Isa Abroad: Week 6 – Vietnam/Thailand

Mogu Mogu & Boba- November 8 (Tuesday)

mogu mogu drink
spa hoi an

Today I moved to a different hostel; although I enjoyed the people at Wanderlust Hostel and being close to the beach, the dorm rooms were incredibly small and I wanted to live in the town for a bit. I chose a hostel that had 10 stars on Hostelworld (with 300+ reviews) so I was very curious. 

I immediately saw why the reviews were so high, this hostel had everything: a great coworking space/cafe, cozy lounge, rooftop, huge rooms, beds with curtains, good community, and the owner was so incredibly nice. If you’re ever in Hoi An, definitely stay at SnapStay. 

I chatted to some girls from the UK who were studying lingerie/swimwear (I forget the actual name of their major) which was so fascinating to me. Fashion school is very enticing to me, I feel like in a past life I would’ve gone to fashion school. When I was little I was always sketching designs for clothing, but then when my mom tried to teach me to sew I just didn’t have the patience. I did make one shirt but the process was so long that I gave up after that.

That night I met up with Mogu Mogu and we had dinner at a noodle restaurant that was lovely but eerily empty. We walked around a bit after and then decided get foot massages, my new favorite pastime. We were right by the canal, which was beautifully lit with hundreds of lanterns, and had the perfect vantage point to watch boats and tourists pass by. The people-watching was enjoyable until a group of drunken middle-aged white men came up and asked the owner of the massage parlor for a “special massage”. Apparently this is a very common occurrence, these kinds of men go on vacation to Southeast Asia for this type of thing, which honestly makes me sick to my stomach.

After the massage there was more bad news, I discovered that Mogu Mogu had never tried boba tea before, so of course, we had to embark on an adventure to find this fantastic drink. If you’ve never had boba—which would be very sad—it is a Taiwanese tea drink with tapioca pearls. 

The verdict was a 7/10 on the boba. Then I discovered that Mogu Mogu had never tried Mogu Mogu (an amazing drink with coconut jelly). I had first tried it in Barcelona and was obsessed with the texture of the coconut jelly. The drink itself isn’t anything special, but the coconut jelly makes it amazing. Although, I did eventually discover that you could just buy a jar of coconut jelly by itself.

So we checked at least four different mini marts before finding the drink. After a serious debate of which flavor to try, there are at least fifteen different collector flavors, we settled on Apple, which I had never tried before. The verdict was 10/10, which made me very happy. I think one of the things that makes me the most happy in life is seeing people enjoy something that I’ve recommended, whether it’s food, music, movies, travel destination.

Final Day in Hoi An – November 9 (Wednesday)

Vietnamese egg coffee
hoi an streets

Today was fairly boring, I was sick with some virus that was flying around the Vietnam hostels. I did break my no sugar rule to try the famous Vietnamese egg coffee and was very happy that I did. It is a double shot of espresso topped with a frothy concoction of egg yolk (which added a merengue taste, not omelette flavoring, thankfully), condensed milk, and vanilla.

That night I decided to get a facial, which was an interesting experience. They dipped my feet into a warm foot bath with flower petals while I waited for the lady to come in. From what I’ve gathered, the people working at the spas/massage parlors are “freelancers” in a way because they bounce between the different businesses whenever they get a call. 

I had various goops and scrubs applied to my face and what felt like a boiling kettle close to my face? I couldn’t open my eyes but I had the feeling that I might burn my face off if I made a wrong move. The lady said to be very careful and then left the room without any further explanation. Afterwards, they sat me down and gave me tea and watermelon. Overall, a lovely and odd experience.

Da Nang – November 10 (Thursday)

marble mountains danang
danang beach
danang at night

Today I met up with one of my best friends in the whole world, Turtle, who I met my sophomore year of university. She had been travelling in the Philippines and would be visiting me in Phuket for a few days, but we coincided in Da Nang for one night. 

I absolutely love seeing my friends from home, it is one of the best feelings to be around someone who truly knows you after months of meeting new people. I often do make deep connections with new people very fast, which is necessary when you travel so much, but nothing can compare to a friendship of many years.

We had amazing vegan bowls for brunch, walked around the beach, visited the tourist attraction of the Marble Mountains, and ended the day with a night market. Da Nang was surprisingly nice, it wasn’t too chaotic—especially compared to Ho Chi Minh— the beach was beautiful, the city is filled with colorful glowing lights at night, and there seemed like there was a lot to do.

The First Day in Phuket – November 11 (Friday)

homa phuket thailand
homa phuket thailand twin room
flight into phuket

I was sad to leave Turtle so soon but I was consoled with the knowledge that I would see her in less than a week. I took my early morning flight from Da Nang to Phuket, then embarked on an hour long taxi ride to Homa, my new coliving for the next month. 

When the taxi pulled into Homa, I was pretty shocked, even though I had seen pictures already. It looked like the type of luxury hotel that I could never afford to stay at, and yet I was paying $560 for my own mini studio for the month. 

That day I didn’t do much, I was still sick so I just walked to the grocery store, bought most of the necessities, had a simple dinner and went to bed early.

HOMA – November 12 (Saturday)

homa phuket thailand
homa phuket thailand
homa phuket thailand

Another easy-going day, I went to the store again to buy some of the things I had forgotten the day before, plus a mango stuffed animal because I had to leave my little piggie in Chiang Mai with Lolly. 

I also explored the complex which has an infinity pool, gym, yoga studio, and coworking area. There is even a little 7/11 vending machine and fancy Japanese style coffee machine with hundreds of flavors of coffees, drinks, and protein shakes.

The whole place looked amazing but I was a bit worried about meeting people. At Alt, in Chiang Mai, it was a much smaller community and everyone there was working remotely. But here there were a lot of families and couples on vacation, plus the coworking are was completely silent. It looked like a room of coding robots, I genuinely might be the only one who isn’t a coder here. Also, everyone is Russian. Don’t have much to say on that yet, but I’m sure I will in the future. I’m used to being surrounded by Germans or British people, but I can’t say I’ve encountered many Russians. 

But only time will tell how the community is here, besides Turtle is coming soon and after that Lolly would be visiting as well.

***

That’s it, until next week!

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