Qatar has gained the fame as perfect holiday destination as it is the perfect blend of recreational activities. Apart from the historical sites, eateries and luxurious accommodation, the country is well renowned for the shopping expeditions. The flea markets in Doha offers a wide range of locally manufactured goods, one such market is Souq Waqif.
There is a lot more to Souq Waqif Doha that meets the eye. The labyrinthine-covered market with several lanes was once called a standing market because of the wet banks of a river connected to the sea and merchants had to stand up while selling their products. Tourists will get a glimpse of the Qatari culture and enjoy shopping and dining in a comfortable setting. There is so much to do in the market, that people will never have a dull moment.
Background of Souq Waqif
The origin of the market happened when Doha was a village, and villagers would gather at the bank of river Wadi to exchange goods for survival. According to historians, the origin of Souq Waqif happened to be in the 18th century probably. Back in 2003, a fire broke out in the market, destroying most of the parts. In later years, the revival of the historical site began, on the basis of the study and history of the marketplaces. The aim was to rejuvenate that ramshackle with an authentic and traditional approach. The market began to change with Qatar from a pearl diving center to an oil-rich nation.
Things to Know About Souq Waqif
Souq Waqif Doha is said to be over 100 years old and was once a trading place for Bedouins and local people who exchanged products and socialized. Once upon a time, it had direct access to the front waters where the boats lined up. The market still faces the water despite the major changes and the access being blocked by a road. It is one of the best places to visit in Qatar as it is said to be the only traditional market left standing.
Recovery of Doha Souq Waqif
The most unknown fact about Doha Souq waqif is the fire accident that happened in 2003 which further led to a renovation project that began in 2006. The conduct was based on keeping the tradition and culture of Qatar in mind. Aim was to conservation of Qatari culture and traditions and the portrayal of the fishing village heritage of Qatar was eminent in the project. The dilapidated buildings were demolished along with modern alterations that were emerged over time. Localities had modulated the building with the metal sheet over time, however whole the execution of the renovation project, architects replaced the sheets with the traditionally built roofs using the amalgamation of bamboo clay and straw, the traditional strategies to insulate the buildings against extreme heat were re-introduced.
Additionally, Mud rendered shops, exposed timber beams and the traditional Qatari buildings were a part of the renovation project, which carried on for two years. Now that Souq Waqif has regained the traditional touch get a glimpse of the ancient beauty of Qatar inclusive of the mud-baked buildings with exposed timber beams.
Things To Do At Souq Waqif
One of the many things to do in Doha is to visit the brimming site filled with restaurants and shops. Tourists can spend an entire day at the market exploring each corner and lane. While exploring the hundred-year-old market place the tourists can frolic through the different experiences. Vacations are all about unusual activities, and the moment that people don’t get to live generally in their routine life. For the lively spirited excursionist, Souq Waqif can be a destination that can render innumerable one-time experiences that surely, they would want to repeat. Here is a list of things that one can do in the traditional market in Doha.
1. Shop For Clothing
From traditional scarfs, embroidered cloaks or any piece of clothing you wish to buy, the City Souq in Doha has a plentitude of options to offer. The vastness and variety of the goods would compel you to lose yourself in the alleys of the market filled with all kinds of amazing things. It is a traditional market, so the vendors do not accept plastic or digital money the visitors ought to play in cash. Since it’s a flea market, visitors generally end up purchasing more than they had planned. Well, in that case, you can always hire a wheelbarrow porter for a helping hand.
2. Eat in Style
Visiting the Souq is not complete without grabbing a bite to eat at one of the Souq waqif restaurants in Doha. The market renders a supreme taste of every cuisine or dish you try. One of the most well-known restaurants to approach is the Damasca One, famed for its authentic Arabic delicacies from Syria and the Levant. On the other hand, for those who crave Iranian delights, Parisa is the restaurant to hop in. In short, if you are seeking mouthwatering delicacies and authentic restaurants, Souq Waqif is a proven hub to satiate all your taste buds.
3. Taste The Flavors At Souq Waqif
If you love to experiment on your cooking skills, then you should keep an eye out on the all the spices in the market. You will be amazed at the various colors of the spices and crates of tea leaves and nuts sold at the market. The market has everything you are looking for right from pure saffron, sumac, sweets, honey to dried flowers and sweet lemon.
You will be awe struck by all the tantalizing options and will be tempted to taste them all. There are no specific Souq waqif Doha opening hours, as it is open all day long.
4. Learn Falconry
Falcon represents the wealth and standard in Qatar, so, if you desire to buy a falcon, directly approach the market without a second thought. Not just the bird, you can buy any rearing and training equipment for the falcons. If you want, the vendors of Qatar souq would also guide you on the maintenance of health and training of the owned falcon.
5. Explore The Arabic Art
Tourists from around the world visiting the market can explore the local art galleries and exhibition spaces. One of the many things to do in Qatar is to enjoy the local artwork by various artists. The vacation will be an experience of a lifetime as people will learn a lot about the traditions and culture through the market.
Suggested Read: Bakeries In Qatar That Will Leave You Drooling For Desserts
Things To Buy The Souq Waqif
Tourists from around the world are mesmerized by the hotels and restaurants in and around Souq Waqif. Shopping for some of the rarest items is something people should not miss out on. There is a lot to look forward to at the city Souq Doha from buying the best of Dalla Coffee pots to Pashminas Shawls and Scarves. The visitors can buy loads of locally produced merchandise from the market. Here is a list of things that you should not miss while you are exploring the market.
