If you're considering moving to Dubai from Oman or vice versa, here's what you must know about the difference in cost of living
9 December 2019| Last updated on 10 December 2019
An overview of the cost of living in Oman vs. Dubai
No one would describe Oman as an inexpensive place to live, but it's a bargain compared to living in Dubai. According to Numbeo, a site that tracks the cost of living index for cities around the world, the cost of living in Muscat, Oman is nearly 24% cheaper than in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Although both the destinations are rich in oil and are both popular travel destinations by residents and nationals living in the Middle East, the two regions have a significant difference in the cost of living.
Every year, Omani locals and residents move to Dubai for a change in career, for family, or for studies, and vice versa. Those who are transferring to Dubai will find that living the City of Gold is a lot more pricey than living in the Arab world's favourite winter destination - however, there are still some things that are cheaper in Dubai than in Muscat.
If you're considering moving, these are the living costs facts worth keeping in mind.
Cost of groceries, utilities, and transport
For the price on everyday purchases such as groceries, meals, and transport, Dubai is more expensive than Oman for almost every product.
Groceries - water, fruits, milk, bread, etc. - are estimated to be between 10 to 20% more pricey in Dubai than the ones in Muscat. Meals, whether it's from an inexpensive or high-end restaurant, are up to nearly 50% higher in Dubai.
The cost of utilities such as electricity, water, and gas is a whopping 200% higher than in Oman.
Transporation in Oman is up to 50% cheaper than its equivalent in Dubai - for example, a one-way local public transport ticket in Oman is around OMR 0.30 (AED 2.86) whereas a one-way red Nol ticket in Dubai is OMR 0.63 (AED 6).
Cost of accommodation
Although the cost of renting or buying residential property in Dubai has decreased in recent times due to declining demand, the costs of accommodation are still higher in Dubai than in Muscat as the city sees more quality in its development projects.
For example, the average monthly rent of a 1-bedroom apartment in close to Dubai's city centre would be around OMR 586.73 (AED 5,600) - nearly 60% more costly than a 1-bedroom unit in one of Oman's city centres.
Cost of entertainment and leisure
Dubai offers an abundance of entertainment and leisure for residents and tourists, from record-breaking attractions to massive shopping malls. Leisure activities in Dubai such as sports or going to the cinema just scrape a little higher over the costs in Oman.
An average monthly gym membership fee in Dubai would be around OMR 31.10 (around AED 300), while a one-month fitness club membership in Oman would be OMR 19.77 (around AED 189), as per Numbeo figures. A regular seat at the movie theatre in Dubai is typically OMR 4.40 (AED 42) and in Oman it's OMR 4.40 (AED 33.40).
Cost of education
If you plan to move to Dubai from Oman with your family, the costs of education can be up to 90% more expensive in Dubai. According to Numbeo, early learning education for 1 child would be OMR 224.90 (AED 2,145) per month in Dubai, which is significantly more pricey than in Oman.
Schools that follow an international curriculum in Dubai is by average at OMR 4,085 (AED 38,000) for annual tuition. There are, however, some good private schools and primary schools in Dubai that offer a modestly priced education.
Have a look at our dedicated guide to nurseries in Dubai to find the most suitable one for your child and your lifestyle. For high schools in Dubai, click here.
Local purchasing power
Finally, it's important to know the difference in local purchasing power between Oman and Dubai, which is the calculation of the overall cost of living in between the two places after your local salary is considered.
Those moving to Dubai for career purposes will be glad to know that the local purchasing power in Dubai is an estimated 17% higher than if you were to stay in Muscat. So although the costs of living in Dubai is much higher than in Oman, the higher salaries in the city help in meeting your local expenses.
- costs of living