Nestled in the heart of Qatar’s capital city Doha on an ancient trading site, Souq Waqif Doha is a gorgeous paradise for those who wish to experience the true essence of shopping the traditional way in Qatar. The marketplace was established over a hundred years ago and has been a prominent landmark in Doha since then. Boasting of its fine shopping experience and numerous traditional Qatari buildings, Souq Waqif attracts travelers from all around the world and is a place one should definitely consider visiting.

Besides, here’s all you need to know about Souq Waqif, Doha’s iconic location in Qatar. From its establishment and renovation to some top restaurants, and things to do, we have compiled it all for you.  

History Of Souq Waqif

Souq Waqif is among the most popular heritage sites in Qatar that beholds a rich history. Apart from being a market place for locals since the past 250 years, this is also a landmark for tourist in the country. Souq Waqif in Qatar ranks on the top for being the traditional market since ages where one can discover the art, craft and the aroma of traditional species.

Before understanding the history of this heritage market, let us understand what Souq Waqif means. While Waqif means standing, Souq is an Arabic name for “Market”. So, this standing marketplace in Qatar is a hub for traders and vendors selling everything from the spices, cinnamon, cumin, clothes, fish wood and more.

If you are planning a vacation with the best things to do in Souq Waqif, let us take you to its rich history and the amazing stories linked with this amazing heritage market in Qatar.

A. Establishment Of Souq Waqif Qatar

Establishment Of Souq Waqif
Establishment Of Souq Waqif

Estimated to be over a hundred years old, Souq Waqif in Doha was established as a trading place where Bedouins and local people used to gather in order to exchange products and socialize. The place used to have direct access to the front waters where boats used to line up. However, after developments that took place at the site, that direct access has now been blocked by a road even though the Souq still faces the water. In fact, Souq Waqif Qatar is often considered by many to be the only left traditional Souq in the country.

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B. Restoration Of Doha Souq Waqif

Restoration Of Doha Souq Waqif
Restoration Of Doha Souq Waqif 

Something that not many travelers may be aware of, a large part of this market was damaged by a massive fire in 2003. Later in 2006, it was decided that the Souq will be renovated and the site will be brought to its original 19th Century Souq style and look. The project included the renovation of its mud-rendered shops, exposed timber beams, and traditional Qatari buildings that were to be restored. The project, then, went on for two years and was completed in 2008 when the Souq was restored to its normal look.

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Best Things To Do In Qatar Souq Waqif

A site brimming with its numerous restaurants and top of the line shopping experience, there are numerous things to do in Doha, and spending time at Souq Waqif is certainly one of them. So, if you wish to explore every nook and corner of this heritage marketplace, here are some of the best things you can do in Souq Waqif while exploring the location.

1. Shop For The Finest Traditional Items & Souvenirs

Shop For The Finest Traditional Items & Souvenirs
Shop For The Finest Traditional Items & Souvenirs

As believed by many travelers who come to the city, there’s no better place than Souq Waqif to freshen up your wardrobe. Considered as one of the top activities to do in Souq Waqif, Qatar, visitors can shop for the finest of traditional clothes or buy things like tailor-made robes, kitchen hardware, pans, pots, and so much more. The best part? Souq Waqif is one of those places where travelers can even find the most unique items.

As the natives themselves put it, every corner has something unique about it and visitors even get to shop the best of souvenirs that are hard to find anywhere else in Qatar. Having said that, though, travelers coming here for shopping should carry a handful of cash as many shops in the area accept card payments.

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2. Savor The Unique Flavors Of Spices & Other Culinary Delights

Spices in Qatar
Spices in Qatar

Not only is Doha Souq Waqif renowned for its shopping delights in clothes and items for home but is also a popular place in the city to savor the best of flavors that truly define what Qatar is all about. Nestled just steps away from the main entrance of Doha Corniche and boasting of its spice shops, this part of Souq Waqif will give you a culinary experience like no other. One can find aromatic spices, saffron, dried flowers, preserved lemons, and so much more. The best part? Just about every shopkeeper here is generous and welcoming enough to guide visitors through all the available options of spices and other things. One can even get to sample a few products, making it one of the best things to do in Souq Waqif, Qatar.

