Qatar Guide: Qatar’s best markets for bargains and treats!

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By Sarah Schroeder

We all love to shop, browse, and splurge a little sometimes. Qatar has got some of the most extensive and popular shops in its many malls. Plenty of shopping possibilities for sure – but is it exactly what you’re looking for? If you’re looking for materials or tools with a specific purpose, or a little something-but-nothing-in-particular, it may get a little harder to find what you’re searching for. Whatever that item may be, Qatar probably has it – you just have to know how it look for it!

Flea markets are fantastic; you go there without something to buy in mind, and end up wandering, engaging in conversation, and strolling happily beside stalls with unique and intriguing items. But where do you find something like this in Qatar? We’ve had a look for you and found some great places to browse, buy something silly or pretty, or find exactly what you’re looking for. Check out these 10 markets – especially now that the weather is getting better and we start craving more time outdoors. Enjoy yourself, make a day of it, and treat yo’self!

1. Souq Waqif

 Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images

Let’s start with a very obvious but no less wonderful market – Souq Waqif in Doha. Find fabric, handicrafts, leather products, kitchenware, spices, photo-printed canvasses, perfume, henna, and jewelry. Be sure to browse through Souq Waqif’s handicraft section for décor and incredible gifts, and Souq al Dhahab – the Gold Souq. While a prominent tourist spot, you can find great treasures in this souq.

2. Farmer’s market

Photo courtesy of ILoveQatar.net

Where to get fresh veggies you ask? Try Al-Mazrouah Yard in Umm Salal in the north of Doha where you’ll find an amazing farmer’s market with Qatar’s locally-grown greens. Fruit and veg aren’t the only thing you can buy here at a bargain price, there are also flowers and plants, and cooked dishes to buy in case you get hungry while spending your morning here. Here, you’re not just buying fresh and support local businesses, but also doing your bit to reduce your carbon footprint by buying local!

3. The MIA Park Bazaar

Photo courtesy of Museum of Islamic Art

Next to the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) lies the MIA Park, which hosts the Park Bazaar twice a month on Friday from 2:00 p.m. till 10:00 p.m., and Saturday from 12 noon till 8:00 p.m.. Around 150 little stalls offer accessories, food, clothing, handcrafted art and objects, jewelry, and photography. This comes as close as it gets to the flea, antique, art or handicraft markets you can find in Europe. A great way to spend the day, shop, find a unique present and meet new people. You can even book one of the stalls to sell your own creations! 

4. Souq Al Haraj 

Photo courtesy of The Peninsula Qatar

Souq Al Haraj is a classic! The go-to-place for expats coming and going, Souq Al Haraj in Najma is a market for second-hand furniture. There are some remarkable finds in the furniture stores, and pieces of impeccable quality. Next time you need a new couch table or bookshelf, ditch the expensive shops, and check out what they have at Souq Al Haraj.

5. QatArt at Katara

Photo courtesy of ILoveQatar.net

QatArt has returned to Katara in these colder months. Starting this November, the handmade market will run every other Friday until April 2018. Textile products, wooden products and toys, sand paintings, and paracord (parachute cord) accessories are among the handcrafted items for sale. We’re entirely fascinated with the objects at this art market. Furthermore, there will be handcrafting workshops running alongside this market.

Photo courtesy of QatArt

6. Fish Market at the Corniche

Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images

Get it while it’s fresh! In the mood for hammour, saafi, or sea bream? Just on the Corniche you can find a fish market that’s open daily from 6:00 a.m. till 12 noon, and 6:00 p.m. till 12 midnight. You can buy fish that has just come out of the water. If you talk to the local fishermen, they can show you how to recognize that the fish is fresh. Many of Doha’s best restaurant chefs go to buy their fish here!

7. Sofitel Computer Market

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The Sofitel complex in Msheireb Downtown Doha is all about computers! Named after a no longer existing hotel, the Sofitel complex is a computer market filled with shops for various purposes. Get your smartphone screen fixed in one shop, your government documents translated in another, and replace old computer parts in the next. If you want to get something computer-related fixed, or are looking for chargers or parts you can’t find in the conventional stores, this is your best bet!

8. Souq Al Asiri

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One of my personal favorites is Souq Al Asiri next to the Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center (previously known as Al Fanar) at the Corniche. This indoor souq is also known as the Elevator Souq and has everything around clothes; textiles, sewing accessories, zippers and finished clothes, and abayas. Get your clothes tailored, or buy fabric to make your own. It’s open from 8:00 a.m. till 10:30 p.m., but closed for lunch and prayer between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. – still plenty of time to browse.

Also, there are ministry-certified perfume shops around Souq Al Asiri that are worth a visit!

9. Wholesale Market and Plant Souq 

Photo courtesy of ILoveQatar.net

The wholesale market in Doha has existed forever in Abu Hamour. Next to it you can find the Plant Souq. This is an interesting destination for residents and visitors alike, with vegetables and plants as far as you can see. Buy your greens at a bargain and break out your haggling skills when you buy more than one thing at one stand. Also buy soil, fertilizers, ornaments, and pots here for your plants at home!

10. Filipino Souq

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Walking behind the Islamic Cultural Center and Souq Al Asiri, and you may stumble upon an assemblage of Filipino shops that leave you puzzled and intrigued. Where did they all come from? From shops with clothes and school bags, to food stores, you can find all things Filipino here. Entering the shops you have to polish your Tagalog skills rather than your Arabic, but what lies in the stores and little restaurants is delicious Filipino food, fruit, and candy. Check out the Filipino bakeries, for a yummy mid-day snack!

These are just a few of Doha’s souqs and markets you should explore this weekend or whenever you feel like browsing or you have something in particular to find. These markets are part of why we love Qatar so much. They keep life interesting and full of surprises and intrigue.

What’s your favorite market in Qatar? Are there any markets outside Doha you think should be on this list? Let us know what you think and where you like to go browsing and shopping at! Also, don’t forget to give us a like and a share – you know it keeps us going!

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