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  • Writer's pictureKelly Alica Liman

Living in Yogyakarta as a Digital Nomad

Yogyakarta is a special region in Indonesia, known for its rich history that is still very much alive. If you're looking for a place where you can live and breathe history and culture, Yogyakarta is the place to go. It’s ideal for those looking for a smaller city and a slower pace than Jakarta, while keeping modern infrastructure you may need and sights to visit when you're off work. That’s why we have created this guide about living as a Digital Nomad in Yogyakarta. We will share with you some pro tips, such as costs of living, the best neighborhoods to stay in, and useful spots for digital nomads. Without further ado, let’s jump into it!



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Why Live in Yogyakarta as a Digital Nomad?


In case you were wondering if you can live in Indonesia as a foreigner, we have written for you some pros and cons to deciding on your next destination. Here is a short list:


Pros:

  1. It’s the center of Javanese culture, a predominant one in Indonesia: Yogyakarta is a cultural hub known for its traditional crafts and performing arts. The city is home to the 18th-century royal complex, Kraton, known for its still-inhabited Sultan’s Palace as well as its open-air pavilions that host events like gamelan concerts, Wayang Kulit, and Javanese dance performances. You can learn how to create Batik, a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to the whole cloth that creates unique patterns, and you can also learn traditional dances.

  2. It’s a world-class archaeological site and history: you can see beautiful remnants of the past in the temple of Borobudur and Prambanan, a UNESCO world heritage site. You can learn about the ancient heritage and the fascinating stories and mythology hailing centuries ago.

  3. The food is diverse and affordable: though the whole of Indonesia has amazing and unique cuisine in every city, Yogyakarta itself is known for its Javanese cuisine. It leans on the sweeter side, so it might not be to everyone’s liking. Nonetheless, the food is amazing to try. You should definitely try Gudeg, Bakpia, and Jamu, some of the most characteristic dishes here. Sweetness is a constant in their cuisine, to the point that even tea tastes sweet in every place. For those who are not into this, fear not, there are still many other options to try, mostly at affordable prices.

  4. Transportation is reliable, and traffic is tolerable: compared to other cities in Indonesia, Yogyakarta is quite accessible. You can move around with various transport options, such as ride-hailing apps, buses (TransJogja), or even becak (bicycle-rickshaws). There are also areas where you can move by bike and walk around (Malioboro). This does not mean that there is no heavy traffic, yet it is not as bad as cities like Jakarta, Bandung, and even Bali.





Cons:

  1. Heated temperatures: though definitely not the hottest city in Indonesia, it is relatively hotter compared to other popular ones. Many prefer Bali for its fresh-air breezes, or Bandung, which is known to be windier and colder.

  2. Crime is on the rise: Yogyakarta used to be safe to travel alone even at night. However, there is currently a rise in various crimes from petty thefts to more serious mugging termed as klitih. Despite this existing in almost every big city in Indonesia (and other countries, for that matter), it is still advisable to travel with a partner or to have a guide that can accompany you during your stay. Needless to say, avoid traveling alone at night.





What is the Cost of Living in Yogyakarta?


Generally speaking, the cost of living in Yogyakarta is cheaper than in other big cities, but as it usually happens, it depends on where you plan to live and what sort of life you expect to have here. We’ll share with you some rough numbers:


Total for a single person per month:

  • Low range (eating affordable food, cooking your meals frequently, very occasional nightlife outings, doing some activities, renting a scooter, paying seldom taxi rides, renting a room in a hostel): USD 250

  • High range (eating expensive food in restaurants/cafes often, indulging in nightlife, doing plenty of activities/classes, renting a scooter/car, renting a whole villa): USD 1,500





Itemized prices for a single person per month:

  • Rent:

    • Airbnb (average for one bed): USD 44 per night

    • Average Studio: USD124 per night

    • Long-term stay: range could be between USD 19 - USD 640 per night.

  • Utilities (water, electricity, phone, internet): USD 64, depending on usage. Keep in mind that some places also include this in the price.

  • Groceries: USD 25

  • Dining out and drinking alcoholic beverages: USD 58 - USD 320

  • Transport (Ride-hailing/Bus/Renting a car with a driver): USD 19 - USD 480

  • Activities (i.e., Temple visits): USD20 - USD 200 per activity





What are the Best Neighborhoods to Stay In Yogyakarta?


Now that we have covered the general costs of living, let’s mention the best places to stay in Yogyakarta, with a small description of each to see which one suits you best.


Malioboro

Regarded as the city’s iconic core, it is marked by Malioboro Road, the main and most famous street. Malioboro is a hub for tourism, shopping, and nightlife, with something to do 24/7. There are plenty of landmarks, stores, and traditional restaurants, as well as historical and cultural attractions.


Best for: digital nomads who want to experience everything Yogya has to offer



Prawirotaman

This is the trendy neighborhood of Yogyakarta, with stylish boutique hotels and hostels, trendy cafes, street art, hipster hotspots, galleries, artistic workshops, and collaborative spaces.


Best for: digital nomads with a creative spirit





Sosrowijayan

Located in the heart of the local tourist shopping area, this one is popular among backpackers. There are plenty of hostels, homestays, and local food and street stalls.


