The State of Qatar is a small peninsular country jutting into the Persian gulf on all three sides, having its lone land border with Saudi Arabia. It has the third-largest natural gas and oil reserves in the world and the highest per capita income in the world. It is a peaceful country and home to a large number of expatriates. I have been associated with Qatar since 2012.
My account of the country through ‘Living in Qatar‘ will be based on my experiences and personal opinions. I have tried to make it useful for both the people who are planning to settle in Qatar as well as for the people already here.
Climate in Qatar
The Climate here is akin to that in North India sans the monsoon and rains. I could find great similarity to the climatic conditions seen in the east Indian state of Orissa as I had been there for some time.
Summers get pretty hot as temperatures soar to 48°C/50°C and people normally avoid going outside from 10 am to 3 pm. Inside the house or workplace, you do not feel the heat as Air conditioners are provided in every room.
The cost of electricity also is a lot cheaper than in many parts of the world. July & August are the peak summer months and the schools are normally closed for summer vacation. Most people visit their home countries during this period.
Winters vie with the hill stations, and Qatar is a beauty in itself. Though the temperatures go down as low as 9°C it is very pleasant outside. All the public parks have colorful flower gardens, and so are the roundabouts and roadside parks. Everything is meticulously planned and laid in an orderly manner.
Roughly the period from October to March is winter here, with December and January being peak winter. Qatar celebrates the Spring festival during the last week of January. Lots of activities and events are conducted in Souqs.
Rainfall is very scanty, but when it does come it creates havoc. Most houses built here are without sunshades and so when the rain comes, it comes straight into your living room through the doors. We have a tough time, clearing up the accumulated water. Similarly, dust storms which are frequent also bring in a lot of dust into your house. Other than this the climate is very much liveable.
The first thing I would like to assure you is that you will feel completely at home in this place, far away from home. Qataris are generally very amicable and tolerant people. Apart from that in the huge population of expatriates living here, you will most likely find your community too.
As an Indian, that too a South Indian Malayalee, born and brought up in Tamilnadu, Qatar is very much my second home. Wherever I step outside my home, I come across hordes of Malayalees and Tamilians. Apart from that, the North Indian community is also very huge. In fact, the Government has recently launched 2 Malayalam and 2 Hindi FM radio channels.
There are also a lot of cultural centers, catering to people from different countries. Indians can choose to become members of the Indian Cultural Centre (ICC), which operates under the aegis of the Indian Embassy in Qatar. Apart from the numerous events and cultural activities conducted throughout the year they also conduct regular classes for Indian classical dances, yoga, painting, and much more.
Other than this there are community associations like the Pravasi Doha for Malayalees, Tamil Sangam for Tamilians, Oriya association, Telugu samaj, and many more. These associations too conduct lots of activities which help in keeping the people tied up to their culture and customs.
Likewise, there are also associations for people from other countries like Qatar Irish Society, the Dutch Speaking Association, Qatar, the Swedish Association of Qatar, the American women’s association of Qatar, etc. There are also associations for the Philippines, French, Srilankans, Indonesians, Pakistanis, etc.
Housing is normally taken care of by the company which recruits you. Either they provide accommodation or give you HRA in lieu of the rent. This depends totally on the company that recruits you. Rents are affordable but vary according to the location. Generally, rents in Doha are pretty steep whereas in other places like Al Wakra it is manageable.
Most houses are furnished and all the basic amenities are provided. This means that you only need to carry your essentials like clothes and utensils. Furniture, TV’s, Refrigerators, Cooking range, Washing machines, Air conditioners, Microwave Ovens, Geysers are generally provided. Dishwashers and crockery are also provided at some places.
Mostly for cooking, electric stoves are provided, but in some accommodations, gas stoves are provided. Cylinders and regulators can be purchased from the local stores or the petrol stations called ‘Woqod‘, on payment of a sum. An additional cylinder can also be purchased, separately. Thereafter the empty cylinder can be exchanged at QR 15 per cylinder. But unlike in India, the cylinders are very lightweight and easy to carry, as the outer case is made of plastic
Servicing in case of repairs is mostly undertaken by the landlords but you will have to pay the electricity and water charges, which comes under QR 500.