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3. Find The Best Pieces Of Jewelry At Gold Souq

Jewelry Shops in Qatar
Jewelry Shops in Qatar

One of the most popular things about spending your day at traditional market is to visit the Gold Souq. One can find the best of traditional as well as modern pieces of jewelry at the place that range from 18-carat gold to 22-carat gold including some high-end pieces of jewelry. Renowned as one of the top places for shopping in Souq Waqif, there are more than 40 shops in the area where jewelry is the name of the game. The best part? One can even find some high-end readymade pieces of jewelry or traditional bridal jewelry that speaks for itself.

4. Dine In At The Best Restaurants In Souq Waqif, Doha

Top-Notch Dining Experience
Top-Notch Dining Experience

There’s no better place than dining at the heart of Doha in Souq Waqif. Home to a number of top of the line restaurants and cafes that range from traditional and International, the place offers a fine dining experience at its prominent location, Gold Souq. One can embrace the best of international delicacies or head over to the traditional restaurants in Souq Waqif, Doha to savor the best of Qatari cuisines at their very authentic flavor. In fact, Souq Waqif is home to a number of waterfront restaurants too where guests get to savor the best of cuisines while enjoying the mesmerizing views around. So, why not try dining at the heart of Doha on your next visit to Souq Waqif, Qatar.

5. Experience The Age-Old Sport Of Falconry

Age-Old Sport Of Falconry
Age-Old Sport Of Falconry

One of the best things to do in Souq Waqif is undoubtedly witnessing a falconry show.Falconry has a massive place in Qatar’s history. The sport has been heavily promoted in the country and the natives in Qatar love Falconry as much as they love the heritage. But what’s Falconry got to do with Souq Waqif? Well, it is one of those locations in Doha where travelers can experience falconry at its very best.

Souq Waqif in Qatar has a whole market typically dedicated to falconry where visitors can come to catch a glimpse of the birds that stand still on wooden perches and visitors can request the shopkeepers to have a falcon perch on their arms. In fact, these birds are sold at huge prices while some are sent for auctions. There is even a hospital for falcons nearby where people can bring their falcons to get them treated.      

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Top Things To Buy From Souq Waqif, Qatar

While the restaurants and hotels in and around Souq Waqif really catch the eye of the visitors, shopping for the rarest of things is something one cannot afford to miss. From the best of Dalla Coffee Pots to the finest of Pashminas Shawls and Scarves, there’s a lot to look forward to for the tourists. So, here are some of the best things one can shop from Souq Waqif.  

1. Dalla Arabian Pots

Dalla Arabian Pots
Dalla Arabian Pots

One of the finest things to buy while shopping in Souq Waqif, the Dalla Arabian Pots are the traditional coffee pots that one can find in the middle east. The pots are either made of silver or brass. In fact, the Dalla Arabian Pots have been used in Qatar over centuries and are majorly used to welcome the guests at Qatari homes. At Souq Waqif in Qatar, one can find numerous such pots designed with gemstones and other things.

2. Designer Wooden Boxes

Wooden Boxes
Wooden Boxes

One of the best things to shop from here as well as the Hamad International Airport, the designer wooden boxes are bought as souvenirs in Doha and are hugely popular amongst travelers. These boxes come in different shapes and designs that are simply eye-catching. Travelers can find some traditional patterns made on the boxes. Besides, as far as the sizes are concerned, these wooden boxes range from small to some of the very big ones in which one can store a whole lot of stuff. Shop for these at the iconic Souq Waqif.  

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3. Pashminas Shawls and Scarves

Pashminas Shawls
Pashminas Shawls

Now here's a thing, if you're shopping at Doha Souq Waqif and wondering where to find some pashminas, well, you're at the right place already. Home to the finest of shawls and scarves made from pashmina which are available in a wide range of colors, designs, and quality, shopping for these at Souq Waqif is simply a treat for the travelers. One can find the finest of scarves or shawls at much reasonable prices here. The best part? These items are lightweight to carry so travelers can purchase as many as they want and give as a gift to their loved ones.

