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Moving to Bahrain

(23 Posts)
Natje Mon 02-Mar-09 09:08:47

Hi there,
My DH has been offered a position in Bahrain and we are seriously considering it. We currently live in Belgium (we're Dutch/British) and our quality of life is pretty good but we always said we would like to live abroad as I have lived abroad alot when I was younger and really enjoyed it.
We have a 3 year old son and a 19 month old daughter so would be looking for schools/nurseries. I have heard that there are quite long waiting lists though?
For those of you out there would you say you are happy? What do you miss the most? Is quality of life good - healthcar/schools/shops and facilities?
I'd be grateful for any answers! Thanks x

JJsandcat Mon 02-Mar-09 14:33:11

I'm in UAE, so cannot speak for Bahrein but maybe you check out or Also worthwhile is checking out if there's an EXPLORER book for residents (they do DU and AD and are fab).

Good luck!

DoThisDoThat Mon 02-Mar-09 18:38:56

Hiya, you may see a couple of us along soon.

In Bahrain for six months now with 3 dcs 5, 3 and baby and really like it. Lots of places you can look at for your son and daughter - assume you want kindergarten for him? The main UK curriculum schools are St Christophers and The British School, both of which take 3 year olds into kindergarten onwards. Both are good. You may have missed the boat for them this year but not too late to get him on to the wait lists and at least on the list for Reception. Google St Chris to get the website but British School is The other options for kindergaten are Little Gems, British Prep.

Lot of europeans and antipodeans and americans here. Quality of life good, healthcare good, assuming you'll have private care, shops okay - not UK standard supermarkets but you'll live. Other shops are many and various in the big malls - H&M, Next, M&S, Debenhams, Oasis.....

It's great for young families, lots and lots for young kids but not so much for teenagers I reckon.

ANyway, happy to answer any specific questions that you may have after that mammoth post!

BrownSuga Mon 02-Mar-09 18:48:51

Oh I'm so envious. Nothing constructive to add, but I lived there for 2yrs while single about 5yrs ago, loved every minute, and would jump at the chance to go back.

It was extremely easy living. I only had to worry about going to work and groceries. Everything else was taken care of by other people.

I found shopping very good, I'd even go as far to say better than where I am now. One thing I did find was lack of good bookshops and music stores, but I just ordered books/cd's on Amazon and had them delivered.

DoThisDoThat Tue 03-Mar-09 05:28:52

Oh, and forgot to mention, plenty of good domestic help. Most families have a maid. Ours lives in. I haven't done a stroke of housework for months lol! Gives me a lot more time to --shout at-- play with the boys.

DoThisDoThat Tue 03-Mar-09 05:29:38

sorry, that shout at

Natje Wed 25-Mar-09 15:38:10

It's now pretty definite that we will move to Bahrain this summer and my husband and I will be going there next week for a visit. Mainly to see schools and get an idea of housing.
We will be visitng Nadeen School, Ajyaal Montessori and Little Gems (we missed the boat of St Chris and BSB). Anyone have any thoughts on these?
Dothisdothat - do you have any recommendations on good areas/compounds to live?

tama Thu 26-Mar-09 21:07:32

We will probably be moving to Bahrain but not until end of the year. we have a 2D and 4monthSon. I like the sound of Amwej island - it looks gorgeous - for accommodation and also Saar. I just don't know how I'm going to cope with the heat. Natje I hope it goes well and I'd be interested to hear how your visit goes.

DoThisDoThat Fri 03-Apr-09 17:51:49

Hi there, you'll be here when you read this. Sorry about the weather!!

Well, as for places to live, most expats are in Saar, Budaiya, Janabiya and out to Hamala, Jasra - basicaly south and south west of manama. Where is the Nadeen School? Little Gems is in Budaiya/Barbar (I live really near there). You've got two kids right? so I assume you want 3 or 4 beds. Get a good agent - I've got a couple of names if you need them and he/she should show you some nice compounds and private villas. I'd personally go for a compound, not a private villa if you're new to the island and have kids. Prices are quite high but static at the mo - you should get a good 3 bed for 1400-1500bd max. Amwaj is also lovely but a bit out of the way for schools. Having said that, you'd be going against the traffic so maybe not so bad. My friend made it from Amway to the British School in 30 minutes the other day although 20 minutes is considered something to moan about in Bahrain!

