The mere thought of the State of Hawaii conjures up a plethora of exotic and tropical images about these magnificent islands. From dreamy hula dancers to sun-kissed surfers; garlands of frangipani to swaying palm trees.
After four months on the island of Oahu with my mum, I can fully attest that Hawaii is a tropical oasis like no other. One that fuses Western conveniences with tropical laidbackness seamlessly.
If you’re considering your next holiday destination, here’s 10 reasons why Hawaii is a great idea for that magical “aloha” experience:
NOTE: Many of these photos are my original pictures taken with a Kodak film.
- The “Aloha” Spirit
Aloha means many things besides hello in Hawaiian. It’s a way of life and a philosophy of caring for one another. It’s an expression of warmth to people around you and a show of love for the earth, sky and sea. You will experience the aloha spirit wherever you go on the island of Oahu, through the loveliness and welcoming nature of its people.
2. Tour Iolani Palace
Take a guided tour of the grand Iolani Palace, which was built in 1882, and home to monarchs until it was overthrown in 1893. Located in downtown Honolulu, visiting hours to the palace are from Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
3. Enjoy a Hula Show on Waikiki Beach
Hawaii is renowned for elegant hula performances that exude so much joy. You will find free hula shows on Waikiki Beach at every setting of the sun so bring a mat to sit on and soak up the ambience of a mesmerising hula performance.
4. Explore Waikiki Strip
There’s so much to do on Waikiki strip throughout the day to late at night, plus a diverse range of exotic restaurants and bars to choose from. You’ll find free entertainment along Waikiki strip such as an outdoor cinema, hula performers or musicians strumming on their ukuleles. To top it off, the steady tropical climate of Hawaii makes exploring Waikiki a pleasant experience all year round.
5. Take up Hula Lessons
There’s an art in how a hula dancer sways their hips but once you’ve learned the moves, you’ll never forget them. I took up hula dance lessons and was invited to perform as part of a group; it was so much fun and highly recommended.
6. Surf on a Longboard
The calmness of Waikiki Beach, with its small surf breaks, make it perfect for longboard surfing. I took my own surfboard to Oahu to use, as I was based there for 4 months. Pack a surfboard if you have one or simply hire one from a local vendor to use.
7. Hike Diamond Head
Hiking up Diamond Head crater is totally worth the effort as the views are breathtaking from the top. What makes Diamond Head extraordinary is that it is a hike up the side of an extinct volcano. It’s a steady climb to the top, which takes roughly one hour, so pack a backpack full of water bottles, snacks and sunscreen.
8. Explore Ka’a’awa Valley
The Ka’a’awa Valley, a truly majestic work of nature, has been featured in many Hollywood movies like Jurassic Park, Godzilla and 50 First Dates. The valley was considered sacred land by chiefs as their children were trained in the arts of war amongst the grandeur of these hills in ancient times. I attended a reggae concert at Ka’a’awa Valley and explored its vastness on quad bikes with friends; it was so much fun.
9. Visit Local Markets
Local markets are the best places to grab a bargain when stocking up on souvenirs for friends and family back home. I highly recommend the International Market Place in Honolulu as it’s open-air and big enough to stock everything you’re looking for.
10. Step Back in Time at Pearl Harbor
Although a sombre experience, you must pay a visit to Pearl Harbor for a piece of historic battle site. The site marks USA’s initial involvement in World War II, after a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service.
“Aloha is the unconditional desire to promote the true good of other people in a friendly spirit out of a sense of kinship,” by Reverend Abraham Akaka, an American clergyman.
Hawaii will leave you feeling rested and rejuvenated in its warmth, beauty and lifestyle; and who doesn’t need a little aloha in their life.