If you are in company accommodation, the company will take care of that also. The general trend here was outliving, if given a choice. You could save a considerable amount from the HRA provided if you go for low rentals.
But now after a bit of recession, owing to the decreasing oil prices in the international market, allowances have been reduced. So now it does not make much difference. Even then it would do you good if you could evaluate the difference and decide which way to go. As of now, you can get a two-bedroom flat in a good area for around QR 4500 whereas villas will cost QR 7500 pm.
The education system in Qatar is monitored by the Supreme Education Council as well as the Ministry of Education. Apart from the numerous Arabic schools, a number of schools operate to cater to the needs of the expatriate community.
Curriculum wise there are the British, US, International Baccalaureate schools, International schools, Indian, Pakistani and many more. Indian schools are mostly affiliated to the CBSE board, Delhi. The Delhi Public School, Birla Public School, MES, Bhawans, Shantiniketan, Rajagiri are some of the popular Indian schools.
The Academic session of most schools is from April to March. Schools normally start at 7 am and end at 1.30 pm, with breaks in between. Usually, there is a breakfast break at 9 or 9.30 am, and a short break at around 12 pm.
For international schools, the session is from September to June with school timings mostly from 8 am to 3 pm. But during the holy month of Ramadan school timings are cut down to 5 hours.
Coz of the relatively hot climate here, all schools are airconditioned and so are the buses provided for transport. Strict rules are followed for child safety. The kids cannot be crammed into vehicles as we see in India.
Kids have access to lots of extracurricular activities at schools, to hone their creativity and talent. Sports are also encouraged to a great extent. Quite a few kids have traveled outside the country to participate in various competitions. You can even opt to send your wards on an international school tour to very interesting locations, in most schools.
But it is not easy to get admission to schools, as there is an acute shortage of seats especially in Indian, Egyptian and Sudanese schools. Every school has a ceiling limit on the number of seats, which they cannot violate. You may look up the detailed guidelines of the Ministry of Education for admission to private schools in Qatar here.
Delhi Public School has started a new campus, which has started functioning from September ’19. Apart from that, quite a few new schools following the Indian and American curriculum are also coming up. This should ease the shortage issue to a great extent.
Most companies support the education of kids. Academic and transport fees are borne by the company up to higher secondary or grade 12. Though for tuitions and extracurriculars you will have to provide.
Other than the regular schools, homeschools also operate in Qatar, for expatriates. Quite a few Americans and British are homeschooling their kids, mostly due to the non-availability of seats in good schools. You can look up Doha Home Educators for more info. NIOS the Indian homeschool operates in Qatar.
The Hamad Medical Corporation is the principal health care provider in the Country. Apart from that, there are a lot of other hospitals for different needs. All hospitals are generally very clean and the health care provided is also of high quality. Doctors employed belong to different nationalities.
A health insurance card is generally provided by the Company’s insurance provider, and they cover the medical expenses of the family. You only need to pay a registration fee of QR 25, and this covers follow-up for 14 days/7 days depending on the hospital. Though there is a ceiling, it will suffice for routine health check-ups. Atlas Medical Centre in Barwa village is the hospital that we frequent.
Jobs in Qatar
The job market in Qatar is booming, and you could land up at a job, by applying for vacant positions online. For this, you could use the search portals like Naukri gulf or look up career options on the website of companies like Qatar Petroleum, Qatar steel, Qatar Airways, etc.
Expatriates who get a job are issued Work Residence Permit or RP for 1 or 2 years, sponsored by the company or individual who employs them. If the family status is given, then the expats can personally sponsor their immediate family members to join them in Qatar. Every member of the family, including infants, should have an individual RP, to live in Qatar.
Unlike a dependent visa in the US, which is further classified into several categories, dependant visas in Qatar have no fringes attached and are pretty straightforward. Wives sponsored by their husbands can easily take up a job in banking, teaching, administrative services, etc if they are otherwise qualified and satisfy the prescribed conditions.
