夏威夷州 – our Hawaiian memories

Even thought we’ve been together for so long we never had a ‘proper’ summer holidays without whole – my or his – family traveling with us. Now we’re financially independent, far away from both of the families and since the summer was ending with a long labor day weekend we took an airplane… to Hawaii!

I want to share our photos and thoughts about that place, where did we stay, what did we eat – maybe it will help you a bit if you ever plan to stay there.

Where did we stay? We were lucky to get the top (44th floor – room 4404, my husband’s lucky number, for other Chinese – not really nice) of Maile Sky Court. We got there before the check-in time but our room was ready, we were so happy to get that view. We paid only ~40USD for 4 nights more to get the ocean-view room and it was totally worth it! Some people can say the room was tiny, old-fashioned or too far from the beach (maybe 6 minutes of walk?) but we really loved it – it wasn’t expensive, wasn’t blocked by any other tall building, we could see both sunset and sunrise. What more do you need?

Adress: 2058 Kuhio Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

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What airlines did we take?

Instead of Hawaiian Airlines we took Alaska Airlines – sounds great, an Eskimo man with hawaiian flower. We started our journey in San Jose International Airport, it took us ~5h 12min, coming back around 4h 48min. Since those are the cheap airlines their snack was tiny. Good that prices of their meals are really affordable – 6 USD for french toast with eggs and sausage or korean chicken. On the other hand they were really generous with the drinks, at the very end instead of the cup I got a whole can of Coke. Beside that on our way there we were so lucky to have an empty seats next to us for a whole flight, we could stretch and go to the toilet without asking someone 50 times to move. Hubby approves.


Where should you go and eat?

International Market Place – food court located at 2330 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu – charming place with noodles, seafod, icecream… everything. Had a band playing well-known songs in Hawaiian style. Really nice place to eat, we have chosen Blue Water Shrimp & Fish market – full of people waiting in line. And it was worth to wait, we got just one combo but it made us so full – shrimp, steak and fish with rice and a salad. And it was really cheap as well. One more reason to go there is – if that’s true of course – they will close and destroy IMP, it opens only till 31st of Dec. this year. So sad.

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Pearl’s Korean BBQ – a combo of bbq beef and bbq chicken, plus 2 bowls of rice and 4 side dishes (you can exchange one of the rice to another side dishes). More than we can eat, we took two sets, in the end we still had them as a breakfast the very next day. We even took one ‘to go’ on our way to the airport, made us full until the midnight of our time. One set is only 12.35, you have other choices as well. Don’t get tricked by yelp, they showed two locations and the other one was wrong. This one is located at Waikiki Shopping Plaza 2250 Kalakaua Ave Honolulu, HI 96815

Big Wave Shrimps – took two combos of garlic and crunchy shrimp, plus one Ice Tea, portion was huge, delicious, freshly made.  Paid 27 USD in total. Place made me think of summer holidays with my parents when I was young. It’s located in an old bus which gives it a great climate. And you can make a photo of you as a shrimp!

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Adress: 66-521 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

Top of Waikiki – probably the most known restaurant near Waikiki beach, it’s a 360 degree restaurant that spins around. We had a middle seat, beacuse we went to their happy hour for dinner (from 5PM to 6PM). At the beginning they give you bread and… mango butter to try! So sweet! We ordered two alcohol drinks plus their sunset special – NY strip steak & lobster-crab cake, seafood risotto and we made those meals larger by adding 7 USD to get a choice of ice-tea/coffee, crab-cake or salad and a guava sorbet. In total with tips we paid 88 USD and the sunset there was just amazing! Too bad most of it was covered by a hotel that wasn’t there when my husband was here before. Perfect for a romantic evening. And it can be even more cheap if you just go with an ice-tea and water or get a drink from a bar then go and get their sunset special. You surely can’t miss it but just for your information the adress is 2270 Kalakaua Ave  Honolulu, HI 96815

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Beach I hated

Waikiki – the most popular, crouded and not swimmer-friendly beach. Of course it looks nice, but that is how most of the beachest on Hawaii looked like. All the hotels and shopping malls are around it so it’s always full of people, it’s hard to find a good spot, you need to worry if no one wants your belongings and the ground in the ocean was HORRIBLE. I literally cut my feet because of the rocks and all the stuff down there. It’s good if you float on it or take a cruise, but not when you want to swim.

