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Best Gulf state for families?

Best Gulf state for families?

Old Oct 27th 2007, 6:25 am
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Default Best Gulf state for families?

What would be the best Gulf state to move to for a family with 2 kids? We're not interested in clubbing, pubs or raves. Instead, we're seeking to lead a quiet existence in the sun and earning some tax-free cash in the process with access to good schools for the kids. Non-insane working hours would also be a plus.

Which Gulf state would fit these criteria? Based on my preliminary research, I'm thinking Oman, Saudi or Qatar.

Your thoughts? All opinions welcome.
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Old Oct 27th 2007, 6:43 am
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Default Re: Best Gulf state for families?

Originally Posted by shark_can View Post
What would be the best Gulf state to move to for a family with 2 kids? We're not interested in clubbing, pubs or raves. Instead, we're seeking to lead a quiet existence in the sun and earning some tax-free cash in the process with access to good schools for the kids. Non-insane working hours would also be a plus.

Which Gulf state would fit these criteria? Based on my preliminary research, I'm thinking Oman, Saudi or Qatar.

Your thoughts? All opinions welcome.
Hi Shark,

Saudi would be fine but your wife would have to fall in line with the restrictions (wearing the black abaya, not allowed to drive, etc). No alcohol (at least officially!!)

Bahrain has a couple of excellent schools (worth checking the waiting list situation though), and is a family-friendly place.

Saudi money tends to be 10-20 pct higher than other states for comparable jobs.

Hope that helps.
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Old Oct 27th 2007, 8:24 am
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Default Re: Best Gulf state for families?

Originally Posted by Modernian View Post
Hi Shark,
Bahrain has a couple of excellent schools (worth checking the waiting list situation though), and is a family-friendly place.
Thank you for your helpful comments. You mentioned the Abaya requirement (everything else is fine with us), but is it required even inside the expat compounds? Also, my understanding is that a non-muslim woman doesn't need a head-covering in public, is that correct?

Also, could you please develop further on why you believe that Bahrain is a "family-friendly place"?

From what I hear, the place is awash with drunken revellers, hookers, drugs, rowdy Saudis drivers and nightclubs blaring loud music all night (i.e. exactly the kind of environment that we're trying to avoid). Exactly why did this country acquire a reputation for being family friendly? I ask this only in the nature of seeking information. It's very difficult to get an overall picture of a country simply by reading a few anecdotes from one or two people and I'd love to get my assumptions properly scrutinized and challenged by the folks here.
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Old Oct 27th 2007, 11:00 am
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Default Re: Best Gulf state for families?

so the UAE is out of the question then??
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Old Oct 27th 2007, 7:49 pm
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Default Re: Best Gulf state for families?

Originally Posted by shark_can View Post
Also, my understanding is that a non-muslim woman doesn't need a head-covering in public, is that correct?
Not from what I've heard from people who lived there. Any woman who doesn't have her head covered is likely to draw the attention of the mutawwa'in (the religious police).

From what I hear, the place is awash with drunken revellers, hookers, drugs, rowdy Saudis drivers and nightclubs blaring loud music all night
That happens everywhere in the Gulf except for Saudi - and even there it probably happens inside the compounds
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Old Oct 27th 2007, 8:15 pm
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Default Re: Best Gulf state for families?

Originally Posted by shark_can View Post
What would be the best Gulf state to move to for a family with 2 kids? We're not interested in clubbing, pubs or raves. Instead, we're seeking to lead a quiet existence in the sun and earning some tax-free cash in the process with access to good schools for the kids. Non-insane working hours would also be a plus.

Which Gulf state would fit these criteria? Based on my preliminary research, I'm thinking Oman, Saudi or Qatar.

Your thoughts? All opinions welcome.

Qatar might fit you if you not looking for clubbing or pubs. As far as acommodation is paid by the company (not allowance) and you can get space for your kids schools.

My husband working for government oil company ... his working hour 5 days a week 6.30 to 2.30pm. He got 1 week during Eid, 1 week during 2nd Eid and on top of that he have 37 working days annual leave.
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Old Oct 27th 2007, 8:51 pm
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Default Re: Best Gulf state for families?

Question for novita - is it true that in Qatar, expats still need to get their sponsor's permission (and signature on an exit permit) in order to leave the country for any reason?
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Old Oct 27th 2007, 9:15 pm
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Default Re: Best Gulf state for families?

Originally Posted by GarethR View Post
Question for novita - is it true that in Qatar, expats still need to get their sponsor's permission (and signature on an exit permit) in order to leave the country for any reason?
yes it is true Gareth.

