Reader Question Answered: What are the KAUST Townhouses Like?

By | January 25, 2012

<<UPDATE 12/9/2012: here’s my post on 2-br detached houses>>

I was recently contacted by a reader about housing and transportation at KAUST and I thought her questions would make a good topic for my next blog post.

Georgina wrote:

My husband and I just accepted a job with KAUST school for 2012-2013 school year. I was wondering if you happen to have photos of the townhouse accommodations and/or the location? As well, would you know if people at KAUST often seem to purchase cars and the process they go through for that? Thanks again.

So.. here’s to hoping I can answer your questions, Georgina!


Let’s start with the houses. My husband and I live in a two-bedroom townhouse. As you didn’t mention any kids, I’m assuming that you’ll be in a house similar to ours.

There are several different types of houses here and they are all pretty much variations on the same theme. For the most part a two-bedroom townhouse is pretty similar to all the other two-bedroom townhouses at KAUST. They’ll have slightly different proportions and back yards for instance, but the inside is mostly the same – and with the same or similar furnishings too.

This is pretty weird at first – you walk into your friends’ house and it is almost identical to yours. Okay, that’s still weird for us actually.

As for location, all of the KAUST housing-stock is inside the compound where the University is. There are a few residential areas – the Gardens, the Harbor and the Island. There are all types of houses in all areas. Gardens houses are the newest and may even be brand new when you move in. Island houses tend to have larger back yards.

Here are a few photos of our house that we took when we first moved here:

Here’s the guest room. To the left of the shot is a dressing room and en suite.

Guest room en suite. There are four bathrooms in this house – I never knew anyone could need so many places to pee!

View from the front door. Downstairs is the kitchen, dining room, living room, and maid’s quarters (yes.. maid’s quarters… aka Muttley’s room!)

The kitchen

Living room and dining room

living room

Dining room

Back yard as photographed through the screen door. What was I thinking?!

Front of house. It was really, really humid the day I took this photo – hence the foggy lense. Look through the fog :-)

Guest room balcony


As for your question of transportation, you have a lot of options. First, you really don’t need a car unless you want one. The busses on compound go around to anywhere on the compound you’d want to go and come often. Also, the compound is really small so all you really need is a bicycle to get around. We rode ours on the warmest days of the summer and coldest days of the winter – and there is a bike shop for repairs on campus. There are also taxis and free busses to go into Jeddah. Many, many people here do not bother getting cars.

If you do want a vehicle, you have your choice of moped, motorcycle, golf cart, or an actual car. The bike shop on campus sells mopeds and bikes and rents bikes too, I believe. There is also a robust market for used vehicles on campus – check the Facebook groups listed in this post for more info.

I really hope these tips help you, Georgina. Let us know when you arrive and we can welcome you to town!