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Advice on living near Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh

Advice on living near Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh

Old Nov 25th 2018, 11:02 pm
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Arrow Advice on living near Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh

Hello

I'm considering a job in Riyadh. I appreciate the employer will be able to help me a little more with this once an offer is made, however I'd be grateful for some advice on accommodation to shape my own thinking of what it would be like to live there.

The job is based in the Diplomatic Quarters. I understand that I will be given an accommodation allowance, rather than being set up with accommodation - for me to spend or keep as I like. My concern is that everything I read seems to suggest that living on a western compound is preferable to living in the DQ. However, none of the western compounds seem to be closer than a 20 minute drive away, and I am also reading that the traffic is terrifying.

I have a family, including a toddler who would need a nursery. We would like good facilities and a social life, as we are a young family and don't have connections to the area.

I have the following questions:
- Is it correct to say that it would be preferable to live in a Western compound 20 minutes (best in no traffic) drive away than in the DQ where I would work (I would like to enjoy the freedom of the compound lifestyle)
- Can anyone recommend compounds closer to the DQ? Or is the 20 minutes (no traffic) drive to Al Nakhla and Al Bustan really not that bad?
- I am being offered a good professional well-paid job. What is a reasonable accommodation allowance to expect? Appreciate that is a difficult question to answer, but an idea as to a range would be helpful. I am also to receive a transportation allowance apparently.

Many thanks in advance
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Old Nov 26th 2018, 6:12 pm
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Default Re: Advice on living near Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh

"Diplomatic Quarter" - "Quarter" in the sense of "district". The name just means a part of the city that was designed and built for non-Saudis. You can get accommodation within the Diplomatic Quarter, although it will not be cheap.

http://www.arabnews.com/news/548096

Last edited by scot47; Nov 26th 2018 at 6:15 pm.
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Old Nov 27th 2018, 7:27 am
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Default Re: Advice on living near Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh

It comes back to the old age question - how much do you want to spend on accommodation?
Compounds, whilst they do offer a "Western" lifestyle, are quite expensive. In recent years, with many expats leaving KSA, compounds now have available units and have also reduced their rental prices. Not sure on your bugdet or what size accommodation you're after, but here's an example base don what I've viewed and visited over the last month:

Wadi Qurtoba - newest compound in Riyadh. very large, very swanky and furnished to a good standard. A two bed ground floor apartment is 150k SR per year. A slightly smaller 2 bed is around 135k

Reem Compound ( near to W/Q ) is 93k for a two bed. Three bed villa is around 130k. Both Reem and WQ are on Thummamah Road, in the North of Riyadh, would think it's at least a 30 min drive to the DQ.

Kingdom Compound is 140k for a two bed duplex. Slightly closer to the DQ

Seder Compound is 127k for a three bed bungalow ( old compound now, dated, flimsy accommodation - but best place I've lived on for a good social life / good mix of people ) . In the East of the City, around 45 mins in rush hour traffic from DQ

Most of these places will accept two installment payments. Usually there is a 5k - 10k refundable deposit, and some will also charge for utilities on top of rental price. As Scot mentions, there is accommodation available on the DQ, but it's not quite compound style.
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Old Nov 27th 2018, 10:38 am
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Default Re: Advice on living near Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh

Thanks both.

I think my question though is more - whether the traffic is really so bad I'd be better off living in the DQ and walking to work, or whether that would really mean a loss of social life and enjoyment/freedom that is not worth the journey savings?

It sounds as though there are no western compounds closer than 20/30 minutes drive?

Thanks
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Old Nov 27th 2018, 12:27 pm
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Default Re: Advice on living near Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh

Originally Posted by Tritravel View Post
Thanks both.

I think my question though is more - whether the traffic is really so bad I'd be better off living in the DQ and walking to work, or whether that would really mean a loss of social life and enjoyment/freedom that is not worth the journey savings?

It sounds as though there are no western compounds closer than 20/30 minutes drive?

