Interesting Souvenirs to Buy in Qatar
Qatar is a fantastic shopping destination with some unique items that you’ll rarely find in other countries. You’ll find a wealth of exclusive shopping malls offering high-end fashion and luxury brands. But, when it comes to finding an authentic gift or souvenir, it’s the vibrant souqs (traditional markets) that you should visit.
The best place for a souvenir shopping spree in Doha is at the Souq Waqif – the largest and oldest market in Qatar. Packed within the winding alleys, you’ll find everything from traditional handicrafts to textiles, spices and perfume. To help you with your decision-making, here’s a compilation of the most interesting Qatari souvenirs to take home. And remember, don’t be too shy to haggle. It’s part of the local shopping culture and is actually encouraged.
Al-Sadu is a handwoven material made from camel and goat hair and is one of the most traditional souvenirs you can buy in Qatar. The weaving technique belongs to the nomadic Bedouin tribe who have practised it for thousands of years to create tents, carpets, blankets and cushions.
The textiles are traditionally black, white, brown, beige and red, with distinctive geometric designs and motifs which symbolise the tribe’s rich cultural heritage and desert environment. You can see local women weaving at Souq Waqif. Head to the Corniche end of the souq where you’ll find an entire shop selling different kinds of Al-Sadu textiles.
Pashminas, shawls and scarves
We often buy souvenirs that are nice to look at but aren’t practical for everyday use. Shawls and scarves, however, are the exception. Woven from fine cashmere wool, these warm yet delicate garments are extremely handy when you’re travelling or camping, as a beach cover-up, or if you want to spruce up your outfit for a fancy dinner.
Pashminas in Qatar are inexpensive to buy compared to other destinations and come in a wide selection of colours, patterns and qualities. And since they can fold up small and are light to carry, why not buy several and give them as gifts? The only tricky thing will be deciding which colours to buy. In Doha, the Bombay Silk Centre on Al Khaleej Street and the Oriental Carpet Company in Bin Mehmood are local favourites to purchase good quality pashminas. You’ll find less expensive ones at Souq Waqif.
Oud is the traditional fragrance of Qatar. You’ll smell the beautiful, burning scent wherever you go, from homes and cars to souqs, hotels and shopping malls. Made from the resinous heartwood extracted from the rare agarwood tree, oud is known as the “Wood of the Gods”.
Although you can buy oud in a variety of forms, mainly as wooden chips for burning and body oil, buying a bottle of oud-based perfume is highly recommended. If only for the experience of allowing scent-filled flasks of luxurious Arabic perfume engulf your senses as you sample each one. Ajmal Perfumes at Souq Waqif sells locally made fragrances. You’ll also find perfume shops in all the country’s shopping malls, like City Centre, Hyatt Plaza and the Royal Plaza.