Hey guys, just got back from Hawaii! Let’s get straight to it.
Round trip from Nashville to Honolulu $533
Waikiki Beachside Hostel (4 nights) $168.03
1. The plane ride
Hawaii is considered a domestic destination even though it is 7~8 hours away, so do not count on that airplane meal. All we were given in economy class was complimentary beverages and pretzels. On the way there, I had packed my leftover Little Ceasar's wings and pizza in aluminium foil (Whew Chile... The Ghetto ), but on the way back I purchased lunch at the airport and dinner on the plane. Just in case you wonder, the $9.99 BBQ chicken sandwich is not even worth a dime. I am not a food blogger, but the bread was extra dry and the chicken was tuna- like texture. I had to chase it down with some $3.99 peanut-less M&Ms.
2. Local Transportation
As soon as I got there, I started taking the city bus. Bus 19 and 20 both take you from the airport to Waikiki for only $2.75 each way, and the daily pass is $5.50. It does take about 90 minutes, but you get to see the city on the way to Waikiki Beach. What I wish I did not see though, was the number of homeless people lined up in tent- homes outside of Chinatown :( I had some other opportunities to take The Bus again to Pearl Harbor, to Ala Moana Shopping Center, and back to the airport.
3. Pearl Harbor
You have to reserve tickets to visit USS Arizona Memorial ahead of time because they only issue so many tickets per day. It only costs $1.50 to reserve a ticket and there are no additional fees once you get there. However, big bags are not allowed so be prepared to leave your items in the $5 lockers. In brief, the visit starts with a video giving you the rundown of how the attack went, then you board the shuttle boat over to the Memorial where you have the opportunity to take photos. Once back on ground, you can walk around the site and look at a few statues and relevant monuments.
4. Diamond Head Hike
We attempted to watch the sunset from Diamond Head. Access to the trail is only $1, but the cut off time to start climbing up is 4:30 and the park closes at 6:00 p.m. I think we got there around 5:40, so needless to say we got turned away and left before risking to be persecuted. We did get a few shots at the lookout that is just in front of the tunnel entrance of Diamond Head. After that epic fail, we went out to eat at the International Marketplace Food Trucks ( Pau Hana) where I had a Mahi Mahi meal.
5. Oahu Tour
Two of my roommates and I booked the Circle Island Adventure through Hi5. It costs about $96 after applying the coupon code given by the hostel. With the Hi5 tour, we had the opportunity to visit a local Coffee Farm, the Dole Plantation, a Macadamia Nut farm, a Fruit Market, Turtle Bay Resort, Sunset Beach, and Kualoa Ranch. We also had a chance to go paddle boarding and snorkeling with turtles. It was a full day, but everyone in our team of 9 enjoyed it very much.
I had not realized how strong the Asian influence was in Hawaii until I arrived there. The population is dominated by Japanese, Filipinos, Islanders… so you can imagine most restaurants serve Asian influenced food such as Poke Bowls, Sushi, Fish Tacos, and Noodles. While there, I ate regular fast food for breakfast such as Denny's, Burger King, and Subway. I found the prices of food and drinks to be comparable to those in mainland. I can say the same for the price of items at the ABC store (similar to Walgreen's or CVS).
I had not stayed in a hostel since my 2013 trip to L.A. Waikiki Beachside Hostel was not bad at all. The check in/check out was straightforward. They offered tea/coffee and toasts with peanut butter, jelly, and/or butter for breakfast. I stayed in a 8 beds female dorm which was pretty much a one bedroom apartment with two bed bunks in the living room, and two bed bunks in the bedroom. My roommates were awesome and we kicked it from day one. I never thought I would meet so many solo female travelers at once, but it was so empowering. Now I have girlfriends in even more cool places: Israel, Germany, San Francisco, Canada, U.K, Hong Kong, Switzerland...
You guys know I LOVE the beach, so I went to the beach every morning while in Hawaii. The water is so clear, but much more powerful than other beaches I have been to. I guess that is why it is a prime location for surfing. At Waikiki beach there is a walled area where you can swim, float, and relax since the waves are slowed down by the wall, then there is the other side where surfers seemed to have the time of their lives. If I ever go back to Hawaii, I would try to learn how to surf and also attend a Luau.
See you guys next month for my blog post on my trip to Cuba with friends!
Live Life Fully,