Qatar – Housing, food, communication, and much more, all from a personal experience

Apartment

Renting a furnished studio in Doha will cost from $ 700 to $ 2800 per month, a room can be found from $ 300, and a bed in a standard room – from $ 82. The price ceiling for luxury apartments is unlimited. In my case, the company provided housing. It also pays for utility bills other than the Internet. I shared an apartment with two neighbours; I have a large room with a balcony. There was also a choice to get a housing allowance and move to another place. For the sake of saving money, I stayed, and I rarely regret it.

Nutrition

You can chop nuts with peaches from local supermarkets. Strawberries are like plastic, while other berries are expensive. Almost everything from fruits and vegetables, except for tomatoes and herbs, is brought from other countries. I only take apples, bananas, tangerines and grapes.

Climate

Qatar is a part of the desert, in which in summer it is at 50 degrees, nothing grows, and there is little of its production. Previously, about 90% of the products were imported, of which 40% were brought from neighbouring countries. In 2017, neighbours began a blockade, and Qatar urgently began to establish its own agriculture in greenhouses, and prices for all products went up.

Detail of colour: often in supermarkets, I see a picture of women in abayas buying for the whole sizeable Arab family: a housekeeper is walking next to him with a list, accompanying five fully loaded carts with goods. I have already described the peculiarities of local shops and unusual goods in a separate post.

Clothing, footwear and personal care

All popular brands are in place, from Bershka and Stradivarius to Gucci and Cartier. I have not compared prices for individual items, but it seems that it costs at least 30% more. On a full-fledged shopping of seasonal clothes, you can drop $ 500 and leave with the feeling that you have not bought anything. I had to buy in other countries during business trips and vacations.

In Doha, there are also penny shops and small shopping centres with clothes from India, China, and Taiwan for T-shirts and slippers of about 15-20 QAR with simply disgusting quality.

Cosmetics and skincare are at least one and a half times more expensive than in Europe. So I ordered beauty jars and vitamins from the American online store iHerb – free delivery in just weeks.

An interesting detail: photographs of women in lingerie fall under the category of prohibited obscene images, and therefore the packaging of the kits is censored.

Entertainment

Doha is comparable to Dubai: the only entertainment here is malls, restaurants, ride in the desert, and the beach. But many more massive events are happening in the UAE. Some expats see this as an advantage to Doha: fewer temptations – easier to save money.

Remember the glowing skyscrapers in Doha? This is where the bars, clubs and restaurants are where most expats spend their weekends.

Transport

I only used taxis and the metro – I don’t have a driver’s license; otherwise, I would have used Doha car rentals because some of them require a driver’s license. And the subway in Doha is new and always half empty – it was built with the expectation of the arrival of World Cup fans. And of course, there is no way without traditional Arab luxury: there is a category of gold carriages with more comfortable wide seats.

An essential and sad detail: nightclubs are open until 2 am, and all open areas are required to turn off the music at midnight. It is even more complicated with concerts: there are rarely big stars performances, except that in 2019 there was a festival with Maroon 5 and Katy Perry. Tickets started at $ 164.

I was so sad that I went to the Red-Hot Chili Peppers in Abu Dhabi one day – it was a whole adventure. But, on the other hand, more conservative cultural events are more common in Doha: I went to Cirque du Soleil on a small travelling stage and to a Chinese ballet company.

Many sporting events occur here: Doha has hosted several world championships and cups in tennis, athletics, football and more. Diving, riding in the desert, parachuting – you can go for a walk if you have enough money. And if there is no money, then people like me, non-drinking introverts, fit perfectly into the local reality.

My expenses in Qatar: food and movies, the rest I saved up for travel and future studies.

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