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.
Lonely Planet recommends this place to go for second hand items and that was the reason why I went there. Unfortunately, I didn't find a big choice of such items beside a hand full of shops selling second hand furniture. If you are looking for smaller antiquities, you might go to specialised shops or to one of the antiquities shop at Souk Waqif.
Al Najma Souq however has a big advantage. This is a place which is focused on the need of locals and immigrant workers. You could consider it tourist-free zone. Most of the goods on sale are hosehold items and furtnitures, but there are places selling groceries as well. Here you see the stuff Doha citizens buy at the respective prizes. A good off the beaten path – experience, if you like such kind of markets. I even got new trousers in here! Al Najma Souq comes to life late in the afternoon and is busy even well after darkness sets in
Souq Warif is an important souq in Doha, in the state of Qatar. Literally translated to "the standing market," this shopping destination is renowned for selling traditional garments, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs. It is also home to dozens of restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world, as well as Shisha lounges. Although this market dates back at least a hundred years, it has been recently restored back to its original glory. It is now considered one of the top tourist destinations within Doha.
Thousands of people from across the region frequent this market to purchase traditional goods such as wool, traditional thobes, jewelry, and perfumes.
Lately Souq Wakif became a hotspot for art galleries and workshops, hosting several art galleries and events. It also hosts local concerts during the holiday seasons.
Spent about 2 hours here and had a great time ....
Make sure to bargain on everything !!!!
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.
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!
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.