Relocating can be a stressful situation so we've made notes on the different area to make it a little easier.
17 July 2013| Last updated on 14 June 2017
Relocating is stressful enough without having to figure out which area you will truly enjoy living in. Not to worry! We have simplified your decision making process.
Here we take a closer look at the popular areas for expats to live in to help guide you in your decision where to live in the Sultanate
Ruwi is predominantly known as a business district; however it has low cost residential apartment buildings as well. It is one of the oldest districts in Muscat, and has still kept some of the history of its old buildings while others have been demolished to make way for more modern structures. Rents here vary from approximately RO150-RO700 depending on the accommodation type.
There is no a shopping mall in Ruwi but there are many little shops, such as fabric shops, jewelry stores, electrical stores and gift shops to name a few. There is also a large Lulu Center. There are plenty of restaurants of different cuisines in the area, some located in hotels and others can be found along the streets. The little restaurants offer much by way of cuisine.
In Ruwi, you will find the Badr Al Samaa Group of Hospitals, the Hatat House Polyclinic and Al Nahda Hospital, there are also some clinics dealing in alternative medicine, such as homeopathic and Chinese medicine in and around the area. Ruwi also plays host to places of worship for expats with a Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Church as well as the Church of South India.
There are no education facilities that cater to western expatriates but the Pakistani International School can be found in the heart of Ruwi.
It is quite a challenge to find parking in the area and the congestion caused by traffic can be exasperating. One of the greatest complaints in Ruwi is that it can be noisy due to congestion. However from a good height in a building, Ruwi is home to some spectacular views.
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Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos (MSQ)
This is one of the most sought-out expat living communities in Oman, and the prices here are a reflection of its popularity. While accommodation can be pricey, if you are lucky you could get a nice villa for a reasonable price, if you are willing to take some time to investigate. Rents here vary from approximately RO700-RO3000 depending on the accommodation type. Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos neighbors Qurm and Shatti Al Qurm.
There are different styles of accommodation in the Madinat. There are classical villas with established gardens that are perfect for families with pets. There are also apartments with gym and pool facilities. The apartment buildings are new and finished well. The area is situated less than one kilometer from the beach and is one of the most popular areas for expats to come out and socialize, in the daytime and at night.
Madian Qaboos, as it is more commonly known, caters to the different aspects of Omani life with centers, including a vet, an off-licence, a furniture shop, groceries and much more. There are many upmarket restaurants that serve different cuisines and beverages if a night time social scene interests you. If, however, you are more of an early bird, the roads are pedestrian friendly, the active are often seen indulging in their daily exercise and new moms can be seen pushing their strollers around. The area houses an array of coffee shops and cafes where the ladies are seen gossiping and enjoying their cuppa with friends or a good magazine. It is a very community friendly area.
In the area you will find the Medident Clinic which is staffed by expats and a few embassies, including the British council. As for your children, the British School of Muscat is in the area and offers the National Curriculum for England and produces outstanding end of Key Stage, GCSE and A Level results. The American British Academy can also be found in the area and teaches K-12 English-language curriculum to expatriate students in Muscat. If you have little ones, then the Scientific and Adnan Nurseries can be found in the area.
As this is predominantly a residential area, parking is plentiful and traffic is minimal. The only time where light traffic may be experienced is during peak times when people are on their way to work or school runs.
Shati Al Qurm
This is the crème de la crème of residential areas in Muscat and chances are that it’s out of your budget; it is that expensive to live here. Shatti Al Qurm is known for a scattering of white villas with gardens and a smattering of private parking areas. The villas are located on a slight hill and offer spectacular views of the ocean. The beach is just a stone’s throw away and is popular with weekend sun dwellers as well as morning joggers. Rents here vary from approximately RO1000-RO6000 depending on the accommodation type.
The area plays home to many 5-star hotels that are perfect for a romantic dinner or a spa treatment. If you are more interested in the cultural aspect of life, then the Royal Muscat Opera House is located here with an array of performances ranging from Opera to the ballet. The theatre is also here for more stage performances. The cinema is close by for those that prefer to catch an action packed Hollywood blockbuster. Bareeq al-Shatti Mall caters to all shopping needs and is also an upmarket residential building.
You will find the Precision Dental Clinic in this area. The Muscat Eye Laser Center is the only clinic of its kind in Oman, and is also located in Shatti Al Qurm. As for the educational aspect, Muscat Private School is located in this area and teaches the English national curriculum alongside Arabic, Islamic Studies and Social Studies from the Omani curriculum, to students of all nationalities in the KG to Grade 12 age.
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You will find a mix of modest villas and large mansions in this area, yet the prices of accommodation are not as high as they are in the neighboring Shatti Al Qurm. Depending on where you choose to live, the views can be spectacular. The area is quite established and you will find that the gardens within the villas are equally established; therefore, not much initial work needs to go in them, unless the previous occupants had been negligent. Rents here vary from approximately RO700- RO4000 depending on the accommodation type.