4. Oud Wood Or Oil

Oud Wood Or Oil
Oud Wood Or Oil

Another highly notable thing as far as shopping in Doha is concerned is the oud fragrance. No matter where you go in the country, oud fragrance is a common feature at Qatari homes, malls, cinema, and anywhere else. In fact, the oud perfume is famous by the name black gold in the middle east as it is extracted from the agarwood tree which is extremely rare to find. Hence, if you come across an oud perfume bottle or simply the oud wood at Souq Waqif, well, don't be surprised as the place is well-renowned for it. Travelers can purchase oud fragrance at the place at relatively cheap prices. In fact, this is one fragrance that is bound to remind you of the Middle East every time.

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5. Desert Rose

Desert Rose
Desert Rose

Souq Waqif is one of the best places where you can find the authentic Desert Rose. While the market place is home to the number of handicrafts, home decors and other accessories, the Desert rose can make an ideal gift you can take home for your loved ones. Make sure you have the best skills in bargaining to get the best price for your souvenir picked from the best stores in Souq Waqif.

The desert rose crystals represents the beauty of the Arabian desert.

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Top Places To Stay In & Around Souq Waqif

Admit it, there’s nothing better than staying at Doha’s most iconic location. Home to numerous traditional and modern shops and restaurants, Souq Waqif offers a fine fine experience of staying amidst the traditional haven of Qatar. So, are you someone who’s looking for the finest hotels and resorts in Doha but not sure where to stay? Well, have a look at these top places in and around Souq Waqif where you can stay on your holiday in Doha.

1. Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels by Tivoli

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Nestled in the heart of Souq Waqif just 15 minutes' drive away from the Hamad International Airport and one of the finest places to stay for an enriching vacation in the arms of Doha’s iconic site, Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels in Doha may well be your perfect place to stay in the city. The hotel boasts of its Arabian elegance coupled with modern hospitality that is a treat for the guests.

Visitors coming to stay here can avail a wide range of facilities like the hotel's spa that specializes in a number of treatments and services including the age-old hammam ritual. One can either indulge themselves in the traditional therapies of the spa or embrace the 50 minutes signature treatment. What's more? The Souq Waqif Boutique Hotel has a number of top of the line restaurants (10 in total) that serve the finest of Indian, Lebanese, Arabic, International, and Moroccan favorites to the guests.

While ensuring that the guests get every possible comfort during the course of their stay, the hotel even offers a wide range of additional facilities like a free wi-fi facility, its courtyard pool, a gym, and so much more.

TripAdvisor Rating - 4.5

Location - Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar

Exclusive Features -

  • 10 dining options
  • Gym
  • Courtyard Pool
  • Spa

2. Alwadi Hotel Doha – MGallery

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Think of the best hotel near Doha Souq Waqif and the Alwadi Hotel Doha certainly features amongst the top ones. Nestled just 6 minutes' walk away from the iconic Souq Waqif, the hotel is a five-star property and a paradise for those who wish to stay in close proximity to Doha's finest location.

Guests coming to stay here on their vacation in Qatar are welcome to a refined oasis perfectly designed with a sense of luxury and hospitality. There are a total of four room types and three suite types for the guests to choose from. One can either avail the massage services of the hotel or head over to the golf course to enjoy a happening time playing golf.

What's more? The Alwadi Hotel Doha is one of the hotels near Souq Waqif, Qatar, that offers restaurant and bar services to the guests. The hotel has a total of four restaurants and 2 bars that serve the finest of cuisines and drinks respectively. The best part? Guests staying here even get to use the top-notch fitness center of the hotel while they can also relax at the outdoor heated pool or enjoy water sports at the beach. While ensuring that the guests get all possible service during the course of their stay, Alwadi Hotel Doha offers a number of additional facilities like its six meeting rooms, business center, laundry service, babysitting on request, and so much more.

