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Posted On: 12 October 2019 07:30 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 10:18 am

Shopping malls to visit in Qatar on a 12-hour layover

Khadiza Begum
Khadiza Begum
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If you have a layover lined up in Qatar then you are in for a treat as and there are a lot of things to see and do in this beautiful country. And you cannot leave Qatar without buying and taking home something, be it designer items, souvenirs, gadgets, or local delicacies. To make your shopping experience easier, we have compiled a list of best shopping places in Doha.

Disclaimer: This layover plan is based on an arrival time of 9 am (Qatar standard time). If your arrival time is different, you may consider rearranging the visiting order depending on the opening hours of each location.

Transportation in Qatar

Hamad International Airport (HIA) offers you a wide variety of transport options, including car rental, limousine, taxi, bus and metro services.

Hiring a taxi:
All airport taxis are operated by Mowasalat; a Qatari state-owned company. You can board a taxi at the Taxi Pavilion located at the left end of the Arrivals hall. All taxis are metered and the minimum flag down fare at the airport starts at 25 Qatari Riyal (QR) or USD 7 and QR 1.20 per kilometre between 5 am to 9 pm and QR 1.80 per km between 9 pm to 5 am. You can book Karwa taxi services in advance by calling the call center on +974 800 8294 or via the Karwa App available on Android and iOS. To know about other taxi services, click HERE.

Bus service:
Doha’s bus network connects HIA to various destinations across the city, offering a convenient transport option. You can buy or top-up the Smartcard at ticket vending machines located at Arrivals, Ground Floor, Bus Pavilion at HIA. The machine only accepts Cash – QR 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 currency notes. Since it does not have a refund feature, you are advised to pay using the exact amount. There are three types of Karwa Smartcards to choose from:

- Classic Card: QR 30 (USD 8): rechargeable card for long term / future journeys.
- Limited Card: QR 10 Card (USD 3): two inner-city trips within a 24 hour period
- Unlimited Card: QR 20 Card (USD 5): unlimited trips across Qatar within a 24 hour period

Doha Metro: The Doha Metro is fully functional with all stations now open with HIA being accessible to Qatar residents and visitors through Doha Metro’s Red Line. A single journey costs QR 2 for Standard cardholders (including Family Class), while a day pass costs QR 6. A single journey costs QR 10 for Gold Club members, while a day pass costs QR 30. You can top up you reusable cards with Travel Credit, which can be purchased at ticket vending machines in all Doha Metro stations. There is also a free MetroLink service to different locations from all Doha Metro stations. For information, click HERE.

Check out the map below:

Budget friendly things to do in Qatar on a 6-hour layover

Please ensure you are carrying enough Qatari Riyals to pay for your trip as taxis and buses only accept cash payments in local currency.

    1. Discover the hidden gems in Souq Waqif

    Despite the popularity of modern air-conditioned shopping malls, it is notable that a primarily ‘outdoor’ attraction like Souq Waqif still remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Doha. The numerous alleyways and small shops offer traditional garments, spices and seasonal delicacies such as fresh dates and nuts, perfumes, ornate jewellery, clothing, handicrafts and a treasure trove of souvenir bargains. Coffee pots and embroidered pashminas are a favourite buy. You can haggle your way to get the best purchase at the lowest price.

    And the Souq is also home to dozens of restaurants offering different kinds of cuisines from Qatar or Yemen through to Syrian, Iraqi and Indian dishes.

    Close to Souq Waqif, a separate building houses a treasure trove of shops known as the Gold Souq. They all offer the finest 18/22-carat gold jewelry, with rings, necklaces – anything that your heart desires.

    Things to buy from Souq Waqif

    Abaya, thobe: You'll find a plentiful range of ready-made thobes and abayas in Souk Waqif to fit every budget.
    Oud: One of the most famous and popular souvenirs from Qatar has to be oud (aloeswood) fragrance. You can buy pure oud wood or oud oil.
    Wooden boxes:
    They come in different shapes, sizes, and patterns and make a perfect gift, being especially useful for storing small items such as jewellery.
    Spices:
    The beautiful aroma and smell of cardamom, saffron, chilies, cinnamon, and cumin make a lovely gift for culinary fans among your family and friends.
    Other souvenirs: Metal Camel is QR 25 to QR 50, a plate with Doha skyline background is QR 35
    Pearl: When shopping for authentic local souvenirs pearls should be on top of your list and for the best deal in town look no further than the "Pahlwan Saad Ismail Al Jassim – The old pearl diver" shop, known just through word of mouth.

