Once I got out of the airport I decided to visit the old souq and a modern shopping mall. It was 2 pm so the most of souqs shops were closed so I asked the taxi driver to take me to a good mall. He said Villaggio was the best mall in Doha and, after visiting it, I have no reason to doubt about that. It's a huge mall built like a sort of small Venice and you can even have a tour on a small gondola.
I just got back. And ladies, it is safe to travel alone :). If you have similar questions I had before going to Doha, let me answer those for you. When you arrive, you need to go through the immigration line. You get a visa on the spot (about $28US) if you are US passport holder. But check visa requirements before you go. My understanding is that you will not be able to get a visa to Qatar upon arrival in a near future. You will not need to fill out any documents or do anything, which makes it very easy. Some people who had a long transit 8hrs + went to hotels instead of to the city, which I personally think is silly :). Once you have visa, get some local cash from ATM in the airport by the baggage claim area, then go outside and take a taxi (KAWA). I went to Suk Waqif (spelling?), which is about 10 – 15 mins away from the airport. A lot of foreigners there and locals, of cause. It is a great place to go (thanks Lauren!) because you can take a table outside of one of the restaurants, order dinner and watch people around you. Try their shisha and I also loved the way they make ice coffee. People do speak English in their majority and you can pay by credit cards (Visa or MC) in restaurants and coffee shops. Taxi and little market stores will not take credit cards, so have cash. Ladies, it is OK to wear whatever you want. However, if your blouse is too reveling or skirt is too short, you will get stairs :). People are very nice and you can find some good deals on souvenirs and etc.. Don't forget to bargain and enjoy you time in Doha! I sure did :)
Souq Wakif is the most charming place in Doha - it's old and modern Doha at the same time... in the sense that this beautiful place is yes, an old souq - which looks old - but it's not. Here's the logic: there was a beautiful old souq in desparate need of renovation (it was really crumbling down) - for some reasons the authorities decided to knock it down... and then they rebuilt it, exactly as it used to be. Old souq? New souq?
The souq is especially suggestive at night, with its dim lights, its narrow and maze-like pathways, its covered parts. There's plenty of things to buy, from spices to carpets, fabrics, incense, abayas... what's really does not belong is the men with wheelbarrows - not carrying good to the shops, but carrying people's shopping to their car.
Even if you are not planning on shopping you should come to this souq - and here's two good reasons: the Souq Waqif Art Center, for some serious exhibitions on calligraphy and photography - and the restaurant area, with its many delicious restaurants and sweet smells of narghileh.
The Old Souq had its origins as a weekend market and was used by the Bedhouin when they came to town to trade their meat, wool, weaving and milk for staple goods.
Now, you can find spices, coffee, souvenirs and household goods and enjoy a meal at the many restaurants there.
The area has been renovated to give it an ancient feel with its maze of alleyways and porters wheeling peoples' goods around in carpet covered wheelbarrows.
The souq was my favourite thing to do in Doha.
The most popular Thing to do in Doha is to do some Shopping..
From Brand trendy clothes to electronic gadgets, almost everything can be found here with very tempting prices!
The most famous mall is the City center, where u'll find hundreds of shops a large food courst and 12 cinema screens. But u can also try Landmark mall, and Hyatt plaza
Watching movie at City Centre - When we went to City Centre noon time, Almost all the shops and boutiques are closed. We saw that "Superman Returns" is one of the movies on the list.
This is my first time watching movie in Doha. The price of ticket is QR30. The cinema itself is small but because the film is shown in two theatre, the room was not filled. The sound system is excellent (maybe a Dolby system???). Seats are also comfortable.
Here is the fruit market. you can find all the Asain fruits here. There is also a Fish market, but there's nothing interesting. well unless you LOVE the smell of FISH. Uhhh....I still recall that smell.
You can buy Camel here at the Camel Market. You can also have a chance to ride it. It is $15 US Dollars to ride. The price of a Camel can go up to a million. This camel that I'm possing with is very Calm. It doesn't mind people to come close or to touch. I think it likes people to come and pose with it. WARNING: Do not mess with the White camels they are not trained. They will Bite and Spit on you.
Qatar got the 2nd largest mall in the world. It is a very westernized mall. you can find any of the stores that you will find in US here at the "City Center Mall" as well as the local stores. It also has an Ice Skating ring in the middle of it. Good buys are the Camel bones boxs and paintings. All are original and handmade. It's very detailed in drawing. Also you can find some Arabic's perfumes.
Finding the Souq Waqif has been one of the highlights of my visits to Doha. It's basically the old style Souqs, restored to their original beauty.
A few years ago, these souqs were decaying and had become quite cheesy, with plenty of neon signs and aluminum doorframes. At this time, a facelift is nearly complete. Metal is replaced with wood, and age-old building methods are being used to construct new extrernal walls from rough stone, and ceilings from palm leaves, bamboo and rope, all to create a rustic look that would have prevailed 100 years ago.
The most traditional of the souqs, it is a maze of narrow alleyways filled with small shops, with goods piled high to the ceilings and spilling out onto the pavement covering a wide area, and with separate sections selling perfumes and traditional forms of Qatari national dress, luggage, tools, general hardware and gardening equipment, kitchenware, spices, incense, sweets, rice, nuts, dried fruits and falcons. yes, falcons!
It's pretty much impossible to avoid this place, an immense, powerfully air-conditioned monument to Western chain store shopping. The mall is huge, everything's very new and shiny, there's an ice rink, you can get your car washed while you shop, but when all is said and done it is a shopping mall!
As you enter the city, you can see these two swords welcome you into the heart of the busy commercial community that awaits you.
The downtown area offers many shops and more traditional stores than the commercial ones you can see near the harbor areas (such as the Carrefoure mall).
Open markets and bartering are some of the things you can still expect here.
Built in the 1880's during the reign of Sheik Abdullah bin Qassim al-Thani and later as a fort during Turkish occupation, the fort now stands in the middle of one of the shopping districts downtown. The 19th century extrior is fitted with turret and small watch tower in a slightly Moorish style. The exterior has some traditional designs in the plaster/gypsum that covers the exterior and the door is also uniquely carved. The fort is closed on Saturdays and is usually open by 9am, with no entrance fee.
UPDATE: They have decided to move the front door to the back. I guess the view is better back there. There is quite a bit of construction going on at the moment and there is no telling when it will open back up again. But at least it still stands in its original spot.
This place had been reconstructed and it is really nice to walk through. There are so many spices, sweets, dates, clothes etc to buy.
Old Souq is a traditional market where you can buy the local's clothes. Also, there's fruit, Camel, fish, chicken Market near by.