Doha vs Dubai – An expat comparison


Basically, Comparing Doha with Dubai is like comparing apples with water melon. Which looks pointless, however there are many aspects one has to take under consideration for a comparison sake of personal preference.

It has to be clearly said that if someone is comparing Doha and Dubai or for bigger horizon Qatar and UAE in general for tourism point of view, UAE takes the lead by any standard. So the following write up is only for those who are aspiring work and has a choice to move either to Doha or Dubai (Qatar or UAE) in general.

For someone who lived in Dubai for even small amount of time and than move to Doha will for sure be a depressing experience. Talking about advantages of UAE over Qatar, here are some points advocating the scenario:

– From landing to office to accommodation. In all aspects UAE takes the lead in both quality and services. Even the flagship national airlines i-e Emirates and Etihad for UAE are better off in providing services if compared to Qatar Airways.

– UAE comprises of seven states which gives variety of options in living and visiting, whereas Doha is the only major city within Qatar which might rank as good as somewhere after Ajman of UAE.

– Traffic is much organized in UAE and even the traffic of Ajman is better than that of Doha

– Cost of living in Doha is terrible if compared to UAE. UAE has a lot of options with high end living to modest as well a very low income accommodation which still comply to some standards. High end accommodation in Doha on the other side is very expensive and the average accommodation is also much higher if compared to UAE. In UAE people do have option to live with family in bigger accommodation even far from work place, while Qatar does not have this kind of option as Doha is the only city which is already having dearth of units for rent.

– Irrespective of what the trend of weather says, Qatar have much hotter summers where temperature in a normal summer evening reaches 47C while in the noon around 52C.

– Qatar is still evolving for expats it seems. The laws for acquiring visa, whether for employment or for family are tough as well as not clearly defined. This causes a lot of frustration specially if someone is moving or have lived in UAE before. So expect a lot of delays and red tape environment for immigration purposes. It is specifically very frustrating experience for some nationalities than others.

– The thing you will never see in UAE, is blockage of traffic due to VIP movement of royal families. Dubai rulers specifically can be even seen in public transport sometimes and mingling with citizens and expats, however, in Qatar its a very common sight to have a road block because of VIP movements. Doha, if aspiring to transform to an international destination of choice needs to change this scenario.

– UAE in general and Dubai in particular is a shoppers paradise. Too many deals being thrown all year round, specially during various festival times. The competition in UAE and Dubai helps reduction of prices and more sale for shops. People all over the region comes to Dubai for shopping bargains. However, there is no such scenario in Doha. Very limited options are available in Qatar for shopping, that too not as cheap as Dubai.

– Being an expat worker, its important to have good air travel options from the place you work. UAE has at least 4 airlines with huge airport network and many other airlines also operate through the airport network. On the other hand, Qatar has just recently been able to start the operation of new Airport which is having good capacity but still relatively few options compared to UAE.

– Children schooling is another aspect the expat worker has to keep in mind before relocating. UAE in general and Dubai in Particular offers a wide ranging schooling option from very cheap to highly expensive schools but at the same time due to strict regulations the quality in the most cheap schools is still maintained to a certain level. However, in Qatar, the low cost schooling is only a dream. The schools which are charging average fee with quality education are hard to get hold off and normally the admission waiting time in schools sometimes extends beyond a year.

– Public transport network in Dubai specifically has evolved ten folds compared to Doha in past decade or so. By far, Dubai is having the best public transport network in this region and still improving. Doha is no where near at least at this point of time.

– Entertainment options are unlimited in Dubai. From lavish to budget, all flavors are available. Family and individual both kind of entertainment are available in Dubai in abundance. Plenty of parks, theme parks, indoor theme parks, malls, clubs etc are best part to live in Dubai. On the other hand very limited options are available in Doha.

It is a never ending tale in favor of Dubai that can go on and on for what Dubai has to offer. However, Qatar is a reality in itself, and people are working in this country too and huge expat population is residing in Doha.

Lets talk about some major positives for Doha and Qatar for expats:

– Life in Qatar is still not that fast paced as in several other cities of the world, specifically Dubai. Hence you get more time off to spend with family and less stress.

– Although traffic is much organized in Dubai, Doha is a very small city. Perhaps, the maximum travel time from one part of Doha to other in rush hour cannot exceed one hour. Whereas in Dubai, a normal person from office to home reaches in one hour or more additionally trips to Abu Dhabi in case of official requirements will eat up most of the precious time on road. People who live near to their work mostly pay a premium for higher rents in Dubai while in Doha, you can stay a bit far if you have better option with minimal impact on traveling time.

– Parking is an issue in some part of Doha but generally speaking its almost the same pain as in Dubai mostly. However, best part is that parking is mostly free across Doha. Moreover no Salik toll gates.

– With the advent of smart phones, VOIP apps are a blessing for normal expat worker. There are many restrictions in UAE for those applications impacting phone bills to be very high. However, Doha does not impose such restrictions and generally speaking, the cell phone call / data charges are much cheaper that Dubai. This makes life much easier and manageable for expats enabling them to keep in touch with families back home more conveniently.

– Lastly and most importantly, Qatar is investing heavily on infrastructure projects specially for Qatar 2022 football world cup which includes road and train infrastructure too apart from huge stadiums and hotels. Because of this expansion, the job market is immense and with very good salary packages and perks. To be honest people at the moment are being paid more than what they are worth, moreover, the work environment is much relaxed specially if compared to Dubai. So if someone gets better cash offer in Qatar even with same job profile, the person is probably going to be in peace  at work. This point is the single biggest driving factor if someone compare Dubai to Doha for expat relocation.

Eventually anyone who leaves the comfort of home is there to make money and achieve some better results. The article does not relate numbers for the reason that its subject to each person financial and family condition, so if any specific question remains, you are more that welcome to ask in comment section from immigration to job market to day to day living in Dubai and Doha.

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6 thoughts on “Doha vs Dubai – An expat comparison

  1. I agree with you on most part but trust me salaries in Doha are not impressive what so ever. There’s a huge racial discrimination from immigration to businesses, only certain nationalities get attractive salaries where as others have to suffer.

  2. I agree with you on most part but trust me salaries in Doha are not impressive what so ever. There’s a huge racial discrimination from immigration to businesses, only certain nationalities get attractive salaries where as others have to suffer.

  3. Great article. Expatconnect is my answer. It helped me a lot, It’s a great place to meet people and make new friends, and share valuable information about their lifestyle, culture and tradition. It’s a life-changing experience for me.

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