Al Ruwais is a town located 240 kilometers west of Abu Dhabi city in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi . Once a small fishing headland from which a handful of people earned a seasonal living, Ruwais today is one of the most modern industrial complexes in the Middle East. Industry needs people and so Ruwais has also been developed into a model 'new town' with a population of several thousand. There's more expats moving there now so here we take a look at what life is really like out of the hustle and bustle of the capital and what to expect if you are living there.
I live there...
Alixe and her family are originally from England and are living in Ruwais... we asked her more about what it's like to live there...
My husband Tom is working for Borouge (ADNOC) as a Senior Operator on the new LDPE plant which is currently being built. I'm a housewife at the minute but in the UK I worked as a Manager for Hewlett Packard. Our children are Madeleine who's seven and Owen who's just turned five.
How long have you lived in Ruwais and why did you move there?
Tom (my husband) moved here in June before we followed him out in September giving him time to sort accomodation and check that it was a move we wanted to make. The decision to look for work abroad was precipitated by the LDPE plant in the UK where Tom had worked for 21 years being closed and there being no similar work available beyond offshore work which wasn't a path we wanted to go down. He had previously worked for a six month contract in Thailand but it was very hard him being away from the family.
What sort of accommodation is available and what are prices like?
We live within the ADNOC housing compound where it is all provided by the various companies so I can't comment on price. There are a mixture of villas and apartment towers although we were informed that no villas are currently available. At present more apartment towers for families and batchelors are being built but we were lucky enough to get one of the older apartments which has a ground floor garden which is great for the children. The size of it staggered us (3 double bedrooms, two lounges, dining room and four bathrooms) - we had to decide to ship more furniture from the UK than we'd originally intended!
What sort of amenities are available... shops, entertainment etc.
It's improving all the time here and when the mall is finally complete everyone will be a lot happier! There are three main supermarkets, three small ADNOC shops, various takeaways which deliver, lots of smaller shops and mens' and ladies' recreation centres (they are also building new ones to replace these). There is a beautiful large park (2 minutes walk from us) plus lots of smaller ones and ADNOC provides a beach for its employees 10 minutes away with a small cafe. There are also two hotels near to the beach with restaurants and employees of certain companies (sadly not Borouge) get to use one of these including pool, gym and beach for free. There are at least 3 school systems - SABIS, Glenelg and the Asian school. There's also an ADNOC provided hospital. Many people here do head off to Dubai or Abu Dhabi most weekends however we quite enjoy the peace so only tend to head up once a month or so.
How are your children finding it and what education options are there?
The children have both adapted well to living here and they love the fact they can go outside and play every day or put the paddling pool up (a novelty when you come from the North of England!). Maddie is doing really well in Grade 3 at Choueifat (SABIS) school, has made lots of friends, passed all her exams with high marks so far and is on the gymnastics team. Sadly KS2 there did not work well for Owen At only four years old he found it far too formal as it is a very different teaching method to the English "learn through play" system in the UK and the long days (bus at 7am, first lesson at 8, home for 3.30) was really taking its toll. Therefore we've taken the decision to withdraw him for now and I'm home schooling him whilst we investigate the option of him attending one of the other schools which might suit him better.
What is the social life like in Ruwais? What do you do for fun?
There's a large English speaking community (mainly Scandinavian) and we tend to go to the beach a lot or meet at each other's apartments. We recently had a joint birthday party for Owens and his friend's 5th birthdays where we fired up the BBQ and had a really lovely afternoon. I've been teaching a bit of piano to various people.
What are the positives of living in Ruwais?
The weather! And personally we probably enjoy it more than we would living in one of the bigger places. The traffic is a lot lighter (although we still have our fair share of maniacs!) and it's peaceful. Once you know where to look you can also buy pretty much anything here. We've made some lovely friends too and it's a great experience for the children.
What are the negatives, if any?
The hassle to get paperwork complete when Abu Dhabi is so far away and the instructions appear to change regularly - we are still attempting to process the residency for myself and the children which has meant having to do two runs to Oman so far. Missing family and friends although Skype is invaluable and thankfully the internet connection is good.
What would your advice be to anyone moving there? Any top tips?
Do your homework thoroughly, try to talk to people who actually live there. Investigate the school system thoroughly to work out where is best for your child. Don't expect much official communication or anything to happen rapidly!
Ruwais Housing Complex
Ruwais Housing Complex (RHC) has its own shopping centers, schools, mosques, medical services, sports and recreation centers, banking and postal services, and even a cable TV and video station. It covers an area of 6 square kilometers.
