Coming back from my trip to Hawaii made me realize... I should have never come back. (haha kidding)
It was my first time visiting the island of Oahu, and it truly has so much to offer. There's soft sand, warm ocean water, hula dancers, and an endless amount of ABC Stores. I'd have to say my favorite part of the trip were the amazing hikes and that lush green landscape around you. It's like watching the Disney film Moana, but IN REAL LIFE (I slapped myself a few times to make sure I wasn't dreaming, and sure enough I wasn't!! ...because it hurt). Check out my video below to see a summary of my trip!
We stayed at the Waikiki Resort Hotel. We chose this location because it was only a few minutes of a walk to the beach and awesome nightlife. It was also a very decent hotel for a bougie girl like me-- clean rooms and a beautiful balcony over looking... the streets? SOLD!!! This hotel wasn't dirt cheap, but it also wasn't stupid expensive so I can't complain cuz I ain't made out of money.
Yes, yes... my favorite part!!! My top recommendations in Oahu:
Goofy Cafe or Heavenly Island Brunch- delicious brunch spots
Arvo Cafe- Hip/trendy cafe
Marukame Udon- delicious Japanese udon place (with constant long lines)
Ted's Bakery - popular for their Haupia Pie
The Pig and the Lady- delicious, trendy Vietnamese Fusion restaurant. LOVED their fried chicken!
Waiola Shaved Ice- super soft shaved ice many locals go to
Poke Bar- great fast casual place to grab Hawaiian poke
Tommy Bahamas Restaurant- delicious crab cakes with amazing rooftop city views
Giovanni's Shrimp Truck- known for their garlic shrimp and MY FAVORITE!! It's a tourist spot and now I know why: it's drool-worthy. If you try to share a plate, you'll end up getting another one because you'll be mad you didn't have it all to yourself...not that I'm speaking from my own personal experience or anything...
1) Rent a jeep and explore the island!
2) Bring bug spray when you're hiking.
3) TRY garlic shrimp from Giovanni's Shrimp Truck.
4) Rent an umbrella lounge spot on the beach ($26/2 hours)
5) Bring a waterproof phone case.
1) Visiting the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens
This was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. The botanical gardens are completely free of admission and opens at 9AM to the public everyday. It's an amazing road to drive through and enjoy that cascading landscape behind you. This spot is also known for the iconic "Hawaii road" photos, but recently they banned photography anywhere near the main road.
2) Hiking in Oahu
MANOA FALLS HIKE
Manoa Falls was a great hike for people of all hiking skills. It was a relatively easy hike to get to the falls and only took about an hour roundtrip. Most of the trail had beautiful green jungle vibes so knowing me, I stopped at every corner. PSST! if you go before 8am, you'll beat the big crowd.
CROUCHING LION HIKE
Crouching Lion was definitely more straining. I recommend going to the top if you're at least an intermediate hiker because the incline gets steep quickly. It offers epic views, just be extra careful while your climbing through because the paths are very narrow and it can get very windy towards the top. I wouldn't say it's the ideal combo.
4) Movie site tour at Kualoa Ranch
Why would you go to a ranch Tiff? Umm because Jurassic Park, Kong, Lost, Hawaii Five-O, and a bajillion movies were all filmed here, and did I also mention Jurassic Park?? For all the behind-the-scenes nerds out there like me, you'll find this place awesome. Some of you lucky little devils might even witness a filming in progress! Speaking of which, the week we were visiting Ben Affleck was actually shooting a new Netflix movie, but because the gods hate us, we missed him by a day. WHATEVER BEN.
2) Attending a luau
I think everyone should experience a luau once in your lifetime! We went to Germaine's Luau which was right on this private beach. The food wasn't my favorite, but the location and hula dancing performances were great.
5) Relaxing at Lanikai Beach
This beach was my favorite beach in Oahu. It had warm blue waters and extremely soft white sand. You also get a great view of the Mokes from here, and can do a 1-hour kayak trip out to those islands from this beach. Most people rent their kayaks from Kailua Beach Adventures.
6) Visiting Byodo-In Temple
This is a Buddhist Temple people visit to meditate and worship. Being on the grounds was such a peaceful and spiritual experience. It is truly an amazing site to see, and I highly recommend it! Literally the place people go to to rest in paradise.
7) Checking out the luxury hotels around Waikiki
There are so many beautiful resorts in Waikiki that are nice to explore: Moana Surfrider, The Royal Hawaiian, The Surfjack Hotel, The Outrigger etc, etc.. Many bloggers stay at the Royal Hawaiian because hmm I don't know..maybe the entire hotel is PINK. However, Moana Surfrider was particularly one of my favorites because if you know me at all, I'm a sucker for cute cocktail drinks and classy things. We were able to find all that here whilst getting a front seat to the ocean view. SERIOUSLY, WHAT MORE CAN YOU ASK FOR? ...don't answer that.
Well that's that! I hope my food and activity recommendations help you guys out if you're ever planning to visit Oahu! PEACE.