Talk to me about Dubai.

(17 Posts)
hermionestranger Sat 28-Apr-12 15:30:27

Dh had been offered the chance to apply for a 2-3 year role in Dubai.

What do we new to know re: housing, schooling, health, etc?

Job role
Comes with accommodation paid for.

We're not averse to te move because long term it would be more beneficial for the family as a whole.

Our boys are 6 and 1.

OP’s posts: |
IdontknowwhyIcare Sun 29-Apr-12 07:12:15


First thing is its very difficult to get school places in reception and KS1, having said that its not impossible and it really does require you to hold your nerve 9easier said than done). Schools to look at would be JAPS (jebel ali primary), STAR (umm al sheif), Kings (umm suqeim), JPS (Jumeriah primary school), JESS (Jumeriah english speaking school (2 sites)).

Hospitals and doctors are generally good, we havent had any problems and DS has had his appendix out (American hosp), broken leg, broken arm (too much rugby), physio and various other stuff. I have been more than happy with all his treatments.

Your DH employer should cover accom, shipping and insurance of your container, flights home, medical for the family (it may be that you pay for dentist, physio stuff like that) and also most companies operate a system where you pay something like the first 50dhs and you cant claim it back, but not all.

Accom is very expensive, although I see your DH company will pay, bear in mind they may not pay for what you want, where you want. Set up costs are expensive, deposit for DEWA (water and elec), you dont have a choice for your broadband tel tv supplier despite what the advertising says.

Can you say where your husband would be working and then we can better advise ideal locations. However bear in mind your ultimate aim is to be closer to school, as school runs can take forever.

Housing can be in manicured residential areas with pools, lakes, security guards all very bubble (Lakes, Meadows, Arabian Ranches). Other options can be local land which is fab, places like Jumeriah, Umm Suqeim. Many people live in apartments, the two main areas are Business Bay which is near Dubai Mall or what is commonly known as New Dubai, the Marina, JBR, JLT, Tecom, the Greens.

Shopping - petrol is cheap although not as cheap as it used to be, its costs me 180dhs (GBP30 approx) to fill my 2 tank pajero which does about 600kms. Food is the same cost as the UK IMHO as I do not shop around at carrefor, Geant etc. I go to spinneys which sells waitrose products and to Aswaaq a local supermarket. Fish and herbs are cheap as chips. Huge bundle of fresh baby spinach for 1dhs ;-) 2 litres low far milk 10dhs. Cheese is expensive, steak is cheap.

Alcohol is available either from a government shop MMI or A&E but has 30% tax. However you can go to another emirate and get it cheaper ;-) if you come IMHO you must miust must get a licence. people dont and it is illegal. Yes you pay but you do get the cost back in vouchers.

No you do not have to cover up and yes you can drive. Just be respectful, no bikinis in the malls (too flipping cold anyway).

Toys are expensive but we do have ELC, most people get visitors to bring stuff over, or use amazon or shop and ship.

We've been here 5+ years and love it, sailing, the beach, gauranteed weather, bbq's, friends, however we are moving into the hot season and yes it is HOT. It will reach 50 on a few days, and yes the humidity is horrid but everywhere is ac, the car, the mall, the villa, the bus stops ;-). Ramadan is mid summer this year, that means no eating drinking smoking in public, so no chance of a coffee in the mall, mostly, there are always ways ;-).

Loads of mums and tots thingies going on, and of course meet the mums at school and all that. Not a problem for most people.

For more info check out

If you need more info just ask away. Of course I forgot to say, some people dont like it, it isnt as beautiful as the beaches in Aus, or SA, yes it can be heart breaking to see some of the labourers, the beauraucracy will drive you insane at times. It can seem like it is hard to meet people, you must put yourself out there, accept every invite that comes your way for the first 6 months and then start to filter who you want to remain friends with.

Good news getting help in the home is cheap. Why do you need help when you do it all yourself now? Because its the desert and the sea and everything always always always is covered in sand, open the windows and you can write your name in the sand. Because it takes ages to get things done. TBH Dubai is 40 years old and yes they have made mistakes but they are learning.

good luck.

hermionestranger Sun 29-Apr-12 09:31:13

Great stuff! Thank you do much, it's all very early days right now but that's a great start. Job spec says "luxury accommodation" so we need to investigate further. It's only for 2-3 years, but would change our lives long term.

Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
Mamasunshine Sat 05-May-12 09:13:52

Great post idontknowwhyicare! We're moving to Dubai this year and that has answered a lot of my questions. Good luck hermione!

hermionestranger Sat 05-May-12 12:08:55

And to you, it's not a definite yet, but it's on the table.

OP’s posts: |
IdontknowwhyIcare Sun 06-May-12 08:25:07

Glad to help mamasunshine. If either of you have questions just ask, I'm more than happy to help. I used to work in relocations so I think I've got a good handle on everything ;-)

TeaJunky Sun 10-Jun-12 18:39:52

Hi there guys,

Wow! Some fab advice on here - just been reading and making mental notes, so thank you! smile
We're thinking of moving out there too and am thinking of accommodation, and wondering how expensive expensive is. What would be an average Rent per month for a villa in a half decent area, for example? Is there anywhere I can look and search online?


