Wanderlust is back, and stronger than ever. With travel restrictions easing from Asia to Europe, Singaporeans are revisiting their travel wishlist built up over the past three years. As the COVID pandemic ushered in a new era of remote work, the increasing flexibility of work has us asking: can we combine work with play?
Workations are the answer to that. Employees looking for a change in pace can continue to fulfil their professional responsibilities remotely while enjoying their downtime in amazing locations. Fancy a swim? The cerulean waters of Bali can be just a stone’s throw away from you, perfect for your evening downtime after a long day at work.
Taking a workation certainly sounds like a dream, but we’ve got some practical tips for you before you book your tickets. Most countries aren’t yet equipped to handle this new class of modern digital nomads, and it may be technically illegal to work while travelling on a tourist visa. Not to mention, some locations just aren’t built for remote work — just imagine having an important Zoom meeting in the middle of the bustling Chatuchak market in Thailand.
Our ideal remote working accommodations should have:
- Fun and diverse activities
- Comfy workspaces
- Quiet and conducive environments
- Easy and quick internet access
- Remote work visa availability to Singaporeans
Now, if you’re on the lookout for a new country to explore and work at, then you’ve come to the right place. Scroll down to see some of our top recommendations.
Also known as the Land of the Gods, Bali’s natural beauty is a must on one’s travel bucket list. This South-East Asian island paradise is packed with endless scenic rice terraces, looming volcanoes, bustling nightlife and more. You’ll be spoiled for choice at the sheer diversity of thrilling activities available — be it visiting otherworldly hillside temples, catching wild waves on the beaches of the south, or simply soaking up the warm hospitality of the Balinese people.
Bali is a digital nomad’s paradise, with numerous coworking spaces and cafes for remote workers and a large, vibrant community of foreign expats and tourists. Internet access is widespread, although connectivity may vary depending on the location. The cost of living in Bali is also relatively low:
- Unlimited Internet access costs ~420,000Rp (~SGD$37) monthly
- Renting an average one-bedroom apartment in the city centre costs ~7,300,000Rp (~SGD$640) monthly
- One cup of coffee costs 32,000Rp (~SGD$3)
Singaporeans looking to work remotely in Bali can apply for the Second Home Visa which is valid for five years. However, you need to meet these requirements:
- Have a passport that is valid for at least 36 months
- Proof of funds of at least two billion Indonesian rupiah ( ~SGD$180,000)
- Evidence of having received the full dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
Visit Indonesia’s official visa application website to learn more.
Mark Twain once wrote, “Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius”.
Mauritius is rightly famed for its sapphire waters and fine beaches for world-class snorkelling experiences. Beyond the beach, Mauritius boasts quiet fishing villages for a serene getaway or mountainous forests for wildlife watching. Mauritius also boasts a fabulous mix of culinary delights for the foodies, with influences from Caribbean, South American and African cuisines.
Mauritius is a tropical paradise for the digital nomad, with 4G island-wide connectivity and a free 12-month remote working visa. Being one of the safest countries in the African continent, Mauritius is also a great introduction to African culture without worrying too much about personal safety. Spend time in various laptop-friendly cafes and coworking spaces, most of which have beach access. Port Louis’ cost of living is very affordable:
- Unlimited Internet access costs ~1,600Rp (~SGD$46) monthly
- Renting an average 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre costs ~23,500Rp (~SGD$690)
- 1 cup of coffee costs around ~112Rp (~SGD$3)
Work remotely from Port Louis with the Mauritius Digital Nomad Premium Visa, which lasts for one year and is renewable. Some requirements include:
- Have a passport that is valid for at least three months
- Proof of stable income equivalent to USD$1,500 (~SGD$2,000) monthly
- Letter of Accommodation (e.g. rental agreement)
Visit the official website of Mauritius’ Economic Development Board for more details.
One of the most livable cities in Europe, Lisbon has stunning architecture with vibrant azulejos (ceramic tiles) that are sure to make your days more colourful and joyous. Its rich and tumultuous past also makes Lisbon a melting pot of cultures and a history buff’s wet dream. With its signature hillsides cradling the picture-perfect cobblestone streets, ancient ruins and domed cathedrals, Lisbon’s captivating sights crafted over centuries are a sight for sore eyes.
