Is It Better to Live in Dubai than the UK

Is It Better to Live in Dubai than the UK?

Dubai and the United Kingdom are two very opposite destinations. But these two have been top choices for foreigners to relocate for work, business or simply to start a new life in a new place.

Many would say that living in Dubai is better than the UK because it offers a better quality of living at prices that most expats could afford.

Although an Arab country, Dubai is one of the most welcoming cities in the world for foreigners that 85% of its population are expats and only 15% are Emiratis or native residents.

The UK, on the other hand, has a more predominant local population. In 2021, only 14% of the UK’s total population were migrants, 35% of whom lived in London.

In this article, we’ll compare both destinations based on different factors like the weather, safety, housing, transportation and cost of living.

This will help us answer the question: is it better to live in Dubai than the UK?

Cost of Living

Cost of Living
Image source: Tom Grünbauer on Unsplash

Because they offer a high standard of living, both Dubai and the UK are more expensive places to live in than other destinations.

But the UK is more expensive than Dubai in terms of cost of living, although costs may vary depending on the city that you choose to live in.

If you’re in London, you would need at least $6,526.8 to live the same quality of life that you can enjoy in Dubai for only $5,172.9.

In this table, we look at some of the most common commodities that would be included in your budget and compare the prices between Dubai and the UK’s capital London:

DubaiLondon (United Kingdom)
Utilities and Bills
Basic Monthly Utilities (Electricity, HVAC, garbage and water)$192.75$334.31
1 gallon of milk$6.83$5.41
1 lb. of white rice$0.93$1.02
1 loaf of white bread$1.35$1.23
1 dozen eggs$3.25$3.19
12-oz. water$0.61$1.70
1 lb. local cheese$4.55$3.64
1 lb. of beef round$4.66$5.81
1 lb. of chicken fillets$3.68$3.77
1 lb. of potato$0.49$0.61
1 lb. of onion$0.43$0.64
Lifestyle and Leisure
Fitness club monthly membership$75.46$52.82
Tennis court rental$37.14$13.86
Preschool (monthly fee for one child)$777.92$1,893.13
International primary school (annual fee for one child)$11,329.51$22,333.98

From this data, you will see that some common expenses are a bit pricier in Dubai, but bigger expenses are more expensive in the UK.

Dubai still offers a more ideal cost of living than the UK, so you can really maximize your earnings. 

You also need to remember that Dubai doesn’t impose tax on people’s income, so you can really stretch your salary.

The Weather

The Weather
Image source: Will Kennard on Unsplash

Dubai is known for its very hot summers while the UK is known for its extremely cold winters.

Being located in the Arabian peninsula, it rarely rains in Dubai, so it’s hot for most of the year. The city has two main seasons, summer and winter, and a transitional period in between.

The weather is one of the biggest adjustments to anyone moving to Dubai, especially during the summer when it’s difficult to go around outdoors because of the humidity.

But after a few months of living in the city, it doesn’t become an issue anymore.

Weather in Dubai
SeasonDurationHottest/Coldest MonthAverage Daily Temperature

(Hot Season)

May 14 to September 24August30°C to 41°C

(Cold Season)

December 3 to March 5January14°C to 23°C

The UK, on the other hand, is at the opposite end of the spectrum with such unpredictable weather. 

In fact, you could get a sunny morning, a cloudy afternoon and a rainy night all on the same day.

Being near the Atlantic Ocean, the UK’s weather is humid and temperate and weather may vary depending on where you are in the country. 

Weather in the United Kingdom
SeasonDurationHottest/Coldest MonthAverage Daily Temperature

(Hot Season)

June 21 to September 23July9°C to 18°C

(Cold Season)

December 21 to March 20February2°C to 7°C

The choice between Dubai and the UK based on the weather will depend on whether you prefer to be somewhere warm or cold.

But a majority of expats choose Dubai for its sunny weather where it feels like summer for most of the year. 

Although some months can get extremely hot, Dubai also has a wide range of establishments and attractions where people can have fun while keeping themselves cool. 


Image source: Andrew Palmer on Unsplash

Safety is another important factor to think about when choosing a city or country to live in and Dubai is definitely one of the safest cities in the world to live in.

In fact, in Numbeo’s Safety Index by City 2022, Dubai ranked 6th with a safety index score of 83.7.

The UK ranked 76th in Numbeo’s Safety index by Country 2022 with a safety index score of 53.5. The UAE, on the other hand, where Dubai is an emirate ranked 2nd with a score of 84.9.

Dubai has a very low crime rate mainly because most of its residents are foreigners. 

Since the city is very strict in punishing those who commit offenses against its laws, foreigners follow the rules to avoid jail time and deportation.

