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britman Honolulu - A travel report by Brit
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Honolulu,  United States - flag United States -  Hawaii
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britman's travel reports

Aloha - Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

  34 votes
Page: 1 2
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii – the very words conjure up a South Seas Polynesian sun kissed dream of white beaches, turquoise seas, palm trees and lei clad hula dancers wearing simple clothing and nothing but the prettiest of tropical flowers. Undeniably Honolulu was once very beautiful, very simple, very enjoyable – then mass tourism arrived and it became packaged!


Aloha Oahu Sunrise
Aloha Oahu Sunrise
The marketing men went wild, selling this dream. They were truthful – Oahu’s natural beauty from sunrise to sunset is so spectacular that holidaymakers, vacationers – call them what you will, arrived in their millions from all over the United States, then from Japan and then the rest of the world. The Hawaiians joked that the Japanese bombed it (referring to the 1941 World War II attack on Pearl Harbour) then they came back and bought it. In the 1970’s and 1980’s friendly Waikiki beachfront bars where you once sipped your cocktail and peacefully watched the sun set changed overnight into sushi- bars “to go”. Real estate prices went through the roof and Honolulu rose from the ground into the sky and it has never stopped growing upwards and outwards ever since. Modern history began on the 18th January 1778 when Captain Cook from Whitby, England sailed from there and landed on the island of Kauai during his search for the North West Passage. On this occasion Cook was received as a god; - returning 8 months later he was killed in a skirmish.

Favourite spots:
Waikiki Beach from the Pink Palace looking towards Diamond Head
Waikiki Beach from the Pink Palace looking towards Diamond Head
The indigenous Hawaiians are a melting pot of races and cultures fused since 500AD when settlers began arriving from other Polynesian Islands. Much later in the 19th century large numbers of Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos and Koreans swarmed in to the islands to work on the sugar and pineapple plantations. Hawaii does have a very varied ethnic racial mix who, all appear for the best part, to be so incredibly friendly. So much so that I understand that half the marriages on Oahu are inter-racial.
There so many things to do here – it’s best to pick up the local freebie “Honolulu Weekly” or Fridays Honolulu Advertiser to see “what’s on”.
My five favourite things to see:-
1. Waikiki Beach.
2. Chinatown – Honolulu downtown.
3. Pearl Harbour.
4. Foster Botanical Gardens on Nuuanu Avenue
5. Self Drive Island Tour,

What's really great:
Lifeguard at the ready
Lifeguard at the ready
Number one attraction! Has to be Waikiki Beach –Just 3½ miles S.E. of the downtown area of Honolulu. It is one of the most famous surfing beaches in the world. It is 2½ miles long and crowded with tourists from dawn to dusk. It is about sunbathing - people watching par excellence. It’s also about surfing – long boards, short boards, boogie boards whether you participate or just watch – it’s great! Waikiki beach is home to several famous hotels. Singapore has Raffles, Madeira has Reid’s and New York has The Waldorf. Honolulu has The Pink Palace (the Royal Hawaiian Hotel) it has become an institution; enter from Waikiki Beach and sip a cocktail or a beer - expensive yes – but it’s worth every penny. Travelling is about experiences that you’ll never forget – the Pink Palace will be one of those - I guarantee!

Sights:
Waikiki Trolley Bus at Diamond Head
Waikiki Trolley Bus at Diamond Head
Getting about:-

Candidly without a car in Oahu seeing the island is difficult. A car is not at all necessary if you wish to limit your trip to just Honolulu and more specifically Waikiki in fact it can be an expensive nuisance.

From the airport to downtown is about 8 miles you can take the shuttle bus for about £8. A taxi to Waikiki is around three times as much as the Waikiki Airport Shuttle at around $20-25 – but make sure you check the price first.

If you are 21 (25+ in some cases) all major car hire rental firms are represented at the airport, the cruise terminal and at major resort hotels.

Oahu has an excellent bus system which runs regularly to all points over the island and you are more likely to meet locals rather than tourists on most of these routes.

Downtown Honolulu is a nightmare for cyclists – outside the city though it is much better.


