Living in Doha in general

(48 Posts)
akuafresh Mon 27-May-13 19:06:25

Hi fellow mums, my husband has recently been offered a job in Doha and he's (we) are considering whether to accept it.... we have two children, aged 3.5 years, boy and 11 months, girl.
Few questions to ask please....if anyone can help, thank you!!
What is family life like in Doha? What areas are the best places to live? what are rents like for a 3 bed room house/ flat/ compound and which is best? My son is currently in nursery..... which are the best nurseries out there out and where are they? Is driving a nightmare out there?
I'll be a stay at home mum.... what's that like?

Thank you!! Benedicta

IwishIwasRiverSong Tue 28-May-13 13:19:07

I have just posted a couple of links on the other Doha thread.

akuafresh Tue 28-May-13 17:17:10

Thank you very much!!

Living Tue 28-May-13 19:52:36

School places are at a premium in Doha. Unless your husband is going to be on a large salary (QAR 50k a month plus) don't move without school fees paid. The norm is for kids to go to preschool at a school here ie they go to school for the year before reception.

You have a pretty much zero chance of getting a place at q school for preschool this September and need to get your child on a waiting list pretty much as soon as you decide you're moving or you won't get a reception place.

Rent will probably be 14k a month plus. You can get cheaper but you probably won't want to live there.

Be aware that many industries operate a six day week. Working environments can be challenging. Except in a few, very limited jobs/ sectors it is not a doss out here. Most people work as hard if not harder than they would do back home. Summer is HOT - not nice day at the beach hot, can't actually go outside all day hot.

That said - I love it here!

akuafresh Wed 29-May-13 22:59:06

Hi Living,
Wow. paint a very real picture, lots to think about!

Thanks for the school advice. son does need a good school because of his speech delay....don't want him to slip with talking. He's had good care with speech&language therapist's here.....

So what is there to do on these hot days??

How long have you lived out in Doha?


Living Mon 03-Jun-13 03:43:08

Sorry only just got this. Speech delay complicates this further as it will probably limit your school.options as there is only one that I know of that will take children with any form of SN (that said I know nothing about speech delay so I may be inventing an issue). Doha Mums has an 'out of synch' group - I suggest you drop them an emAil asking about school options and speech.therapists. The quality of care will almost definitely not be as good as you are getting now.

Most stay at home mums head back to their own countries for the entire school summer holidays - the exodus will start in the next couple of weeks. I work so I've never done this but that means are in full time nursery so I don't need to worry about the weekdays. A lot of people live in big houses here so there is space for kids to run around inside but it's not ideal. Most places also have pools and I managed to be. at the beach at the weekend despite the temperature being in the 40s. There are a lot of play centres at shopping malls and people go to playgroups.Still it's not ideal!

What I love about Doha us the mix of different culture (although the racism and sexism only gets harder to bear with time), the weather when it's not summer (for around 8 months of the years it's great!), the opportunity for my kids to grow up bi/tri/quadlingual, and the family friendly atmosphere (children are welcomed not just tolerated) .

I've been here 6 years now.

TheRealFellatio Mon 03-Jun-13 03:53:41

What Living has said is very true, although I think she has rather chosen to focus on the negatives, rather than the positives! (but better to be forewarned I suppose - you do need to be a realist and yet an optimist at the same time. If your default setting is pessimism you won't last 5 minutes here.)

What is the nature of your husband's job? I know lots of people whose work connected to construction (engineers, architects, project managers etc) and although their company works a six day week, they as individuals do not necessarily work six days. If you are in some sort of management or supervisory position you may only do 5 days, or do 6 days on a rota system, working every second or third friday for example.

TheRealFellatio Mon 03-Jun-13 03:55:07

And yes, driving is a TOTAL nightmare. Although it's amazing how quickly you learn to deal with it!

Living Mon 03-Jun-13 13:25:57

I think just an influx of people at work at the moment who seem to be shocked at having to work!

akuafresh Mon 03-Jun-13 14:06:37

Hello both, thank you for your responses. I am an optimist and always make a good thing out of any fingers crossed all will be well.
My husband is going to be an Environmental Project Manager with a construction company....

TheRealFallatio....please tell me your experience of living in Doha. Are you working too or a stay at home mum?

Yes I'd love my kids to be exposed to more culture, foods, way of life, etc..... England will also be here so why not take a few years out (while they're still young) and try something different/ new.


