Finding a place in Asia where you can combine corporate work and daily surf sessions can be a challenge. Hong Kong and Tokyo offer great career opportunities with some seasonal surf. But how about getting away from the urban life? Bali may be the answer... However, jobs are limited to hotels, restaurants and surf related business. And the employment market in Kuta is getting as crowded as the line up.
Here is a selection of production and manufacturing sites close to surf spots in Asia. Those places regularly recruit for management, technical and engineering roles based in small towns or remote places... Where great waves await after work!
1. Midigama Tyre Manufacturing Plant
Matara, Sri Lanka
Camso Loadstar runs this manufacturing plant in the vicinity of beautiful Borala Lake (Borala Wewa). Nearest waves are at Midigama Beach, a short 10 minutes tuk-tuk ride. Plenty of surf possibilities in a 30 minutes radius, from Unawatuna to Matara. And the villages of South Sri Lanka hide nice historical houses to live in. This may be the best place to achieve a work-life-surf balance. The good news is they are hiring!
Borala Lake near the tyre factory. View from the road going to Midigama Beach. Photo © Singasurf
2. Batu Hijau Copper Mine
PT Aman Mineral operates this open pit mine. The nearest surfing beach is 30 minutes drive away, in Sekongkang Bay. The main townsite, where the mine's staff reside, is just 10 minutes by car to the surf spots of Yo-Yo's and Tropical. Housing options are limited to the mine’s townsite houses... or a room in a surf camp on the beach! Another mine is coming to life in Sumbawa: Vale Group started hiring for roles based in Hu'u, not far from Lakey Peak.
The way to happiness? The route from Batu Hijau mining site to Nomad Surf Resort on the beach. Photo © Google Maps
3. Lhoknga Cement Factory
Lafarge's cement plant is literally located on the seashore as it includes a jetty for its shipping activities. The surf is accessible by a short walk to the beach. The main surf spot, A-Frame, is a 10 minutes ride by motorbike: perfect for dawn session before going to the office. Housing options vary from the quiet seaside village of Lhoknga or the bustling town of Aceh. Similar work and surf possibilities at the cement plants of Padang (Sumatra), Bayah (close to Sawarna, Java) and Cilacap (Java).
Lhoknga Cement Factory in Aceh. For quick lunch sessions, best is to opt for the wave right in front of the factory. Photo © Hendro Utomo Pambudi
4. Oil & Gas Production
Vung Tau, Vietnam
PetroVietnam concentrates its activities around Vung Tau, the gateway to the country offshore platforms. The city is also home of Back Beach, a long stretch of sand receiving swell almost year round. Housing is similar to what can be found in any city, from apartment building to landed houses, yet with a nice village feel in some areas. There are regular openings for petrochemicals related jobs with PetroVietnam and its contracting partners, international oil services firms.
Back Beach borders Vung Tau on the east side of the town. View from Mount Nho. Photo © Singasurf
5. Kerteh Bio Tech Plant
Arkema and CJ groups jointly operate a chemical plant in the oil and gas center of peninsular Malaysia. The surf is seasonal with waves in Kerteh itself. Other surf spots can be easily reached by car, including Kijal (20mn), Cherating (1h) and Marang (1h30mn). Common housing is a landed property in a village nearby, preferably close to the beach. The plant is consistently hiring for various roles.