In this table, we compare the crime rates between Dubai and the UK’s capital city London using numbers from Numbeo to see which destination is safer to live in:

DubaiLondon (United Kingdom)
Crime Index$16.38$53.73
Safety walking alone during the day91.03

(Very High)



Safety walking alone at night82.88

(Very High)



Crime rate increase in the last 3 years12.39

(Very Low)




(Ver Low)




(Very Low)



Stolen car13.07

(Very Low)




(Very Low)




(Very Low)



Attack because of gender, ethnicity or skin color13.80

(Very Low)




(Very Low)



Here, you’ll see that Dubai has a very low crime rate while London has a high crime rate, especially when it comes to theft and drugs.

Dubai is also very safe for women living alone because the city has strict rules in place to protect its residents, especially women.


Image source: Christian Vasile on Unsplash

When moving to another city or country, housing would be one of your biggest expenses. 

Here, you have the option to rent or buy a property and both cities have a lot to offer. 

However, rental prices are 37.2% higher in the UK than Dubai, making the latter the better option if housing is a huge factor for your move.

Let’s compare rental and property prices in Dubai and London, the UK’s capital to see the difference:

DubaiLondon (United Kingdom)
1-bedroom apartment in the city center$1,908.76$2,483.30
3-bedroom apartment in the city center$3,365.94$4,291.82
Apartment price per square feet in the city center$353.52$1,384.06
Apartment price per square feet outside the city center$222.53$845.95


Image source: Damir Babacic on Unsplash

Transportation is also a huge consideration when choosing where to live because you’d want to get around to work or errands quickly.

In Dubai, it’s not uncommon to see a Ferrari or Bugati on the highway because the city is home to 13 billionaires and 68,000 millionaires.

But if you can’t afford a car yet, getting around Dubai is easy because of its efficient public transport including:

  • The Metro

Fare starts at $1.09

Dubai has the longest fully automated metro rail network in the world, which is why the Metro is the most commonly used form of public transportation in the city. 

  • Bus

Fare starts at $0.54

Run and operated by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai’s bus network connects all of the major tourist spots, attractions and landmarks throughout the city. 

You’ll also see a lot of these buses because they have a 15- to 20-minute interval to accommodate tourists and locals.

  • Taxi

Fare starts at $3.27

If you’re in a rush or you just prefer to ride in private, Dubai has a lot of taxis around the city, especially outside major tourist attractions and shopping malls.

  • Water taxi

Fare starts at $14.97

The water taxi is Dubai’s oldest form of transportation and it brings you from Deira to Bur Dubai and vice versa.

Also called “abra,” riding a water taxi is also a great way to experience life in old Dubai while enjoying the breathtaking views of the Dubai Creek.

If you commute constantly in Dubai, you have the option to buy a Nol Card that you can use to pay for the Metro, buses and water buses.

Image source: chan lee on Unsplash

The UK is a large country with 76 cities. But most of these cities offer the same form of public transportation that also makes getting around easy for locals.

Aside from the iconic double decker bus in London, here are other public transport options in the UK:

  • The Metro

Fare starts at $4.46

The UK has one of the most efficient underground rail systems in Europe with London, Tyne, Liverpool and Glasgow having their own Metro networks. 

Also known as the “tube,” this underground railway system is one of the most commonly used public transport in major cities in the UK, especially in London.

  • Train

Fare depends on location

Aside from its underground railway, the UK is also known for its huge train network that connects its cities and towns. 

  • Eurostar

Fare depends on location

One of the best features of the UK in terms of transportation is its high-speed train service called the Eurostar.

This railway network can let you travel from the UK to Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and Lille within just a few hours and at cheaper prices than an airplane ride.

  • Bus

Fare starts at $2.97

There are a lot of buses around the UK to help you travel around its cities and towns. You can also buy a ticket from the driver using cash or a credit card.

  • Taxis

Fare starts at $7.93

Also called cabs in the UK, taxis are abundant throughout its bigger cities. You can also use apps like Bolt or Uber to book a ride.

Both Dubai and the UK have very efficient transportation systems. But transportation is more expensive in the UK than in Dubai.


Image source: Khadeeja Yasser on Unsplash

Of course, you need to consider the time difference when moving to another location.

Dubai is four hours ahead of the United Kingdom. So, if it’s 4:00 AM in Dubai, it’s 12:00AM in the UK.

The city follows the Gulf Standard Time while the United Kingdom follows the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The latter also follows Daylight Savings Time (DST) where the country’s clocks increase by one hour starting on the last Sunday of March.

On the other hand, the clocks will go back by one hour on the last Sunday of October. The UK also follows the British Summer Time (BST) during the summer months. 

So, if you’re new to living in the country, things could get confusing time-wise. But Dubai just follows one standard time and that is applied throughout the year.

Life in Dubai vs the UK

After taking a closer look at all these factors, it’s easier to see why most expats choose to live in Dubai over the UK.

A recent report also suggested that many expats have been struggling financially in the UK, but more foreigners are coming into Dubai for work and business.

At the end of the day, the choice between these two destinations will depend on what you’re looking for in a city or country to live in.

But if you’re looking for a place where you can live safely and enjoy the best quality of life without spending a lot, then Dubai is definitely the best choice for you.