My boyfriend of 6 years and I both have birthdays right next to each other, and this was his 30th. A milestone, so we had to make this one special. On a spur-of-the-moment decision — like 2 weeks prior to — we booked a trip to Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii and had the best vacation of our lives. A little dramatic, but what’s life without a little drama?
Long form blogging is so 2005, check out some highlights from my trip in no particular order:
1. Hiking Manoa Falls
Having stayed in Waikiki, it’s much more urban than the natural landscape that Hawaii is famous for. Manoa falls is a short 1 hour hike with very little difficulty but it showcases the lush tropical environment and leads to a water fall at the end.
2. Dole Plantation
The Dole Plantation is all the way on the North Shore, but it is worth the trip. Nestled in a more rural area, is a great showcase for Dole with surprisingly fun activities. There’s a train around the plantation, a walking tour, and best of all: pineapple Dole whips.
3. The Beaches
Breathtaking to say the least. Waikiki has some main beaches that all of the hotels are nearby. But if you venture out further, there are more unique and secluded beaches to relax on. Ewa was a personal favorite of mine.
4. Shirokiya Japan Village Walk
Hawaii has a historic connection with Japan, obviously. And it’s influence and culture is everywhere. Shirokiya Japan Village Walk is a food court brought straight from Japan with amazing food and vendors. On top of that, you can play gachapon (surprise capsule machine) to earn some cute prizes. Also pitchers of beer are only 6 dollars here and that needs to be noted.
5. Glass Bottom Boat Tours
It’s important to preface this with: the boats bottom is not glass. There’s just a small portion of the boat where you can look below you. That being said, the boat did take us far out into the Ocean where we were able to see REAL LIVE DOLPHINS in the WILD. Fish which is pretty cool. And some awesome views of the Diamond Head Mountain.
Okay, but listen. The 7-Elevens here are so cool. Their selection of food are different than “on the Main Land.” (Am I allowed to say that?) They stock foods like spam and musubi balls, garlic chicken, sushi, and even boba. Typically I have trepidation with eating 7-Eleven food, but I never had a worry there. I mean, I’m not dead.
7. The Food
That’s it. That’s the bullet.
8. The North Shore
There’s nothing more enjoyable than seeing wild chickens casually walk around with their chicks. In addition this side of the island has the best shaved ice. The beaches here are also much stronger and harder to swim in, but they are quite beautiful and attract wildlife like turtles.
9. House Without a Key
This restaurant is over priced. But it’s location is amazing. I went here on my birthday and sat down to listen to classic Hawaiian music. And on certain days they have a traditional Hawaiian dancer along with the music. Combine this with a beautiful back drop to watch the sunset, you can understand why they charge 10 for a beer.
10. Hanauma Bay
This was the last thing I did on my trip and it was one of the most amazing experience I had. We used a cheap service to transport us to the beach and rent snorkels, and that’s a story for another time (in summary, the driver said demons were come through on television (which . . . okay, true). The experience of swimming with fish and observing the coral reefs was a reminder of the magic and beauty of the island that should not be destroyed.