Cost of Living

how much does living in Qatar cost?

Cost of Living

Many people ask about the cost of living in Qatar. How expensive things seem to you will, of course, depend not just on where you are from but on your life style and habits.


Well, what food and where? Seafood is very cheap, especially if you buy it in the fish market or on the Corniche. Tuna, for example, starts from around 5 riyals a kilo. Meat from countries like Egypt costs about 20/25 Riyals a kilo. My wife can get a weeks worth of vegetables for 20 riyals from the with some hard bargaining. Expect to pay substantially more in the supermarket. Imported western food is often expensive.

Eating out

Good value, though of course it depends where you eat. You can eat your fill in an Indian restaurant for a few riyals, or spend 200 in a hotel restaurant.


Ouch! Let’s not talk about that.


Second hand cars are more expensive than in my country, the U.K., at least at the lower range of the market. Really, you need about 15,000 riyals to get anything half decent. (If you are brave you could get a bargain in the auctions). On the other hand, maintenance, fuel and insurance are all cheap. Petrol currently costs about 80 Dirhams a litre. It really hurts when I go to my home country and fill up my car – at nearly 7 riyals a litre!

Other transport

Buses cost 2 riyals for journeys inside the city and 7 for journeys outside. The limo company I (used to) use starts from around 30 riyals for a short journey, up from 20 not so long ago. Taxis start at 3 riyals and charge a further 1 riyal per kilometre – but their booking service is hopeless, which is why people use limos.


Unfortunately the prices of high rise apartments is rising as high and as fast as the apartments. You are probably talking about 7-9000 riyals for a nice apartment, 12,000 for a villa – of course, prices vary hugely depending on location, size, quality e.t.c. There are rumours that prices are going to come down after the Asian Games, and with the massive construction boom (bubble?) supply is going to increase rapidly.


Servants wages start at around 600 Riyals a month, although that is a bit mean. You also have to consider agency fees, government registrations fees and flights back to the country. If you need and can afford a servant, don’t feel guilty about it – you’ll be providing work, income and hopefully a good place to live, and the money will normally be worth a heck of a lot more in the person’s country than it is Qatar.


Good value. Our English-speaking nursery costs around 1000 riyals a month,The Cambridge School from about 3,000 to 4,600 per term, depending on age. You can pay either considerably less or considerably more for education.

Leisure activities

The zoo costs 5 riyals, bowling 10 Riyals/game, ice-skating 35 Riyals including skate hire, watching a film about 30 riyals. Swimming at the Oasis Hotel costs 25 Riyals or 40 on Fridays.


Cafes start at about 5 Riyals an hour in off-peak times, about 10 at peak times. Broadband (ADSL) costs 200 for the cheapest package, an internet card to use at home costs around 50 Riyals.

Health care

Visits to a government clinic cost 30 Riyals a time. Alternatively, buy a health card for 100 Riyals and get free health care for a year. Emergency treatment is free for all.

This has been a difficult article to write because prices vary hugely. As an Indian friend said to me, as soon as people see the colour of your face (white!) prices double, so things may seem more expensive to me than to some people. So just take the prices quoted here as a (very) rough guide to living costs.

By John Thompson 
A blog providing information, tips, articles and photos on Qatar.

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