Enjoying Hawaii's capital - Honolulu
Hawaii in brief
Hawaii, comprised of group of islands collectively known as The Hawaiian Islands is filled with exotic and romantic getaways. It is part of U.S. state and is an isolated volcanic archipelago in the Central Pacific. It is the only U.S. State located in Oceania and outside North America. Hawaii is the only one composed entirely of islands and is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean. Of the six main islands, Oahu is Hawaii’s biggest city and capital, Honolulu and home to the international airport.
Hawaii, a population destination for millions of visitors throughout the world is filled epic surf, lush rainforest, pristine white sandy beaches, culture and history. This island is one of the only few places in the world that share the rare untamed beauty of Hawaii. To explore and experience the stunning views of the big waves and history of Oahu, Honolulu, has long been on my travel bucket list for many years. Reading so much about this great holiday destination on magazines and seen on televisions, purely attracted me to visit this beautiful island again to fully explore what lies ahead. Honolulu, home to crescent Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbour’s WW11 memorials and the Hawaiian islands renowned for their rugged landscapes of cliffs, waterfalls, diverse natural scenery, warm tropical foliage and climate, pristine beaches, oceanic surroundings and active volcanoes makes it a population destination, not only for tourists but surfers, biologists and volcanologists. With such abundance of Hawaii’s endless list of natural attractions has lured me to this most popular island destination in the world.
Honolulu, like many other major capitals cities in the world has no shortages of high-rise buildings. Many high-rise buildings are lined within metres away from the beach. Staying at Waikiki Marriott hotel on the south shore of Honolulu was just a step away from the World-famous Waikiki Beach. This hotel is located in the heart of Waikiki on premier Kalakaua Avenue which is well-known for its waterside bars, fine dining, shopping centres and the newly-revitalised International Market Place. This was the ideal introduction to the area and Honolulu’s life.
The most stunning view of staying on the 70th floor which took my attention was the 180 degrees view of the crystal blue ocean, white sandy beach and the surrounding city area. Every turn on the balcony were just jaw-dropping and breathtaking views. To me, it was more like a 360 degrees panoramic view that capture the best view of the city and beyond.
Where to stay?
Honolulu, a popular destination have various types of accommodations in the area to suit all budget ranging from resorts, backpacker, holiday houses, apartments, B&Bs and hostels. Also, the city offers a range of properties throughout the region to fit most holiday styles and budgets.
Honolulu, is the place where you wake up with so many things on your mind that you wanted to do. I wanted to see many places as possible and my list of things to see and do was endless and unachievable. Honolulu is home to many iconic buildings, historical and memorial sites and pristine beaches. It is possible to visit most of the popular attractions, if you have the time and want to see more of the area on your visit. For me to fully enjoy my stay in this destination and to make the most of the city’s major attractions, I’d stayed right in the main centre of the city. This way, I didn’t have to fight the traffic from locals on their daily commute and I get to sample inner city’s main attractions within walking distance. Also, it is only half an hour away from O’ahu’s main attractions including famous Pearl Harbour, Lolani Palacem Nuuanu Pali Lookout and Hanauma Bay.
Without a doubt, Waikiki Beach is definitely a beach-goers paradise. Many visitors throughout the world come to this place, simply to relax at the beach from surfing to rolling on shores. Most of the accommodation places are lined within metres from the beach and you can see what it is a popular destination for sea, sun and sand in this island located in the middle of the Central Pacific Ocean. To make the most of this location, my trip to Honolulu will be incomplete without a visit to this world-renowned famous beach – Waikiki Beach. I began my day strolling along the beach relaxing as I listen to the waves splashing on the shores and the joy of seeing everyone enjoying their undisturbed quality time at the beach.. It was pleasantly peaceful and a perfect day at the beach without a sign of storm and for beach goers and surfers. What a great place to be.
My tour to Pearl Harbour was on a private limousine guided tour which I find it to be very convenient, personal and private. My personal guide was a local Hawaiian who spent most of his entire life on the island. He was very knowledgeable about the area. Certainly, I was having an authentic Hawaiian experience from the past, present and future from their own cultural perspective.
