You are probably asking yourself where should I stay in Yogyakarta? I was in Yogyakarta for almost three years and lived in almost every part of the city (Hahaha yeah, I am a bit weird). Each part of Yogyakarta has a unique atmosphere that will attract different types of people, but before I tell you more about the different areas of Yogyakarta I want to share a fun little fact with you.

If you ask for directions in Yogyakarta people don’t say ‘go straight and turn right at the crossroads.’ Instead they say, ‘go straight and at the crossroads turn east.’ So if you’re asking yourself where you want to stay in the city you need to think about it like a compass. Do you want to stay in the North, South, East or West (Malioboro is at the center)?

So now you understand how locals talk about Yogyakarta. Here’s a quick guide to where to stay in Yogyakarta. You can use the links below to jump to the part of the city you want to visit. Each section covers a short description of the area, the tourist attractions, best places to eat and where to stay. I’ll start with my favorite part of Yogyakarta.

The 5 Parts of Yogyakarta

1 – The South (Jalan Prawirotaman): Find Out More
2 – The Center (Malioboro): Find Out More
3 – The East (Airport): Find Out More
4 – The North (Luxury): Find Out More
5 – The West (Suburbs): Find Out More

Jalan Prawirotaman and the South

The South of Yogyakarta is where the artists live (call it the Bohemian part of the city). Tourism is centred on Jalan Prawirotaman, Jalan Perangtritis and Jalan Tirtodipuran. Restaurants and bars line the streets interspersed with clothes shops and tour operators. In the backstreets and alleyways surrounding the two roads you’ll find hotels, hostels and street stalls that cater to every budget.

Best Hotels

There are a lot of funky hotels around Prawirotaman (and more springing up all the time). One of my favourite hotels on Prawirotaman II is Greenhost Boutique Hotel. There’s always something going on here. The art space in the lobby is where they host exhibitions by local artists, fashion shows and other events. Across the road and up the road is Adhisthana Hotel.

Adhisthana is one of those places that tries to cater to everyone. Normally this ends up going horribly wrong with budget travellers opting for hostels and luxury travellers choosing something more upmarket… The marketing team at Adhisthana seem to have found the right balance though. The interior design (and exterior) of the hotel are gorgeous. Dorms start at Rp 135,000 a night and there are suites at $100+. Nice place. I paid to stay here last time I was in town.

Top Tourist Attractions

Most of the tourist attraction in Yogya are in the South of the city. Top of the list is the Keraton Water Palace. It’s amazing! Beautiful design with a great pool (unfortunately it’s empty most of the time). Round the corner from Keraton is the underground mosque. Well, I say round the corner… You have to follow an endless series of alleys, so it’s easy to get lost. I’d recommend bringing a guide to get you there.

Last on the list of things to see in the South of Yogyakarta is the town square (Alun Alun Selatan). It’s empty during the day and very busy with bling bling posh cars at night. I’d recommend visiting at least once just to see what it’s like, though you don’t need to join in. Make sure to get blindfolded and try to walk between the two big Banyan Trees (it’s supposed to bring good luck and it’s quite fun).

Best Restaurants and Bars

Did someone say gourmet French food for less than USD 5? They should have done, because that exactly what’s on offer at Mediterranea… The other great restaurant to check out of Jalan Tirtodipuran is Nanamia. For Indonesian food I recommend visiting Warung Handayani.

As for the bars, you can find them along Jalan Prawirotaman, Jalan Parangtritis and Jalan Tirtodipuran. One of the best bars in the South at the moment is K’Meals Bar & Resto, which has live band playing reggae music over the weekends. At the other end of the spectrum you have Asmara Art & Coffee Shop, which is the top choice for metal fans.

Malioboro (and the Center of Yogyakarta)

Malioboro is the most Koh San road of Yogya. It’s where all the backpackers head, though the area is getting a bit gentrified as property prices rise, you can still find plenty of home stays on the side streets that come off Malioboro.

While I don’t personally like Malioboro, I can understand the charm. The Sultan’s Palace is on the bottom end of the street alongside some grand colonial buildings, while the train station is at the top. There are plenty of bars around this part of town and even more street food options. You can also take a horse cart ride down the road, which is a tourist novelty.

Best Hotels

I know there are a lot of backpacker hotel/hostel/guesthouse/homestay around Malioboro, especially in Sosrowijayan Street and the alleys around it. My personal recommendation is Wakeup Homestay. The rooms are clean, the place is nice and it is very affordable. If you’re going a bit upmarket I’d recommend Neo Malioboro, a relatively new hotel that is quickly becoming one of the stars of the Malioboro area. Besides the friendly staff and the nice location, the swimming pool is one of the reasons this hotel has become so popular. Almost everyone loves the sky lounge of this hotel. It is a nice place to spend the evening.

At the top end you have Melia Purosani. For a 5 star hotel it’s quite cheap, the facilities are good and it’s central. The hotel is a rickshaw ride away from Malioboro. That or a short, but sticky walk (take the rickshaw).

