big problem living outside at night,” he said.

People watch fireworks at Doha Corniche in Doha, Qatar, on Nov 20, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

3. A traveler who rides to Doha

Ting Xuan, 24 years old, quit his job in automobile media in Beijing at the end of August this year, and started his journey to Qatar.

Starting from Beijing, he first went to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where he began to travel to Qatar on foot and by car. After arriving in Azerbaijan, Ting bought a bicycle and started to ride across Iran. Now that he has crossed the Persian Gulf to the United Arab Emirates, he plans to go to Qatar after watching Argentina’s national team in the United Arab Emirates.

Ting saved 50,000 to 60,000 yuan for the whole trip, and spent more than 20,000 yuan in China to buy 13 tickets for the World Cup. He saved some money by riding to Doha.

He said he dreamed of the ride since he was in high school, so this can be regarded as realizing that dream. “Although the journey is not comfortable, it is a kind of temper,” he said. “The players also experienced hardships to play in the World Cup.”

According to Qatar’s requirements, fans need to hold a Hayya Card to enter the country during the World Cup, and tickets and reserved accommodations are needed to apply for the card.

Ting booked the accommodations three days in advance. As for what to do later, he said, “If there is no other way, I can stay outdoors. I have been wandering for the whole journey.”

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