    To know about other souvenirs, you can buy from Souq Waqif, click HERE!

    Details:

    Location: Souq Waqif
    Distance from Hamad International Airport: 18-20 minutes (14km)
    Transport cost: QR 25/7USD
    Opening hours: Most shops operate from 10 am to noon and re-open from 4 pm till 10 pm. Most restaurants open all day, from 8 am to midnight. Some may even open 24 hours.

    Restaurant/Cafe recommendations at Souq Waqif

    Tea time:
    Location: Opposite Qatar Police Station, Souq Waqif, Doha
    Opening hours: 24 Hours
    Average Cost: QR 55 for two people (approx.)

    Bandar Aden Restaurant
    Location: Near Arumaila Hotel, Al Jasra Street, Souq Waqif, Doha
    Opening Hours: 8 am - 11 pm, Friday 12:30 pm - 11 pm
    Average Cost: QR 100 for two people (approx.)
    Phone: +974 44375503

    2. Check out the Galeries Lafayette

    Spread around 15,000 sqm of exquisitely designed retail space, Galeries Lafayette Doha is an ultimate outdoor shopping destination within Katara Cultural Village. Strategically positioned at a prestigious location between West Bay and The Pearl Qatar, Galeries Lafayette Doha creates a new Parisian lifestyle experience for local and international shoppers alike.

    With 400 brands in the store, Galeries Lafayette Doha is designed to be an experience in its own right. This is delivered through many architectural and artistic designs to give visitors the unique Galeries Lafayette feeling where visitors not only come to shop or dine but actually engage with the environment. To know about brands available at Galeries Lafayette, click HERE!

    Details

    Location: Galeries Lafayette Doha, 21 High St, Katara Cultural Village, Doha
    Distance from Souq Waqif:
    24 min (12.0 km)
    Average taxi fare: QR 20/USD 5.5
    Opening hours: Sat-Wed: 10 am – 10 pm, Thursday: 10 am – 12 am, Friday: 1.30 pm – 12 am
    Phone:
    +974 4447 3404
    Email:
    [email protected]
    Website:
    https://www.galerieslafayette.qa/

    3. Shop and enjoy the vibrant environment at the Villaggio Mall

    Photo credit: Villaggio Mall

    Located on Al Waab Street, in the west end of the city, and within Aspire Zone, Villaggio is one of the most sought after destinations in Qatar. The interiors are Italianate-themed along with a 150-meter long indoor canal with gondolas. The stunning Venetian ceiling seems to move as you walk and transport you back to an Italian masterpiece.

    Fantastic for high-end shopping with luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Gucci, Valentino, and Gabbana. Villagio also offers various entertainments and activities for your kids. With indie boutiques and designer destinations, you can spend a wonderful few hours with a well-deserved coffee and cake at the iconic bakeries and trendy coffee shops there.

    Details:

    Location: Villaggio Mall, Al Waab St, Doha
    Distance from Galeries Lafayette: 31 min (22.1 km)
    Average taxi fare: QR 30
    Mall opening hours: Sunday to Wednesday – 9 am to 10 pm, Thursday & Saturday – 9 am to 11 pm, Friday – 9 am – 11 am & 12:30 pm – 11 pm
    Gondola Rides: Saturday till Wednesday from 9 am till 11 pm, Thursday and Friday from 9 am till midnight. Cost of Gondola Ride is QR 10 per person (4 persons in the boat), QR 20 for a single-person ride (one person in the boat)
    Phone: +974 4422 7400
    Email: [email protected]
    Website: http://www.villaggioqatar.com/

    Restaurant recommendations at Villagio mall

    Wok of Fame

    It has a wide variety of continental dishes for buffet.
    Location: Beside Pinko, Villaggio, Al Waab, Doha
    Price: QR 120 for two people (approx.)
    Cuisines: Arabian, Asian, Continental
    Phone number: +974 4413 4772

    Wrap It
    Location: Food Court
    Opening hours: Everyday 9 am – 11 pm
    Phone: +974 4415 1920
    Average Cost: QR 65 for two people (approx.)

    If you want to find out what is happening in Qatar during your stay, download the Qatar Events App! Available on Android and IOS and the app is completely free!