TheRealFellatio Mon 03-Jun-13 15:37:44

I am a SAHM although my children are all teenagers so I could easily work if I wanted to. I choose not to though, because I like the flexibility of being able to come and go as I please, and I like to leave for the whole eight weeks over summer.

If I could find a part time hobby job that I loved, with no hassles that fitted in around my DCs school hours then I might take it, but at the moment I have no desire to work! Also as a local hire the salaries are not great and we tend to get priced out by Asians/Filipinos who will work for much less. Having said that, some people do specifically want native English speaking women with strong written English, and UK/US experience so there is always a job if you want it.

If you are very outgoing and sociable there is always something to do and someone to do it with, but you have to make the effort to put yourself about a bit in the early months, until you get a network of friends going. It can feel a bit like speed dating at first, but eventually you will click with a few people and will start to feel less contrived, if that makes sense.

We are very happy here. It comes with its challenges, to be sure, but the lifestyle can be fabulous if you throw yourself into it and make the effort to socialise. The standard of living is generally higher for British and other 'western' expats than they would expect at home doing the same job.

Rent, groceries, shopping and socialising is very expensive, but petrol is dirt cheap, and it's much cheaper to get help with cleaning, childcare, gardening, car cleaning etc. Also we manage to save more money here than we ever did at home as we don't have things like council tax, DH's extortionate train fares, stupid petrol prices, etc.

And it's quite nice being on a compound in a rented house where if something needs doing you just pick up the phone and it gets done for you. eventually

For the first time in 20 years our weekends are our own again, and we can rest/socialise/go to the beach/sit round the pool then have a barbecue - all the things you dream that life should be about!

And it's great being able to go to Asia on holiday without having to spend a zillion hours on a plane. grin

But I would say the two biggest factors to being happy with life in Doha are enjoying the job you came out here to do, (and feeling that you work for a decent company and not a bunch of smooth-tongues, lying shysters, which happens - believe me! ) and being happy with the school place for your children. If you feel at all disillusioned with either of those things then it will be much harder to deal with some of the other crap that takes a bit of getting used to.

TheRealFellatio Mon 03-Jun-13 15:38:06

smooth tongued, not tongues!

akuafresh Wed 05-Jun-13 14:57:38

There's always the Good, the Bad and the Ugly smile

Thanks you!!

akuafresh Mon 10-Jun-13 10:31:49

Hi Ladies, I'm looking for good nursery schools.... of course I am also looking at the recommendations online but do you have any personal recommendations to suggest?
We'll probably be based close to husbands work in the West Bay area initially....

Thank you smile

akuafresh Mon 10-Jun-13 11:13:18

Living, when you refer to racism, what race are you referring to?
I'm black African, my husband is white English and of course my kids are of a mixed heritage.

TheRealFellatio Mon 10-Jun-13 13:12:39

If you are black African or white you are very pretty unlikely to encounter any racism. It tends to be the Indians who bear the brunt of it, sadly.

TheRealFellatio Mon 10-Jun-13 13:19:07

It is no so much about race specifically, as the way that some very entitled and spoilt people who genuinely believe that they are of a superior, elite society will speak to others in low-level jobs in a very dismissive and rude way, refuse to queue behind them, refuse to be civil or say please and thank you, refuse to slow down if they see they are trying to cross the road - that kind of thing. Just a startling sense of self-importance and entitlement and a belief that the level of respect or consideration a person is entitled to is linked directly to their socio-economic status. Which when you live here, you will see often goes hand in hand with your nationality - not so much your ethnicity.

Living Mon 10-Jun-13 17:47:07

As black African you may get more negative sexual attention from a certain section of the expat population. However as stated above the brunt goes onto south Asian and far eastern nationals (or those who look like they are). You should be fine though. It's really nationality based racism - everyone cares about where your passport is from here but at the same time people assume you come from the country you look like you come from (and to be fair here 99% of the people do!)

My kids are at Petits Pas in West Bay but the waiting list is massive.

Living Mon 10-Jun-13 17:49:41

Other 'good' nurseries in the area are creative child, fun first and various of the starfishes. I've heard good things about grandma's, little butterflies as well.

TheRealFellatio Mon 10-Jun-13 17:51:39

I can't help on nurseries - sorry!

akuafresh Tue 11-Jun-13 12:52:30

Thanks ladies, all information gratefully received!!

