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My Expat Cost of Living in Muscat, Oman: Carrie Brummer

Posted in: Expats Everywhere

Interested in the cost of living in Muscat, Oman? Carrie Brummer (ArtistThink.com) is an American expat living in Muscat with her Canadian husband and she shares all the specifics in this post. I’ll let her explain…

cost of living oman

Carrie Brummer shares her cost of living in Muscat, Oman

Hello, my name is Carrie Brummer. I currently live in Muscat, Oman with my husband.

We recently married and have been in Oman for 8 months now. I was born and raised in the USA (I’ve lived in 6 different states) and my husband is Canadian, born and raised in B.C. I’m an artist and educator. I’ve met countless people who tell me they wish they knew how to draw, or that someday they will write that book they are always talking about.

For those reasons, you can find me online advocating for creative play in the lives of adults at ArtistThink.com. You can also find me talking about creativity on Twitter or Facebook.

I’ve lived in the Middle east for nearly 8 years now but just recently moved to Muscat, Oman. Oman is a beautiful country filled with amazing landscapes and kind, helpful people. Expats who enjoy the outdoors appear happiest here: hiking, climbing, camping and watersports are all popular. Most people speak English, but it is a good place to learn and practice Arabic if you have the interest.

Our total cost of monthly living averages around $1500 USD for the two of us in a 3 bedroom villa. This excludes our rent, which I’ll talk about below.

cost of living muscat oman

From Oman Dive Center Beach

Real Estate in Muscat Oman

Home rental: It is important to note, you do NOT rent monthly here: usually one check for an entire year of the lease is expected to be paid in full, in advance. We live in a 3 bedroom villa with attached maids room and it is just under $2000 USD per month. A 2 bedroom apartment costs around $1000 USD per month.

When it comes to internet, it is intermittent. There are only two companies that offer internet in town: Nawras and Omantel. Nawras is satellite based and Omantel provides cable internet. We currently have a cable line. Our connection drops all of the time where we live (it’s been 3 weeks since I’ve been told I’d have a technician to come check it out as well, so anticipate people’s sense of urgency may be different than your own!). Friends who live in other parts of town seem to have little to no trouble with their connection. Different parts of town have different connection speeds and strengths. We live in Bausher/Gubrah South. Our current monthly fee is $65 USD per month. FYI: services like Viber and Skype are blocked.

For my mobile phone I bought a SIM card that I top up occasionally; it costs me around $12 USD per month. You can get internet 3G on your phone for about 3 dollars a week using a pay as you go service.

Furniture you can buy second hand at half the cost of store prices because of expats coming and going. People often print out and post their stuff for sale in a neighborhood called MQ at the grocery store Al Fair. There is a large posting wall for furniture, cars, TVs, etc. Some people also use a website called DuBizzle.

expat cost of living oman

From our bedroom window

Cost of Food in Oman

Weekly grocery cost (not just food, also cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc.): $230 USD per week. We also buy pork twice a month as a treat, which impacts our cost. Bacon and pork are only sold in Al Fair grocery store (kept in a separate room for non-muslims) and one package of bacon can cost $18 USD. Freshly made bread is easy to find here and costs around 2 dollars a loaf.

Health Costs in Muscat, Oman

Our general visits to doctor at private hospital cost around $100 USD.

Entertainment in Muscat Oman

Going to the movies costs around $40 USD for two people and some food. We don’t have cable TV, so I can’t speak to its cost. DVDs – around $20 USD for newly released films

I’ve not yet been to a concert in Muscat, many concerts are offered in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which we fly to for the weekend. The tickets costs around $125 USD. Expect to pay an additional $500 USD for flights and one night hotel stay for 2 people.

When we dine out in Muscat we find dinners at restaurants that serves alcohol to cost around $100 USD for two people. It can easily go up to as much as 200 USD depending on the quantity of alcohol you purchase.

expat muscat oman

From our bedroom window

Transport Costs in Muscat Oman

Gas is inexpensive… to fill a tank of gas (with the highest grade petrol) for a 4 door sedan costs me between 15-20 dollars

Taxis are unmetered and its down to your bargaining skills how much you pay. Hotels have a flat charge fee for taxis, they charge $16 USD to take you from hotel to your destination.

There is no public transport here; it’s very inconvenient to live in Muscat without a car!

living in muscat oman

A lovely place to go for a walk when the weather is nice, near Shatti

What is Expensive in Muscat Oman?

Besides my mention of pork above, alcohol is expensive. You need to obtain a license to purchase alcohol for your home from the liquor stores in town. In hotels you can expect to pay from $7 – 16 USD for a single beer or cocktail. Duty free in the airport has better prices for alcohol but they are still much more expensive than they are in the USA or Canada.

