In the final instalment of our guide to Dubai and where expats and soon to be expatriates can find the best properties for rent and resale, we’re covering the onshore districts below Palm Deira. Again, each district has distinct advantages and some disadvantages and we’ll feature them all for you.
We hope you’ve found the other three instalments of this guide to be informative and of help in your search for the district of Dubai that ticks all the boxes for you and your family. It can be hard working out where you want to live on paper, it is of course much easier when you’re already living in Dubai and you can travel around and get a feel for the greater city area.
Our advice for any soon to be expats about to head out to the emirate is see if you can agree temporary accommodation for a month to six weeks. During that period you can have an intensive induction to Dubai, and from our guide to which districts have which properties and amenities, you can visit the locations you feel appeal to you, and then find a property by actually viewing what’s available.
This area of Dubai is popular with singletons – it really, really isn’t ideal for families. Deira is fantastic though – and if you choose not to live there then make sure you visit and take time exploring the Creek and the souks. As for the residential part of Deira, the villa accommodation that exists is old stock and largely inhabited by local families, the rest is all apartment based and varies in quality and therefore price. There are no real expat and international schools in Deira, which is another reason why it’s not family friendly, but the general level of amenities in the vicinity is good
Deira is not considered to be an expensive part of town, and if you’re looking for the side of Dubai that is chic and glamorous, Deira isn’t really it. For some people this makes the district perfect, for others it rules it out! However, the bottom line is that Deira is exciting; there’s great shopping in everything from sophisticated malls to ancient markets, and because the area is not glitzy, it is affordable!
Traffic, congestion and parking! All are an absolute nightmare and if you live in Deira you will very quickly begin to hate the Dubai traffic. It can take hours to get anywhere and what’s more, at the weekend it can be impossible to even park. The other negatives have been touched upon – such as the fact that it is not family friendly and it is not the part of Dubai that one associates with glamorous living. Otherwise the only other con is that single women can sometimes feel a little intimidated by the overt attention some men give them on the street.
Garhoud comes close to being the perfect area of Dubai – it is well located, it is within reach of excellent amenities and facilities from entertainment and shopping options to international schools and private medical centres. In addition to this, the accommodation options are very varied with everything available from old style villas with well-established gardens, to modern townhouses and apartments.
The location of Garhoud is perfect – it is close to the airport, the Trade Centre, Deira’s attractions, the Creek and Sharjah. The range of accommodation options means there’s also a broad range of price options and so the area has a good mix of families, singletons and professional couples. The district is very, very family friendly and safe as well.
The three cons are that congestion can be a problem during peak times, much of the accommodation is already bagged by airline staff so it can be hard to get your hands on a property, and because Garhoud is close to the airport it can be noisy and some complain of the fumes!
Mirdif and Rashidiya
Mirdif, Rashidiyah and Al Warqa were lesser known and lesser considered for a long time by expatriates; when looking on a map the areas appear to be well outside the happening heart of Dubai – but in actual fact, each district stands alone very well in terms of the lifestyle they each offer. Furthermore, a great deal of new development is now taking place across this greater district, and slowly but surely Mirdif, Rashidiyah and Al Warqa are all becoming a great deal more popular. There are international schools, healthcare facilities, sports facilities, shopping malls and even beautiful parks to enjoy.
A range of property options from stand alone older villas to new style villas in compounds makes the area visually attractive, and this is enhanced by the landscaping and parkland – particularly Mushrif Park. You can lease, buy or rent as well – so property ownership options are also varied and therefore appealing to more people. The area is also home to International City and the shopping options are amazing! You have an IKEA for goodness sake – so what more could you ask for! For families the area is safe and the amount of communal outdoor space is attractive, finally traffic and congestion are not really an issue either.
In terms of the cons, well, taxis can be hard to come by on spec so you have to call one in advance if you need one, and depending on where your property is located, you could be unlucky enough to discover it’s on a flight path – so view a potential property more than once and at different times of the day just to be sure!
If you’re a speculator then Al Qusais could be viewed as an area of Dubai likely to improve in years to come. At the moment it is not really an exciting side to the city, but it is home to affordable accommodation options. You also have Deira almost on your doorstep, making your nightlife, entertainment and activity options more varied than if you just had to rely on the district of Al Qusais alone! Locally you have supermarkets and a few small shopping centres to service your day to day needs.
It’s affordable! And the area is witnessing some new construction of accommodation and also schools and shops, so in time if could become another in demand area. At the moment however, you can live in Al Qusais and enjoy the fact that it is less well known and therefore quieter and cheaper.
There’s not a lot to do or see in Al Qusais and added to this small disappointment is the fact that the main Dubai to Sharjah routes can become gridlocked at peak times making getting in and out of this relatively quiet area a bit of a nightmare. So the main real downsides are the noise, traffic and congestion in the immediate vicinity.
Okay, so it’s unfair to call Sharjah a residential district of Dubai when it is in fact an emirate in its own right – however, its proximity to Dubai’s city centre has made it effectively a suburb of Dubai with many expatriates choosing to call it home. It is affordable, has some good facilities for families and singles and is also growing quite quickly to accommodate the increasing numbers of people moving to the emirate.
The number one pro is the relative affordability compared to Dubai. It is far cheaper to rent in Sharjah if you find the right property than it is to rent anywhere in Dubai. The emirate has also cottoned on to the fact that it is proving popular with Dubai expats and so construction of new apartments and villas is going on apace. You don’t have to travel to Dubai for schools and healthcare facilities, you also have great shopping options in Sharjah, and so if you want, you can really base yourself in the emirate for much of the time. Sharjah is safe as well, so it’s popular with women and families.
For British and Irish expats the main con is that it is 100% dry! You really do have to travel back to Dubai if you want decent nightlife. The only trouble is, getting to and from Dubai is nothing if not a complete and utter nightmare. The main roads linking the emirates are nose to tail for most of the day and this makes commuting a totally horrendous prospect! If you work odd shifts, can work from home some days or you own a motorbike and are not afraid of taking your life in your hands, then Sharjah can work out well for you. Otherwise, sometimes the value of the accommodation is just not worth the hassle of the commute!
That concludes our overview of the main 20 districts and areas of Dubai and greater Dubai that expatriates call home. We hope you’ve found the series useful and that it has allowed you to determine which parts of the city are likely to appeal to you and your property requirements.