This post is WAYYYYY overdue and I sincerely apologize how late I'm writing this. I went to Hawaii in January, but I was too lazy to finally start writing about it until NOW. It's like 3am and I woke up from my slumber passionate to share my little kernels of wisdom on how to make your Hawaii trip LIT (Oahu, specifically). Now, as for photos, I lost a lot of my photos (sob sob) because my harddrive died on me, BUT thankfully some images are still on my phone so you'll have to deal with a little less than hi-res quality. These travel tips are what I've gathered from the 4 different trips I've been here, so I'm excited to spill the beans.
WHAT TO DO IN HAWAII
Hawaii has so many beautiful hiking trails that you have to force yourself to break your "No Working Out" streak. Now I'm not super fit because the only fitness I do is fitness burgers into my mouth (bad joke), but if I'm able to do these hikes, you can too!
Kawela Bay: This is where this secret swing is located. It's not really a hike so much as a flat trail through the woods. I highly recommend bug spray because I ended up with 70 mosquito bites after shooting here for my cousin's engagement shoot. It's also a stones throw away from the beach like most places in Hawaii and it's pretty secluded if you want some sexii alone time with yo boo thang.
Pillbox Hike: This hike was a little more challenging, so definitely wear good hiking shoes! There is a gorgeous view once you reach the first pillbox (which was the only pillbox I made it to because this girl needs to stop eating Mcdonalds).
Lanai Lookout: If you find yourself on the SE coast of Oahu, you should stop by Lanai Lookout and witness the breathtaking lava rock formations carved into the side of the cliff. And yes, I did bring two outfits because I'm basic as fuck.
Halona Cove: A gorgeous little mini beach tucked away by the side of the highway, Halona Cove is definitely a gem to find. It does get packed on the weekends, so make sure to come early, otherwise parking is challenging! It is also home to the Halona Blowhole, so if you like things that blow....water in the air, look no further my friend!
Aulani (Ko’Olina Lagoon): Yes it is a Disney resort, but the beach is open to the public to enjoy! I wish I had my photos that showed how their manmade beach looked, but it was gorgeous, serene, and a nice place to relax if you want a little more comfort. My cousin and I walked to another part of the beach where the tide was higher and the rocks weren't made in a factory to shoot a quick ootd.
Lanakai Beach: Sorry guys, this was the only photo I had saved on my phone LOL. But yeah, Lanakai Beach is gorgeous, the sand is soft, the water is gentle, and the Na Mokulua (Hawaiian for "two islands") add to the serenity of this place.
Sunsets in Hawaii: Not a specific location, but you have to witness at least one gorgeous sunset by the beach while you are here. It is breathtaking and the gorgeous palette that paints across the sky is unlike anything you could witness back in LA.
Manoa Falls: A really easy 1 mile hike through the lush forests of Hawaii. I was able to do this with my dad so it isn't too challenging. Just make sure to wear shoes with good traction that you don't mind getting wet. Also, wear bug spray!
Laniakea Beach: This beach is a popular place to find sea turtles, but as you see in this derpy photo of me, I found none. But we also didn't come at the right time of the season, so maybe one of y'all will be lucky enough to witness them coming to shore!
Turtle Bay: This beach is another option for those who are afraid of the open ocean. It's a resort beach with a closed off area of the ocean so you can safely snorkel and relax in cabanas that your dad pays for. Shout out to my dad for actually snorkeling with me--although he wouldn't let go of my flipper in fear I would swim too far away from him.
2. TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
I'm not a huge fan of super touristy things to be honest, but I'd recommend doing these at least once because it will capture the entire Hawaii experience.
Pearl Harbor: I'd recommend going early because they distribute free tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial on a first come first serve basis. You can also choose to buy a ticket in advance, but hey, free shit is good shit. I went to the USS Arizona Memorial in 5th grade so sadly I don't have any personal photos from there, but I have photos of the Battleship Missouri Memorial that I visited last year in 2015.