Top Tourist Attractions

Jalan Malioboro is where you go to buy souvenirs and batik. The best place to buy batik clothing is Mirota Batik. The clothes are a lot cheaper than the ‘batik workshops’ people try to sell you on the street and the prices are fixed. I recommend the shop to my Indonesian friends, because yes, even Indonesian’s have to haggle normally. Beringharjo market is also interesting, but they usually charge quite a high rate to foreigners. So do bargain 🙂

Best Restaurants and Bars

There are a lot of street food stalls around Malioboro. The street food around here is average and over priced. For good street food check out: Angkringan Lik Man at Jl. Wongsodirjan, near the Tugu train station. This place is famous for its coffee with charcoal. There is one eating place that is pretty good, the name is Lesehan Terang Bulan. Their signature is fried pigeon, they also provide fried chicken and Gudeg.

Malioboro has a busy nightlife. Most of the popular bars and clubs are on the streets that come off Jalan Malioboro. Two bars that I’d recommend visiting are Oxen Free on Jalan Sosrowijayan and Lucifer. Oxen Free is more for flashpackers while Lucifer is a hangout for backpackers.

The East of Yogyakarta

The east of Yogyakarta is where you find the large university campuses and luxury shopping malls. Mixed in amongst this is student accommodation and the restaurants and services that cater to young people. It’s an interesting mix and a fun part of the city to be in (especially for the nightlife). The airport is conveniently close by.

Best Hotels

I lived in the east of Yogyakarta for a year and I liked it. The budget home stays and hotels are all in the residential areas, immediately off the main roads that cut through this part of town. Try to find something central. I’d recommend Mbak Charly’s, which is run by a friend of mine. Going up market I’d recommend either Grand Aston or Ambarrukmo Plaza (the nicest hotel in this part of the city).

Top Tourist Attractions

The fancy mall… That’s not fair. The Affandi Museum is an interesting place to visit. The museum is located in a funky building on the banks of the Gajah Wong River. The museum is a collection of works of art by the famous Indonesian artist Affandi. Prambanan Temple is also close by, well outside of the city 🙂

Best Restaurants and Bars

There are really good bars and restaurants around this part of town (especially cheap places to eat). If you’re looking for a special place to eat try Abhayagiri Restaurant. It’s in the Sumberwatu Heritage Resort and the view is great. Two other places I highly recommend in the East of Yogyakarta are Omah Dhuwur Restaurant, which offers a mix of international and Javanese cuisine and Ayam Goreng Ny. Suharti, which does great fried chicken.

I mentioned the nightlife before right… Well, I’d start with Cubic Kitchen & Bar. It’s a great place to have a drink, hang our and meet expats from Yogyakarta.

The North of Yogyakarta

The North of Yogya is where you stay if you have money or are coming to the city on a business trip. There’s a lot of upscale residential housing, luxury hotels and new malls. Unfortunately it is a bit out of the way. You’ll need a car to get anywhere and it takes a bit of time. I wouldn’t recommend it, but at the same time if you just want to stay in a resort and take day trips it’s a good choice.

Best Hotels

I’m going to skip budget options for the north of Yogyakarta, because this part of town is where you stay when you want a nice hotel. My two top choices are Hyatt Regency, which is one of the most popular hotels for my customers, and Hotel Tentrem. Out of the two, hotel Tentrem is the newest, while Hyatt Regency has the nicer facilities (with huge gardens, a golf course and a great breakfast).

Top Tourist Attractions

The two main tourist attractions that you can find if you head north out of Yogyakarta are the Merapi Lava Tour and Ulen Sentalu Museum. If you join the Merapi Lava Tour you get taken on an off-road adventure around the area where the last Merapi volcanic eruption occurred. It’s an interesting experience (you can read about it here). The Ullen Sentalu Museum is also a fun place to visit. If you find the history and culture of Java interesting I’d recommend coming here.

One of the most popular clubs in the north of the city is Boshe. You can read reviews about the club here. There is also Liquid Cafe that you should check out.

The West of Yogyakarta

If you are looking for where to stay in Yogyakarta I’d actually recommend avoiding the west of the city. It’s not that it’s a bad area, it’s actually quite nice, but there’s really not much to see.

The west of Yogyakarta is a mixture of residential housing and businesses. There aren’t any tourism destinations in this part of the city, though there are some great places to visit around it (more on that below).

Top Tourist Attractions

There are a few interesting tourist attractions located to the west of Yogyakarta. The attractions are mostly for nature lovers, but they are amazing. Highlights include Kalibiru National Park, tea plantation Nglinggo and Glagah Beach.

My favourite tourist destination in the west of Yogyakarta is Kalibiru National Park. The park is a photographers dream and very Instagrammable. The park offers some great views overlooking the countryside (sometimes pictures are better than words, this is one of those moments).

Final Thoughts

I hope this review of where to stay in Yogyakarta gives you some ideas about the city. Picking the right place to stay in a city can really make your holiday special. I hope this guide to Yogyakarta makes it easier for you to decide where to stay.

Best Hotels in Yogya for Every Budget

Luxury Hotel – The Phoenix Hotel
Mid Range Hotel – Greenhost Boutique Hotel
Budget Hotel – Adhisthana Hotel Yogyakarta

P.S. Need help arranging your Yogyakarta holidays? Save yourself some time! Here’s a list of Shared and Private tours.

Where did you stay in Yogyakarta? What do you think of the city? Help other travellers by sharing your thoughts in the comments below.