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Beach I loved

Sunset Beach – we got there by accident, on our way to Haleiwa Beach Park and we went back there few more times. If you’re lucky you can hide under the palm tree’s shadow, sand in the water is just so comfortable, nothing cracks your feet, waves were much bigger! Perfect place for floating, swimming or snorkeling. We got a 6.99 USD + tax set in ABC store – which is literally on every single corner – and we had so much fun with it, just need to be careful to make your mask not leaking. And good news for guys – you can now watch girls’ butts without worries, my husband found a new excuse ‘There’s a tropical colorfun fish swimming next to your butt’. His ass was not that attractive because no fishes were around him. Weird… The other beach we loved is beach at Makapu’U Beach Park – also has very few people, sand is great. I would recommend to go to both of them and try yourself. I can bet that you will like them more than Waikiki!

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What you should try

First of all – rent a car. Good if you’re older than 25, price will be lower. Island is not that big, you might get to many places by a bus but it’s very inconvenient, finding a parking spot is not really a big deal, we haven’t had a problem with that. Beside one unfair parking ticket, but we won’t argue for 35 USD. Just watch out for that. After renting a car take two days to go around the island – you will see a lot of places only locals or tourbuses go, but they are not too crowded as well. Blow hole, ‘nipple island’ – I really don’t remember the original name of that place because he keeps calling it a nipple so now it’s just a ‘Nipple Island’. We took our Pearl’s BBQ box in the morning, found a spot and just had a most relaxing breakfast in our whole lives. There’s also a lighthouse to see, whole area around it. Windiest point on Hawaii with a crazy road – you think you go up, but you’re really going down and the other way. The legend says Hawaiian royal commited suicide there and gave a curse for anyone who tries to take a piece of land from Hawaii. It’s just a legend but it’s good not to try it. On a way to sunset beach you can visit Dole Pineapple Farm with garden and the biggest pineapple-shaped maze. It costs 5 USD + tax per person, you can also take a train but we heard someone was waiting for 1.5h to get inside we decided to leave. Althought watch out – it’s also a tourist trap selling ‘souvenires’ you can get in any ABC story for almost double of the price. Last thing we loved and think you should try it as well is Maita’i Catamaran cruise – we took the one after 3PM and it’s just so amazing and so fun. Plus SOOO cheap. With drinks, tips and groupon we paid 38 USD. But be prepared it’s REALLY wet, literally everything was wet, in the end I had to even buy a new purse. Get a waterproof bag and put your belongings there if you don’t want to have a bad time. Bikini or swimming pants is the best you can wear. My husband was standing in front getting all the waves on him. You should see his smile! And of course don’t forget about Pearl Harbor – made me feel really emotional. We were there in the line around 6:30 waiting for a free ticket, we were lucky to get at 8AM cruise to memorial, for 1h we were walking around, seeing museum items, watching short movies, then we took the boat. You could still see the oil coming out of it…

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My thoughts about Hawaii

I loved Hawaii as a place to take a rest from ‘home-managment’, work, everyday life. Sunny beaches, warm sand, beautiful water, if you have a chance you should go. There were only two things that made me really upset – my husband been there 7 years ago with his friend, he noticed everything changed so much – so many new tall buildings,  including the one blocking the view from ‘Top of Waikiki’ restaurant, destroying a lot of places to get a space for another Gucci, LV, Hermes – start to look like many other big cities, that’s why we try to run away from it. Next time we surely won’t stay on that part of the island, The other thing that made me feel little bit weird is comparing two guidebooks we got – one was in Japanese the other one in Chinese. Japanese one have tons of coupons, places to eat, see, what to do. Chinese one was only about luxury shopping – where is Prada, Rolex, which expensive hotel you should stay. It made me feel little bit weird about the way Chinese tourism is going… Do you feel the same? Hope our next trip there we won’t get disappointed by it’s changes.

Have you ever been to Hawaii? What would you recommend? Would you like to go? Please share your opinions! 🙂



27 thoughts on “夏威夷州 – our Hawaiian memories

  1. I would really liked to visit Hawaii once. My vietnamese friend has already been there, because her sister lives there with her husband :O
    And I have also heard about Hawaii being the most favorite vacation sport for the Japanese.
    I think the reason why they mention luxury shopping in chinese tourist guides, is that the values are different now between Japan and China. Since China is a developing country, they want to see more of materialism, because it seems new and important for them to own expensive, luxurious goods.