Electricity, especially in the summer months (of up to 50 degrees C/122 degrees F) can be more expensive, we pay around $250 USD per month in the summer for our 3 bedroom villa. When we first moved here we were told by several expats to not worry about paying our bill, to just settle it as we moved out from our villa. We never received a bill and so heeded that advice. It took 8 months but they eventually shut off our power! There are stands in most malls for the electricity company so you can find out your bill, which I suggest you do monthly, despite local expat advice. 🙂

What’s Cheap in Oman? 

Gas/petrol is very affordable, as I mentioned above. It is also affordable to hire people to help clean your home, manage your garden, etc. For example, there are people who wash cars by hand stationed at different malls across town, they only charge around $5 USD for this service.

You can find me online advocating for creative play in the lives of adults at ArtistThink.com. You can also find me talking about creativity on Twitter or Facebook.

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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is editor of GringosAbroad - one of the largest English language sites about Ecuador. Work with GringosAbroad. He is a travel blogger, photographer and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands).

7 comments… add one
  • Wayne Oct 6, 2016, 3:28 am

    Hi Carrie,
    Enjoyed your insight about expat living in Oman – especially, your atmospheric photos. I’m a Lecturer at the German Technical University in Halban (at the edge of Muscat). For our architecture syllabus (internal) , I wondered if it might be okay with you to use one of the images (bedroom window view) as an example of typical neighborhood condition?

    Best,
    Wayne

  • Gurbrinder Singh Sep 22, 2016, 4:57 am

    Hello ma’am

    My name is Gurbrinder Singh and am an artist with 13 years of experience doing painting on canvas and walls, In a muscat a company offering me a job as a wall muralist. they offer me 200 Omani rial+ accommodation.
    can you please help me about what is the living cost for a single person on average.

    Thanks
    Gurbrinder Singh
    Mumbai, India
    Mob: +91-9221686556 (also WhatsApp)

  • Jackson Fernandes Oct 25, 2015, 10:14 pm

    I am an Indian and have a job offer in Oman with a oilfield service company as a sales and marketing of oilfield equipments and handle Logistics services. I worked in Dubai for 15 years coordinating supply of TRS equipment. The company have asked me to send my offer for the salary package. Never been to Oman. Can you please advice what is the package should I propose to make a decent leaving in a two bedroom apartment.

  • Vadhav Feb 13, 2015, 5:51 am

    Hi,

    I am an Indian and got a interview call for Muscat, Oman. The offer I have been told is 850 OMR and I have to bare all the expenses from Housing to transport. I am having 7+ years of software testing experience and would like to know if this is an affordable salary? I heard that medical expenses are high in Oman. With this, how much I can save money in OMR for 2 (Me & my wife).

    If I have to negotiate to the company, what and I should ask for?

    Thanks,
    Vadhav

  • Federico Jan 8, 2015, 3:43 pm

    Hi Carrie,
    I lived in Oman for two years and recently moved back to Europe but I honestly find that your figures here are a little high 😉

    As far as rent goes, I rented on a month to month basis from a colleague. Getting to know the Omanis is fundamental for you to find cheap bargains. I was living just outside Muttrah and had a 4 bedroom villa and I paid 280 Rial per month, which is way less than what you are paying for yours. To be fair I had to completely furnish the place but still I found that with a quick drive to Ikea in Dubai that costed me less than 2000 USD for basic stuff such as beds, wardrobes etc.
    Cost of electricity was also way lower. To cool my entire villa I never spent more than 100 USD a month or 30 rial even in July or August. It is also true here that the contract was in an Omani person name and that it was subject to discounts rather than a contract in a foreign person name.
    Taxis at hotels are way more expenses than what you quote! A drive from the Al Bustan Palace to the airport would cost around 50 USD, a ride from the Intercontinental to the Airport would cost you 30 dollars and so on. Fares are fixed from the hotels but as you say you can always find a bargain if you are nice enough with the Omani taxi driver.
    As far as concerts go don’t forget to mention the amazing Royal Opera House, the one and only in Middle East that offers an amazing array of entertainment starting from september until May. Tickets start from 5 Rial for the normal concerts or 10 Rial for the Opera, but it’s an absolutely must do while in Muscat.
    If I might have an advice for all the people that decide to move to Muscat is: talk to the Omanis! Get to know people at work and ask them for deals on rent, used cars and things like that. Omanis have a giant heart and are always extremely happy to help you and their help can save you lots of money especially if you are on a tight budget at least at the beginning!
    Hope this can help other people who are thinking about relocating to this beautiful city!

  • Carrie Brummer (@ArtistThink) Nov 14, 2014, 5:55 am

    Please note the internet company I mention as Nawras has just rebranded and now they are known as Ooredoo.

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