Does one need a car to survive in Doha or is rental pretty easy? Ie if car doesn't come with job package! smile

TheRealFellatio Tue 11-Jun-13 14:21:21

Most people rent when they first arrive, and while they look around for one to buy. If you would rather just hire a driver it's pretty affordable in the short term, but it's a pain having to book and plan ahead every time you want to go out. Unless of course you do what the locals do, and have a driver who lives in a hut in your garden and is at your permanent beck and call. grin

TheRealFellatio Tue 11-Jun-13 14:24:06

There are always decent second hand cars for sale here though as there are people finishing contracts and leaving all the time. Just make sure you are choosy about who you buy from. Have a bit of fun watching all the driving habits of the different nationalities here and then ask yourself 'whose car is most likely to have had various undisclosed accidents and been treated like a cross between a formula one car and a bumper car?' wink

akuafresh Tue 11-Jun-13 20:23:43

LOL I like that!
I'll be keeping one eye on the road and the other on the drivers smile)

4x4 Sat 15-Jun-13 06:06:01

I've my own car and can drive but have recently employed live in a driver . After years in the ME , I wish I'd done it sooner . No more searching for parks or wandering round scorching carparks dragging kids and melting icecream. The locals have it sorted and so do I now !
You need to have your residency 6mths before being able to hire domestic staff but can use agency staff in the interim.

TheRealFellatio Sat 15-Jun-13 08:10:05

I must admit, I think the local ladies have it right as they just call their drivers on the phone and get picked up or dropped off at the door, rather than spending 20 minutes kerb crawling round the car parks in 45 degree heat looking for a spot under the shade, and worst of all having to run your engine for 10 minutes to cool the car down with air con before you can even sit in it, or hold the steering wheel every time you want to go out Not so bad when you are at home and can plan ahead, but a pain in the butt when you return to your car in a car park! Especially if you have very young children with you.

4x4 Sat 15-Jun-13 11:04:51

Doha's traffic can be heavy and there is scant public transport . Taxis aren't plentiful like Dubai so it's a real pain getting about.
I have four children and there were days when the school, nursery, shopping + after school activities meant I was in the car for hours and hours and never getting any work done.

akuafresh Sat 03-Aug-13 23:27:19

Hello ladies, I've not been in touch as things changed slightly ....but we are still moving to Doha, hopefully by October! Are you both still out there? My husband and I want to come over for a week (sometime in September) to do a reci of Doha i.e. places to stay, get a feel for the place, etc as we have no idea what is best to do.
Can you shed any ideas of where the best places to live are? I'd just like somewhere with a community, somewhere with accessible outdoor space (if the weather is good!), etc. He will be based in West Bay (the office) and I'll be a stay at home mum! Thank you!!

Living Sun 04-Aug-13 20:24:59

People commute from almost all over Doha into West Bay. What's your budget and what are you doing about schools in the end? Those are the crucial factors really.

akuafresh Mon 05-Aug-13 08:30:26

Hi, we're looking at all the Schools suggested above and I guess I can't contact them until they resume in September? I didn't think we can apply until all has been confirmed jobwise anyway. My favourite school is British School of Doha as I believe its a Montessori School.....but I imagine the waiting list is massive....
Accommodation budget is ideally 16000....up to 20000 for accommodation. Places that have drawn my attention are Al Waab, Abu Hamour, Al Duhail and West Bay....

Living Mon 05-Aug-13 16:59:53

It's not a Montessori school I'm afraid. Have you identified what you're going to do whilst on the waiting lists? Theres an active homeschooling group in Qatar. You could easily be looking at a year on a wait list for a specific school - longer for some and shorter for others.

Thats an ok budget - most areas are probably open to you except some of the prime west bay compounds. That's assuming the top end. I'd honestly wait until you know more about the schooling before even thinking about areas.

A lot of the schools will have office staff working over the summer. Its worth calling around anyway.

akuafresh Tue 20-Aug-13 21:26:23

Hi ladies, I'll be visiting 12- 16 September and staying with some friends in West Bay. Are you around for a coffee? Would be great to put a face to the name (s) smile

Living Thu 22-Aug-13 22:11:12

Happy to over the weekend at some point. Btw theres a lot of reshuffling going on with the school places here at the moment. Things might not be as horrific as I thought!

How old are your kids again?