But if women on sponsored visas, plan to take up some job, it will do them good to have all their relevant education and marriage certificates attested. This is one of the requirements here, for most employment opportunities.
And rather than sending the certificates back to your home place for attestation, its a lot better to get them done before relocating. (Indians requiring more details on attestation please look up this quora post)
From 2016, the Government has started issuing permits to homemakers to do home businesses like catering, tailoring, gift making, perfume making, etc. So if you are a homemaker skilled in something you can utilize this opportunity and do business from your house.
Sunday is the beginning of the week. So weekdays are from Sunday to Thursday, with 8 hours working schedule. Friday and Saturday are weekends. During the fasting month of Ramadan, working hours are reduced to 5/6 hours for people in the public/private sectors respectively.
National Sports day celebrated every year on Feb 12th and Qatar National day celebrated on Dec 18th every year are national holidays in Qatar. Lots of events and activities take place all over Qatar on these two days.
There are week-long celebrations for the Islamic festivals of Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha. Vacations are generally announced after the sighting of the moon, and most companies give a week off for their employees.
Apart from this annual/biennial paid vacations ranging from 20 – 35 days are provided to employees by most companies, depending on the grade. Quite a few companies, provide to and fro air tickets to self, or self and family to the home city, during such vacations.
Other than this, schools are closed during July and August for summer. A fortnight in the month of December after Qatar National day is winter vacation. Casual leave, medical leave, etc available for employees, is covered by the rules of the concerned company.
The greatest advantage of being in a place like Qatar is that you can find everything from around the world. There are supermarkets and hypermarkets that cater to the needs of specific communities, as well as ones like Lulu which normally have everything.
You can find ingredients to cook up pretty much anything from around the world. Think Japanese Sushi, South American Arepas, Italian tiramisu, cheesecakes from all over the world.
Qatar had been heavily dependant on imports of food products. But after the siege in June 2017, home production is being greatly encouraged. Now a huge range of local produce including milk, poultry, vegetables are available in plenty.
The Government operates winter markets from October to March in the main localities. These function for three days in a week – Thursday, Friday and Saturday and provide fresh local vegetables, fruits, and live poultry apart from honey and eggs. There is also a wholesale market that operates every day throughout the year.
For Non-vegetarians a wide range of products are available from fishes to poultry, mutton, and beef. All the supermarkets have a section devoted to non-vegetarian where you can find all sorts of fishes. Poultry, Beef, and mutton are available in a number of forms in prepacked condition with the date of production and expiry marked.
Minced meat and ready to cook meat coated with masalas are also available. The Indian Supermarket has a separate section for mutton where Indian mutton is most sought after. Quail eggs are also available apart from normal eggs. And recently I came across emu eggs too.
Fish markets provide all kinds of fish. Lots of Indian fishes are available. In the fish markets, they will clean the fish and slice it as per your needs. You can get them cut into steaks, or de-skin them and make them into fillets. Hamour is a very famous tasty fish here and its price ranges from QR 40 to QR 90 per kg.
Other fishes available are Tuna, Salmon, Butterfish, Sherry, Sardines, Mackeral, Barakuda, Shark, Kingfish, Pomfret, etc. You can also get Shellfish, crab, prawns, lobsters, and squids.
2)Water and electricity
Electricity and water supply in Qatar is regulated and maintained by the Kahramaa or the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation. Kahramaa is the sole transmission and distribution system owner and operator for the electricity and water sector in Qatar.
As natural water sources are scarce, Qatar almost solely depends on desalinated seawater. The process of desalination which is used to produce water in Qatar is very expensive, but still, the tariff rates for consumption are hugely subsidized. Currently, the 19-gallon cans that we use for drinking water costs around QR 6 – 10 depending on the supplying vendor.
A number of rules with hefty fines for breach are in place for preventing unnecessary wastage of water and Electricity. Campaigns are also frequently conducted to create awareness on using the resources rationally.
