Practical Life in Doha


Shopping in Doha


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Shopping in Doha is a popular pastime amongst both Qataris and expats. Prices in Doha are cheaper than Dubai, and as with most of the Middle East, be prepared to bargain. From shopping malls to souks, the high spending power of Qataris and a recent explosion of development means that there is something for every shopper in Doha. Qatar also has no taxes.

What to Buy in Doha

Specialities you can pick up in Qatar as a souvenir, or to help you acclimatize to your new home country and its traditions, include

  • Dullah (traditional coffee pot with a set of small kahwa cups)
  • Traditional incense burner
  • Gold jewelry with a Gulf design
  • Good quality dates
  • Gulf-style 'Russian dolls'
  • Arabic perfume
  • Pearls
  • Locally made halawa (a dense sweet made from nut butters)

Shopping Areas in Doha

Most malls in Doha are open 10 am to 10 pm, Saturday to Thursday. Most will also be closed Friday mornings but may open during the evening when they are most crowded.

City Centre-Doha (Tel. 483 0582) is the country's largest shopping centre. It is located in West Bay, and houses shops, a large Carrefour supermarket, a cinema, bowling alley, children's arcade, and indoor skating rink. It is located in the city's diplomatic quarter.

Villaggio (Tel. 974 4135655) is one of Doha's newest malls, designed to mimic Italy's Venice. Besides shopping, you can also take gondola rides through the mall (15 QR), go ice-skating or go to the cinema. Villaggio is located next to the Aspire Zone sports area (also known as Doha Sports City).

Malls in Doha include:

  • Hyatt Plaza
  • The Gate (luxury hub)
  • Landmark Shopping Mall (home to Gap, H&M and Zara)
  • The Mall (Qatar's oldest mall, opened in 1997)

Giant retail park Doha Festival City is located 15 km north of downtown Doha and boasting over 400 shops and Qatar's first IKEA, is expected to open later in 2013.

Markets or Souqs in Doha

Doha has several souqs where you can purchase spices, incense, woven baskets, Bedouin weavings, and other souvenirs as well as fresh produce. You can expect to barter in souqs.

  • Souq Waqif (also called the Iranian Souq and Old Souq) is marked by a landmark spiral tower, located behind the crescent shaped waterfront Corniche. It was renovated in 2004 to resemble the authentic, dusty souks such as those found in Aleppo and Damascus in Syria, or Cairo in Egypt. In the heart of this souq is the Souq Waqif Art Centre where you can buy folk paintings.
  • Gold Souq, by Doha's bus station, is the place to buy gold and jewelry. It is particularly busy in the early evening, and before holidays. Even if you aren't in the market for new jewels, the Gold Souq is worth a visit to see traditional Qatari bridal jewelry.
  • Animal and Bird Market is located behind the Wholesale Market. This market becomes particularly busy before Eid (an Islamic feast) when goat-buyers and camel-traders flood its alleys.
  • Omani Souq is a small market located on Haloul Street, parallel to Salwa Road.

Supermarkets in Doha

There are both local and international supermarket chains in Doha.

The city has several Carrefour's, which have perhaps the highest profiles as they are located in major malls (City Center, Villaggio, Landmark). These shops have electronics, clothing, and housewares sections in addition to food, and are open until midnight.

The Giant supermarket, located in Hyatt Plaza is also open until midnight.

Lulu, located on the D Ring road near the airport, has a department store as well as a supermarket section with plenty of American and British imports, and is open until 11:45 pm.

Megamart has a lot of (pricey) imports from the US, Australia and the UK, as well as a wide range of health foods, and is located in Al Rayyan.

Spinneys supermarket is located in The Mall, with two locations set to open at The Pearl, and is open until 11:00 pm.

Finally, the Family Food Center has three locations at the Airport Road, Al Nasar and Al Rayyan, is open until midnight, and offers Air Miles.


Update 1/10/2013

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