A SHOPPING JOURNEY THROUGH THE CAPITAL’S MOST FAMOUS SOUQS AND BAZAARS.
- DRESS TO IMPRESS
Rows and rows of beautiful jalabiyas hang all around the souq. Pop into any of the stores that carry them and the myriad of colours and delicate shiny embellishments will give you a hard time picking just one! Head over to Negoom el Samaa who have a wonderful collection from India and beyond, prices start at QR100.
- MATERIAL GIRL
Wherever you walk, textile shops are scattered around, each more enticing than the next with rolls of fabric filling each corner of the stores. Whether you’re looking for a cute pattern for a day dress or something more elaborate and loud for the evening, you’ll definitely leave with something fit for any occasion. Check out Noor Al Zaman for one-of-a-kind textiles!
- ANIMAL FARM
Al Hamam market, better known as pet market, sells everything from birds and rabbits to cats and more. Buy your pet’s supplies from Al Kanar for Birds & Fish or head over to Ashraf Rashid Yousef Al Kuwairi & Co Farms and get yourself some Iranian pigeons for around QR150 a pair.
- SOME LIKE IT SPICY
As soon as you enter the souq, you’re greeted with the smell of spices at every turn, making it difficult not to follow a scent all the way to the shop or stall where it’s available to buy. From Indian turmeric to Iranian cumin to tightly wrapped bundles of cinnamon barks, get ready for some spice overload, because you’ll find it ALL here!
- FOOD FIX
Al Shurfa Arabic Lounge reflects the overall ambience of Al Jomrok Boutique Hotel, which offers guests a stylish sanctuary in the heart of Soul Waqif. It’s the perfect pitstop from all that walking; stop for a classic virgin mojito for QR35, or a cup of the famous karak tea at QR22, alongside their mouthwatering Opera Cake for QR25. Open 12.30pm to 12am. Call 4433 6666 for reservations and more info.
- MOTHER OF PEARL
Head over to Al Fareya for maritime crafts, where they locally produce the special nets used for fishing out oysters that carry the country’s world-famous pearls.
- SHIP OF THE DESERT
Lazing about in the sun right outside the souq in a wooden pen are camels, who make for the perfect photo opp to send back home and entice family and friends to come and visit the cultural side of Doha!
- NOMADIC FLAIR
Head over to Al Jameela or Abu Nakhla for the best Bedouin handicrafts where you’ll find everything from wall hangings and cushion covers to bags, carpets and majlis style mattresses. Prices start from QR200 for rugs to QR500 for pouff seats.
- WATCH MAN
You’ll find small booths scattered throughout the souq that offer watch repair services and sell pay-as-you-go mobile cards. So, if you’re a horology enthusiast or someone who appreciates antique clockworks, you’re sure to find a treasure or two tucked away in these dusty wonders.
- KNICK KNACKS
Various shops sell traditionally styled incense burners, wooden chests of all sizes, prayer beads, I love Qatar memorabilia and more; perfect gifts to take back for loved ones or to add to your very own collection at home.
- FOLLOW THE MAP
You can wander aimlessly around the souq and its never-ending alleys for hours on end. Some of them though are nicely cooled from the AC coming from inside the stores, which means that a semi-planned route to make the most of your time wouldn’t be a bad idea!
- POTTERY CAFE
No visit to the souq is complete without a trip to the Handicrafts Centre. Head over to Foukhar & Zokhrof, located in the narrow street between Al Mirqab Hotel and Damasca Restaurant, to watch as clay vases and pots are made on the spot.
- LENDING A HAND
Gifts from the Holy Land is a quaint store located in the Qatari Hosh for Arts courtyard, which sells things like ceramics and necklaces made by children and prisoners in Palestine to raise awareness about their cause.
- VIVA LA ITALIA
Right opposite the famous Italian La Dolce Vita restaurant lays a quaint ice cream parlour belonging to the same owners. This Souq Waqif treasure is hidden behind Caffe Tasse and has some of the best Italian ice cream in town – make sure to add it to your list of pitstops!
- BIRD WATCHING
Opposite the Grand Mosque lays the Falcon Souq, where you can buy one of the precious birds if you can afford the hefty price tag; starting from QR5000. The market is dedicated to falconry, featuring trained birds and related equipment, such as hoods and jesses. There is also a stateof-the-art falcon hospital in the area where you can get up close with the majestic creatures.
All of the perfume shops stock many famous brand names, but you can also have them create a unique fragrance for you. Don’t forget to buy some frankincense and wonderfully scented oud and bokhour while you’re there – they make for great gifts as well as lovely treats for your
- GOING LOCAL
Whether it’s a centuries-old Batoola face-mask, an authentic ladies abbaya in black, a classic male ghutra (headress), or a young man’s toy sword that you’re looking for, the souq is definitely the right place to find all traditional Qatari dress.
- FOOD HOTSPOTS
There are so many nice places to stop for a bite in Souq Waqif. Parisa, Damasca One, Tagine, and Le Gourmet are the most frequented by visitors for their amazing food and drinks, with quality ingredients, a buzzing ambience and fab service.
- OLD SCHOOL
Dar Al Tamimy Hamad will catch your eye as it often has an old Dhow boat parked outside or guard displays for the public. Inside, you’ll find yourself surrounded by old antiques with fans, kettles, cameras, typewriters and much more.
- SWEET THINGS
Head over to Fal El Khair for some world-class honey from Yemen and the finest dates from around the world. The store also sells bottles of rose water and bee pollen lozenges – so whatever the ailment or taste, you’re likely to find a unique concoction here.
- HOARDER’S CALL
The souq is the best place to find yourself the most random and outof-the-box products that could truly become collector’s items or just souvenirs adorning your living room that make for a good travel story. However, there are plenty of shiny trinkets that could tempt the eye so watch out for what you buy if you want to avoid hoarding!
SOUQ WAQIF TIPS
- Hit the souq early in the morning to avoid crowded shops and alleys.
- Don’t forget that most shops close midafternoon for siesta so double check opening hours.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes to avoid blisters.
- There are special carriers who you can pay QR10 to help you carry your purchases in a wheelbarrow to the car or taxi.
- Some evenings there are special guards who patrol the souq on horses for a taste of traditional revelry.
- Haggle – don’t be shy to ask for a better price on what you want to purchase. Vendors expect and often accept reasonable offers, especially if you’re buying more than one item.
Location: Between Al Rayyan Road and Musherib Street
Opening Hours: Most shops open from 10am to 1pm & reopen from 4pm to 10pm
Getting There: Local taxi, Uber or Careem – if you’re staying close by and it’s the winter time, a walk to Souq Waqif is very pleasant.