Windandsand Mon 11-Jun-12 11:19:57

Dubizzle is a good website fog checking property. There is a good page on expat woman tal

CloversMama Mon 11-Jun-12 16:18:17

Just on my way out, but to give some ideas on housing prices...

It's not common to pay rent on a monthly basis - you normally pay using between 1-4 cheques spread out over the year. We have a large 2 bedroom apartment in the Marina (so one of the 'nice' parts of town) and we pay 96,000Dhs a year spread over 4 cheques. I have a friend with a large 2 bedroom villa (and it is beautiful) and he only pays 50,000Dhs a year but it is in the back end of nowhere.

PS Driving is almost essential in Dubai unless you are willing to pay for a driver, so that is something to consider when looking at where to live. I use the Metro and whilst it's not perfect (lots of stations leave you at the side of the motorway) it is VERY cheap and it's clean.

Will come back with more later!

IdontknowwhyIcare Mon 11-Jun-12 16:56:35

Deffo second dubizzle and expatwoman. Just be aware that it's all stock photos. Very rare to find pics of actual properties. Before you set your heart on somewhere you need schools for kids, then proximity to work for dh, then and only then you choose a location. In reality nowhere is more than about 30 mins BUT traffic can be bad and you will drive a lot! Also pmnt is in Advance, also 5% to agent from you the renter!!!!!

CloversMama Mon 11-Jun-12 18:49:00

I would say as well, it's important to know the details of your relocation package inside out as they can vary wildly. Things to consider are (and I think some of these have already been covered) are:

- Rent (DH's is paid to him in monthly instalments but my company let me have a whole year's worth up front which was invaluable in helping us pay our rent)
- Any other set up costs (DH's company paid for our water and electricity to be connected etc)
- Relocation (shipping furniture over etc)
- Other relocation costs (buying new furniture etc)
- Healthcare
- School fees
- Flights back to the UK
- Other admin costs (my company arranged somebody to take me for my medical, they arranged all my ID card paperwork etc, whereas DH was left to fend for himself)

I know Dubai divides opinion but I have to say that we absolutely love it here. The weather can be pretty hard-going sometimes, but pulling my curtains every day and seeing sunshine does wonders for my mood. We have a much higher standard of living here than we ever would in the UK and we are able to save a lot each month, whereas in the UK we were always counting down the days to pay day. We have been lucky in that we have made some amazing friends over here, but you do have to make the effort and put yourself out there to start with. There's also so much to do - travelling to other emirates and to other places in the region, beach, bbqs, etc,we live a far more sociable and outdoors type of life than we ever did in the UK.

Also just a little side note when it comes to villa/apartment hunting: when a place is listed as unfurnished, they really mean it! We had to buy everything - oven, cooker etc - when we moved in, our apartment was literally a shell and it took a little while to feel like we actually lived here! Also agents can be a little bit of hard work - we had lots of viewings scheduled where we would turn up and they wouldn't be there and the door would just be open for us to let ourselves in etc. However, the rental market moves quite quickly - we put in a offer on a place and were handed the keys the next day.

IdontknowwhyIcare Tue 12-Jun-12 09:29:44

@hermione just be advised what is called luxury accomodation varies dramatically according to whoever is writing the document. there really is some luxury accomodation but to be honest most normal wouldnt want to live in it, waaaayyy too bling bling. And also you still need to know how much they will pay.

Totally second cloversmama, get the company to pay as much upfront as you can. Expenses are many and the tedium of getting things done. Having said that certain places have ladies queues, fab idea (yes I know its not very pc but crikey some days it really is a god send).

Ask away ladies and yes we love it in Dubai as well, although we do nip home for 2 months every summer, mainly to see friends, avoid the heat, avoid Ramadan (no eating drinking smoking, music in public during daylight).

NK254afb31X117b2a12183 Tue 12-Jun-12 14:02:47

We are just leaving Dubai, it's been an interesting time, 4 years and it's time for us to go. The info you've been given is great but I'd add Horizons school to the list as it's a great school as is DESS, Dubai English Speaking School. Enjoy your time, save your money and it could change your lives! Good luck.

Makingmama Thu 14-Jun-12 18:55:31

Hello name was mamasunshine. Currently looking at schools and it seems likely that GEMS in oasis something?!..sorry! has spaces for sept. it's a new school, was opened last year. If ds is there which areas for accommodation are the closest? Arabian Ranches? Thank you smile

Makingmama Fri 15-Jun-12 09:24:54

It's the GEMS school in Silicon Oasis - Media City?

What sort of school commute time can you realistically expect to have to make? I was hoping to be able to find school then accomodation within a 15mins drive max?


IdontknowwhyIcare Fri 15-Jun-12 18:57:53

Silicon oasis is nowhere near media / Internet city. It's about 20/30 mins depending on traffic. It's out past Arabian ranches towards mirdiff. It's a relatively new school, loads of people dislike gems, and go on about non profit schools being better. IMHO the gems school my son attends has given him outstanding support for his learning difficulties and some incredible opportunities. But hey ho generally people have to go with the places they get in the real world, we don't always get a choice. Depending on where Dh will be working AR, Mirdiff, and then further out places like the villa.

Makingmama Fri 15-Jun-12 20:42:52

Thank you smile I haven't actually viewed the schools, but my parents have for me and they were very impressed by the GEMS school. It's good to hear you've had a good experience with them. I suppose nothing's perfect hey!

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