We've been offered a job in Dhahran, however will have to move to the local community given lack of on camp housing. I've looked for relevant and updated reviews of the various compounds, and it seems that Oasis has gone downhill, while Bustan Village, Euro Village, or even Canary might be better bets. For someone that is living, or has lived in those Khobar compounds recently, could you please give your opinion on the best compound for a Western family in terms of an experience that would be closest to the Dhahran camp? Thank you in advance!
Never heard of Al Bustan. Euro is great (maybe some bias there!) If we were to move, I'd look at Zamil, Rushaid, Canary, Dana/Nada. Nowhere can compare to Dhahran. There just isn't anywhere that size, and hence nowhere can offer the range of facilities and opportunities.
swan (and to anyone else who can provide insight into off-camp housing):
We (wife, newborn and I) are coming from Canada and hoping to secure housing ASAP.
I am in discussions with various compounds about availability commencing January (I will be arriving in-country late November/early December) and I was wondering if you had any insight into Al Mohamadia compound? Also, any particular reason behind your recommendations of Zamil, Rushaid, Canary, Dana/Nada? How is the quality of the housing, facilities, upkeep and social aspects of these compounds?
Euro, Zamil, Rushaid, Canary, Dana/Nada are all places which seem to have activities, maintenance etc that appeal to Western Expats. But I've only seen a snap shot of most of them. They are the names which keep popping up for where school friends live. Also fairly easy access to international schools, Khobar shopping and Aramco.
Sounds like we are on a similar timeline. Where abouts are you coming from and what department will you be joining?
Please note that I have not seen any of these compounds and my interaction is purely via emails, brochures they send me and the Q&A I am having with them via email/phone. So please take what I say with that in mind.
As far as Al Mohamadia Compound goes, facilities are extensive and from recent photos I have seen it appears to be well maintained. I am looking at it from the perspective of plenty of outdoor space and good amenities/facilities so as to reduce dependency on going to the main camp for the benefit of newborn and wife. From what I am reading, nothing will compare to the main camp but Mohamadia seemingly checks certain boxes for me. As far as location goes, still looking into but seems far so trying to avoid isolation. Needless to say - LOTS TO CONSIDER.
Now I could be completely and totally wrong so anyone who lives there please do chime in
yeah, finally accepted the offer as well. Toronto to Dhahran with wife and toddler. Likely going to land late Nov/Dec. I heard that i'll be solo at the time of arrival and will have to secure iqama and apply for family visit but the rest can join.
With aramco camp out of question, have you guys made any progress on housing? I am thinking a small villa/townhouse in an expat community that is close to office would suffice. I am not sure how far dhahran head office is from khobar and without a car (first 3 months), what logistical challenges will there be...
Alism: taxis are abundant. Uber works for many (I don't use it). You can also hire a car if desired. General taxi prices are SAR25 for a one way trip around Khobar. Slightly more for aramco (maybe 40 SAR- I usually do a round trip with waiting time if I need to do that trip, so unsure on cost). Uber us cheaper.
Uazher: Khobar is long and thin. Aramco camp is big. Depending on exact locations of home and office, the journey time will change, but approx 30 mins door to door in rush hour. Slightly less in the middle if the day.
Thank you Swan. I have got couple quick question...
1. I didnt know KSA had Uber so thats great. Can you rent a car and drive on canadian lic in KSA? I asked around and people said you can rent a car and drive but the aramco relocation guide says that you need to have saudi lic to drive in the kingdom.
2. 20/30 mins one-way from khobar to dhahran might be a big be an up hill battle after few months of work. Given Aramco compound is out of reach, is there any other close by accommodation that is closer?
Pretty sure it needs to be a European or International licence for short term hire. I think while you are on a visit visa you can drive on an international licence, but as soon as you have your iqama, you need a local licence. But not looked into it heavily (I can't drive here 😁).
Marbella apartments are probably closer. But then wife and toddler are further from everything - including school if you are getting close to that point.