Posts Tagged ‘Waikiki’

 
 

Day Ten – Hawaii – San Fran – LA – 19 Days, 3 kids, 1 MIL

Written in US DESTINATIONS

Day 10 is a cornucopia of beach and surf lessons. The guys who teach kids how to get at it in the waves are seriously chilled. I guess if my life was spent earning decent money whilst scrunching sand between my toes for 6 hours a day, I’d be pretty chilled too.
The surf lessons can be had at 3 locations up and down the beach – take your pick dependent on your hotel location (see Cheap Rooms for deals). The trainers are excellent – feel quite assured with their skills as they take your wet behind the ears prodigy and put some salt in their game!
After a day of surf, it’s back to the Ala Moana shopping center. A shopping mall, no biggie – but, and it’s a big one if two or three generations are with you. There is something here for everyone – bored dads, teenage girls, boys, mom’s and MILs. Plus, the food options will cater for those mid-shop munchy needs. There are healthy choices as well as the usual.
Later that evening we took a cab up to Diamond Head. This park cum volcanic crater is at the end of the broader Waikiki beach and it’s a lovely way to finish the day. We took a picnic with us (and the cabbie offered to go off, have his dinner and then come back in 45 minutes to pick us up – needless to say, he got a big tip!). It was a delightfully scenic change to the somewhat neon buzz of Waikiki.
We have also discovered what beach lovers everywhere already know – the absolute pleasure in walking along the sand at night after sun down with flickering tiki lights and the gentle crash of surf on a beach.
Tomorrow is an exciting day – a final swim and then off to San Francisco!

 

Day Nine – Hawaii – San Fran – LA – 19 Days, 3 kids, 1 MIL

Written in US DESTINATIONS

Day 9 and I’m getting used to pancakes and fruit and lashings of coffee for breakfast. I’m getting used to a fast pre-breakfast walk along the bits of Waikiki that you can safely navigate without running up against a salubrious hotel’s fenced off area. And I’m definitely used to that bath-like water! Ahh Hawaii, you have made a believer out of me.
Today is a brilliantly relaxing day. Spend the morning on the beach and then, with due regard to our delicate skin, we head to downtown Waikiki for the rest of the day. It’s really just the back section a block or two back from the grand hotels on the beach, but there’s entertainment for all. Even a grouch who’s over shops and shopping. If I see one more stupid brand name…
The International Market is a wondrous little place to explore. There are little havens of craft type people inside and a bunch of indie boutiques selling a particularly cute style of Hawaiian beach wear and casual wear. There’s a couple of buskers and the parrot guy. You’ll see this fellow on the beach and around the malls. He has a coterie of brightly colored parrots that will sit atop your arms and shoulders as he takes a photo – and there you are, a memento of your Hawaiian adventure.
Take time out to visit the Cheesecake Factory mm mmm and there are some very good restaurants in the upstairs area along the main drag. Japanese restaurants are superb here and the prices aren’t too bad.
If you’re over paying hotel prices for hotel food, can I suggest a simple trip into the back streets every so often will be a treat for anyone wanting a little hole in the wall place that serves great food at good prices.
The hotel you stay in on Oahu will define your trip here. We stayed at the Hawaiian Hilton Village and it was huge – perfect if you like a really well-catered and seamless, if little impersonal experience. See Cheap Rooms for good hotel deals and all the choice you need.

 

Day Eight – Hawaii – San Fran – LA – 19 Days, 3 kids, 1 MIL

Written in US DESTINATIONS

Day Eight sees us disembark on the island of Oahu, home to Honolulu and the excitement of Waikiki. We’re staying at the Hilton Hawaiian (see Cheap Rooms for deals) and this grand old lady of the tourist game is certainly finely tuned to the tourist experience. It is bustling, huge, busy and full of shops, bars, restaurants and beach. A word of warning here, don’t be the newbie and ask the beach cabana boys top set up two banana loungers and an umbrella for you on the foreshore…unless $66 sounds reasonable. Yeah.

Waikiki…hmmm. After spending time throughout the islands the expensive and very elitist access to the so-so beach seems a touch disappointing. Waikiki may be the favored destination for mainlanders but it’s not the best or the prettiest.

That said, that Hawaiian sun, all those bars and restaurants that line the back streets of Waikiki and the oh boy shopping to be had in the Ala Moana Mall is pretty good should you hail from cooler parts in the mid west. You can eat and drink very well here and you can do it on a budget or you can spend up large. Your call.

What we loved was the options. Some of us (which gender I wonder?) loved the shopping in Ala Moana and downtown Honolulu and the seconds shopping just down the freeway, followed by an afternoon on the beach (sans banana loungers), while others enjoyed taking surf lessons, stand up paddle boarding in the lagoon and lounging on the beach all day long.

We spent a day at Pearl Harbor and this is well worth the effort. Get up early, and get to the ferry before 10 and you’ll have a relatively queue free day. Get there after lunch and good luck.
What we loved about Hawaii. The people. Charming, happy, super friendly. The beaches on the islands, the warmth of the water. The cruise itself! What we didn’t like. The super commercial aspects of Waikiki.

 
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