  2. Mainland Chinese tourists are conspicuous consumptions, they must buy things with a visible logo and branded items. (Not sure about now, they used to wear stuffs with tags with on, with looked ridiculous, but it’s their culture and they need to show off.) Anyway, shopping luxury items in Hawaii is very ‘cheap’, that’s what my friend told me.


    1. it got to the point that there were two Chinese ladies – probably mother and daughter and mom mad a photo of her daughter in front on closed Chanel shop, like it was some tourist place 🙂 but I don’t know the prices, I’m not a ‘brand person’ but I know tax in Hawaii is lower than in California, as far I remember in China luxury tax is sooo expensive that traveling to other countries is cheaper than getting it in China. still made me upset the way it’s going 😦


      1. Yes, Californian tax is much higher, that’s why when I was in Calif, we travel to Las Vegas to shop and sightseeing. It’s fashionable to take pictures in front of luxury brands shop – been there, shopped there! Haha!


  3. Hey, I really enjoyed reading about your experiences on Oahu! I love the island, my favorite restaurant has to be Duke’s on Kalakaua, the food is great and the little restaurant at the back of the bar looks out over Waikiki beach and Diamond Head, a beautiful place to have a romantic sunset meal!


  4. I guess you have done all the tourist stuff. next time you visit, try something a little different. check out Kailua, Lanikai, and Waimanalo beach. For food, check out Cafe Kaila for breakfast/brunch style food. For local style (not Hawaiian) food, try Side Street Inn. Did you try Poke, Spam Musubi, and Li Hing Mui? Those are some local staple food.


  5. Thanks for the truth! Pretty good report. Until now, we do not plan to go to Hawaii on our world trip. However, sometimes we think about. Are there any cheap accomendations? Is there a chance to travel around on a shoestring? Best wishes from Nusa Lembongan, Dana 😉


  6. Hi,
    I added your blog to my links, hope you don’t mind. I enjoy reading your travel guides and thoughts on cultural immersion. haha, I was laughing my ass off upon reading what the Chinese tour guide was suggesting. Unbelievable!The whole fad for materialism is beyond madness.
    Still, I’m glad I found your blog.


  7. My sweetie and I also love Hawaii. Since I’m American, of European descent, and he’s Japanese, we feel really comfortable there b/c there is such a strong mix of American and Japanese. Glad you had a great time!


  8. I loved Hawaii because it’s unlike most of the rest of mainland U.S….it’s cultural history makes it quite different. We’ve been to Hawai’i twice. lst trip to Big Hawaii Island and Kauai. We rented bikes for both and biked with our stuff. Rented a car for 1 day. I went up in a helicopter trip over Kauai…just stunning.

    2nd trip was Maui in early Jan. which coincided with annual migration of whales which hang out by Lahaini to have their babies. So we saw lots ! In early winter they have annual outrigger South Pacific boat race …later on which we missed. That would have been cool…probably different from dragon boat races. (I lived in Vancouver and Toronto where both have very high Asian-Canadian residents there..like some parts of California.)


  9. The guidebooks were made in hawaii, right? I’m Chinese and I find this blatant profiteering from other nationalities quite insidious. In Britain it’s the same – we want Chinese tourists because they bring in money. How about you want Chinese tourists because you want them to know more about the country, the people etc? Instead ethnic Chinese are seen as cash cows.

    I’ve witnessed this as I’ve grown up. When I was a chlld the Chinese were peasants, known in the West to be illegal immigrants, prostitutes, laundry and takeaway owners. We still have those, but now as more rich Chinese come here as tourism or study, I have noticed the behaviour towards Western born Chinese change as well. I went into a high end clothes shop, one that sold shirts for £80, and was treated like a king, like some sort of rabid materialistic Chinese consumer. As soon as I spoke the assistant was taken aback, and she quickly left me alone afterwards. If I were Chinese Chinese no doubt she’d be pressing me for an easy sell. We love brands after all…


  10. Beautiful pictures! I just got back from Hawaii three weeks ago 🙂 We went to Kauai and Big Island. That should be your next trip there! Fewer tourists and even more beautiful scenery.


  11. Making me miss Hawaii big time girl! I was born and raised on Oahu so I was practically drooling on my laptop screen over the pics. So true about the beaches. Good ones and bad ones. I heard Hanauma Bay is trashed and awful now too! Bummer:) Anyway, love your blog and will be following your adventures!


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