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Bahrain or Dubai

(13 Posts)
CatkinW Sun 26-Mar-17 15:40:11

My first post!

And quite an exciting one.

My husband has his own business and he needs to set up a new office in the Middle East. So we have scope to decide where will be best for us.

We have 3 children 7, 5 and 1.

Can anyone advise on Bahrain vs Dubai?

I guess my main concern is school. We would probably be abroad for 2 years, so following UK curriculum would be great if possible.

I've read through a few old threads and looked at expat websites. St Christopers in Bahrain was mentioned a lot-is this still good?

Any general advice re life in either country would be great-thank you!

Zimmerzammerbangbang Mon 27-Mar-17 07:27:59

Should this not at least in part be driven by the best place for his business or does it not matter at all? You can't necessarily just set up a business that easily in the Middle East.

I believe (although happy to be corrected as I haven't lived in Bahrain) that Bahrain has a significantly lower cost of living than Dubai.

CatkinW Mon 27-Mar-17 20:03:23

Luckily business very flexible fue to it's nature. It's mainly based on time zone. So we can be flexible on where.

Yes from all the reading I have done looks like Bahrain cheaper cost of living. And possibly more relaxed lifestyle.

I guess I am mainly concerned about the children and their experience. So school important.

CatkinW Mon 27-Mar-17 20:03:37


JoandMax Tue 28-Mar-17 09:20:25

For those age D.C. I would go with Dubai - a lot of very good, established British Schools, a great expat community and so much for kids to do!

Dubai is expensive if you want to have the whole 'bling' lifestyle, if you don't and are happy with days at the beach and BBQs then it is very relaxed

Zimmerzammerbangbang Tue 28-Mar-17 11:21:09

School fees in Dubai are very expensive (particularly any good schools with spaces) so I don't see how you can possibly do Dubai cheaply even without a bling lifestyle. Money may not be a driving factor though and kids can certainly have a very good life in Dubai. I'd have to be dragged there kicking and screaming personally (and probably will be one day)! You can in theory do it without getting involved in keeping up with the Jones's but I don't know anyone who hasn't got involved at least to some extent in their first year or so.

My comment on where works for the business is still valid - there are massively different costs and requirements associated with setting up a company in different parts of the Middle East. It may be you've already looked into this and that's why it's Dubai or Bahrain but I would normally expect that to be the main driving factor. The business infrastructure is very different as well.

Why not Abu Dhabi btw? That could be a happy medium between the two. Probably better schools than Bahrain (although I don't know Bahrain schools) and less hectic than Dubai.

Bahrain and Dubai are in different timezones btw although they both have the same Friday/Saturday weekend.

HappyEverIftar Fri 31-Mar-17 19:27:34

I've just moved from Bahrain and I absolutely loved it there! I didn't have kids but St Chris' and the British School both have a great reputation, although waiting lists can be long by all accounts. The island is small so has a community feel about it and everywhere is easy to get to. You can rent villas in the Saar/Janabiya/Hamala areas for reasonable prices and are close to the schools so if that's a priority I'd look there. Adliya or Mahooz is great if you like being close to restaurants, British Club etc.

From a business perspective, I would advise setting up in the country in which you intend to do the most business. You won't gain traction with the indigenous community as such if you don't show willing to base yourselves there. This is true across the GCC (obviously I don't know what your business interests are, but something worth considering if you want to trade locally there).

PM me if you like, happy to answer any questions smile

CatkinW Fri 31-Mar-17 20:32:51

Thank you so much HappyEverIftar-ongoing discussions just will probably be messaging soon!

RedSandYellowSand Tue 04-Apr-17 08:28:12

Assuming the ease of visas and permits is the same for both locations, how much is cost a factor? I'd say Dubai is about 20% more expensive than Bahrain.
Also consider how easy it would be to get out? Dubai will provide road access to Oman and the rest of the UAE. Without a multi entry Saudi visa, getting out of Bahrain requires a plane.

I suspect schools are hard in both locations. Although loads of people seem to be leaving this summer (more than previous years). I'm in Saudi, just on the other side of the causeway to Bahrain - we visit maybe once a month.

At Christopher's and the British school both well regarded in Bahrain.

It isn't cheep just living here. Most people have accomadation paid, and ours, at least, is extortionate.

CatkinW Thu 06-Apr-17 17:45:14

Thank you redsandyellowsand

I think Dubai better connection wise. I think will all come down to schools.

Any recommendations for Dubai school options?

RedSandYellowSand Thu 06-Apr-17 18:08:06

Expat woman is your best bet for Dubai school info.
UAE is definitely better connection wise!!! Don't rule out AbuDhabi, if work permits are obtainable there.
Schools here are a nightmare. Infact people end up moving to Bahrain and Husband commuting to get a school place. So i suspect Bahrain is less oversubscribed than here..... Good luck. School places seem to be the biggest headache for the people i know, but it's another country again.

Tweennightmare Fri 07-Apr-17 18:46:00

Hi I am in Dubai . What age your children are will definatley determine your choice in schools . They tend to be massively over subscribed in the lower years but gets easier to get places the older the child. Also budget would be a determiner as this varies massively from school to school

CatkinW Wed 12-Apr-17 19:55:13

Ok thank you. They are 7 and 5 so will need year 3 and year 1 from sept. Ok that doesn't sound great!!

Thanks everyone

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