Screen-Shot-2016-01-10-at-10.31.57-PM Souk Waqif in DohaAlthough Doha is best known for its’ skyscrapers and shopping malls, it’s not too difficult to escape the world of steel and plate glass to enjoy shopping and the smoke perfumed atmosphere of the more traditional souq markets. The souqs, located all around the city, are the best places to purchase souvenirs of traditional goods, spices, perfumes, and wool and silk pashminas.

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One of the biggest and most popular is the century old Souk Waqif which has recently been restored to its original glory, transporting you to your own Arabian nights fairytale. Souq Waqif is Urdu for “standing market”. And generations of animated merchants have been vigorously waving their hands and goods, engaging would-be shoppers and bargaining for a price both buyer and seller could agree upon. Always start low and slowly work upwards until you get to the price you are willing to pay.

Thousands of people traverse the cobblestone streets and rest under the numerous arches out the glare of the heavy sun during the day. And sample the sweet taste of shisha and traditional candies under the starry nights. Lately it has become a hotspot for art galleries and trendy restaurants. It is also a wonderful place to people watch and capture a few great character filled pictures with your eyes and your digital camera.

Shopping isn’t the only thing you can do in at the Souq Waqif. There are activities for every age to include pony and camel rides, a brightly colored and very loud bird market and traditional musical performers and entertainers strolling the narrow streets and alleyways at night.

And finally, just off the beaten trail, near the equestrian area, you’ll find the Falcon Souq. It’s home to everything needed in the training, maintenance and care of the lofty bird. However, look but don’t touch the prized birds, which are treated like members of the immediate family and generally cost more than your car back home.

pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28 Souk Waqif in Doha