What is the cost of living in Abu Dhabi or Qatar?
July 17, 2008 5:24 PM   Subscribe

What is the cost of living for a single western expatriate in Abu Dhabi (UAE) or Qatar?

I have reliable figures on the cost of living in Dubai, which seems to attract the bulk of international attention for native English-language speaking expatriates. However, I'm wondering if anyone has first hand experience with or can point me in the right direction for cost-of-living figures in Abu Dhabi or Qatar. This would be for a relatively modest lifestyle for a single person that is comfortable living in a 650 sq ft 1 bedroom apartment, driving an economy car, etc. Basically the cost of living without taking part in the "bling bling look at me" big-money UAE lifestyle where going to a huge gaudy shopping mall is considered an evening's entertainment. I'm aware that the falling US dollar has caused high inflation in the UAE, which has pegged the Dirham to the USD (15%/year inflation currently...)

I know that the UAE and Qatar have completely different regulations regarding employment/long-term residence visas, a problem that would be taken care of via company sponsorship and an existing process that's in place to handle new hires...

I'm looking for estimates on:
Monthly rent on an average 1BD apartment with a short commute time to the city centre
Electricity / Water / Other utilities
Vehicle registration costs and car insurance, parking permits, etc.
Etisalat/Du residential DSL service.
Food (groceries, relative to North America / European prices?)
Food (mid-range restaurants in Abu Dhabi must be similar to Dubai, right?)

I've also heard the UAE now mandates health insurance for every long term resident western expat, so if anyone could give me an idea of typical monthly costs for basic coverage on a healthy individual, that would also be useful...
posted by thewalrus to Travel & Transportation around Abu Dhabi, UAE (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

For all it is worth, I lived in Doha for about half a year and I must say, I fell in love with the country and yes, I too am a westerner (Virginia).
Anyway, I will say that when I lived there in mid 2006, it was very reasonable, but I had a bunch provided for me while I was working there.
The food store I went to (In a massive mall) was called Kar-for (i think) and the prices were awesome. Obviously a bunch of college kids shopped there and it reminded me of a much more varied WalMart.
Food out in town was expensive but I would recommend stopping by the Hotels there as the prices are much more acceptable.
While there I made about 4k a month and I was able to live pretty darn well enough so to where I felt no worries at anytime.
The vehicle laws over there are so insane, just dont get pulled over, i was able to get a driving permit in about 30 minutes. I had a rental the entire time, but I remember it being very reasonable and the cars were a blast to drive (90-120 km were normal) and the "round-abouts" are awesome, some of the Qataris have Land Rovers that have a meter that lets the drive know how much they are spinning before the vehicle was tipped over, real bizarre stuff.
In closing, I want to tell you there are so many foreigners that live in Qatar, that housing is acceptable and will allow you to get in to Doha in about 15 min. Yes, there are some way seedy areas, but i never felt out of place there or threatened.

Let me know how things go and if I can be of any further detailed help friend.

Take Care
posted by TeachTheDead at 5:56 PM on July 17, 2008

TeachTheDead: Kar-For ??

I think "Carrefour" unless you found the Arab imitation.
posted by selton at 7:03 PM on July 17, 2008

selton...yes, awesome...i cant even remember the mall, except that it had a skating rink in the bottom and a freaking indoor sled hill....thingy....awesome mall....
posted by TeachTheDead at 7:22 PM on July 17, 2008

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