Have you lived in Singapore/Japan/Taiwan?

My partner and I would love to live or work in an Asian country one day. Places like Singapore, Japan, and Taiwan would be an incredible experience. Have you worked in one of these countries (or similar), how did you find your way there?

Fingers crossed more and more house sits open up on that side of the world! :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi @Tak.oyaki Welcome to our community forum and I lived in Singapore, Ho Chi Minh & KL. One of our members @Petermac is a great explorer of that part of the world too.

I think it depends on what aspect of “living” you are looking for intel on, we were expats posted through work which is a different situation to traveling independently … There is much to say but the most important is … I would return in a heart beat.

I’m sure you will connect with other members who can offer great insight.

Welcome again.

Angela and the Team

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Lived in Japan just as smart phones were taking off & found ourselves there like other ESL/EFL instructors…for a change.

I’d been previously on cultural exchanges & decided to hop back. I return yearly (before :microbe:) for a particular december marathon & spend time in less touristy places before/after.

I’ve sat in Tokyo & Singapore. Singapore sits were a treat for me as was getting away from the monotony in Brunei.

I’ve meant to get to Taiwan & explore the trails as have heard awesome feedback.

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Hi @Tak.oyaki and welcome to the forum.

As @Angela-CommunityManager says, I have travelled around the region, House and Pet sitting since 2017, with a break during covid back home in Scotland.

There are/were not a lot of sits in SE Asia compared to some other regions, maximum probably round 100 for the whole area in the good days, but also there are not a lot of sitters. A number of sitters will list a country as their location, but this tends to be where they want to sit/travel to rather than their home base.

Things are picking up a bit recently with restrictions being lifted but it is still a bit of a minefield to get into some countries, and you really need to do your homework checking visa/vaccination/test requirements for each individual country. Singapore, Indonesia (Bali) and Thailand are now open but rules change almost daily.

All of the sits I have done have been for ex-pats – mainly from the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe. A number have been teachers at international schools or executives/professionals with international companies. With the exception of Singapore, all of my sits have been longer durations, when owners travel home – so normally for around a month at a time. Singapore has been a bit of a mix, as you can travel to Bali, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam etc from Singapore in under 2 hours, so owners will go for a long weekend.

Pre covid I based myself in Singapore, and have done a number of sits there, and in total have probably spent about a year in the country. I love it. House sitting has let me see so much more of the Island/country than just the city – I think there are about 110 “towns”/districts in Singapore, each with its own park, shops, food courts etc so I find so much more to do in Singapore than most tourists who just visit the city and waterfront for a couple of days. I also got kind of stuck in Singapore for 3 months during lockdown/circuit breaker in 2020.

Visas: as I said above do your homework. Pre covid it was relatively easy to go from country to country, but each had different rules. Most nationalities can/could enter Singapore with a 90-day visa on arrival, but you need to have proof of onward travel/return tickets. This is the same for Thailand and Indonesia, but visa on arrival is for 30 days with an option to extend a further 30 days. Vietnam is only 14 days visa on arrival but it is /was easy to get a 1 month or 3-month tourist visa online before you travel. Japan and Malaysia are both 90 days I think.

Of the 100 sits I mention above, the majority would be Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and South Korea. With occasional sits in Malaysia, Bali, Hongkong, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Japan. I think I have only ever seen 1 in Taiwan and 1 in the Philippines. It is also possible to travel to South India and Sri Lanka from Singapore/Bangkok/KL - hub airports in the region, and even Perth in Australia is only a short 4 ish hour flight.

As far as working in the region goes, it is not that easy, unless you are sent there by your employer. Teaching in international Schools is one of the main employers. I know that Singapore has reduced the number of foreign visas/work permits in the last 2 years, and you now need to be paid quite a high monthly salary to get a work permit for Singapore, so you can’t just turn up and look for a job. Some countries are VERY strict about foreign workers. In Indonesia for instance, you are not even allowed to volunteer without a work visa, although there are a high number of digital nomads, working online, teaching, blogging, and writing, but not actually “working” in Indonesia. You will be deported.

I hope this helps a bit, and if I think of anything else I will add.

It is a great region to visit, travel to, but not so easy to work in.

Peter.

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I should add that Singapore and Japan can be very expensive - accommodation/hotels - and food if you get it wrong. You can spend hundreds of $$$$$$ if you go to the wrong place, but in both countries, it is also easy to live on a budget, locally.

Pet sitting is a great way to visit these countries. I have only been to Taiwan once - at the airport on my way back from Yokohama. I loved Yokohama, I was there for 5 weeks in 2018 and was so surprised by how friendly and inexpensive it could be. Probably one of my favourite sits, just somewhere I never imagined I would get to go, but pet sitting meant I could.

Thanks for the welcome Angela! This will likely be a fantastic resource to have while traveling and house sitting around the world. I look forward to the replies~

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Amazing! Thanks for sharing your experience, Taiwan is also high on my list of places to visit. How did you like teaching there? Its something that we are both qualified to do but it would be nice to work in a different industry if possible. Visa restrictions are tricky though and I guess teaching is the most secure way to spend a long period of time there.

Hi Peter,

Thank you for your awesome reply! Reading about your experience only makes me more determined to travel there. I think the best way for us would be to housesit and we have seen and applied for ones over the last year (some for months long) but because of covid we couldn’t make it happen.

It does seem a tricky region to consistently house sit around—one idea was to house sit in Australia as a base and make it over to the Asia region when sits happen. Currently, we are based in the UK with trips over to the European continent when they arise.

Teaching is of course the route most people take. We are both freelancing and doing remote work online, so it would be interesting to check out nomad visas and what they offer.

All in all, the house sits for those countries you mentioned are there, so from next year we will get on to making them happen. Hopefully, by then restrictions have eased even more.

By the way, were you house sitting full time while in Singapore? Or did you do a combination of renting and house sitting?

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I have a friend from Scotland who lives in Singapore, so when not sitting, and when I got stuck, I stayed there free. Sometimes between sits I would pass through Singapore for 24 hours, sometimes a couple of weeks - and when I knew I had a bit of a break I would apply for Singapore sits.

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