This upmarket area is very pedestrian friendly, especially along beach road where you can have a stroll and sit down for a hot cup of coffee. There are many hotels in the area where you can have a drink and dance the night away. It also houses three of the most popular shopping centers in Muscat, namely the Al Arami Complex, Sabco Center and the Capital Commercial Center, which should keep the ladies who shop entertained for hours on end.
If you and the family enjoy nature, then the Qurm National Park and Nature Reserve is just a stone’s throw away and really a breath of fresh air in the city. If beach activities are more your pace, then the Majan beach in Qurm is great for snorkeling and scuba diving as it has some spectacular coral reefs.
The Montessori nursery school is a well-known and internationally established school for the younger years and is conveniently located in the area. The Muscat International School (MIS) was founded in 1989 and is centrally located in Qurum and was the first school in Oman to pioneer the IGCSE/A level curriculum.
Al Azaiba can be found along the beach, half-way between the airport and Qurm. It is fast becoming one of the more popular areas for expat life. Villas are the main kind of accommodation found in this area. With the beach being so close and rental prices being on the slightly steep side, this area is popular with new expats and families. Rents here vary from approximately RO500- RO2000 depending on the accommodation type.
This is primarily a residential area and there are not many shops around, however you can do your shopping in one of the neighboring areas. The American International School of Muscat (TAISM) is located in Al Azabia and pursues academic excellence for students in the international community through an American-based education that develops ethical, responsible, and globally conscious life-long learners. Unfortunately, there are no malls or even much of nightlife in this area. However, these recreational places can be found in close by areas and you can take advantage of the beach life that Al Azaiba offers.
Al Ghubrah has a mixture of duplex villas, apartment buildings and commercial buildings with prices that will not leave you in a destitute state. It is conveniently located between Al Khuwayr and Al Azaiba, but a bit further away from the city center. It is close to the Al Bousher area. There is a mixture of expatriate communities that reside here. Rents here vary from approximately RO300- RO2000 depending on the accommodation type.
There are many things to keep you occupied in this area, from the malls that are currently under construction to little wayward shops with fabrics, clothing and various trinkets. Al Ghubra is home to one of Oman’s most spectacular hotels, The Chedi, a place for five-star dining and romancing a loved one. There is also a convenient 24hr supermarket.
There are no educational facilities that cater to western expatriates. However, there are a few Indian and Arabic schools that cater to non-western expatriates.
It is no wonder that Al Ghubrah is referred to as Al Ghubra City, with plans well underway for recreational parks and fabulous malls, this is going to be a great area to live in. However, at the moment there is a lot of congestion and noise causing traffic, that makes the area a little less desirable.
Housing in Al Bousher is affordable like the neighboring Al Ghubrah, with rents varying from approximately RO700- RO2000, depending on the accommodation type. There is not much going on in Al Bousher, although it is home to the largest Lulu center in Muscat as well as the Sultan Al Qaboos Sports complex.
It is quite far away from the beach and central Muscat; however, there are some spectacular views of the desert dunes to be had from the Bousher area. You can easily find a villa with these views here and it won’t cost you an arm or a leg.
The Muscat Private Hospital is one of the most equipped hospitals in Oman and it is located in the heart of Al Bousher. There are no educational facilities that cater to western expatriates; however, there are a few Indian and Arabic schools that cater to non-western expatriates.
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Al Khuwayr has an excellent location, right next to Madinat Qaboos and close to the beach. There is a mix of commercial buildings, residential apartment buildings and duplex villas. It is not too pricy, depending on your choice of accommodation. Rents go from RO400-RO2000, again this depends on whether you opt for apartment living or staying in a villa.
With the mix of business and residential areas, Al Khuwayr has become very cosmopolitan in the eclectic mix of people that you will encounter on the streets. However, the residential areas have become very popular with Indian expats.
There are many shops and quite a few supermarkets in the area as well as a good mix of bars, restaurants and shisha spots for those that like to finish their day off with some fresh fruit juice and a shisha.
While there is no major hospital in this area, there are a few conveniently located medical centers and small clinics that will care for various ailments. Al Khuwayr houses the ever expanding College of Technology for the older children. The Al Injaz Private School is a progressive bilingual school in Al Khuwair, providing quality education to students to develop their intellectual, social and physical potential.
This area has city living and a beach life, villas and apartments and is close to the highway for easy access to other areas in Muscat.
Al Hail & Seeb
Both Al Hail and Seeb are located quite far from the Muscat city center and are mainly residential areas with large villas and gardens. The cost of living is low here as it is so far from the city and travelling to and from work could be time consuming, unless your job is at the airport. Rents go from as low as RO500-RO1500 for a villa. Having said that, Al Hail is also home to one of the most expensive residences in Muscat, namely The Wave development, so there is a bit of both ends of the property spectrum.
The International School of Choueifat is located in Seeb and is easily accessed from Al Hail. It specializes in the operation of Pre-K and K-12 schools.
Al Hail is also very close to the Seeb area and only minutes away from Muscat City Center and Markaz Al Bahja Center which are two of the biggest shopping malls in Muscat. The Seeb area is a little way further from the city center than Al Hail. You will find the Seeb Souk and a few Garden centers conveniently located in Seeb.