Hawaii Trip (Summer 2013, see Hawaiian Islands Travel Guide)
[Car Rental on each island, Hawaiian Airlines between islands]
[Day 1-2] Oahu
Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, Kailua Beach, Pearl Harbor: All of these beaches and sites are like any other. Pearl Harbor is the unique one with many armaments of World War II still hanging around. Walk around the park and explore the different exhibits within the museum.
Dole Plantation: The next time you step into a supermarket, notice the bananas and pineapples with this company’s labels on them. Dole is a privately held pineapple farm that almost monopolized production of certain fruits at one point in the 19th century. Nowadays a museum has been opened with a train tour, cafe, and hedge maze. Try the ice cream sundae there.
Polynesian Cultural Center: Alii Luau is the biggest and most expensive show and buffet on the islands, featuring many dances. However, the cultural center itself features many exhibits that teach visitors about local island and ethnic minority history. If you do not feel like blowing ~$100 that night, feel free to explore the museum.
Siam Thai Massage & Spa: Per Trip Advisor/Yelp, this is very reputable massage in Oahu located at the top of some office building. Be prepared to spend over $100 for 1 hour of massage. The girls are trained well and push hard so prepare for some relaxing pressure.
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck: This food truck is a drive out from the city and pretty good. You will have to peel the garlic shrimp yourself and there is somewhat of a wait. Each plate comes with shrimp dunked in a sauce with white rice.
Matsumoto Shave Ice: For those of you who enjoy a shaved ice, this is supposed to be one of the reputable places on the island. The counter to order is located inside a convenient store on the side of the road.
[Day 3-4] Hawaii
Mauna Loa Observatory: This observatory is the highest point to see the night sky unobstructed in the US at least if not the world. The drive up and down the mountain roads at night are scary due to the lack of streetlamps. Our rental car, a Chrylser 200 struggled to climb up and the engine started making funny noises when we finally arrived. Luckily it stopped after we turned the engine off. Phew.
Rainbow Falls: This is your average waterfall, except for two points. First, you can climb to the center over the rocks at the top of the falls and look down, at your own risk. Second, there is a forest of sorts with trees in which you can climb into the roots right before the falls.
Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts: Those Hershey’s macadamia nuts you see everywhere actually are processed here at this factory. This factory features a self-guided 10 minute walking tour overlooking the process and giant gift shop selling related products.
Big Island Candies: This is one of several specialty stores where you can get those pineapple-shaped butter cookies in addition to many chocolates such as a fish-shaped 5-pounder. Pay a visit to this shop for gifts for others when you visit the Big Island.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: This is an easily accessible national park via car. Just do not go if the volcano is actively erupting. Normally you can see the steam coming up from a distance after you walk over many types of dried lava and rocks over the road.
Kealakekua Bay, Hilo
[Day 5] Oahu