Anyway, hope you're having a good time and are staying somewhere fab like the Ritz. HTH!

Natje Sat 04-Apr-09 15:34:46

Thanks!! We had a good trip over and got a good feel for the place! Strange weather while we were there though. Sally (the real estate agent) took us round lots of compounds so we now have a good idea of what housing is like around Saar, Janabiya etc. Saw a lovely place with a pool but I would be a bit worried with the kids (3 and 1 years old). Nadeen school is in Adliya - quite a long drive from Saar and not sure I could do it everday. Having said that St Chris is so full we don'tstand a chance for this year, unbelievable!!

DoThisDoThat Sun 05-Apr-09 14:21:30

Hey Natje, only a rumour but i heard there are a lot of families leaving in April. Get your names on the list for St Chris and BSB. You've nothing to lose.

I too have a pool in the garden btw but really just use the garden in the evening when kids are in bed and go to the compound pool. Where was this nice place?

Natje Sun 05-Apr-09 18:38:58

Nice place was in Saar - near the Dilmun club. Prices a bit high, but negotiable. No compound pool though as individual pools for all houses.

We were told there was going to be a lot of movement on the school front too, but St Chris still won't take our application. Think I'll send my husband for a visit next time he's there for work.

Where do you have you kids?

tama Sun 05-Apr-09 18:56:36

It's really interesting listening to everyone's comments and stories - thanks so much - I feel like I can get to know a bit about what Bahrain is like ages before we'll be moving. We aren't planning on moving until next April, but i was wondering - if we wanted to send a child to St Chris' should we be booking them in now? It sounds like such a long waiting list.

I was also thinking how nice it would be to have a villa with a private pool but i'm also worried about the kids' safety. Do most people with young children not get a private pool I wonder unless they have a fence? I'm also wondering - do people have nannies in Bahrain? Can I buy Laura Mercier makeup? Can I buy Fake Bake? Oh, and DoThisDoThat i noticed you are into Myers Briggs (however you spell it) - I am an INTP in case you are interested!

I should be visiting Bahrain in the next few months so will also be checking out areas and schools. Natje do you like Saar? What is it that sets it apart from other areas?

Natje Sun 05-Apr-09 19:23:52

Tama - your best bet is to contact St. Chris's asap. It seems to be THE schoold of choice and their waiting lists are enormous. They have told us that even if we put our oldest on the list this September for entry in September 2010, we may still not get a place. I'm not sure how much of it is scaremongering, but it doesn't look like there are too many other alternatives in terms of good schools. How old are your kids?

I did like Saar - just because everything is close, but I have to admit I didn't find the residential areas very pleasing to the eye. Lots of high compound walls, and then empty fields and dusty roads. No parks or pavements, so getting a house in a noce compound is your best bet if you want the kids to have space to walk/run in. Saw lots of houses with own pools, very few were fenced in but the real estate agent said it's something you can just have done yourself.

Not sure I am the best person to answer your qquestions but happy to share my experiences Tama!

DoThisDoThat Mon 06-Apr-09 17:37:04

Hi Tama and Natje. My boys are at the British School and I am very happy with it and have taken them off the St Chris wait list.

Tama, I really would second Natje's comments, I would go for a compound with kids. My boys have lots of little friends and in an out of each others houses. Saar is great because it's so central for everything.

I haven't seen Laura Mercier makeup or Fake Bake (unless you can get it in Sephora) but you can get Bobbi Brown and Mac and Sephora have ByTerry. Any shopping questions, just ask!!

A lot of people have full time (and live-in) maids here. Mine doubles up as a nanny which is great with the baby - I can spend much more time with the older boys. In fact, life would be too hard without her.