Pm me

TheOneAndOnlyFell Thu 22-Aug-13 22:21:00

I will be around then. I live in one of the areas you mentioned and will be happy to meet for a coffee if you have time.

16-20k should get you a nice place. We pay 18k and our house is lovely.

akuafresh Sat 24-Aug-13 20:04:22

Great ladies!

Why not email me at: and we can discuss finer details.

Kids are: Boy, 4 in November and Girl was 12 months in July. I am going round to all the schools I possibly can when I'm over there.


akuafresh Sat 24-Aug-13 20:09:49

Living....not sure how to PM.... hence I said contact me. Hope you don't mind.... grin

TheOneAndOnlyFell Sat 24-Aug-13 20:40:00

There is another lovely MNer there with a 4 yo boy - I'll see if I can drag her along too.

4x4 Tue 03-Sep-13 19:12:15

There is a fantastic authentic new Montessori Kindergarton in West Bay which I would jump straight into while you wait for Pre-School / Reception places at Sherbourne/DBS/DESS/ DC . It made me wish we'd not got a place for my eldest . It is lovely and not expensive. Called Montessori Way.

akuafresh Tue 03-Sep-13 19:37:40

So, ladies, not long now till I come over...I'm excited to see this country I've spoken about for so long! Thanks 4x4 for the Montessori details - I'll get right on to it. Do you happen to have a number? Google is not throwing it up!

Ladies, drop me an email with your contact details if you wish to join Living and I for a coffee possibly at the weekend? I'm quite flexible smile

Also, I'll now be bringing my daughter - 14months old as childcare hasn't worked out for both kids! Anyone got a spare car seat I can use for the week??
See you soon!!

IwishIwasRiverSong Wed 04-Sep-13 18:48:16

Good luck on your visit!

DohaMums have a supply of baby items like carseats that they lend/hire out to visitors - not sure if you have to know member. Would offer to organise it, but I have actually left Doha now, and am back in the UK. You should be able to contact someone through the website though.

If I were you I would try to make a DohaMums meeting and then you can join (you have to attend an event like a coffee morning in order to join). Once you have joined you will get access to the private DohaMums forum, which is full of helpful people.

Have a good trip.

akuafresh Wed 04-Sep-13 21:59:01

Thank you Riversong. I have emailed Doha Mums TWICE now to try and find out details but no response.... any other suggestions? I filled out their online enquiry form but no one has got back to me sad
UK enjoying some nice warm weather at the moment... off to Cornwall this weekend (Eden project) but its going to be wet..... I'm looking forward to digesting lots of greenery before Doha (hehehehe).

IwishIwasRiverSong Thu 05-Sep-13 11:47:40

As I am still a member, I will put something on the private forum for you, may be quicker that way. Trouble is being summer, many of the people that voluntarily run DohaMums are still away. I will also look at the calendar and see what's on for you. Can you PM me your real name so they know who to look out for.

Funnily enough I am going to Cornwall this weekend too, also to near the Eden Project! Not a holiday though, my parents live there and visiting them is never relaxing!!

IwishIwasRiverSong Thu 05-Sep-13 11:53:39

There is a "New Arrivals" coffee morning on Tues 10th Sept 9.30-11.30am at Starbucks in Landmark shopping mall. That's probably the best one to aim to go to, as they will be geared up to the newbies!

IwishIwasRiverSong Thu 05-Sep-13 11:59:51

BTW if you want a bit of greenery in Doha, try to get a look at Al Messilah compound (near Sports roundabout). It's one of the oldest compounds on Doha, a bit dated, but very very green. We lived there for 3 years and loved it.

IwishIwasRiverSong Thu 05-Sep-13 18:55:03

They have responded on the forum. Please contact Roxanne (founder of Doha Mums) directly by email

MrsDH Mon 09-Sep-13 10:40:58

Hey I have a spare car seat and also live in Al Messilah- so if you want to collect it and look around it would kill two birds so to speak.

akuafresh Mon 09-Sep-13 17:29:35

Ladies you've all been email address again is Please drop me a line and we can speak smile

Thank you so much for Doha mum contact (Roxanne) and car seat offer from MrsDH!

I'm Ben (Benedicta) by the way smile

Cornwall was fab - we popped to Eden, my first time there! Loved it ;)

akuafresh Fri 13-Sep-13 17:52:52

I'm Here smile Made it and I quite like it (so far) !!

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