It lies between Ruwais Industrial Complex and Jebel Dhana, just off the main highway running westwards into Saudi Arabia. The complex has 1,357 residential units, ranging from one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom, double-story 'executive' villas. All have modern furnishing and fittings and are pleasantly set amidst landscaped grounds.
The complex has three commercial centers with more than 40 shops and two markets selling everything from foodstuffs to electrical goods, household items and basic clothing. The complex has all the ancillary services required of a modern town, including a well-maintained road network, street lighting in all areas, and a sewage system which includes a treatment plant for recycling sewage water for irrigation purposes. Electricity and desalinated water supplies are provided directly from the refinery.
For more information visit www.ruwaiscity.com
Schools In Ruwais
The educational needs of Ruwais children, from nursery through to secondary level, are met by a total of 10 schools. Seven are managed by the Ministry of Education and three are privately owned, offering British or Indian systems. The schools, private and government, are equipped with modern classrooms and other facilities, such as science laboratories and libraries.
The education in Ruwais for expats is from three main schools, The Asian International School, International School of Chouefat and Glenelg School of Abu Dhabi.
Asian International School
Senior School (Grade 5 onwards) is located in Ruwais 2 near the park (ground).The junior school (grade 1, 2, 3 and 4) is located near the clinic. There is a separate school for the KG classes. The strength of the school is well over 1000 students. It follows the CBSE (New Delhi) curriculum.
The International School of Choueifat
Senior School, is located in Ruwais 1. It consists of grades 6 to 13. the director is Gray and the AQC'S are Feras, Nafeesa, Daleen botes . International School of Choueifat - Infant School, is also in Ruwais 1 and is near to the Senior School, while the Junior School, which consists of KG to grade 4, is located in Ruwais 2. Previously, this school was called Ruwais International School and was located close to the iconic sports field & Emirates Supermarket.
The Glenleg School of Abu Dhabi
Founded in 2008 by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). It is one of the educational entities and is part of ADNOC’s educational family of learning institutions.The founding and setting up of the school was based on a collaboration with the Glenelg Country School, a leading independent school in the USA.The curriculum of the school is American-based and leads towards the Advanced Placement (AP) examinations. The Elementary School is in its third year and has a full roll of around 750 students from KG1 to Grade 5. The Male campus, now in its second year of operation, currently hosts 250, both male and female students from Grade 6-12.
Al Ruwais Mall- opening date tbc
Spread over 37,243 sq m, Al Ruwais Shopping Mall will be the most important retail development in Al Ruwais. It will offer two retail levels of household products, electronics and lifestyle products.
Being the sole retail development in the city, Al Ruwais Shopping Mall is expected to become more than just a shopping destination. Great for residents of Ruwais as well as commuters which travel between the bordering nations to the UAE, KSA and Qatar, will find the Al Ruwais Shopping Centre to be a restful, necessary addition just off the international highway which stretches past this bustling city.
Entertainment, Leisure & Things To Do
Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort
Overlooking a pristine ribbon of United Arab Emirates beach between the desert landscape and the clear waters of the Arabian Gulf, Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort is situated 10 kms from Ruwais.
It has restaurants, bars and leisure facilities... and you can go on a safari to the amazing Sir Bani Yas wildlife reserve.
Great place to go at the weekend to chill out and relax and soak up some sunshine as well as have some fun.To visit their website click here>>
Not far from Ruwais is the Empty Quarter and the Liwa Oasis area. The Liwa Oasis was the place of birth of the ruling families of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
In 1793, the ruling family, Al Nahyan, moved their residence from Liwa to the city of Abu Dhabi.
One of EW writers took a trip there from Dubai but it's got some great information on what to do when there- and you're closer if you are setting off from Ruwais- bonus!
Read our Liwa trip review here>>
Sir Bani Yas Island
Sir Bani Yas Island was originally home to Arabia's largest wildlife reserve. Spanning over 87 km2 (34 sq mi), the reserve was established in 1971 by the late ruler and founder of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Thanks to decades of intensive conservation work and ecological investment, it is now home to thousands of large free-roaming animals and several million trees and plants.
A bird sanctuary as well as a wildlife reserve, Sir Bani Yas showcases nature through activities such as adventure safaris, kayaking, mountain biking, archery, hiking and snorkeling. The island has a number of significant historical sites, including remnants of Late Stone Age and early Islamic structures.
The Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara on the island offers a number of outdoor activities which allow you to immerse yourself in the beauty of Sir Bani Yas Island. All activities are designed to create as little environmental impact on the Island as possible.
Find out more about Sir Bai Yas Island here... www.desertislands.com
We do hope we've helped in showing you a bit more of what like is live in Ruwais- if you'd like to ask more questions you can visit our forum to find out more. Take Me To The Forum>>