Many asked me if the 12 hour flight from DC to Hawaii really worth it. Well I have to admit it was a pretty loong flight. And if you are going only to Oahu, then its not! But if you choose to hop on to another island like Maui or Kauai then I am pretty sure you will forget the strenous ride.
Why did we choose Kauai over Maui?
Actually no real reason other than I just fell in love with the videos and pictures I saw of NaPali coast and I hadnt seen anything that dramatic in my life. Also I found out Maui has gotten little more commercial in the past few years but Kauai is still rustic and free of tourists for the most part.
How many days should you go?
We are a bit of restless travelers and we like to see everything that the place offers. 7 days is good for 2 islands in my mind but then again its a very subjective decision. Also I think the length of the trip depends on what you want from your vacation. Decide whether you are going as explorers of new cultures and new experiences or to unwind and relax.
Top 10 things to do in Honolulu, Oahu :
1. North Shore Beaches
North Shore beaches are generally less crowded and the drive from Honolulu is a very pretty 1 hour drive with scenic mountains on your sides. Also these beaches are very popular during the winter season for surfing. The famous Pipeline Bonsai wave is in Pupukea Beach.
Turtle Beach: Great beach to snorkel with the turtles.
2. Matsomoto Shave Ice
Awesome place to get your shave ice concoctions in the North Shore. There is a crowd usually waiting in line, so plan for it if you are going on a weekend.
3. See a Polynesian show
We went to Paradise Cove but I think if we had an extra day, we would have gone to the Polynesian Cultural Center to check out the different polynesian villages and their Reve performance at night. Paradise Cove didnt disappoint us as for the show but they made us repeat Aloha & Mahalo 17 times and it got a bit weary.
4. Hike the Diamond Head Crater
You get a 360 panoramic view of Honolulu and its a easy hike of about 45 mins. Start your day early to beat the morning sun glaring on your pictures.
5. Eat breakfast at Liliha Bakery
Most yummiest breakfast, you get to avoid the tourists in Waikiki and eat the original cuisine of Honolulu. Coco Puffs is a must here!
6. Waikiki Beach
To watch the most crowded beach and the sexiest bikinis and to watch the surfers catch their big waves.The roads are lined up with luxury resorts and the Kalahua Avenue is glamorously filled with all the designer stores Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and so many more..
Might be the most cliche to drink a MaiTai, but hey, you need to check that off your list. MaiTai bar in Royal Hawaiian was a good setting to sip on a cocktail and enjoy the sunset on the beach.
7. Malasadas Malasadas Malasadas
This ranks pretty high on my list. Its Portugese Donuts, and the most yummiest kind wth cream filling inside. Leonards Bakery is the place !
8. Cage Diving with the Sharks in North Shore, Oahu
Sun was very disappointed that we didn’t get to do this and we cursed the fact that we didnt book early.
9. Honolulu Chinatown
Every first Friday there is a gallery walk featuring local artists, performances and live music. Trendy bars, Pho, Dim Sum and produce markets make you feel like you are in Asia.
10. Eat at Alan Wongs Restaurant
Alan wong is a renowned chef, winner of many awards, serves up regional Hawaiian cuisine and supposedly one of the best restaurants in Honolulu.
Bonus Tip: If you are like me, choose a place to stay in a quiter area farther away from the Waikiki crowds, I chose the W Hotel at Diamond Head, its has absolutely the best views from their lanais of the Diamond Head and has the beautiful Bali furniture.