Visiting Doha? A trip to this exciting market has simply got to be on the cards.
A stroll down the bustling alleys of Souq Waqif provides an authentic taste of traditional Qatari life. The maze of small shops have dazzling Middle Eastern merchandise, from spices and seasonal delicacies such as fresh dates and nuts, to perfumes, ornate jewellery, clothing, handicrafts and a treasure trove of souvenir bargains.
You’ll more than likely get lost as you wander the tiny streets, but that’s half the fun.
1. What’s so special about Souq Waqif?
There’s also traditional music, art and cultural shows here, so you can soak up some entertainment while you shop. Throw in the eclectic mix of restaurants and cafes which offer traditional Qatari food as well as regional dishes from Asia and North Africa and you’ve got a great evening out.
The souq is also home to a number of art galleries and a traditional Falconry Market. Looking for gold? You can check out the Gold Market, and then swing by the stables to say hi to horses and camels.
2. How do I get there?
Souq Waqif is located in the heart of Doha, between Al Asmakh street and Al Ahmed Street. The Souq is within walking distance from Doha Corniche.
- Mowasalat Doha operates a bus from Doha Airport (DOH) to Souq Waqif every 20 minutes. Tickets cost QR10 and the journey takes 15m.
- A taxi ride from the Hamad International Airport takes about 10 minutes and costs from QR35.
3. How much will it cost?
It’s free to just wander around and browse all the different stalls, but you will be tempted to buy something! You can usually bargain down the prices of souvenirs, and there’s a wide range of places to eat and drink.
On a budget? Get something to-go from one of the many food stalls.
4. How long will it take?
Expect to wander around here for at least two hours, as there’s so much to see and do. By the time you look around the stalls, get lost once or twice, have a coffee and shisha and see the falcons, the afternoon will have flown by.
5. When is the best time to go?
The souq is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but most shops tend to close from 12 noon until 4pm. We recommend visiting Souq Waqif between 7pm and 11pm for the best vibes.
6. Where I will I get the best photos?
- Feed the pigeons by the entrance and snap a photo as they fly away
- Photograph the colourful spices at the food stalls
- Stroll past stalls selling lanterns for a great Instagram shot
- Any of the carpet vendors will make for a vibrant background
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7. Any insider tips?
- If parking in the underground carpark, Zone 3 is closest to the souq’s main entrance.
- Try some kunafeh from Al Aker – it’s a Turkish dessert soaked in a sweet sugar syrup
- You can play Backgammon at Majlis Al Dana
- There’s several boutique hotels at the souq where you can get a massage
- Don’t forget to haggle down the prices of souvenirs!