Souk Waqif is one of the must sees in Doha.
This is a very traditional arab souk with no foreign franchices, no big shopping malls, but the real deal with arab architecture and local products at the market.
You should go there in the evening as this is when Souk Waqif comes to life with lot's of people visitng the place to go shopping and to meet friends for a chat and a cup of tea at one of the local tea houses.
If you are looking for some true arab vibe in doha then this is the palce.
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.
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.
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 :)
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.
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.
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
Waqif souq is the old souq that has been revitalized and restored in the centre of Doha. Unlike in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the Qatari government has sought to preserve and reinforce the traditional souq buildings and mosques as a show of native, feeding a growing cultural tourism industry with examples of the Emir’s successful blend of Gulf Arab tradition with modern and Western art currents. The souq is staffed primarily by South Asians and some Arabs, and it has a blend of both traditional Gulf products and manufactured goods from Asian countries. The idea here is not, by any means, to prop up indigenous industries, but rather to preserve a romantic notion of the way in which Qatar would have been for a brief period after the foundation of Doha at the end of the 18th century and before the advent of gas earnings-fuelled modern developments.
The Gold Souq at Waqif Souq was fully constructed when I visited the city, but the area around it was still having the last few works completed. Gold souqs are a core part of any Arab marketplace, and they represent a continuing belief in the usefulness of precious metals as a store of value and financial security in the face of uncertain times.
Jayda Souq is a massive construction that lies to the west of Souq Waqif. It is, I suppose, intended to be an extension of the Souq and another showcase of Qatari traditional culture. As such, it specializes in an aspect of Gulf heritage that is not well known outside of the region: hunting and falconry. The two really are linked, although the rapid depletion of wildlife in the region has led to them forging differing paths. Hunting is still quite popular amongst many wealthier men in the Persian Gulf region, and in the Jaydah Souq you will find many shops that cater to hunter. This is a bit of an oddity, since many Qatari, Saudi and Emirati hunters head to other countries to hunt, and they are not, presumably, allowed to bring their firearms with them. As for falconry, it is such an interesting and beautiful part of the culture that I’ve decided to dedicate a separate tip to it.
Waqif Souq may have been prettied and prepared as the tourist destination for visitors interested in culture, but there is another souq properly known as Doha Souq. In truth, Doha Souq is merely one of a number of grimy, dust-covered shopping complexes that can be found in the centre of the city and that cater much more to the low- or middle-income migrants than to Qataris or tourists. These souqs are just to the east of the Waqif Souq, and they have all the same traits as similar shopping spaces in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain or the UAE. They sell cheap goods imported, largely, from the Sub-Continent and China, and they offer food and services destined for the massive South Asian and Filipino communities.
The Pearl is a spectacular new development that can be found in the northern edge of Doha. This is sort of a mix between a gated community – there are checkpoints and residential buildings inside the complex, as well as a hotel – and a large, outdoor mall. The mall is located all along the corniche, with occasional sections intended for entertainment. At night, it is not hard to find street performers entertaining groups of children. There are also launches here, and pleasure boats that can take visitors out for evenings on the water. The Pearl is by no means intended to be something for everybody. The stores here are very high end, with Armani, Prada, Gucci and others all staking their claim. There are cigar lounges and an Armani Café. Nevertheless, the views are beautiful, and if you can afford the cost of a meal, there is no reason not to enjoy them for at least one night of your stay in Doha.
Although Doha is now better known for its skyscrapers and shopping mall so as its cousin Dubai is, it is not difficult to escape the world of glass and steel and enjoy another kind of life in Doha. I don't mean Souk Waqif by this, but just the shops where ordinary Qataris as immigrant workers buy their stuff. That can be a Souk outside of the tourist area (Like Souk Al Najma, fo example) or just some of the smaller shops in the Souks between Souk Waqif and the hotel area in Al Salata (for example Souk Al Jabor). It's really hard to explain how much I enjoyed queueing for my shoarmas (which I took home to eat in my hotel room) and watching the other costumers or just the atmosphere in there. It's just an atmosphere to experience, not to buy!
Doha's many souks (covered markets) are the place to go for pretty much anything you might want to buy. Here's VTer BraveCat examining the childrens' wear on offer...
This place had been reconstructed and it is really nice to walk through. There are so many spices, sweets, dates, clothes etc to buy.