Polynesian Cultural Center: A full day experience, this tour takes you through a "theme park" of Polynesian culture as you get to view shows, do hands-on activities, and eat the local food at the end with a big banquet feast. It's a pricy adventure, so make sure to save up before going!
Magic of Polynesia: Dinner Show: If you don't want to pay the hefty price of the Polynesian Cultural Center, you can also do a mini one by going to the Magic of Polynesia Dinner Show! They provide a dinner (don't have super high expectations on the food) and a fun show for you to watch while you eat. I even got a fun little volcano drink where they light some 151 on top of the alcohol before pouring it in. ISSA LIT.
WHAT TO EAT IN HAWAII
NOW WE ARE TALKING! My favorite topic is always where to eat. A big part of traveling for me is the local cuisine while you're there. It's a huge part of the experience and cmon, good food makes everyone happy!
Heavenly: This is my favorite brunch spot of ALL TIME. I'm talking like worldwide, this is my favorite place for brunch. The reason? This local shinsato pork belly benedict. It is the best benedict I've ever had. The secret ingredient: lilikoi butter. Lilikoi is the Hawaiian version of passionfruit and it is delicious. I recommend getting a side of tomato and avocado to add to your benedict to enrich it even more. Also, make sure to get their delicious acai bowls topped with fresh seasonal fruit. You honestly cannot beat the quality of fruit found in Hawaii. Everything is super sweet and juicy that it makes our farmers markets in LA look like garbage.
Marukame Udon: Japanese food is amazing in Hawaii (go figure) and one of the most poppin udon spots is Marukame. Their fresh udon noodles are hard to beat and their self serve tempura line is dangerous to my overindulgent self. There's always a long line here, so be prepared to wait outside! You can choose to come here in the morning to beat the rush, but the options are limited and there aren't any tempura out. My honest opinion is that it is good, but I think Fukada in Irvine is better. The broth could be more developed and a little less salty.
Matsumoto Shave Ice: If you're looking for amazing shaved ice in Hawaii, look no further. Matsumoto exceeds all expectations! I thought I was spoiled by shaved ice/snow in LA, but there is something about the combination of ice cream with their shaved ice and the lilikoi flavoring that makes it really unique. 10/10 would recommend!
Giovanni's Shrimp Truck: My mouth is literally salivating right now just staring at this. It's now 5am and I've been writing this blog for 2 hours. Every flavor of shrimp is amazing so get everything. There are two locations, so make sure you go to the OG spot because apparently they do it better.
Musubi Cafe Iyasume: I didn't know what good musubi was until I came here. I also got an onigiri here too and it was also ridiculously good. I have no idea what this one is called since it's been almost a year since I've been there, but I believe I got the spam musubi with tamago and unagi.
Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream and Desserts: Freshly made mochi ice cream. Need I say more?
Koko Head Cafe: Another great brunch spot to check out is Koko Head Cafe! They're known for a lot of dishes, but I decided my heart on the Volcano Eggs and I definitely did not regret it! Look at that cheese pull doe.
Teddy's Bigger Burgers: You all heard the saying, bigger is better...and damn is it true. LOL, ok Jenn stop being immature. Teddy's was pretty legit I must admit, but my heart still beats In n Out. However, it is a pretty delicious burger and you guys need to try it when you're here.
Shirokiya Japan Village Walk: It's basically a huge food court with many little Japanese restaurants and it is amazing. If you can't decide what to eat, come here and try everything with a couple of hungry companions.
Alan Wong's: I lost all my photos from this restaurant, but if you want to eat at a nicer location for your last night in Hawaii, I definitely recommend Alan Wong's. Apparently the Obamas frequented this place so I figure it must be good! I don't have any photos so I can't remember exactly what I ate, but I believe I did the tasting menu. Make sure to get some coffee with your dessert because they have an amazing selection and it wakes you up from your food coma.
I am finally done writing this OMG LOL. It is 5:30am and I think it's time for me to go to bed. But I hope y'all enjoyed my blogpost and hope you guys have a wonderful trip to Hawaii the next time you go!
Special thanks to my dad and my cousin @sujanpang for taking me to Hawaii and showing me around!