Let’s discover what to see and do in Honolulu, Paradise Island of Hawaii!
Mention Hawaii and think sun, sea, surf and Hula! Indeed, this paradise island let’s you shake it, party it or some may say shop it too! With plenty of options to fly direct into Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, you will land right into an island paradise filled with various fun activities under the sun – and moon.
Key areas worth visiting while in Honolulu are Waikiki Beach and Honolulu City Center and further out of the area in Oahu is Sunset Beach and Pearl Harbour. When we speak of Waikiki, it is of need to mention the Hilton Hawaiian Village. This vast cultural village consisting of hotels, shops, serviced apartments and the infamous Waikiki Beach certainly offered everything you want and need.
Within the village itself, the rainbow tower is an Icon of Hawaii boasting spectacular views of Waikiki and even hosting the likes of Elvis which some say inspired his hit song Blue Hawaii. It also comes as no surprise that many couples have chosen to tie the knot in the Ocean Crystal chapel located within the village with its stunning backdrop of the deep blue sea.
As the sun goes down, The Hilton hosts a nightly Hawaiian Hula with a view on the rooftop. Immerse yourselves in the traditional dance of Hawaii and feel the fun vibes all around.
Visible from the Hilton is the Diamond Head, a National Natural Landmark and one of Hawaii’s many dormant volcanic remains. For the adventurous wanderer, take a short hike up Diamond Head and you will be rewarded with spectacular views that are unlike any other.
If spending the entire day tanning and watching the waves roll in towards the golden shores of Waikiki Beach isn’t for you, why not spend the day exploring the city centre of Honolulu. Pedestrian pathways for runners and joggers lead you right into the city centre. For the shopaholics, Honolulu City Centre offers many international brands. Hawaii enforces a General Excise Tax (GET) which is 4 to 4.5%, lower than the sales tax of America, making shopping slightly more affordable.
After a day out on the beach or shopping, head up to Sky Waikiki. This lovely roof top restaurant and bar is definitely worth a visit and offers you more astounding views that you will never tire of. There are lots of dining options in Waikiki ranging from American, Japanese, Mexican, Chinese and many more but we suggest you attend a Luau at least once while you’re there!
Affordability is subjective at the Hilton Hawaiian Village depending on building type, room type and meal options. You may consider surrounding hotels that may be more affordable such as the Modern Hotel next door as entry to the Hawaian Village is not restricted to hotel patrons.
Although hiring a car is advisable in the vast island of Honolulu, parking can be an expensive affair therefore it is advisable to either walk or take public transportation if you’re on a budget. However, if you prefer to rent a car for convenience, do take note that foreign drivers license that are only printed in English are accepted for one year upon entry. Rentals can be done at the airport itself and the best way to experience the sunny weather of Hawaii is to soak up the sun while cruising in a convertible!
Take a break from busy Waikiki and head out for a day trip to Sunset Beach, located at the North Shore of Oahu. Sunset Beach is popular for surfing especially during the winter months. If you are not a surfer, simply sit back, relax and tan the day away on it’s pristine beaches and enjoy watching the surf. While you are there, make sure you try the fresh shrimp from one of the many shrimp trucks dotted along the coastal areas.
If you are visiting Honolulu, it will be a sin to exclude the historical Pearl Harbor. Common attractions at the Pearl Harbour are the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri submarine, Battleship Missouri Memorial and the Pacific Aviation Museum. USS Arizona Memorial, a graveyard for the lives lost during the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour and the start of America’s involvement in World War II is operated by the National Park Service which provides 1300 free entry passes daily. Therefore do go early as they tend to run out fast. Visits to other attractions such as the submarine and battleship require you to purchase entry tickets which are available at the centre. Besides going early, be sun-smart and bring sunscreen as the sun rays are strong throughout the day. A word of advice is not to bring bags in with you. The security checks are stringent upon entering Pearl Harbour as it is still used as a functioning military base.
It’s time to discover what to see and do in Honolulu, Paradise Island of Hawaii! Hangloose!
– Hardip Gendeh