Cost of Living in Bahrain
For most Europeans seeking an expat life in Bahrain, things cost more or less the same as they do back home. In fact, the cost of living in this country is considered to be the lowest among the Gulf Cooperation Council members.
As the currency is the Bahraini Dinar, there are many cost-effective choices in terms of accommodation, health care, food, education and utility services. Entertainment expenses are another consideration that expats will need to keep in mind. The cost of 2 tickets to the movies is BHD 6.00 while 2 tickets to the theatre cost BHD 11. A month of gym in the business district costs BHD 25.
With an employment rate of 61% and an expat population of 55%, competitive wages make affordability a common privilege shared among Bahraini locals and foreigners. Despite the economic crunch, those living in this Gulf state are always at an advantage when it comes to life's comforts and financial freedom.
Expats seeking out accommodation will find that the cost of rent for a one bedroom flat with an attached bathroom will cost BHD80 to BHD 200. Those looking for a larger space will find that monthly rent for a two-bedroom flat will cost BHD275 to BHD400, while a three-bedroom flat comes with a monthly cost of BHD 250 to BHD 917. These rates usually include utility bills such as electricity, water, gas, internet, telephone and sewerage. If not, tenants will need to set aside about $225 for a single person's use of such utilities. Mobile phones are commonly used as landline phones as they cost around the same while the cost of a monthly internet connection is BHD 25.00.
Food can be expensive or very affordable depending on the type and location of the restaurant you choose. Expats who believe in practicality usually prefer to cook and eat meals at home. A daily menu in the business district costs BHD 2.382, while a dinner for two in an Italian restaurant with wine and dessert will cost BHD 24. Expats who want fast food can order 1 Big Mac Meal for the price of BHD 2.50 to BHD 2.00.
Around $1,050 should be allotted as a monthly food budget for a family of four. For a family of three, about BD 160 (US $425) is enough for a month of groceries while for larger families, BD 200 (US $531) will be required. Single expats should allow BD 100 (US $265). Pork can be expensive mainly because it can only be sourced from special western stores. Alcoholic drinks are pricey if you buy them from five-star hotels. Take note that alcoholic drinks are banned during Ramadan.
Schooling in Bahrain is provided by the government. However, expats who prefer to send their children to private schools will need to pay an annual fee of about BD 2,500 (US $6,700). International private schools cost around BD 8000 (US $21,300), while Primary Child Care is available for about BD 1,500 (US $4000).
Commuters in Bahrain rely largely on radio taxis that are considerably cheaper than yellow cabs, which tend to be exorbitantly priced. Buses are not common, although there are routes where they are available. A monthly ticket for public transportation costs BHD 16 while one inner city bus ticket costs BHD 0.20. As Bahrain is a premiere world oil exporter, petrol prices are cheap and cost BHD 0.10 for 1 liter (1/4 gallon). Petrol can be as low as BD 5 ($13) for a week's consumption or BD20 ($53) monthly.
Although ranked lowest in terms of cost of living among the GCC's, Bahrain is generally perceived by Asian expats to be an expensive nation to live in. However, high wages and the government's non-taxation policy amply compensate to enable a high quality of living for all expat workers and their loved ones who have relocated to Bahrain.
Expat Services in Bahrain
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