Saudi Arabia is commonly viewed as a Kingdom of two cities by most medics considering a move there. The ancient and historical locations of Riyadh and Jeddah are home to the largest, most well known medical facilities - as well as the majority of expats - however the Desert Kingdom is also home to other areas that can provide a very different way of life.
Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province is located almost 1500km from Jeddah, and more than 500km from Riyadh, bordering the Persian/Arabic Gulf. This doesn’t mean that it is a remote and undeveloped land however, with the province being home to Jubail City (amongst other places) a settlement said to be one of the most modern, and beautiful, in the country.
Jubail is split into two sections; the old town, and the more modern Jubail Industrial City. The industrial city is where most expats will live, and offers some impressive architecture in a pedestrian friendly environment - unusual for the Middle East.
The city was originally a small port, and was where the first geologists discovered oil in the country. Since then it has expanded into a modern metropolis with plenty to see and do, and with plenty of expat workers employed by the oil industry there is a thriving local expat social scene.
Despite benefitting from a population boom however the City is far from being as overcrowded as Riyadh and Jeddah can feel as if they are. At the last count the population was just over 300,000, compared with over 2 million in Jeddah and 4 million in Riyadh!
The industrial city itself is renowned for being extremely clean, and the standard of accommodation high - albeit at a higher than average cost. As well as this the city boasts stunning coastal views and walks courtesy of its location on the Gulf, this is complimented by the usual high standard of air conditioned mall where most expats will spend plenty of their free time.
Whilst the city itself has plenty to offer, its location is one of the biggest selling points. Jubail is within easy commuting distance of Dammam, Al Khobar and (courtesy of the incredible King Fahd Causeway) Bahrain - the most popular destination for expats in the Middle East according to HSBC.
Al Khobar is known as one of the most Western locations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Western women don’t even have to cover their faces if they are visiting there. It is also home to plenty more facilities, international shops and a stunning corniche. King Fahd Causeway however remains the most visited location in Al Khobar - with it providing access directly to Manama in under an hour.
This can allow expat medics looking at working in Saudi Arabia the option of working in Jubail, thus benefitting from the Saudi salary, whilst living in Bahrain - a more liberal, relaxed location. The time of the commute can vary depending on traffic, however the shortest time we’ve heard of was around 90 minutes, which can stretch to more than 2 and a half hours during peak times. Public buses are also available, however given the cheap cost of fuel it’s far more comfortable (and often better value) to drive.
Living in Jubail City therefore can be an ideal compromise for someone looking for impressive Saudi salaries, without the massive amount of culture shock that a move to the Kingdom can bring. As we always say a move to Saudi Arabia is not for everyone, and we do recommend researching the location you are moving to thoroughly before applying for any jobs.
If, however, you do elect to make a move it can be an extremely rewarding and career enhancing one. More and more Western trained expat medics are already committing to a move to the country, and the liberal and ideally located Eastern Province is becoming an increasingly popular location to move to.
Relocating to Saudi Arabia could be closer than you think, here at Odyssey we have an unrivaled and expanding network of contacts throughout the country who can help make a dream move a reality. To start your journey today simply register on our website for job alerts.