Oh, and I am also an INTP but getting soft in my old age.

Natje Mon 06-Apr-09 18:04:16

Aha ... well I have my oldest down for the British School too and they were a lot less snooty than St. Chris's so we'll have to wait and see. I liked the look of the school a lot!

I was looking out for Bobbi Brown but couldn't find any - where do they stock it?

DoThisDoThat Mon 06-Apr-09 18:14:37

Bobbi Brown shop in City Centre Mall - ground floor opposite Starbucks, or is it Costa? (not that I'm a saddo or anything...)

Oh, and you're right about the's a good school but so's BSB.

tama Mon 06-Apr-09 19:29:37

Thanks for the ideas, really helpful. i have two children one is just 5 months the other is 3 so we would be wanting her to start at the nursery early next year and then reception in september. I guess we could put her on waiting list for both st chris' and BSB right now.

hope the weather is okay there at the moment - i have so many questions but do not want to bombard so will hold myself back. once again, thanks for the ideas. i wonder if we will move to Bahrain because the other possibility is amman in jordan - the weather looks nice there and culturally it looks good but not such a good expat infrastructure.

natje are you feeling good about moving to bahrain after your visit? has it made you feel better or worse about it?

Dothisdothat - thanks for shopping info, pity about the Fake Bake given the colour of my skin and the weather there!

Natje Mon 06-Apr-09 21:23:27

Tama - yes, I'm feeling good. Mixed feelings of course as I leave behind my family (mum and dad live 5 minutes away from us!!). But also exited for the opportunity. I think there is probably a lot more 'culture' in Jordan - Bahrain seemed a bit lacking in this, but I may discover more when we're there longer. I think things i'll miss are my family and friends and the weather (believe it or not). The nice green parks here and being able to step out of your house and go for a walk in your neighbourhood.
However, I think it's agreat opportunity for the family and a good life for the kids - lots of outdoors stuff etc.

tama Mon 06-Apr-09 21:30:23

Good luck Natje I hope it all goes really well for you, it sounds like you've done the best preparation you can in terms of seeing the areas and the schools and you've got a great mental attitude. I hope you make some good friends there quickly too. I'd be interested to know more about which compound and villa you go for - how much it costs, what it looks like, how big it is, etc.

blueberrysorbet Thu 09-Apr-09 19:52:07

hi natje
i live in bahrain and have been here for a few months. if your lo is at nadeens then the drive and traffic will be a nightmare from saar. plenty of expats live in adliya and mahooz and amwaj is getting more popular now rents are coming down. its nice with the parks you can walk to etc, and its nearer the various clubs. i guess it depends what os experience you want. where will your husband be working?

the british club just the other side of nadeems has a baby and toddler group tues and thurs, you don't have to be a member. there are some lovely compunds around there. I was told that saar and bud were where all the expats lived, but we ended up near adliya- it just felt too isolated from things down saar, but you might love it we found staying in an apartment at a hotel and looking round SLOWLY a big help. also go to the mums and babies at the britich club and dilman/rugby to get the feel of the place and hear what others have to say on the spot!

hope this helps!

tama Mon 18-May-09 12:40:46

Hi everyone
I'm not experienced at this so maybe should be starting a new thread but anyway, we are moving to Bahrain possibly towards the end of the year and I want to hire a full time nanny and part time maid. i'm interested to know whether i should hire a nanny from a UK/ international agency or whether I should hire one from an agency in Bahrain. Ideally, a full time nanny from Bahrain who was bilingual but who would also be willing to travel with me abroad quite often (well, a few times a year anyway) would be great, because she would presumably be cheaper and would have good local knowledge, and would be less complicated to recruit. WOuld she need to live in or could she live out? Any advice would be appreciated. If i get no answer here I'll start a new thread and take it from there.

IrishFamily4Bahrain2019 Fri 12-May-17 13:56:49

Hi, just reading a thread you posted some time back. Would you still have any recommended contacts for accommodation agents for expats planning on moving to Bahrain?

Many thanks


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