1. Dalla Arabian Pots
Dalla Arabian Pots are traditional coffee pots people should buy at Souq Waqif Doha. These are coffee pots that are made with either silver or brass, and are only found in the middle east. The pots have been in use for centuries in various homes to welcome guests. There are a variety of pots filled with gemstones and much more. People will have the best time of their lives shopping for such souvenirs.
2. Designer Wooden Boxes
The designer wooden boxes can be bought at the Hamad International Airport along with other souvenirs, which are quite popular among people. With different shapes and designs, the boxes sold at Souq Waqif Doha are eye-catching. Tourists from around the world come to buy the traditional designed boxes, available in all shapes and sizes. These are some of the things people love to shop for. Apart from shopping, people can even spend a day on the beaches in Doha.
3. Pashminas Shawls and Scarves
If you are wondering where to shop for pashminas and scarves, then look no further, as you have come to the right place, the Souq Waqif in Doha. The market is home to the best shawls and scarves made from pashmina, accessible in various colors, designs and quality. The market is heaven for all the shopaholics. The best part is that there are no fixed price.
Souq waqif Doha timings as the market is open 24 hours. These products can be given as gifts to people, which is one of the best things about shopping for such things.
4. Oud Wood Or Oil
One of the things people are often concerned about is the fragrance of any kind of product, especially when it comes to oil or perfume. So, when out shopping in Doha Souq Waqif, you can buy Oud wood or oil which is easily found in the market and malls. The fragrance of the oil of course is seen at several homes, malls, cinemas, and several other places.
Did you know the oud perfume is also known as black gold in the middle east? It is made from agarwood tree which is rare to find. Oud wood and oil is renowned in the middle east, something people can buy while on vacation in the middle east. Besides shopping, people can even go on a desert safari in Qatar.
5. Desert Rose
One of the best places to find authentic Desert roses is at Souq Waqif shops. It is the one place where you can find all kinds of handicrafts, home decors and other accessories. The rose is an ideal present to give your loved ones as it represents the beauty of the Arabian desert. You just have to ensure that you get it for a decent price at the best store in the market.
Suggested Read: Falcon Souq: One Of A Kind Market Dedicated To Falconry
Hotels to Stay Close to Souq Waqif
1. Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels by Tivoli
Rating - 4/5
Location - Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar
Exclusive Features -
- 10 dining options
- Courtyard Pool
There is nothing more comforting than staying at one of the finest hotels in Doha. Souq Waqif is a traditional haven of Qatar as it ensures people are offered the best of the best. So, if you are looking for a resort or hotels in Doha, then Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels by Tivoli is the place for you. You will have the most comfortable stay when on holiday.
2. Alwadi Hotel Doha – MGallery
Location: Corner of Wadi Musheireb And, Jassim Bin Mohammed St, Doha, Qatar
Exclusive Features -
- Business Centre
When the words ‘hotels in Qatar’ comes to mind, people automatically think of Alwadi Hotel Doha, for its top-notch features. Only a couple of minutes away from the market, the hotel is a paradise for those looking for luxury and comfort.
Tourists coming for a holiday should stay here and experience the finest hospitality. The hotel has over 4 rooms along with 3 suites to choose from. People can even take advantage of the massage services, enjoy a game of golf at the golf course. It even has a restaurant and bar where people can grab a bite to eat or drink.
3. Mandarin Oriental Doha
TripAdvisor Rating - 5/5
Location - Barahat Msheireb Street, Doha, Qatar
Exclusive Features -
- Event Facilities
One of the finest 5-star properties known for its middle eastern charm and hospitality, Mandarin Oriental Doha is the best place for tourists to stay at while on vacation. People will get to experience the finest hospitality and much more.
People can indulge in the best Cantonese and provincial delicacies from China to a fine afternoon tea experience at the Mandarin Lounge. Both kids and adults can enjoy the indoor and outdoor pools. Not only the in-hotel amenities but also the Souq Waqif Doha comes to the rescue from any inch of boredom you feel. So, explore the market to buy souvenirs from Qatar.
Doha is a rich city home to the finest markets, shopping malls, beaches and much more. Speaking of shopping and markets, the one place that comes to mind is Souq Waqif Doha. People will find all kinds of amazing products at the shops in the market, which is an absolute treat. So, when are you planning to avail of the much needed Qatar holiday packages?
Carpets, Pashmina, Bedouin weaving, Pots, Jewelry, Kitchen hardware, Traditional clothes are some of the things people can shop for at the market.
Souq Waqif is one of the oldest markets in Qatar. According to the historians it was established about 100 years ago. There are also beliefs that the market is older than two centuries.
Yes, it is safe to visit Doha. Being the capital city of one of the safest countries around the globe, travelers can roam about the city with utmost convenience.
Souq is a market where all kinds of goodies are sold and bought by locals and people from around the world.
Hamad International airport is the closest to the market.
October to the end of April is the best time to visit Doha as the weather is comfortable. People can have the best time while on vacation.
The renovations of the market began in 2006, which took about 2 years to complete.
There are many hotels closer to the market but the closest hotel is Souq Waqif Boutique Hotel by Tivoli.