Thursday, November 30, 2017

What To See & Eat in Oahu, Hawaii: A Paradise City Guide

During Thanksgiving week, we took a week off of work and flew to paradise. This was our first time visiting the island so our itinerary was packed with things to see and food to eat and I'm so excited to share this with you all..

Where we stayed 

Wanting to try out two hotels in Waikiki, we decided to split the nights between Surfjack Hotel and The Laylow.

Surfjack Hotel
We LOVED our stay in Surfjack. The service was top notch, the room was comfy and the beautiful pool was so pretty to look at from the top. The location is close to the beach, restaurants and shopping. I can’t recommend this place enough!

The Laylow
On the 4th day, we checked in to The Laylow for the remaining of our trip. Each room comes with a welcome basket that includes local snacks and a pair of Laylow’s branded slippers. There’s also a ukulele for guests to play during their stay. Also, the coffee shop on the 2nd floor was SOO pretty. Laylow is located even more convenient that Surfjack as it sits right in the middle of Waikiki.

What we ate

Aside from the beautiful beaches, the food In Oahu definitely deserves a shout-out for how diverse, fresh and delicious they are. Some of the food we tried..

Maguro Brothers was the first thing we ate after we landed.

Ono Seafood - I never knew poke could taste THIS good. Even my friend who usually hates poke loved it.

Boots and Kimo's Homestyle Kitchen - must get the Macademia Nut Pancake!

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin - you will find plenty of authentic Japanese food in Oahu and one of my favorite is this Tonkatsu place. Another one worth checking out is Tonkatsu Tamafuji which has even better reviews that Ginza Bairin.

Marukame Udon - Udon, Tempura and Musubi - some of my most favorite things on this earth.

Fumi’s Kahuku Garlic Shrimp - if you’re driving out to the North Shore, you must stop at a shrimp truck for lunch especially if you’re a fan of garlic!

Japanese pastry from Kulu Kulu - with generations of Japanese immigrants living in Hawaii (about 13 percent of them are ethnically Japanese!), it's really easy to find authentic Japanese food on the island. We stumbled upon this store that sells Hello Kitty waffle and just had to get them.

Things to do

Aside from beach related activities, there are plenty of other things that you can do on the island..

Photography Tour
One morning, we decided to join a half-day photo tour where the guide took us to Nu╩╗uanu Pali Lookout and a couple of hidden spots to take photographs of. It’s always interesting to explore a city with a group of people who share the same interest as you.

Take a dip in the bluest beach in U.S
The first beach that we visited was Lanikai Beach, which according to Trip Advisor, is one of the best beaches in the U.S. It has probably the bluest water I’ve seen in my life!

Pearl Harbor
We paid a visit to Pearl Harbor, which was quite the opposite of what a paradise feels like. Being in a memorial really puts the gravity of war into perspective. It was a heavy day but we feel like we had to experience it because it’s such an important part of the Hawaiian history.

Also how cute is this couple? 

Kualoa Ranch
We also visited Kualoa Ranch, which is home to many famous movies and TV shows such as Jurassic Park, Jumanji, Kong: Skull Island and Lost (which we loved!). If you’re visiting, don’t forget to prebook one of their adventures to fully experience Kualoa Ranch and its beauty! For this trip, we did the Jungle Jeep Expedition where it took us to the top of the mountain where we were able to take incredible photos.

One of their resident cats who seemed to be living the island life to its fullest.

Visit a botanical garden
Then one afternoon, we took a stroll in Ho╩╗omaluhia Botanical Garden where the ground was lush and beautiful.

Swim with the dolphins
Nearing the end of our trip, we made an impulsive decision to book an excursion to swim with dolphins in the ocean (!!!). Our original plan was to snorkel at Hanauma Bay but swimming with dolphins sounded way cooler so we decided to book a last minute excursion with Dolphins and You..

Our experience with them turned out to be spectacular! The crew fully embodied the aloha spirit and were professional and cared so much about the animals. We also got to see a group of dolphins and a sea turtle! Not only were we able to see dolphins, they also provided plenty of water activities like paddle boarding, kayak and a freakin water slide. Towards the end of the trip, the crew provided us with delicious Hawaiian style burgers and even entertained us with hula singing and dancing. What an absolutely amazing way to experience Hawaii!

Disney Aulani
The trip ended with a quick visit to Disney Aulani where we got to dine with some characters and see the statue of Stitch.

Hawaii seems to have everything I'd want in an island.. delicious food.. the friendliest people.. sandy beaches and clear water.. if it's not a five hours air travel from SF, I'd probably come back here more often. Can't wait to take my parents here in three weeks!

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Join the conversation!

  1. Now I wanted even more in the USA ! What a beautiful nature, you just can't take your eyes off! Thanks to the author for the wonderful photos - you can even smell the pine needles and the salty breeze of the ocean


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