A visit to this Pearl Harbour historical site was on my top of my priority to-do list. Having very little knowledge about this historical site and taking a tour to this place profoundly gave me a better understanding of the past history. The effects of the past can be currently felt today when you visit the site. It is one of the defining moments in US and world history. The attack on Pearl Harbour came as a complete surprise to those in the water and on the ground. Japanese attacked to wipe out American battleships and cause devastation to thousands of families. The aim of the attack was to stop the US Pacific Fleet from getting in the way of Japan’s plans in other areas of Southeast Asia in December 7, 1941. We then continued to USS Arizona Memorial where embarked on a US Navy shuttle boat ride to the site. This place truly brings you back in time of what happened years back and imagine the experience of that tragic day. One of the most poignant experiences of the Valor in the Pacific National Monument, is the wreckage of the Arizona which can be seen from the serene white structure from above. From the broken hull of the mighty vessel, drops of oil continue to trickle to the surface. Known as the “Black Tears of the Arizona” the oil symbolises the ship’s grief over the 1,177 sailors lost as she sank to the bottom of the harbour. As I stepped onto that place, I could feel the shivers running down my spine, knowing that below is the graveyard for thousands of dead bodies which haven’t been touched since the day it sunk, until today and will never be recovered.
With a deeper understanding on this gave me the emotions of Pearl Harbour attacks. This is something that all visitors to Honolulu should come and see. This tour truly visitors a clear look into the history of the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbour. I came to understand and feel that this place certainly not only defines the dark history but it is very significant and sensitive to American people and probably the world. It is a very cruel reminder of what happened in the past but it can be felt in that moment as you step onto the site and learn about the history. This unique experience will certainly stay with me for sometime and for any visitors who visit this location.
From the devastating tragedy of the Pearl Harbour tour, this time to a more softer side of history – Missouri Battleship Memorial Site. Missouri was the last battleship commissioned by the U.S. It is best remembered as the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan which ended the World War 11. Missouri was ordered in 1940 and commissioned in June 1944, after serving a total of 16 years of active service. She was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association and became a museum ship at this location.
Greeted by a smart young girl, doing her internship as a volunteer, happens to be my private tour guide. As we traverse the five-decks, she informs us about the thrilling captivating stories of life aboard the last battle ship ever built by the U.S. over-looking the massive gun turrets, I had a spectacular view of the Arizona Memorial. While on the Surrender Deck, I could imagine the USS Missouri docked in Tokyo Bay as General Douglas MacArthur and the Japanese delegates signed the treaty that ended WW11.
The guided-tour lasting for an hour, still gives me detail history information about the ship, what life was like on board the ship and the structure and the layout of the ship. After the tour, I had the opportunity to explore various part of the ship at my own leisure. Exploring this battleship, gave me a profound imagination of how it must been tough for many young sailors battling it out as they have isolated from their families. It is a reminder, how they have lived in this conditions in tiny cabins in enclosed environment. It is a must-see places when visiting Honolulu.
I have a great interest in visiting and learning about various landmarks and War Memorial sites, as they’re our heroes of the past. I was chauffeured to the military cemetery built in the crater of an extinct volcano, Hawaii State Capitol Building, Kawaiaha’o Church, Lolani Palace and King Kamehameha Statue. In visiting, some of this landmarks and iconic buildings and statues gives you detail information about the history of the place and how things have changed over the years in the making of where things are now.
The final day of my stay in Honolulu ended with an explosive, thrilling and unforgettable end to a cultural treat – A trip to experience the Hawaiian traditional performance show, known as Luau. The road leading to this location was absolutely breathtaking. The views along the coastline were incredibly amazing that led to a secluded beachside park, located in Kapolei, to the traditional Hawaiian feast. Treated like a chief, upon arrival, you’re greeted by very friendly staff as you receive a puke shell lei and a refreshing mai tai as well as other drinks. The evening started off with an authentic interactive demonstrations of traditional headband weaving and other traditional craft activities before the first part of the show begins.
It is wise to purchase a little more expensive ticket so you will be able to be seated almost in front row where you will be able to have a close and good view of the performers. I was’t disappointed with that extra dollar added. During the interval, you’re treated to a Polynesian specialised cuisine including lomi-lomi salmon. What a treat it was. For pig lovers, a barbecued pig is cooked to perfection in the traditional Hawaiian underground oven – whole pig wrapped in banana leaves placed on the hollow ground with hot rocks over it for few hours. New Zealand Maori’s call it Tangi. The food was truly a traditional Hawaiian feast. As we enjoyed our meal while been entertained with thrilling and vibrant Hawaiian and Polynesian dancers from all over the Pacific – including fire-knife dancing. As I brace myself for the spectacular as I part-take in an experience that has touched my heart, spark romances and exceeded my expectations. My time at this place has been a wonderful experience and one to remember long after I leave this beautiful island. With Hawaiian’s stunning scenery provides the backdrop of my unforgettable experience.
Honolulu is a place that you have to adjust to the hive of activity. The energy is palpable and entertainment is aplenty. But for the shopping… shop your life away. It was time to unwind from the whole Hawaiian experience.
Exploring the area
There is never enough time to explore everything that Honolulu has to offer but it is entirely possible to relax. There is so much to see and do, so to explore the area, you have to have enough time discover some of the hidden treasures of the island. Aloha!!