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About Me

About Me
CrystalPhuong.net is a Personal Style & Travel Blog based in Singapore, written by Crystal Phuong. The blog was nominated FOUR times in Top 10 Best Fashion Blogs in the annual Singapore Blog Award from 2012- 2015, voted as one of the Best Lifestyle Blogs in Singapore in 2013 by Hotelclub.com, and Best Travel Blogs in 2016 by Foodpanda.com. Crystal hopes to connect and inspire young women to lead a healthy and happy life. Be confident, be positive, and be kind.

WHAT TO DO IN YOGYAKARTA?


Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Sunrise in Borobudur temple

I visited Yogyakarta in April 2017. Because I posted so many photos about this trip on my Instagram (if you haven't followed me, you don't know what you miss), I thought I could skip writing blogs. But when I realized Instagram posts aren't going to give you much information about my experiences as a dedicated blog post, so here we go. After 2 years of collecting memories around the world (Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, Taiwan, Japan, USA, Indonesia, Dubai, London, Philippines), I'm back to the blogging business, trying to finish the blog entry about Indonesia while I'm sitting in my bed in South Korea. I certainly have a lot to catch up just from the country list above. For now, let's start with this trip so I can share with you what to do in Yogyakarta aka Jogja. 

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta

We stayed at Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta. Hyatt hotels always know how to treat their guests. The front desk invited us to the VIP lounge, served us fruit juice and while helping us to check in. The entire process was very quick and enjoyable. That's the way to welcome your guests!

It was still early when we arrived, so we decided to start the first activity of the trip. It wasn't the typical "hanging out by the pool and drinking pina colada" activity that I usually did. Instead, we went on a jeep tour (my first time) to explore Mt. Merapi, the most active volcano in Indonesia located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta. I know what you are thinking. I'm asking myself the same question too, "What was I thinking?" 😅  "What if the volcano suddenly erupts?" "What if its pyroclastic flows killed us on the way down?" I still love my life- the list of fear went on. But then, the adventurous and curious Crystal in me said: "Shut up and go." So after almost 2 hours driving up under the hot sun (if I can still remember well), here I was posing in my jeep car, looking like a badass on Mt. Merapi. Poor the jeep driver, though, he had to take many photos to get one good one. I hope his photography skill has improved since, so he can have many happy customers.

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Mt. Merapi

The most active volcano was sleeping while I was there. If you consider doing this tour, ask your guide to drive along the slope of Mt. Merapi that is totally destroyed after the last great eruption of Merapi in November 2010. It was fun. While doing so, let's pray that the volcano didn't erupt as I did.

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Mt. Merapi 2

Along the way to the mountain, you'll see many Instagram-worthy spots like this heart-shaped deck where I was standing. Instagram truly changes our lives, including the people at Mt. Merapi. I bet 10 years ago, no one in Mt. Merapi thought this woody spot could generate income for them. Do you want to have an Instagram photo? $2 and the heart-shaped deck is yours for 3 minutes. Easy money!

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Mt. Merapi volcano

After Mount. Merapi, we drove down to visit Prambanan temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site also known as the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia and the second-largest in Southeast Asia (according to Wikipedia). Prambanan temple is built in 10th century and is a complex of 240 temples. You heard it right. 240 temples. It's impossible to visit all of them, so I could only walk to the main temple and decided to admire this magnificent beauty through my photos and memories I had of this place. I didn't know what to do and where to go in Yogyakarta because I had someone else planned the entire trip, so when I got here, I was overwhelmed. I couldn't stop looking up.

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Prambanan temple

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Prambanan temple 2

From Prambanan temple, we moved to Candi Ijo (Ijo temple) as our tour guide said this is the best place to catch the sunset in Jogja. He clearly knew what he was doing. Look at this sunset view.

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta-  Sunset in Yogyakarta 2

I'd do anything for the sunset photo including climbing up to this unstable deck so I could look like a Wonder Woman looking over Yogyakarta

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta-  Sunset in Yogyakarta

or standing at the edge of the rooftop while looking like my knees wasn't feeling weak at all. Crazy things we do when we are young, you know.

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta-  Sunset in Yogyakarta 3

We went back to the hotel after watching the sunset and the first thing came to my mind: pool time. 

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta-  Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta

That's not the hotel pool in case you are wondering. 

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta-  Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta 2

The next morning, we woke up at 4 am so that we could catch sunrise Borobudur temple. It's a must-do activity in Yogyakarta. I'm not a morning person, but I won't mind giving up my sleep for a beautiful view like this. 

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Borobudur temple

I had no idea what to expect and I was trying to wake myself up while walking in the dark, all the way to the top of this temple. By the time we arrived at the top, I was wide awake and blown away by the stunning view. This temple is beyond your imagination.

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Sunrise in Borobudur temple

This sunrise made the steep climb at 4 am so worth it. 

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Sunrise in Borobudur temple 2

After leaving Borobudur, we went to Mendut temple another ancient monument in Jogja. What caught my attention was this giant tree just right outside the temple. I just had to take a moment to appreciate this beauty.

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Candi Pawon temple

Then, we ended up at King Palace before heading back to the hotel. 

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Kraton royal palace

Day 3, we woke up early for the breakfast and left hotel quite early for another day full of exciting adventures. 

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Breakfast at Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta

An hour drive from the hotel later, we arrived at Jomblang Cave, a collapsed sinkhole that's part of a cave system that runs through Gunung Kidul, outside Yogyakarta.

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Jomblang cave

Behind us, that's the cave entrance. There is any road for you to climb up or walk down, hence, this place is definitely not for the faint heart. You need to wear proper footwear (rubber boots given by the local tour), helmet, and master the single robe technique. Then, they'll lower you down 30 meters to the ground.

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Jomblang Cave 2

It was scary at first, but as soon as I placed my feet on the ground, the excitement kicked in. In front of me was the gigantic, dark, mysterious cave that is full of hidden surprise. The tunnel is 250 meters long approximately. The further you go, the darker it gets, and you'll need a torchlight to be able to see things inside. It's dark, muddy and slippery. I wasn't too sure about what I was doing and why I let myself get into this situation. But as the saying goes "The cave you fear holds the treasure you seek," I indeed found my treasure upon reaching to this spot called "Light of Heaven."

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Jomblang Cave 3


Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Jomblang Cave 5

As if Jomblang Cave wasn't impressive enough, the tour guide recommended us to try river tubing at Goa Pindul.  Goa Pindul is a cave formed by karst with an underground river located about 7 kilometres south of the city centre Wonosari, Gunung Kidul. All we had to do was to sit back, relax, and let the crystal clear river take us to discover the hidden beauty of Pindul Cave. 

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Goa Pindul

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Goa Pindul 2

To me, river tubbing at Pindul Cave was a wind down moment after the adventure at Jomblang. Then, I came back to this rose petal spa after a long day out in nature. It was a perfect trip. 

Crystal Phuong- What to do in Yogyakarta- Spa at Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta


That pretty much sums up my Yogyakarta trip. Now, if you have never heard of Yogyakarta or still consider visiting this city, I highly recommend you make a trip. This city won't disappoint you, I guarantee!

Thank you so much for reading!
Crystal Phuong
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