Thanks
think you're getting a bit fixated on the traffic. You get used to it. It's not that bad. Riyadh is no Bangkok or Jakarta when it comes to traffic. Yes you may well get stuck sometimes. Is half hour 45 minutes each way that bad? Not many people get to walk to work, and remember that sometimes the air can be really bad and you wouldn't want to walk to work, or it's summer and it's hot, or it's winter and it's cold. No one, and I mean no one walks to work.
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Old Nov 27th 2018, 1:24 pm
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Default Re: Advice on living near Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh

That makes sense thanks. So many posts seem to say the primary factor in choosing a compound is distance from work - and I got a bit panicked as there are no western compounds near QD. Sounds like it shouldn't be a big deal, thanks.
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Old Nov 27th 2018, 1:56 pm
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Default Re: Advice on living near Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh

In my experience of living in Riyadh, 45min with some traffic isn't that bad. You just get used to it compared to the benefit that your family would experience from a compound lifestyle. It is peak time traffic now (1740 KSA time) and from DQ to Al Nakhla compound (around 32km) is showing as 45 mins travel time. So, even with Google maps showing red traffic bits for almost 1/3rd of the way, you still cover quite a lot of distance so, you don't feel stuck in one place.

Traffic is annoying sometimes but mostly manageable. And then there will be times between the two Eid holidays and various Saudi / international school holidays when traffic reduces a lot even during peak times.

With regards to your question about the housing allowance and travel allowance, good companies should normally pay between 20-30% for housing and 8-12% travel allowance (% of your monthly basic).

Hope this helps and all the best with finalising your move!
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Old Nov 27th 2018, 5:20 pm
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Default Re: Advice on living near Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh

Originally Posted by Tritravel View Post
That makes sense thanks. So many posts seem to say the primary factor in choosing a compound is distance from work - and I got a bit panicked as there are no western compounds near QD. Sounds like it shouldn't be a big deal, thanks.
https://earth.app.goo.gl/?apn=com.google.earth&ibi=com.google.b612&isi=2936 22097&ius=googleearth&link=https%3a%2f%2fearth.goo gle.com%2fweb%2f%4024.74740955,46.54604143,679.450 23985a,1077.52511087d,35y,271.71071771h,0t,0r%2fda ta%3dCi4aLBIkGTeDkmg3vzhAIWcP33rvRUdAKhAyNC43NDY5L CA0Ni41NDY0GAIgASgD

have a look at this place, it's not too far away from the DQ, located in Diriyah area, it's west of King Khalid Road so away from most traffic, and if memory serves me right there's a back way into the DQ along Wadi Hanifa. Probably a 15 minute drive.

I just can't remember the name of the compound, but it is nice. Been to a few parties there.
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Old Jan 14th 2019, 3:55 pm
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Default Re: Advice on living near Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh

You need to choose your compound carefully. Traffic isn’t a real consideration in a Riyadh. It’s so unpredictable that a normal 15 minute journey that I take every day to work can triple because of frequent accidents.

You want a compound that has lots of other young families to help your wife and toddler settle well. You also might want ones with a good mix of western expats. Lots of compounds are losing expats because the workforce is changing dramatically here.

I would highly recommend Kingdom. Very established, decent facilities (not as new as some), great community feel and plenty of young families. Walking distance to large hospital which is a comfort here if anything were to go wrong. Reasonable prices and you get lots of space for your money.

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Old Jan 14th 2019, 3:58 pm
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Default Re: Advice on living near Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh

By the way living on the DQ will be a nightmare for your wife and child. There isn’t much going on and because expat women can’t drive yet she won’t be able to easily get around to other compounds to socialise. There is a playgroup on at the British Embassy but it would be better for her if she lived in a compound and you travelled to work. (Disclosure I have a toddler and many friends who live on the DQ. I know it does work for some but many embassy staff choose to live in other compounds).
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Old Jan 14th 2019, 5:29 pm
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Default Re: Advice on living near Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh

Thank you, that's helpful.

Are you aware of prices for Kingdom for 2 beds at all?

My other half had an eye on Al Bustan and Al Hamra. Do you have any views on those?

Thanks again
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Old Jan 15th 2019, 1:12 pm
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Default Re: Advice on living near Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh

Originally Posted by Tritravel View Post
Thank you, that's helpful.

Are you aware of prices for Kingdom for 2 beds at all?

My other half had an eye on Al Bustan and Al Hamra. Do you have any views on those?

Thanks again
Kingdom Compound - you're looking at 140k per year for a two bed apartment. You might be able to get a two bed duplex if available. Have you considered the new Wadi Qurtoba Compound? Similar prices for a two bed as Kingdom. Brand new compound, very big, lots of amenities, good standard.

Al Bustan and Al Hamra, probably closer to the 200k mark.
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