Many thanks to the individuals who have made their photographs of the Souq Waqif Doha and surrounding areas available for use in this web site by declaring them to be Creative Commons. by Wesley Fryer by Rachel Zack by John Mahaffle by Naseer Alkhourl by Isabell Schulz […]Continue reading »
Here is the opening hours of shops and restaurants in Souq Waqif.
Most shops operate from 10:00 am. to noon. Re-open at 4 p.m. till 10 p.m.
Most restaurants open all day, from 8:00 a.m. to midnight. Some may even open 24 hours.
Click here for list of banks and their opening hours.
While the souq is closed, you may always other attractions nearby. The Corniche, Museum of Islamic Art and Qatar National Museum are all great choices.
Museum of Islamic Art (MIA)
Within walking distance to the souq, next to the Corniche Promenade, the Museum of Islamic Art is well worth visiting. Every Thursday and Saturday starting 2p.m., you may join their highlight guided tour for free if you are in a hurry. The tour takes 40 minutes. The museum features glass, metalwork, fabric, ceramics and manuscripts from ancient to modern times. You also have a choice of quick bite in the museum cafe or fine dining at the IDAM Restaurant with their alcohol-free menu designed by the Michelin 3-star chef Alain Ducasse.
Sunday 10:30am to 5:30pm
Monday 10:30am to 5:30pm
Wednesday 10:30am to 5:30pm
Thursday 12pm to 8pm
Friday 2pm to 8pm
Saturday 12pm to 8pm
Please check the MIA official site for latest events and Ramadan arrangements.
The Corniche Promenade
The Corniche Promenade or Doha Corniche is a 7km long boulevard lined with palms and greens together with modern architecture along the sea front. Al Corniche Street, parallel to the Doha Corniche, join the Hamad International Airport to the West Bay new business district. This promenade is loved by joggers and anyone who enjoy a pleasant walk along the sea. Monuments like The Pearl, landmarks like Qatar National Theatre and Museum of Islamic Art, modern skyscrapers, parks and playground can be all found along here. Don’t forget to take an evening boat trip to enjoy the wonderful skyline of Doha.
Gold Souq, a souk that is full of gold, pearl and jewellery. Completed in 2012, the new Gold Souq follows the traditional Qatari architectural design, the two-storey building provides premises to over 40 jewellers. A must-see no matter if you love golden jewellery or not.
Katara Cultural Village
Located next to the Katara Beach, Katara is a unique cultural place rich with many arts displays events. It functions as a city hall which hosts different cultural events and art festivals, both free and paid. Completed in 2008, the beautiful Katara Amphitheater is a must-see. It combines both classic Greek theatre idea and Islamic features under the blue sky of Qatar. The Katara beach and cafes are also great choices for relaxing too.
Qatar National Museum
The Fariq Al Salatah Palace, formerly Museum of Heritage, is now surrounded by a new and modern structure to form the current Qatar National Museum. Award winning architecture Jean Nouvel was hired to design a brand new face for it. Travellers s who arrive from the airport may be puzzled by this big ring of interlocking discs pavilions occupying over 1 million square foot of space, not knowing that it houses both the history and modern life of Qatar. Those who are interested in the traditional dhows (vessels with one or more masts and lateen sails that used in Arabian region) should not miss this museum too.
The museum is undergoing construction and schedule to open in early 2016.
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.
Explore 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)
Souq 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!
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.
Sunday~Thursday: 7:30a.m. – 1:00p.m.
Some banks may open in the late afternoon, say, 5:00p.m. – 7:00p.m. and Saturday 7:30a.m. – 1:00p.m. Please check with individual bank for up-to-date opening time.
List of Banks in Qatar
- Qatar Central Bank
- Arab Bank
- Bank Saderat Iran
- Barclays Bank
- BNP Paribas
- Commercial Bank of Qatar
- Doha Bank
- HSBC Bank Middle East
- International Bank of Qatar
- Qatar International Islamic Bank
- Qatar National Bank
- Standard Chartered Bank
- United Bank Limited
ATM machines near Souq Waqif:
- Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ) ATM at Souq Waqif (zoom in to see the location)
- Atrium of Museum of Islamic Art
New to Doha? Other useful information can be found here.
Post services in Qatar is provided by QPost. This is a quick reference for you find the nearest QPost branches. For more up-to-date information, please refer to QPost’s web site.
List of QPost Branches:
- General Post Office
- Qatar Foundation
- Lulu Hyper Market
- Khalifa Town
- New Mansoorah-almeera
- Al kharthiyat
- Industrial Area
- Al Shahaniya
- Al Azizya
- Al Muntazah
- Souk Al Ali
- Al Ghuwairiya
- Al Shamal
- Aumm Salal Ali
- Rayyan 1
- Umm Bab
- Rayyan 2
- Qatar University-Girls
- Al Jumailiya
- Woqod-Industrial Area
- Woqod-Muaither East
- Woqod-Muaither South
- Woqod-Rawdat Rasheed
- Woqod-Al Daayeen
- Woqod-Al Sheehaniya
- Woqod-North University
- Woqod-Umm Salal West(Bu Fesseela)
- Woqod-Umm Salal East(Rawdat Al Hamama)
- Qatar Technology Park
- Ezdan, Wakra
- Immigration Office_Metrash
Visa on arrival for tourists is available for over 30 countries. Or you can always apply at the embassy at your country. A typical tourist visa allows one month stay.
Expatriates with family status can get up to 6 months visa for their family members like parents or siblings.
For more detail, please check the latest visa application requirements here.
Official language is Arabic though fluent English is spoken in many places.
Currency used in Qatar is Qatar Riyal (QAR or QR) and each Riyal is divided into 100 Dirham.
The Qatari Riyal is pegged to the US dollar at a fixed exchange rate of USD 1 = QR 3.64 in 2001. <read more>
Banks opening hours: Sunday – Thursday 7:30a.m. – 1:00p.m. Certain banks may open from 5p.m. to 7p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and also Saturday morning.
Qatar is hot in general. Best months to visit are November to April with temperature ranging between 21 – 30C in November or 14 – 22C in January. Rainy season starts from September to December.
Best time to visit depends where do you come from and what’s the hottest temperature you can bear. Click here to see the annual monthly average temperature of Doha.
The general rule is not to show too much skin in public places, as a courtesy to both Qataris and Muslims. For both men and women, tops should cover the shoulders and upper arms. Shorts or skirts should at least cover the knees. Women do not necessarily cover their hair. Though it is particularly important to be modest in the Holy month of Ramadan.
Beachwear and swim suits are for hotel beaches only.
There are over 200 post boxes in Qatar. You can easily find them in museums and tourist attractions like Katara. See list of QPost branches here. More information can be found at Qpost.
Besides 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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
Royal Tandoor – it specializes in the old Awadhi cuisine, and the decoration is superb too.
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
- Bedouin weaving
- Abaya fashion
- embroidery garment for men and women
- incense (including the famous oud aka agarwood or aloes wood)
- dried fruit
Pets and animals:
- Bird market – you can find all kinds of birds, colored chicks, pet food and equipment here.
- falcon souq
Art and crafts:
- local Qatari artists’ works
- wooden bridal chests
- model dhows
- gypsum handicrafts
- other wooden crafts
- garden equipment
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!