Good for: Improving food standards, Avoiding food in Souq Wakif., Shopping, lunch, A real work out !
Not good for: Restaurants in Doha
- bounded by Al-Souq St & Grand Hamad St Al-Jasra
Lonely Planet review for Souq Waqif
Currently enjoying the last phase of a major make-over, Souq Waqif is a wonderful place to explore. There has been a souq on this site for centuries, as this was the spot where the Bedouin would bring their sheep, goats and wool to trade for essentials. It grew into a scruffy warren of concrete alleyways in recent years but now its tourist potential has been recognised and it's been cleverly redeveloped to look like a 19th-century souq, with mud-rendered shops and exposed timber beams.
Despite the slight 'Disneyfication' of the area, the chief business of the souq continues unabated and it remains one of the most traditional market places in Doha. This is the place to look for the national Qatari dress, including beautifully embroidered bukhnoq (girl's head covering), spices, perfumes and oud, an exotic incense made from agar wood. For a fun souvenir, take an empty glass jar and ask the spice traders to fill it with layers of colourful cumin, fenugreek, turmeric and ginger. If you get tired wandering round the antique shops or wondering what the newly built caravansary will be used for, then rest up at Eshairiq Coffeehouse with a mint tea and watch the world go by.