TripAdvisor Rating - 5.0

Location - Corner of Wadi Musheireb and Jassim, Qassim Bin Mohammed St, Doha, Qatar

Exclusive Features -

  • Spa
  • Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Beach
  • Business Centre

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3. Al Najada Hotel Doha By Tivoli

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Another five-star property nestled in close proximity to Souq Waqif, Doha, the Al Najada Hotel Doha is a mere 9-minute walk away from the bustling traditional marketplace. The hotel boasts of its architectural features and elegant luxury that is a treat for anyone staying here.

Guests coming to Al Najada Hotel can avail a number of facilities that are aimed at giving the best possible experience. From the finest of restaurants, cafe, and lounge to the iconic poolside bar of the hotel, there's a lot to look forward to at the Al Najada Hotel in Doha.

One can either savor the best of local and international favorites at the Al Baraha Restaurant or head over to the Tivoli Tea Lounge to taste the premium hand-crafted Ronnefeldt Teas for the place.

What's more? There is even a spa at the Al Najada Hotel in Doha that specializes in holistic healing treatments using the tried and tested techniques of the staff. Guests coming for a business stay or wanting to organize a corporate event even get the hotel's grand ballroom and business center. Besides, one can even use the ballroom for a grand wedding ceremony or any such occasion.

The other notable facilities of Al Najada Hotel Doha include an internet facility, parking facility, personalized check-in, 24-hour assistance during events, and so on.

TripAdvisor Rating - 4.5

Location - Barahat Al Jufairi, Street، Doha, Qatar

Exclusive Features -

  • Spa
  • Restaurants
  • Lounge
  • Poolside Bar
  • Business Centre
  • Grand Ballroom

4. Mandarin Oriental Doha

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Another five-star property located a mere walking distance away from Souq Waqif Qatar, and a number of fine locations, the Mandarin Oriental Doha boasts of its inviting ambiance where the middle eastern charm is coupled with the hotel's legendary hospitality. Guests staying here get a wide range of top of the line facilities like a number of fine dining venues and lounges that are perfect to spend your evenings.

From the most authentic Cantonese and provincial delicacies from China to a fine afternoon tea experience at the Mandarin lounge, the hotel has it all. The best part? Guests can even indulge themselves in the fine spa services offered by the hotel. Specializing in their holistic approach towards the wellness of guests, the spa at Mandarin Oriental spreads over 3,030 square meters and has a total of nine top of the line treatment rooms including one couples suite and two exclusive VIP suites that have been specially designed to provide a fine experience of wellness services.

The best part? The spa has an indoor pool as well which is only open to guests who are 18 or above.

Besides, if you’re looking to host a corporate event or any other type of gathering, Mandarin Oriental Doha offers you its luxurious venues for occasions such as a wedding, business meetings, or any other type of event. With the hotel located just walks away from the iconic Souq Waqif Doha, and the staff ready to offer a number of services like catering and more, this may be well your dream venue for a perfect occasion.

TripAdvisor Rating - 5.0

Location - Barahat Msheireb Street, Doha, Qatar

Exclusive Features -

  • Spa
  • Dining
  • Bar
  • Event Facilities

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5. Park Hyatt Doha

Park Hyatt Doha
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Just a few miles away from the Souq Waqif location, Park Hyatt Doha is the best accommodation for a leisure stay. Apart from providing the spacious living area, this five-star hotel is one of the best luxury hotels in Qatar for your comfort. There are dining restaurants, fitness center, room service, swimming pool and more facilities to ensure every leisure the guests need. You can relax amidst the outdoor pool or pamper yourself with the best spa service offered here.

There are 187 well equipped rooms with amenities like furniture, flat-screen TV with satellite channels, private bathroom and more. Adding on a contemporary touch to your style of living, every room features floor to ceiling window, marble floor, rain shower and a bathtub. Choose from the luxury categories like Presidential suites, Park suites and Executive Suites and Diplomat Suite.