Best for: digital nomads who want to live in the hustle and bustle of the city



Kota Gede

In this ancient neighborhood, you’ll find many historical and cultural landmarks that showcase Javanese architecture.


Best for: digital nomads who are into culture and heritage landmarks





How to Find Short-Term and Long-Term Accommodation in Yogyakarta?


Do any of the above neighborhoods sound like you? Then, let’s take a look at the best ways of securing short and long-term stays. For the latter, we suggest starting with a short-term stay and once there, you can begin searching for longer stays by visiting the places first and ensuring everything is as advertised.


Short-Term (days to weeks):

  • Airbnb: it has the most options for standalone villas, apartments, and rooms.

  • Booking.com: more hotels, villas, and hostels from cheap to expensive.


Long-Term (months):





Top 5 Coworking Spaces in Yogyakarta


As a digital nomad hotspot, there are plenty of coworking spaces all across Yogyakarta. We will list only five of them here, based on positive reviews, but we encourage you to try others as well while in Yogyakarta. Let’s take a look at some prominent ones:


IndigoHub Jogja is an incubation hub for developers in the games, edutainment, music, animation, and software services industries. It is a strategic forum for potential individual developers and startup companies being active at the booming IT market.


Location: Jl. Kartini No.7, Terban, Kec. Gondokusuman, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55223, Indonesia




Genius Idea provides modern offices, coworking spaces, and event venues. The workspace is innovative and comfortable, fostering a productive, collaborative work environment and assisting their visitors’ development.


Location: Magelang St No.32-34, Cokrodiningratan, Jetis, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta 55233, Indonesia






This place has a very strategic location near a college campus, with lots of amenities in an open and semi-outdoor building. On the first and second floors, there is plenty of space for coworking as well as meeting rooms. The outdoor and second floors are open to smokers, while the only air-conditioned and non-smoking area is a smaller room on the first floor where the food counter is located.


Location: Jl.Cendrawasih No.32 B, Demangan, Caturtunggal, Kec. Depok, Kabupaten Sleman, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia




This collaborative space is ideal for startups, entrepreneurs, creative makers, and communities. Identified as a women-led business, users find it a cozy place to study, work and meet like-minded individuals.


Location: Tawangsari CT II Gg. Gayamsari II No.9C, Karang Wuni, Caturtunggal, Kec. Depok, Kabupaten Sleman, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia




Another good option in Yogyakarta. It is a comfortable coworking space with fast internet, cozy chairs, and reasonable food and beverage prices. They have both indoor and outdoor areas.


Location: Jl. Watugede No.58, Wonorejo, Sariharjo, Kec. Ngaglik, Kabupaten Sleman, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55581, Indonesia






Top 5 Working Cafes in Yogyakarta


If you need a break from your villa or the coworking spaces available, Yogyakarta has several cafes to discover, so make sure to look around and do some cafe-hopping. We list here some of the more work and laptop-friendly cafes available in Yogyakarta for you to start browsing:


A very comfortable place to work or just hang out. They have a diverse menu ranging from coffee to non-coffee options, appetizers to desserts, all of which are delicious. It has a nice ambiance and service.


Location: Jalan Gambir 4, Karang Gayam CT VIII No.139, Caturtunggal, Kec. Depok, Kabupaten Sleman, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia




Couvee is an Indonesian food and beverage brand based in Yogyakarta founded in 2017. It is based on the idea that anyone can enjoy coffee. Whether you prefer light and sweet coffee or strong coffee with no sugar, you can always enjoy it with your personal preferences in Couvee while you get some work done.


Location: Kaliurang St No.Km 5.2, Manggung, Caturtunggal, Depok, Sleman Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia






Blanco Coffee Indonesia began as a small, locally-owned coffee shop in the heart of Jogjakarta. Small and cozy, it provides a suitable environment for you to take your laptop and work while trying its specialty coffee.


Location: Jl. Kranggan No.30, Cokrodiningratan, Kec. Jetis, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55233, Indonesia




A small but comfortable space to work and study, with a good atmosphere and high-speed internet connection. It serves great coffee for a reasonable price. Users adore the desserts in the place as well the wines.


Location: Jl. Palagan Tentara Pelajar No.61C, Panggung Sari, Sariharjo, Kec. Ngaglik, Kabupaten Sleman, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55581, Indonesia




A good coffee shop with some areas for working, studying, and even hanging out with your friends. The location is close to the main road, and parking spaces for cars and motorcycles are ample. There are two side areas, one outdoor and one indoor.


Location: Jl. Demangan Baru No.18, Demangan Baru, Caturtunggal, Kec. Depok, Kabupaten Sleman, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia






Closing thoughts on Living in Yogyakarta as a Digital Nomad


Yogyakarta is a lovely place to visit, where you can find fascinating historical locations and indulge in the culture, art, and traditions that live with the locals. Besides, the view of sunrise or sunset at Borobudur Temple makes a visit to the city worth it. If you are thinking of packing your bags and your laptop to go to Yogyakarta, you might want to check out your eligibility for the Indonesia 10-Year Visa Program.




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