Mowasalat is the major transport provider in Qatar, with a huge fleet of taxis, limousines, and public and private buses. Their Karwa taxis provide efficient transport from the airport to other parts of the country.
Most people have their own cars for transportation. Getting a license here is quite difficult. Unlike India, you have to keep to the right of the road while driving, so apparently the steering is placed on the left.
To use public transport, you will need to get a Karwa smart card, which comes in 3 forms – Classic, Limited and Unlimited. The classic card is for long term usage, whereas the remaining two are for 24 hours usage.
You can not only dream but even own a land cruiser, Pajero, BMW or Benz here if your income levels permit. Interest rates on loans are quite cheap. Though, quite a few companies provide some amount of interest-free car loans to their employees. Petrol prices are also cheaper compared to most places in the world. When we came here in 2012 it was only QR 0.8/L, though now it has risen to QR 1.90/L.
Traffic rules are very stringent and all roads are monitored with cameras or radar surveillance. The traffic police also keep constant vigil. Fines are very hefty if you are caught breaching the rules. So people generally slow down when nearing a signal, rather than speeding as is usually done in India 🙂 . There is also a point system for traffic violations in Qatar. The driving license is withdrawn for a period of 3 months to 1 year or completely withdrawn based on the points accumulated.
And if you damage your car, either on your own or by accident no one will service your car without police clearance. Inspection and registration of cars are mandatory every year, so you can never ‘hit & run’ here 🙂 .
Qatar has started the construction of metro rail connecting different parts of the country. The project is expected to complete before the 2022 football world cup.
The first Metro line – the red line from Al Wakra in the South to Al Qasser in the North, a distance of 40km, was launched on May 8th, 2019, one year ahead of schedule. As of December 2019, all three lines – the red line, the green line, and the gold line have been launched.
These operate from 6.00 am to 11.00 pm on all days of the week. On Friday the timings are from 2.00 pm – 11.00 pm. For first and last train timings look up here.
There will be a train every 6 minutes, and the travel time between stations is 3 minutes. Qatar Rail has also signed agreements with companies such as Mowasalat and Careem Qatar to offer taxi fare promotions to Metro passengers. As a result, free shuttle services are provided from and to metro stations by these companies.
The metro rail is considered a real boon to the people living in Qatar. More and more people are now opting to use metro services, as it is cheaper and quicker. This will also bring down carbon emissions to a great extent. For more details on the ticket rates and travel cards available, look up nri cafe.
4) Dining Out
You will be spoilt for choice, as there are a huge number of restaurants and eateries specializing in cuisines from all over the world. Lebanese, Turkish, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Italian you name them, they have it all here. And then the fast-food joints, McD, KFC, Papa Johns, Pizza hut, Dominos, Krispy creme, Baskin robbins..it goes on.
As for Indians, all the well-known names have their restaurants here. Vasantha Bhawan, Anjappar, Aryaas, Dosa Plaza, Indian coffee House, Asha’s, Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor, to name a few. Apart from that, you can get good quality products from the home caterers and home bakers in your locality.
For a normal family of four, a visit to the vegetarian restaurant will cost anything between QR 70-200. In the case of non-vegetarian restaurants, the amount can vary from QR 150-300, approximately.
In Qatar television operates through wifi. So it is a bundle package with the internet, television, and telephone together in one, provided by the telecom provider Ooredoo. By default, quite a few channels are provided. But there are a lot of packages from the Indian channels to sports and travel which can be subscribed as per need, provided through Ooredoo TV.
All Landline to landline calls within Qatar is free by default. Though, you can activate international calling for a price.
Lots of cinemas operate here with movies in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, Malayalam, and Arabic being played. Indians, will not miss any of their favorite movies, as every movie released finds its place here, though most movies run for a maximum period of 15 days only.
Tickets can be booked online through Q-tickets, and the prices vary based on the cinema you are visiting. The minimum per ticket is QR 25/35 per ticket, with prices of 4D cinemas going as high as QR 140 per ticket.
During the fasting month of Ramadan new movie releases are generally put on hold.
