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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.