Middle Eastern relocation packages for expats are becoming ever more lucrative. Whats more, Kuwait rivals Dubai for poaching the best employees from all across the globe.
If you’re one of those employees considering a new role (and life) in the middle east and you’re wondering whether it’s in Dubai or Kuwait, you’ve found the right place.
In our head to head of Dubai vs Kuwait we explored Location, Weather, Cost of Living, Salaries, Career Opportunities, Things to do, Crime Rates, Education, Population Density and Public Transport to find out where was the best place to live. Overall, Dubai came out on top.
For the full breakdown of how Kuwait fared coming up against Dubai for each of the above, read below.
Dubai is located in the Middle East and belongs to the UAE and the continent of Asia. The city of Dubai is becoming ever more popular with both travellers and expats due to the extravagant lifestyle and blossoming tourist attractions. What’s more, the weather is either warm or hot, and there is very little rain.
Dubai is also in an advantageous location for frequent travellers, with Europe, Africa and the rest of Asia easily reachable within a few hours by plane.
The city of Dubai is filled with towering sky scrapers, luxury hotels and lined with gorgeous beaches with plenty going on. However, step outside of the city and you will be surprised to find the beautiful mountainous backdrops of Jebel Jais and Jebel Hafeet, as well as lots of wildlife.
Kuwait borders Iraq and Saudi Arabia and is only a 1hr 45min flight from Dubai. The climate over in Kuwait is very similar to Dubai in that the summers are hot and dry and the winters are warm… and dry!
One outstanding fact about Kuwait is that of the 4.5m population, 3.2m are foreign nationals, proving further that Kuwait is an extremely popular destination for expats to ply their trade. The country is safe, clean and has great beaches; however the only downside would be the lack of entertainment and things to do, in comparison to Dubai.
Kuwait is home to only 7,000 hotels in comparison to Dubai’s 150,000. What’s more, drinking alcohol in Kuwait is illegal and there aren’t many tourist attractions. Aside from this, Kuwait does have glorious weather year round, there are the traditional Arabian souks to visit and some of the restaurants are cheap and delicious.
Both Dubai and Kuwait are in similar locations and experience similar climates. Travel to and from both cities is simple and access to other major cities is also fluent. Where Dubai does flourish though, is the fact that there are several other beautiful emirates to visit close by. In Kuwait, there isn’t much going on outside of Kuwait City.
When it comes to weather there isn’t much difference between Dubai & Kuwait. Although Kuwait is further north than Dubai the summers are actually hotter! Never the less, overall both destinations experience warm, dry weather year round.
The average daily highs of Dubai & Kuwait can be compared in the table below:
Whether you choose Kuwait or Dubai as your destination of choice, there is no escaping the heat between the months of May and September.
Cost of Living
Despite the extravagance of Dubai, the city is relatively cheap compared to other major cities of the world. When we looked at Dubai vs Sydney and Dubai vs London in our other head to heads, we found that Dubai had a cheaper cost of living overall.
That alone is pretty impressive considering Dubai is quickly becoming one of the best places to holiday and live in the world. However, Dubai has definitely found some competition with Kuwait.
Consumer prices including rent were found to be nearly 29% cheaper in Kuwait than in Dubai according to Numbeo.com. Restaurant and grocery prices are also substantially lower. Overall you would need 17,000AED in Dubai to maintain the same standard of living as you would in Kuwait for just over 12,000AED.
Dubai is still reasonably priced to live when compared to other major cities of the world but Kuwait steals the show by quite some distance.
It’s important to consider the cost of living in any destination when looking at average salaries. A salary in London may not buy you the same standard of living in New York as it would in London for example.
The one major advantage of earning your salary in Dubai or Kuwait is that it is tax free!
However, below we’ve put together a table of the most popular jobs and their salaries alone to give you an idea of the earning potential in both Kuwait and Dubai.
|Profession||Dubai Salary||Kuwait Salary|
|Business Development Manager||$49,820||$80,498|
|Air Traffic Controller||$67,953||$56,548|
|Real Estate Agent||$58,152||$45,904|
According to our research on some of the most popular careers, Dubai offers an increased salary to that of Kuwait.