This hotel in Souq Waqif has some of the finest dining options with the restaurants that serve every tempting zest like Japanese or the continental cuisines. The Sora, Anis and Opus are the three best restaurants you can choose for dining while staying in Park Hyatt Doha.

TripAdvisor Rating - 5

Location - Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar

Exclusive Features -

  • Three Dining restaurants
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa and Fitness Center
  • Free Wi-fi

Best Restaurants And Cafes In Souq Waqif

Dining in Souq Waqif can be the most delighting experience. Here are the best restaurants and cafes lying close to the traditional market place where you can shop and eat.

1. The Village Restaurants

The Village Restaurants

The village in Souq Waqif, Qatar is one of the best restaurants for family dining in Qatar. The menu here is well crafted and inspired by three components- freshness of the farms, the Orient techniques, and taste of Mediterranean. Defining the interiors and the ambiance, the village restaurant in Souq Waqif flaunts a picture-perfect look where there is exquisite furnishing, private seating, and every comfort you need for dining with your family. The friendly service and Qatari hospitality have made it the right place to relish the traditional taste of food in Doha.

Location: Opposite The Old Parking, Souq Waqif

2. Parisa Souq Waqif Restaurant

Parisa Souq Waqif Restaurant

An authentic Persian Dining in Qatar is presented by the Parisa Restaurant. The handpicked delights from every corner of the best food destination in the world have made Parsia restaurant an ideal place to enjoy a meal with family. The warm and intricate styling of the interior adds more charm to the ambiance, making it a lavish dining experience. You will see how gracefully the mosaic art and the chandeliers are added that complements the work of mirrors that were collected 3.5 years ago from Iran. Parisa Souq Waqif Doha is an integral part of Shaq Village and spa.

Location: Al Souq Street, Doha, Doha

3. Al Metbakh Restaurant

Al Metbakh Restaurant
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Listed as the best Indian restaurant in Qatar, Al Metbakh is the place where you can relish the scrumptious of every Indian delicacy. With an open kitchen and ambiance inspired by Eastern art, the restaurant in Souq Waqif Qatar offers a unique experience of traditional dining on the rooftop. It is the open space and outdoor seating that has made Al Matbakh, the best place to eat and enjoy.

The menu includes everything from the street food of Indians to the Royal cuisines, coming directly from the kitchen of every grand kitchen. The shisha, the food, and overlooking Corniche make a perfect combination.

Location: Souq Waqif by Tivoli, Doha, Qatar

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4. The Dining Room

The Dining Room

For the best breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Dining Room Restaurant in Souq Waqif, Doha, is the best place. The restaurant offers three different menus for three different meals along with International Buffet. While the breakfast includes everything from the Pastry to tea, coffee, and snacks, the lunch meal is prepared to offer you a lavish main course with the best desserts. Compliment your meals with the best side dishes and beverages that are freshly brewed and served.

Location: Al Najada Boutique Hotel, Souq Waqif, Doha

5. La Patisserie

La Patisserie
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The mouthwatering menu of La Patisserie has made it one of the best cafés in Doha to dive into the relishing taste of special pastries and cakes. Inspired by the European and French culinary art, the restaurant even has a specialized menu for vegans. With the contemporary styling, aromatic interiors, and freshly baked dishes, everything about the restaurant is just perfect for a fancy meal. Don’t miss out the specialties like macaroons and croissants.

Location: - Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels by Tivoli, Doha, Qatar

Timings Of Souq Waqif In Qatar

Here are some Souq Waqif Doha timings one should remember when visiting the place.

  • Timings For Shops –

The majority of the shops in Souq Waqif are open from 10:00 AM to Noon. Likewise, most of the shops reopen at 4 PM and operate till 10 PM.

  • Timings For Restaurants –

Most of the restaurants in Souq Waqif have no set timing. Most of them are open for 24 hours while some operate from 8:00 AM to Midnight.