6)Places of interest
You can laze out on the beaches here like the Wakra beach, Sealine beach or Alkhor beach. Of the three, Wakra beach is the best in my view as it is encompassed by a huge souq -The Al Wakra Souq.
There are a lot of shops too here, and the buildings have been traditionally constructed, giving a glimpse of Qatar’s history. All the restaurants in this souq overlook the beach. The ambiance is so pleasant and its definitely worth a try to have your meals here. There are a lot of entertainment aspects provided for the kids, while the elders can relax on the beach or walk along the beach in the track provided.
The sealine beach provides a lot of drives by scooters and cars in the sand dunes for the adventurous. The inland sea is another place closeby which is must-see. Most people prefer to camp here overnight.
The Corniche, which essentially means a road running along the coast, is such a beautiful place for anyone to relax. Here you can have a wonderful view of Doha’s skyline. It has large areas of lawns for people to relax and also walking tracks. Lots of people are seen fishing in these waters. You can opt for dhow cruise, which is a ride into the sea and back in the decorated small boats.
The Museum of Islamic Arts is located close to the Corniche, as is the Souq Wakif which is the most vibrant bazaar in Qatar. Here you can find everything from spices to perfumes and even gold.
This is the cultural village of Qatar. It has an open amphitheater, an opera house, a multi-purpose cinema, a multi-purpose conference hall, a beach, a souq, and a museum. Lots of exhibitions and cultural events are conducted here throughout the year.
iv)The National Museum of Qatar
The National Museum of Qatar was opened to the public on March 28th, 2019. It is a mammoth, spectacular, architectural structure encompassing an area of 52,000 sq.m and is inspired by the desert rose. The interlocking discs that compose the building are representative of petals, each positioned at different angles.
It contains 11 galleries winding through a 1.5 km path which takes visitors through the glorious history of Qatar, sharing the unique journey of Qatar through time. The museum embraces as its centerpiece, the restored historic Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani (1880-1957), son of the founder of modern Qatar.
It also includes a sprawling park, with an artificial lagoon, a 220 seat auditorium, a research center, laboratories, a dedicated food forum, two restaurants, a cafe, and a museum shop. The Park also includes playgrounds, several public artworks, and two large kiosks with amenities including prayer rooms, washrooms, and cafés.
Lots of sports events keep taking place in Qatar every now and then from tennis to football and even squash. My personal favorite has always been the tennis matches conducted by the Qatar Tennis Federation. You get to see all the top-ranked players in action here.
There are a huge number of regular hypermarkets and supermarkets like Lulu, Family Food center, Almeera, Carrefour, etc. Apart from this, you will find a number of community supermarkets like the Indian, Chinese, Srilankan, etc.
The Villagio mall is such a huge and beautiful mall built with Italian-themed interiors. It has a 150m long canal with gondolas. It has more than 200 stores including famous brands from all over the world.
Mall of Qatar is another huge mall in Qatar built on a 500,000 sq.m area and was opened in 2o16. It offers unique shopping, dining and entertainment experience, with more than 500 stores and 100 restaurants.
Doha Festival City is the biggest mall in Qatar, covering an area of 600,000 sq.m. Apart from IKEA and the world’s largest Monoprix hypermarket, it is home to more than 200 international brands. It is also home to the Middle East’s first NBA Store.
It houses a world-class entertainment complex, with both indoor and outdoor attractions unique to Qatar. This comprehensive mix of entertainment– from Qatar’s first VOX 4D cinema complex with 18 digital screens to an Outdoor Leisure Trail space for exercise and cycling is designed to appeal to all ages.
Every municipality in Qatar has a community park encompassing a large area and full of lush greenery. You can find one pretty close to your place of living. The park has a large play area for kids and vast areas of lawn for people to relax with families. There are also walking tracks in all parks. Some parks have eateries also.
The MIA Park is one of the loveliest park in Qatar. This park is a part of the Museum of Islamic Arts (MIA), Qatar. The museum is one of the main attractions in Qatar, showcasing Islamic art at its best. An open bazaar, which is considered as the modern version of the traditional souq, operates in this park from October to April every year.
