Java is famed for having a rich history, beautiful sights, and pleasant tropical weather. But is it really the digital nomad paradise that people make it up to be?
To answer this, and the ultimate question: Can you work remotely from Java Island — this DN has done his legwork!
So, keep reading to find out all of the specificities, and whether and where you can live and work should you decide to come here.
Java Island for Digital Nomads at a Glance
- Low cost of living.
- Beautiful nature and surfing spots.
- Indonesia’s main economic hub.
- Water and air pollution.
An Introduction to Java Island
Java, an island in Indonesia, is bordered by the Java Sea to the north and the Indian Ocean to the south and is thought of as the country’s personal paradise.
In addition to the incredible landscapes, Java is also where much of Indonesia’s history took place. So it’s no surprise that in modern times, the island dominates Indonesia culturally, as well as politically and economically.
Connectivity in Java
A lot of islands all over the world struggle with low internet speeds and bad connections. But if you want to work remotely from Java Island, you’ll be happy to know that connectivity isn’t that much of a problem there.
WiFi in Java
As soon as you land (anywhere) in Indonesia, you’ll likely be able to find a WiFi connection. However, to get online, you often only have to check in with the information desk. What’s more, most major hotels in Indonesia and Java offer free WiFi to their guests.
With that said, one important thing to note is that according to speedtest.net, Indonesia ranks 119th in the world for the fastest broadband internet. The average download and upload speeds are 25.58 Mbps and 14.7 Mbps respectively.
4G and Mobile in Java
As far as mobile speeds in Java go, there surprisingly isn’t much of a discrepancy from the WiFi ones. Moreover, ranked 110th, the island boasts 4G speeds of 21.45 Mbps for download and 12.29 for upload.
A great way to get your hands on a reliable internet connection is with an Indonesian SIM card. You can get one at most airports, and to register, all you need is a passport or KITAP/KITAS. SIM cards are not only easy to come by, but they’re also pretty inexpensive, with prices starting at under a dollar ($0.70).
Pro Tip: If you’re in the market for a SIM card on Java Island, check out this comprehensive guide.
Visas and Documentation for Java
Depending on the length of your stay, there are different options to consider if you want to work remotely from Java Island. That being said, if you don’t plan on staying for more than 30 days, you are most likely eligible for a visa waiver. Otherwise, you ought to apply for one of the following.
Single Entry Visa
On its face, the single entry visa gives you 60 days on Java Island. However, with extensions, this visa allows you to stay in the country for up to 6 months. When applying you can state tourism, business, research etc. as the reason for your visit.
The caveat here is that you’ll need a sponsor (person or company). Also, as the name suggests, you won’t be able to leave the island and come back.
Multiple Entry Visa
This visa enables you to stay on the island for up to 12 months (60 days at a time). Also, unlike the single entry visa, you’ll be free to travel to and from wherever you want. However, keep in mind that you can only obtain it through a company sponsorship, which may be an issue for most.
Work and Stay Permit (ITAS / KITAS)
The visas I mentioned above are all intended for tourism purposes since there’s really not much regulation for digital nomads. So, if you plan on staying and working in Indonesia or Java longer than 60 days (up to 1 year), you should consider applying for work permits or a KITAS.
The downside is that these can be notoriously difficult to obtain, but worry not, there is a good solution I’ve discovered for my DNs. Some companies offer EOR (employer of record) services, and as such allow you to stay and work in the country legally.
Where Digital Nomads Live & Work in Java
Java’s average internet speed leaves a lot to be desired, and it reduces the number of options for living and working on the island. However, if you’re looking for the best places that will accommodate a nomadic lifestyle, you should consider these spots.
As Indonesia’s capital (and one of the two special Javanese regions), Jakarta is one of the top places for any digital nomads. The city has a lot going for it, especially considering the low cost of living. Overall, it’s pretty safe, you can walk almost everywhere (and if not, transport is cheap), and there are a ton of places to work from.
Living in Jakarta
As a somewhat established DN location, Jakarta has a good number of co-living spaces to offer.
If you’re on the market for an affordable, yet central place to live and work from, I think that the Airy Urban Complex could be a perfect fit for you. You can rent out a bed for $211 /month (with bills included), and reside in a room with AC, desk and chair, and a pretty comfy bed.
On the other hand, if you’re willing to pay an extra buck, FLOKQ has built some amazing co-living residences all over Jakarta. The prices range anywhere from $360 to nearly $2000 and their catalog is abundant. However, keep in mind that most units require a three-month commitment.
Working from Jakarta
At this point, it probably comes as no surprise to you that there’s an abundance of co-working spaces in Jakarta for you to choose from.
One of my favorites, Connext offers an eclectic space for DNs and entrepreneurs alike to work, brainstorm, and mingle. You can book a hot desk for $10.50 a day ( $70 a month), or an entire office for $210, both of which come with 24-hour access.
Within a similar price range, I also really like Greenhub, a space on level 38 of Tower A in Kota Kasablanka. The overall vibe is very calm, and you’ll have amazing views of the entire city wherever you sit.
Yogyakarta is another amazing spot for all digital nomads to consider, as it’s a bustling city with a population of around half a million. It’s a pretty popular tourist spot because it’s close to Prambanan and Borobudur temples.
Living in Yogyakarta
Should you find yourself in Yogyakarta, you ought to check out Atmos, a unique home away from home with cozy outdoor and indoor areas. While it isn’t exactly lux-living, it’s perfectly suited for low-key digital nomads and there’s a variety of rooms to choose from.
While staying in Yogyakarta, you should be able to work from your hostel or hotel as well, because most of them have pretty solid WiFi. Depending on your style and preferences, consider Wonderloft Hostel (quiet and quaint) or The Packer Lodge (community-based). Both are great, affordable options and offer free WiFi, among other amenities.
Working from Yogyakarta
With a unique, tropical interior, as well as great coffee and delicious food, G45 Space offers a one-of-a-kind experience. There’s an on-site restaurant, fast internet, cozy desks and chairs — and even an on-site barista! You can rent a desk for $30-50, and you surely won’t run out of things to do in the co-working space.
On the other side of the spectrum, exists Ruang Tengah. The space offers a homey vibe but comes with fast WiFi, free coffee, a printing and scanning room, and a lovely outdoor area. The best part, all of this could be yours for a mere $17 a month.
How is Java for Digital Nomads — My Final Thoughts
In general, if you’re looking to work remotely from Java Island, you’re in luck. Indonesia overall is a good place for digital nomads, especially those traveling on a budget. However, connectivity still leaves a lot to be desired, so make sure you research the places you’re staying before you book.