Ranked as Europe’s top destinations for digital nomads in the Holidu Index, Lisbon checks all the boxes, with high average WiFi speeds, numerous coworking spaces and relatively low costs of living. Here’s a breakdown of living costs in Lisbon in 2023:
- Unlimited Internet access costs ~40€ (~SGD$50) monthly
- Renting an average one-bedroom apartment in the city centre costs ~1,300€ (~SGD$1,800)
- 1 cup of coffee costs around ~2€ (~SGD$3)
To stay in Lisbon as a remote worker, Singaporeans can apply for the Temporary Stay Visa, which lasts one year and can be renewed up to four times, for a maximum of five years. Alternatively, you could choose to apply for the D7 Passive Income Visa, which has an initial visa period of 120 days, before you can receive a residence permit for two years. The D7 visa allows for access to the Schengen Area of 26 European countries, and Portuguese residency rights (including healthcare and education). Some requirements in common for both visa types include:
- Have a passport that is valid for at least three months
- Proof of average monthly income for the past three months equivalent to 2,800€ (~SGD$4000) or Proof of receipt of passive income of at least 7,620€ (~SGD$11,000) per annum.
- Clean criminal record
Visit the official website of Portugal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to learn more.
Craving a taste of luxury in an ultra-modern city? Dubai will let you live out your fantasies of living the glamorous life of a millionaire. With its cyberpunk-esque buildings and surreal attractions, Dubai is the perfect place for city dwellers. Visit the magnificent palm-shaped islands for a getaway in style, or drop by insane retail havens such as malls in a Persian palace or a giant aquarium. Global nomads, mark this creative city in the Middle East for its creative mix of futuristic design and Islamic tradition.
As expected of the uber-modern city, Dubai has one of the world’s fastest and most stable internet access. According to the 2022 Expat City Ranking by InterNations, Dubai ranks 8th in the world as the easiest city to settle in, with most expats satisfied with their bustling social life and the welcoming local community. Dubai also tops the list of countries with efficient and helpful public administration, with many expats being satisfied with the ease of access to a wide range of government services available. To enjoy such modern comforts, Dubai’s costs of living are relatively higher:
- Unlimited Internet access costs ~340AED (~SGD$120) monthly
- Renting an average 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre costs ~7,000AED (~SGD$2,500)
- 1 cup of coffee costs around ~20AED (~SGD$7)
Through its Work Remotely from Dubai Program, Singaporeans can work remotely for up to a year in Dubai, if they fulfil these requirements:
- Have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months
- Proof of employment with a one-year contract validity
- Minimum income of USD$5,000 per month (~SGD$6,600)
Visit the official government portal of the UAE to learn more.
Head into the polar north in Reykjavik, Iceland, for snow-topped mountains, churning seas and crystal-clear air. This quaint city is bound to capture your heart with its rich Viking heritage contrasted with cosmopolitan cuisines and nightlife. Of course, Iceland is best known for its wild beauty, and you simply must take a weekend trip to see the Northern Lights or pamper yourself in the geothermal Blue Lagoon spas.
One of the safest countries in the world, Iceland is a perfect place for those going solo. It also boasts the fastest broadband in the world with an average speed of 216.56 Mbps. Work in various coworking spaces and cafes across the city, or take advantage of the great outdoors and do your work in internet-accessible campsites in the countryside. Reykjavik’s costs of living are comparable to that of a cosmopolitan city:
- Unlimited Internet access costs ~8,900kr (~SGD$85) monthly
- Renting an average 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre costs ~220,000kr (~SGD$2,130)
- 1 cup of coffee costs around ~630kr (~SGD$6)
The Iceland Digital Nomad Visa lasts around six months, and can be renewed after 12 months. Here are some requirements to meet:
- Have a passport that is valid for at least 3 months
- Proof of stable income equivalent to ~1,000,000kr (~SGD$9000) monthly
- Proof of purpose of stay (e.g. employment contract)
- Clean criminal record
Visit the official website for Iceland’s Directorate of Immigration for more details.