Any local resident can book a stall and sell things. You can find different kinds of foods as people from different nationalities put up stalls with homemade products defining their countries. A good collection of handmade gift items are also available.
The MIA Park is open 24 hours a day, while the other parks are generally open till late at night, that is till 11 pm and there are separate days for family, ladies, and the public. On the days that are reserved for ladies, only kids and ladies are permitted. Weekends are usually crowded, as people picnic with their families.
Aspire park located in the aspire zone is the biggest park in Qatar, covering an area of 88 hectares. It is a great place to have picnics and family outdoors. The park has different features such as beautiful fountains, playgrounds for children, and other fun features.
It has the only lake in Qatar with aquatic animals, a small hill, a coffee shop where different kinds of beverages can be bought, and various kinds of trees, both rare and common. Located close by is the Aspire Tower, a 300-meter modern hotel, which served as a giant torch for the 2006 Asian Games.
The Aspire Zone foundation conducts numerous events throughout the year for kids like the summer camp, winter camp, etc. Lots of sports events are also organized regularly.
The football program of Aspire Academy is recognized as one of the strongest in the world in terms of detection and selection of talents as well as training, competition, and evaluation of each adolescent player.
A Ladies Club which is the first of its kind in Qatar operates in the Aspire Zone. It has been specially designed for the recreational needs of women, offering indoor and outdoor sports facilities.
Other things interesting
Seriously, back in India, I have never come across so many valid and worthy promotions. Most malls here put up offers and promotions every now and then. Here you can get products of daily use as well as electronics, electricals, kitchenware, etc at very good prices. This is the time people plan to buy products, to be taken back to their native places.
Apart from this, lots of cars from the humble Camry to the lofty Mercedes Benz are given away at malls, through raffles. Though in these 6 years of stay here, neither we nor anyone acquainted with us won these raffles 🙂 .
Ooredoo, the telecom provider of Qatar also gives attractive offers every now and then. When we were here for the first time, I was really surprised to get double offers from them. That is whenever you topped up for QR 100/- they gave an additional QR 100/- and the balance always seemed full.
Apart from this, they have their very useful nojoom rewards program, which gave you points and real worth rewards for those points. You can redeem these points for air tickets, jewels, electronics, etc with their partners.
Banks also do their bit in providing good offers. The Al Ahli bank and the Doha bank conduct draws for their SB account holders every month and give away huge amounts of cash prices. This is mainly done to encourage savings. Doha Bank also gives its customers a 5% discount for all purchases made at Lulu.
But by far the best promotion in my view is that of the Peninsula newspaper. For their yearly subscription valued at QR 600, they used to give gift vouchers for QR 700. These were redeemable at prominent electronics and malls. Over the years, their gift voucher has come down, but even this year they gave vouchers for QR 500.
What you should not do in Qatar
The general ban on weapons, drugs, pork products and several other items stands good in Qatar, as in the rest of the GCC. It is an offense to consume alcohol in Qatar. Alcohol is available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system. Alcoholic beverages cannot be imported into Qatar under any condition.
Certain medicines without prescription cannot also be brought into Qatar. You may look up nricafe for a detailed listing of whatever is not permitted into Qatar.
During the fasting month of Ramadan, it is illegal for adults to have food or drink in public. Though in schools the non-muslim kids are permitted to take food. In fact, all restaurants remain closed from dawn to dusk. But after sunset, most restaurants and malls remain open till late at night, and there is so much activity during this time.
Average expenses in Qatar
The funda of living in the middle east is that the income here is tax-free. Though other gulf countries are rumored to be looking up the prospects of levying a tax on income, here in Qatar at least till now there is no tax on income.
The government did introduce a new excise tax on certain products in December 2018. This was to regulate the consumption of health-damaging goods. So from January 2019, 100% tax is levied on tobacco and alcohol products, energy drinks and special-purpose goods, and 50% tax on carbonated drinks. Look up the Government portal here.
