Exploring Doha: Souq Waqif on a hot summer evening

The more I go around Doha, the more I am reminded of Dubai in the early 90s. Back when I was a kid, there weren’t any big malls and shopping went down to just the necessities. What we did as a family during weekends was walk around. We hated those weekends because it meant we had to wake up early and go to places we really didn’t like. But looking back, I appreciate more the culture we were exposed to during those walks- the markets, the small shops, the nuts and spices in sacks being sold, bargaining with very little common vocabulary and eating with the laborers.

During the recently concluded Eid holidays, chubby hubby (who is determined not to remain chubby forever) had an entire week off which gave us a lot of time to go around the city and explore. However, the lazy bums that we are spent around 70% at home sleeping and lounging around and 30% outside in the heat. I wanted to spend a day on a beach resort somewhere but all hotels were fully booked (and also dang expensive) so we didn’t push that idea through.

One evening, out of the blue, chubby hubby took me to Souq Waqif.

I love everything traditional because it makes me feel like I understand a place or a person more when I am exposed to their traditions. Souq Waqif was true to the Arab culture of trade and architecture. I understand that the place was torn down and rebuilt just recently but I think they did a good job recapturing the old styles that these kind of markets (souqs) represent.

Souq waqif
Goods were stocked outside the stores. If this was Manila, those goods would have been long gone
Souq waqif corridors
Along the corridors/avenues of the Souq with the chubby hubby and Aria fast asleep in her stroller

You can buy fabric, garments, toys, food, traditional goods, hardware, and even live animals here at the Souq. There are a couple of boutique hotels, restaurants and an art center too.

Souq waqif (7)
Turtles on sale.
Souq waqif (6)
And Rabbits too!
Souq waqif Animals and birds for sale
Aria afraid of the animals

We didn’t get to check out the Art Center which was located in the middle part of the market because it was being renovated at the time. However some of the artists were seated outside doing their thing.

Souq waqif, Art Center
Outside the Art Center where local artists did portraits for a fee (ofcourse)
Souq waqif (5)
Bhosphorous restaurant where we had a our Turkish dinner.
Souq waqif (4)
Restaurants of different cuisines were scattered around the souq. You can take your pick.

It was a really really hot evening so we walked in a hurry to see as much as we could. We are already planning to come back when the weather is much cooler and we can enjoy the ambiance of the outdoors more. I feel like there is still so more to see. Hopefully by then I would have better photos because I would have a better camera (paging CHUBBY HUBBY!). For now this hot mama needs to stay away from the outdoors as much as possible and anchor her butt comfortably in air-conditioned areas.


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