A city that has a vast history behind it, Doha is home to numerous gems that keep on giving. From the finest of markets and shopping malls to the best of beaches and so on, there’s a lot that compels travelers to book their flights to Doha year by year.

Suggested Read: Places To Visit In The Middle East For A Cultural Holiday Experience

Speaking of marketplaces, Souq Waqif Doha is one of the most iconic locations in Qatar that promises just about everything you possibly expect. From the finest of hotels and restaurants to the best of the traditional and modern shops that are a treat for the visitors, this is a place that has it all. So, are you someone who’s looking for a fine old-world experience of shopping or staying in Doha? Well, visit Souq Waqif today and embrace what the site has to offer.  


Q1. What should I buy in Souq Waqif?

Travelers can find numerous things to buy in Souq Waqif. Some of the top ones include-

  • Carpets
  • Pashmina
  • Bedouin weaving
  • Pots
  • Jewelry
  • Kitchen hardware
  • Traditional wear
Q2. How old is Souq Waqif?

As the historian and natives believe it to be, Souq Waqif was established over a hundred years ago as a trading place where Bedouins and local people used to gather in order to exchange products and socialize. In fact, many believe Souq Waqif to be over 250 years old.

Q3. Is Doha expensive to visit?

Doha is one of the richest cities in the world today and offers a fine holiday experience to tourists. Besides, as far as the expenses are concerned, a week-long trip may well cost around QAR1,493 for one person while for two people it may cost around QAR2,986.

Q4. What is the Souq?

A Souq is a permanently enclosed market or street where goods are sold. Speaking of Doha, Souq Waqif is a great example of traditional Souq in Qatar.

Q5. How far is Souq Waqif from Doha airport?

Souq Waqif is located a mere 17 minutes' drive away from the iconic Hamad International Airport.

Q6. Is Souq Waqif safe?

Yes, Souq Waqif is one of the safest places to visit in Doha and travelers can visit the marketplace at any time without worrying about anything. In fact, the police are there at the place so travelers can explore the location safely.

Q7. What is Doha known for?

Doha is one of the richest cities in the world and is famous for its wide range of attractions like its shopping malls, beaches, historical landmarks, and so much more. In fact, the city is world-renowned for its generous Arabian hospitality.

Q8. Is Doha good for shopping?

One of the finest cities in the middle and the capital of Qatar, Doha is considered as a top place for shopping for travelers. There are a number of top marketplaces and malls in the city. Some of the notable ones include -

  • Doha Festival City
  • Souq Waqif
  • City Center Mall Doha
  • Lagoona Mall
  • Villaggio Mall
Q9. How to dress in Doha?

Although there is no such dress code in Doha for foreigners, it is recommended that travelers wear conservative clothes. For example, men should avoid wearing shorts and women should avoid wearing tank tops or short skirts.

Q10. What is the best time to visit Doha?

The best time to visit Doha is between October and the end of April as the temperatures during this time are kind enough to explore the city. In fact, the humidity levels during this time are relatively low which makes for perfect conditions to enjoy in the city.

Q11. Is gold cheaper in Qatar?

Yes, since Qatar levies no taxes on gold, buying gold jewelry in the country is relatively cheaper when compared to other countries like India.

Q12. What are the best hotels near Souq Waqif?

Some of the best hotels near Souq Waqif include-

  • Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels by Tivoli
  • Alwadi Hotel Doha - MGallery
  • Al Najada Hotel Doha By Tivoli
  • Mandarin Oriental Doha
Q13. What are the check-in and check-out times at Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels by Tivoli?

Travelers can check in even at 3 AM midnight at Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels by Tivoli while check out is at noon.

Q14. When was Souq Waqif renovated?

The renovation of Souq Waqif started in the year 2006 after a major part of the Souq got destroyed due to a massive fire in 2003. The renovation took two years to complete.

Q 15. How far is Park Hyatt Doha from Souq Waqif?

The Park Hyatt Doha is around 0.7 km from the marketplace. There are cabs available for reaching the Souq, or one can even choose to walk around.