Accommodations:
The Pink Palace an institution
The Pink Palace an institution
As ever will depend upon your budget;

It has the very best – The Royal Hawaiian and Sheraton Moana would set you back at least $250 and probably $400++ per room per night at peak times. See www.sheraton-hawaii.com

Try this site for more reasonable accommodation:- www. honolulu.hotelguide.net

For some budget alternatives: www.andhawaii.com/hawaii/budget-travel/appendix.html


Nightlife:
Waikiki sun sea sand and sailing
Waikiki sun sea sand and sailing
Loads of clubs and nightspots – check locally when you arrive – I am not up to date on the best Get the free “Honolulu Weekly” or Fridays - Honolulu Advertiser to see “what’s on”.

Hangouts:
Cove below Diamond Head
Cove below Diamond Head
The legal drinking age in Hawaii (as it is in most American States) is 21 – if you look under 100 the chances are that you will be asked for identification before being allowed into or served in any bar/pub/hotel.

Drinks and cocktails are generally more expensive than in Europe.

No longer any single pubs or bars worth a special visit - I miss Davy Jones Locker demolished in the 1980’s which you could venture into straight off Waikiki beach. Now for the price of a drink I use the smart Hotel facilities of Waikiki Beach.

Restaurants:
Looking towards the Diamond Head Cove
Looking towards the Diamond Head Cove
So many choices here that you could eat in different restaurants every day. Food is not cheap and tipping is ubiquitous and over the top. Waiters expect 15% on top of the bill everyone else 10%.

Some choices:-

Makai Market Food Court at Ala Moana Centre (Great food stalls at low prices)

Ono Hawaiian Foods – Kapahulu Avenue – (real Hawaiian Food at reasonable prices)

Sunset Grill - (Restaurant Row) 500 Al Moana Boulevard, Downtown (American Grill)

Matteo’s in the Marine Surf Hotel, 364 Seaside Avenue, Waikiki (best Italian around)

La Mer at the Halekulani Kalia Road (Very expensive French Restaurant)

Other recommendations:
Goodbye Honolulu
 and all those  stunning sunsets
Goodbye Honolulu and all those stunning sunsets
SHOPPERS:- Quick word for shoppers – you have arrived in heaven! Acres and acres of shopping under one roof at one of the world’s biggest shopping centres Ala Moana Centre at 1450 Ala Moana Blvd


CLIMATE:- Hawaii’s climate is almost perfect. In fact Hawaiians have no known word in their own language for weather. It is almost constant throughout the year. Daily temperatures rarely rise or fall below 78 degrees (24 C) day and night. Although situated so near to the Equator the almost constant trade winds keep you cool.

Published on Monday May 10th, 2004


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Mon, Feb 22 2010 - 06:07 PM rating by porto

Ace report and pics, Brit. :)

Sat, Jan 14 2006 - 08:51 AM rating by mj2004

Sun, See, Sand and sailing sounds awesome!

Thu, Jun 09 2005 - 10:39 PM rating by braidedsoul

excellent report. Thanks for all the background information.

Thu, Jan 27 2005 - 08:44 AM rating by ardelia

I have never been to the States and I am always hoping I will be there one day. I'd love to go to Hawaii if I'm ever there,thanks for the very informative report.Very nice pictures!!

Ardelia

Thu, Dec 30 2004 - 09:32 AM rating by nedkelly

Nice one Brit, as a surfer the north shore is where its at for me but when I do make it over there Ill be sure to drop in on old Honolulu. great report .and great piccies!!

Mon, Dec 27 2004 - 08:45 PM rating by nate4341

I was wondering how your report could rate one more star than mine but it definitely does!!! Great pictures!

Thu, Sep 02 2004 - 12:41 AM rating by picasso

Dear Brit great report. I was there 2 times,and after reading of you report,I want to go to Hawaii again.My favorite Island is Kawaii,and how about yours

Boris

Sat, Aug 28 2004 - 06:12 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii brit,
what a lovely report abt honolulu..
ravi

Tue, Jun 01 2004 - 08:10 PM rating by mystie21

Nice pics!!!!!

Wed, May 12 2004 - 03:36 PM rating by travelalain

Another great report and photos. Hawai is for me a beach vacation and the beach is only for one or two days. -lol- I love those sunset photos. Great job.

Tue, May 11 2004 - 05:00 AM rating by downundergal

Fantastic Report! Love the piccies too!
It bought back one of my favourite memories of Hawaii - around the island in a Corvette - it was red of course!
Chhers,
Kerrie

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