Monday, October 16, 2017

Souq Al Wakra

Now that the intense heat of the summer is over I decided to do a bit of exploring and see areas of Qatar and I would not normally go to in the summer. There's so much construction going on in Qatar right now that in just four or five months a lot can change.

I had some time one afternoon before meeting friends in Wakra so I went to the Wakra Souq to see how it was developing. It is a lot more finished then when I visited last, all of the restaurants and cafes along the Corniche appeared to be open, some of the interior shops were also open, and more importantly they completed the beach.

The shore by the beach was dredged to make it deeper and thus much easier to swim in. Unlike much of the coastline in Qatar you don't have to walk out 100m just to get in knee-deep water. As far as I could tell using the beach is free, however bear in mind that there are a lot of rules:

The beach is family-only (and I'm willing to bet they mean it, there were a lot of security guards) but more importantly there is a strict dress code. Sorry ladies, no bikinis or even standard "Western" swimsuits, you need to be a bit more covered up here. Guys will be okay with what I call "surfer shorts" (long shorts that go to the knee) but anything smaller is not allowed. One other issue with this beach is that there isn't much in the way of shade. You might get some resting at the site of a dhow but other than that you'll need to bring a beach umbrella. On the plus side all the restaurants and cafes are right there are so it's easy to get a snack or treat.

As for the other shops it looks like a few chain restaurants were going to open soon, and they even have a small falcon and pet souq, similar to the one in Souq Waqif. Overall Souq Al Wakra is at least the same size as Souq Waqif, maybe even a bit bigger, so it'll need a lot of visitors to look busy. The Corniche seemed to be doing okay though.

If you feel like braving the traffic to go to Wakra then consider visiting the Souq, a quieter alternative to Souq Waqif.

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