Some people with certain position in the company can obtain multiple exit permit, but i have no idea with the requirement.
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Old Oct 27th 2007, 11:23 pm
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Default Re: Best Gulf state for families?

Originally Posted by novita77 View Post
yes it is true Gareth.

Some people with certain position in the company can obtain multiple exit permit, but i have no idea with the requirement.
Are the passports retained by the employer as well?

Also, are there things to see/do outside Doha? Qatar looks so big on a map, but it seems that most of the country's population is compressed into one city on one edge of the peninsula (Doha).
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Old Oct 28th 2007, 3:18 am
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Default Re: Best Gulf state for families?

Originally Posted by shark_can View Post
Are the passports retained by the employer as well?

Also, are there things to see/do outside Doha? Qatar looks so big on a map, but it seems that most of the country's population is compressed into one city on one edge of the peninsula (Doha).
Passport shouldn't be retained by the employer. It is illegal.

When you never been to Middle East ... you find it exciting coming here. But after 7 yrs ... we find it we running out of things to do. I would say UAE have more places to go compare to Qatar.
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Old Oct 28th 2007, 6:09 am
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Default Re: Best Gulf state for families?

Originally Posted by shark_can View Post
Thank you for your helpful comments. You mentioned the Abaya requirement (everything else is fine with us), but is it required even inside the expat compounds? Also, my understanding is that a non-muslim woman doesn't need a head-covering in public, is that correct?

Also, could you please develop further on why you believe that Bahrain is a "family-friendly place"?

From what I hear, the place is awash with drunken revellers, hookers, drugs, rowdy Saudis drivers and nightclubs blaring loud music all night (i.e. exactly the kind of environment that we're trying to avoid). Exactly why did this country acquire a reputation for being family friendly? I ask this only in the nature of seeking information. It's very difficult to get an overall picture of a country simply by reading a few anecdotes from one or two people and I'd love to get my assumptions properly scrutinized and challenged by the folks here.
Sounds great! Let me at it!

Actually, that is somewhat of an over-statement. There are many, many expat families here in Bahrain that enjoy the weather, good schools, comfortable housing, relaxed atmosphere, multi-national friendships, sporting opportunities and all-round pleasant lifestyle that is available here.

Live in the right place, work and socialize with like minded people and you'd be very unlikely to interact with any of the things you'd be looking to avoid, except perhaps for a Saudi driver who has got lost on his way to the booze, ho's and loud music!
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Old Oct 28th 2007, 6:46 am
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Default Re: Best Gulf state for families?

Shark,
I'd suggest the top 3 places to live in Middle East, in no particular order and given the info you provided, would be Bahrain, Oman and UAE.
That's not to say any of the others are no good - there are a lot of people who live in Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar and love it, but there are more restrictions associated with these places and they are probably more difficult to settle in than the ones i mention above.
If you prefer the quieter life, then i'd suggest AD over Dubai for UAE, but the opposite if you prefer a "livelier" life.
Hope that helps a little - i'm sure others will be on here giving their equally valid opinions.
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Old Oct 28th 2007, 8:59 am
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Default Re: Best Gulf state for families?

Originally Posted by twistopher View Post
If you prefer the quieter life, then i'd suggest AD over Dubai for UAE, but the opposite if you prefer a "livelier" life.
Hope that helps a little - i'm sure others will be on here giving their equally valid opinions.
Thank you for your comments, but could you please elaborate on that? Specifically, could you contrast Doha and AD? These two cities seem largely similar in economic, demographic and cultural make-up. Could you please comment?

And yes, for reasons already indicated, we are firmly in an "Anywhere But Dubai" mindset. A city touting Western-style materialism and hyper-consumption as the core defining features of its identity is not exactly what we're looking for when it comes to our Middle-east experience.
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Old Oct 28th 2007, 9:11 am
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Default Re: Best Gulf state for families?

Originally Posted by Rog_Rams View Post
Sounds great! Let me at it!
Haha! You should head to where I'm living in London. We have all of those except for the Saudi drivers.
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Old Oct 28th 2007, 10:11 am
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Default Re: Best Gulf state for families?

You could always try Al Ain in the UAE. Its in the hills, hot and dry but not humid so you feel better. No where near as busy as Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Both about 80 miles away. Low rise buildings and a lot more local people. I've not been here long but I haven't met anyone who doesn't like it. I can't comment on the schools but understand there is a waiting list for the best ones.
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