Attractions

Souq Waqif literally means “standing market”.  It’s a market so shopping is the main activity here. If you are not from the Gulf region then everything here is enough to enchant you.

Shopping

Shopping in Souq WaqifExplore different alleys to find more shops and stores that sell traditional goods, from daily necessities like spices to fabric, fashion, handicrafts and Shisha pipes.  The souq is not very big, though if you think “I will come back later to get it.”, you may not be able to find it again.

There is also a bird market and various pet shops selling chicks, rabbits and all kinds of pets. (Read more)

Art Gallery

Al Markhiya gallery, DohaSouq Waqif Art Centre

The Souq Waqif Art Centre was opened in 2008.  It started off with some small artistic shops and workshops offering art class. But it was closed 2 years later when the rental contract was not renewed.  In 2012, it was re-opened. And it does not only showcase local artists’ work but also holds exhibitions for global artists. The Art Centre now aims to preserve and inspire both local and Middle Eastern artists, and share ideas and knowledge among anyone who loves art and culture.

Al Markhiya Gallery

This oldest art gallery in Doha exhibits modern artworks from both local artists and the Gulf region. And it’s not far from the Souq Waqif Art Centre.

Festivals and Performances

Souq Waqif Spring Festival

Souq Waqif Spring Festival has become a recurring event each year. The 15-day festival scatters all over the Douq.  There are shows at Al Rayyan Theatre, games and activities at the Games Village at Al Almed Square, circus, clowns and street performers at the souq alley and art workshops at the Souq Waqif Art Centre. Don’t forget the dolphin shows too. The festival is for everyone!

Monuments

Al Khoot Fort aka Doha Fort (museum)

Situated next to the Camel Souq and Souq Waqf, the Doha Fort has undergone multiple conversions throughout its lifetime.  It was first build as a military barracks in 1880 under Ottoman occupation. It was then convert into a police station, a prison in 1906, a fort in 1927 and finally a museum in 1978. The museum now houses both traditional Qatari crafts like gold works, wood works, history and Bedouin handicrafts together with military arms that were once used in the fort.

 

 

 

 

Dining in Souq Waqif

Road side restaurants at the souqBesides being a shopping paradise for tourists and locals, it is also home to dozens of restaurants serving all kinds of cuisines, together with Shisha lounges.  No matter you are tourists who stay in Qatar a few days to someone who has a few hours during transit, pop in to the souq to have a drink or a meal. Sit by the road to absorb the atmosphere of the souq. You won’t be disappointed.

Qatari Cuisine

Al Tawash – You are in Qatar. You’ve got to try Qatari cuisine. Al Tawash serves traditional Qatari food, including shisha. Ask the friendly waiters for recommendations if you have no idea what to order. Both indoor seating and Bedouin tent are available.

Mediterranean cuisine

Le Gourmet Restaurant – quality Mediterranean food and international cuisine. Perfect for group with different preferences.  Good seating (indoor, outdoor and rooftop). Shisha is served too.

Yemeni Cuisine

Al Bandar Aden Restaurant – It serves traditional and authentic Yemeni food like mandhi, ogdat, including fahsa and salta. Yemeni bread is fresh with crispy outside and soft and chewy inside.

General review online for it is: excellent food, fast and friendly service at a reasonable price, though it can be crowded and have to wait to be seated.

Opening Hours: 8am – 11pm, Friday 12:30pm – 11pm  (Website)

Souk Waqif Iraqi foodIraqi Cuisine

Al Adhamiyah Iraqi restaurant – Excellent Iraqi food including big starter selection, lamb tikka and Maskoof. Reasonable price with table on the street – perfect for people watching.

Syrian Cuisine

Damasca – Damasca is one of the biggest restaurants in Souq Waqif.  It has 2 floors including a roof terrace. Indoor is perfect for hot day while in the evening the outdoor roof terrace is a better choice. There are TVs for sport and live bands and dancers provide various entertainment in the evening.

There is a mix review online about the services – most people are happy while some have experienced indifferent waiters. Some people also find it pricey but food is generally good.  (Website)

Indian Cuisine:

Royal Tandoor – it specializes in the old Awadhi cuisine, and the decoration is superb too.

 

 

Shopping in Souq Waqif

Souq Waqif, literally means standing market in Arabic. This is the very site where the Bedouin, the nomads who inhabited in the Arabian deserts, sold their wool and animals.

Today, the souq is renowned for selling traditional Qatari garments, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs. In recent years, people start to appreciate local Qatari artists and the souq has become a hot spot for art galleries and workshops too.

What can you buy in Souq Waqif

Carpet selling in Souq WaqifTraditional goods:

  • Pashimina
  • Bedouin weaving
  • Carpet
  • Abaya fashion
  • embroidery garment for men and women
  • Shisha
  • incense (including the famous oud aka agarwood or aloes wood)
  • pots

Food:

  • spices
  • dried fruit
  • nuts
  • honey

Pet shops in the souqPets and animals:

  • Bird market – you can find all kinds of birds, colored chicks, pet food and equipment here.
  • Rabbits
  • falcon souq

Art and crafts:

  • local Qatari artists’ works
  • wooden bridal chests
  • model dhows
  • gypsum handicrafts
  • other wooden crafts

Others:

  • tools
  • garden equipment
  • hardware

If your shopping is getting heavy, get a hamali (wheelbarrow porter) to help you.  For a small fee, he will help to put your shopping to your car.  Don’t want to carry the carpets, fabric and any other heavy shopping home? Just post them. See if there is a post office near you.

Still can’t find what you want? Or you want to see something different?  There are other souqs that are well worth visiting too!

 

 

Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar – Never cease to amaze you.

If you are looking for a wonderful place to shop, to dine, to explore or simply sitting at one of the many attractive outdoor cafe to watch the world pass by, look nowhere but Souq Waqif in Doha. For centuries, this location has been a souq for Bedouin (nomads who have historically inhabited the Arabian and Syrian Deserts.) to take […]

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