The currency of Qatar is the Qatari Riyal (QR), which as of today (17.5.2021) is valued at USD 0.27 for a Riyal. The Qatari Riyal has been very stable with regard to the USD, ever since I have been here. Though the Indian rupee which was Rs 12/- per Qatari Riyal in 2012, is Rs 19.58/- as of today.
Though it may not speak well about the status of the Indian economy, if you are an Indian you can understand the saving potential. As a matter of fact, every expatriate who happens to live in Qatar keeps multiplying the Riyals they spend here in terms of their native currency and feels cost of living is too high. At least for the first two years, I have also felt like that 🙂 .
But you can definitely save quite some bucks, though this is totally dependant on your spending spree. Let us assume that you are in a job with family status, where your employer takes care of most of your major expenses – Housing, medical expenses, kids’ education & traveling to your hometown.
So excluding the majors, the other necessary expenditures in most cases will be,
- The regular grocery which can vary from QR 250 to 500 per week based on your specific needs.
- Electricity and water consumption charges which work to around QR 500 pm.
- Drinking water cans which will roughly cost QR 200 pm.
- Cost of conveyance, petrol/diesel in case of own vehicle or cabs. This will greatly vary depending on distance and your vehicle/number of vehicles you own. This can be greatly reduced if you opt for company transit vehicles if provided, or the metro.
- Television, internet and telephone QR 250 – 500 depending on your chosen package.
- Mobile recharges, around QR 50-500 pm per person, depending on the package opted for. Ooredoo does offer subsidized calling rates from Qatar to most countries around the world.
Apart from this, expenses on loan repayments, leisure time activities like movies, eating out, shopping, traveling, etc will be dependant on the individual. Indian clothes, magazines, etc are definitely costly compared to what we get in India, though you can get good quality clothes from Bangladesh and Thailand at reasonable prices.
Servicing of vehicles which also has to be regularly done to fulfill registration requirements every year will also cost some bucks. Since the distance from home to the workplace is generally far for most people, it seems like the stipulated kilometers for servicing is quickly and frequently reached.
Well – structured and disciplined roads and public places, cleanliness everywhere, stress-free working conditions, the huge expat community, ample time to spend on recreation, most of the basic needs taken care of and above all the very amicable and tolerant Qataris – once you come here, you will never feel like going back.
I hope I could provide some insights into the cost of living here and life in general in Qatar.
Qatar is well accessed by air from all around the world. Hamad International Airport (HIA) is Qatar’s sole international airport, which was opened in 2014. HIA is the 9th biggest airport in the world.
Since 2016, it has been featuring in the top 10 airports of the world. It has been ranked as the 4th best airport in the world for 2019, and the best airport in the middle east for the 5th consecutive time.
Qatar Airways is the state-owned flag carrier of Qatar and operates to most destinations in the world. It has also been an award-winning airline. Qatar Airways has won four prestigious awards at the 2019 Skytrax World Airline Awards. It has also been named the ‘World’s Best Business Class’ for the third consecutive year.
Qatar has also been affected by the coronavirus as is the rest of the world. The Government acted very swiftly to contain the outbreak. Infected people have been quarantined and lots of preventive measures have been taken to curb the spread.
Travel restrictions were in place and schools and universities have been closed with effect from 10.3 2020. Virtual classes are taking place for all students.
Public gatherings and all modes of public transportation including the metro and Karwa buses have been suspended. 80% of the employees in Government entities are to work from home. More details on the Government portal here.
Petrol prices had come down from QR 1.9 in December 2019 to QR 1.o5 per liter in May 2020. After June 2020 there has been a slow increase in prices and now it’s QR 1.85 as of May 2021.
But there has been no shortage of essential commodities. Rice, flour, pulses, masks, hand sanitizers, tissue rolls are available all round the clock.
Some supermarkets have been permitted to operate 24×7. In fact, all the supermarkets have started providing online services for delivery of groceries which is very quick and prompt.
So, for most of us except staying at home, it has been very safe here in Qatar.
……to be continued