10 fascinating things to discover, see and do in Doha, Qatar

Officially the richest country in the world, Qatar is fast becoming a key Middle Eastern destination.

You can spend a weekend here and discover some great Islamic art, exciting cultures and traditions and taste delicious Qatari food – plus sneak in some shopping at one of their enormous (and delightfully air conditioned) malls. Here are some of the most amazing things to do if you find yourself in Doha for a few days.

1. Visit Souk Waqif

The most fascinating place to get the pulse of the city in Doha is at Souk Waqif – a huge traditional structure encompassing market stalls, restaurants and entertainment. It is newly rebuilt on the old Souk but it looks like it has been there for aeons.

Today, it is an active market for locals to buy everything from pots and pans to song birds. Wander around the labyrinth of the souk and you will discover a spice market, a gold market, the bird market and more. If you get there in the morning, you can watch the camels training and grab a coffee in one of the open air cafes.

Return in late afternoon just in time to see the Souk getting busy for evening trade. This is the time that the camel mounted police do their rounds, which makes for a great photo opportunity. The Souk really comes alive in the evening. Colourful lights glitter from lamps along the streets.

2. Check out the Falcon Souk

Next to Souk Waqif is the Falcon Souk. Falconry is a major sport in Qatar and there are more than 35 shops that sell the birds in the souk alone. You can see them perched on their stands, blindfolded. A three-year-old trained falcon can cost thousands.

If you are there early in the year, attend one of the daily falcon competitions held in the city.

3. And the Camel Souk

You will find the camel souk as you walk away from the main souk towards the water, downhill. An assortment of camels are penned up here, waiting to be sold. They’re fascinating to look at but beware of touching them as they do bite.

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