All figures above taken from SalaryExplorer.com and are accurate from 2021. It is important to remember that salaries can fluctuate to a great degree depending on profession and experience.
A good gauge of how well a city performs and its career opportunities would be to take a look at unemployment rates. Another way to look at this would be to explore how many new jobs are created in comparison to the population.
Below we have put together a table showing unemployment rates and job creation in Dubai and Kuwait from 2019. Figures from 2019 have been used as so the Corona Virus Pandemic does not skew the numbers.
|New Jobs Created||6,000||42,254|
|Population per Job Created||1 in 555||1 in 100|
Career opportunities in both places are fruitful, however Kuwait’s unemployment rate and new jobs created far outweigh that of Dubai.
Where has Better Things to do & See
It’s good to find a new place to live and work with great weather and a good salary. However, none of those things are going to keep you entertained, so below we take a quick look at what there is to do in Kuwait vs Dubai.
Main Things to do in Kuwait:
- The Avenues – Shopping Mall
- Souk Al Murbarakiya
- Al Shaheed Park
- Sheikh Jaber Ahmad Cultural Centre
- Kuwait Towers
- Visit The Grand Mosque
- Hit the Quiet Beaches / Water Sports
- Tareq Majab Museum
- Desert Safari
- Scuba Diving
Main Things to do in Dubai:
- Burj Khalifa
- Dubai Mall
- Sky Dive Dubai
- Palm Jumeirah
- Jumeirah Beach
- Jumeirah Beach Residence
- Dubai Marina
- Camel Racing
- World Class Golf Courses
- Global Village
- Dubai Frame
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
- Scuba Diving
- Safa Park
Anyone who knows the slightest about Dubai knows that there are tonnes of things to do and see. What’s more, the other Emirates of Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Al Ain are all close by which offer more in the ways of things to see.
Wherever you choose to relocate, researching how safe the place is will be a key factor in your decision.
You will be pleased to know that both Dubai and Kuwait offer extremely safe living in comparison to other major cities around the world.
The Crime Rate by Country Index rates Kuwait at 34.57 and the UAE at just 15.45!
Gradings are given from 1 – 100, where 1 is the lowest and 100 is the highest. To put this into context, the UK is rated 44.54, USA 47.7 and Canada 40.6.
The standard of schools, colleges and universities in Dubai is very high. The one major flaw to this though is that expats must pay to attend. There is currently no free education for those who are not permanent residents of the UAE.
Kuwait runs a similar system, with the standard of education high in comparison to the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Countries), although education for expats also comes at a fee.
Both Dubai and Kuwait pride themselves on a high standard of education, which contributes directly back into the reason why these two places are home to thousands of blossoming businesses. For expatriates though, there is no free education.
If you’re choosing to relocate to a major city then choosing one with a lower population density will help prevent those long frustrating drives to work in the morning, as well as ensuring queues are shorter when looking for things to do in your spare time.
The good news is that Dubai and Kuwait have relatively low population densities. Dubai has 860 people per square km and Kuwait City has just 240! In comparison, London has 5,701 and Berlin has 4,227.
Both places are less over crowded than other major cities in the world, however Kuwait beats Dubai by a long way.
If you are already living in a city, we don’t need to stress the importance of fast, clean and cheap public transport links.
The fact is, most major cities around the world do have good transport links now. However, no one does it like Dubai! Whether it’s taxi, water taxi, metro, tram, bus or monorail; Dubai provides more different modes of transport than most other places in the world. What’s more, it’s cheap and fast too!
Head north from Dubai and into Kuwait and you will be very disappointed. Kuwait has a great road network, but travel is limited to cars, taxi’s and buses. There are plans to build a huge rail network in the future, but nothing has commenced yet.
The one good thing about both places though, is that public transport is extremely cheap when compared to most other places around the world. The average cost of a single transport ticket in Dubai is $1.30 and in Kuwait just $0.82; compare this with London at $3.20 and Sydney at $3.02 and you can see how cheap getting around is.
Dubai vs Kuwait – The Best City To Live
Overall, Dubai wins by 5 points to 3. Kuwait offers expatriates an undercrowded, low cost of living with great career opportunities. However, Dubai wasn’t far behind with those three aspects and provided better things to do, public transport, safety, salaries and location.