Things to Do in Oahu

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CasablancaBride Posts : 8 Registered: 12/2/08
Things to Do in Oahu
Posted: Dec 2, 2008 11:15 AM

I recently found out that my aunt and uncle are giving me and my fiance a week-long, all expense paid stay at an exclusive resort anywhere in the world. My fiance and I are 99% sure we'll be headed to Oahu, Hawaii. (If we get the resort we're hoping for, we'll be in Ko Olina.) Any suggestions on things to do/see while there?

Just from doing some quick research, I'm thinking we'll head to Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head Crater and State Park, Waikiki beach, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and Honolulu.


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MaunaLaniBride Posts : 631 Registered: 3/31/06
Re: Things to Do in Oahu
Posted: Dec 21, 2008 2:06 AM Go to message in response to: CasablancaBride

Oh Ko'Olina is so beautiful, you will love the JW Marriott Ihilani! We go to their spa every New Year's Day for massages and then dinner across the street at the Roy's Restaurant at the golf club :)

Oahu has a ton to offer. Get the book Oahu Revealed by Andrew Doughty, it's the only guidebook you'll need. Besides listing nearly every activity/attraction, it gives great advice about everything from weather to traffic to what to pack: http://www.wizardpub.com

Oahu has a bunch of great beaches. Although Waikiki Beach is gorgeous, it's the most touristy so we never go there. We really love Kailua Beach, Lanikai Beach and Waimanalo Beach (there are two...enter the one across the street from the polo field, not the one across from the 7-11). Here's the link to the Waimanalo Beach: http://www.hawaiiweb.com/oahu/beaches/waimanalo_beach_park.htm

There are lots of great hiking trails especially on the Windward (or rainy) side of the island. Check out www.backyardoahu.com for lots of great ideas.

There's also lots of ways to soak up Hawaiian culture. There are a bunch of interesting museums in Honolulu worth visiting: Bishop Museum (bishopmuseum.org), Honolulu Academy of Arts and Contemporary Art Museum of Hawaii. There's also the only royal residence in the United States, Iolani Palace: http://www.iolanipalace.org/

The Honolulu Zoo is fun (although wear sunscreen and a hat, there's not a lot of shade in there) as is the nearby Waikiki Aquarium which is not the biggest aquarium we've been to but it's very informative especially about the Hawaiian coral reef system.

For the ultimate hands-on history of the people of Hawaii, check out the Polynesian Cultural Center - this would an all-day visit, lots to do and see here.

There's also luaus - the Paradise Cove Luau is the only seaside luau on the island located on the west side of the island in Ko'Olina right next to the JW Marriott Ihilani.

I could go on and on, lots do and see. Even after going to Oahu a couple times a year for over 6 years, I still haven't done everything on Oahu. It also has the most options of any island for dining and the most nightlife of any island as well.

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Knot married bio: http://tinyurl.com/2zatxp

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CatStandish Posts : 2,766 Registered: 6/20/08
Re: Things to Do in Oahu
Posted: Dec 21, 2008 10:22 AM Go to message in response to: CasablancaBride

(Sorry Mo...I can't spell your name yet)

The PP gave you some EXCELLENT advice. I went there last year and I bought "Oahu Revealed" and I used "Backyard Oahu" to pick out our hike (we went and did some ridge hike that was mentioned in Oahu revealed, but backyard gave directions to get there better.

The one item that I feel is an absolute must is the submarine - Atlantis Subs. It was beyond gorgeous and truly the highlight of my trip.

Polynesian (according to Oahu Revealed and a lot of online reviews) has gone a bit preachy. It's run by the Mormons, and it IS a hands on experience -- they'll pick you up and take you home, and there's the luau and everything; however, you're getting NO caffeine while there. It's against the Mormon Faith. To me it was a bit pricey to be basically a lesson in mormonism (all the interpreters are students at one of the mormon colleges and this is how they earn the tuition -- great and all, but still) Read lots of reviews on this one before you commit to the $100 plus for it (and use an entire day). We went to Paradise Cove and had a blast. It does have a bit of hands on (lei making as well as hula lessons -- some intrepid souls even got to get on stage and dance). I'd highly recommend it -- it's an evening thing as they remove the pig from the pit at sunset (absolutely beautiful!). Each bus is your "family" for that day and you will be with them the entire time. But it was really really nice. It got us the Luau experience, with a bit of hands on, but didn't consume our entire day.

Plan a day to hit the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet (this is where you're going to pick up all your souvenirs. Trust me. Oh, and wear sneakers.

Get your sunscreen at an ABC store there. You can't spit without hitting one, so don't worry about finding them. They are like mosquitos in Florida -- EVERYWHERE

More later!


Misty

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RFenech Posts : 30 Registered: 11/30/08
Re: Things to Do in Oahu
Posted: Dec 21, 2008 11:18 AM Go to message in response to: CasablancaBride

I went to Oahu for my honeymoon in February. I suggest looking into purchasing the Go Oahu Card. You'll get discounts and a booklet of everything to do. If you like to snorkel definately go to Hanauma Bay...it's beautiful. The Polynesian cultural center is great. I recommend going for the entire day and doing the guided tour, the luau and the show at night. The show is totally worth it...very entertaining and a great cultural experience, video tape it if you can. The ice cream they sell at the intermission is sooooooo good. It's a long day and you'll be tired at the end of it but it's worth it. The Go Oahu card will allow you to take the bus which is nice because then you can just sleep on the drive back. Last but not least if it's in your budget you'll want to go to Alan Wongs restaurant. Expensive but excellent food and service. Alan Wong only has a two restaurants in Oahu, Hawaii and Japan. Have a great time!

Rachel
www.sflweddings.com
Love doesn't make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.

Franklin P. Jones

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CasablancaBride Posts : 8 Registered: 12/2/08
Re: Things to Do in Oahu
Posted: Dec 21, 2008 11:50 AM Go to message in response to: RFenech

Thank you, everyone, for all the wonderful tips! I am so excited to go and will definitely look into each of your suggestions!

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sankoji Posts : 3 Registered: 12/21/08
Re: Things to Do in Oahu
Posted: Dec 21, 2008 12:30 PM Go to message in response to: CasablancaBride

Hi!

We just got back from our destination wedding in Oahu--it was amazing! We love the island and have a couple of suggestions from our trip. I'll be happy to send you pictures if you'd like to email me (justinandkirstenwedding@gmail.com)

1) As a previous poster suggested, the beaches on the East Shore are fantastic. We got married on Waimanalo Beach, but my absolute favorite is Lanikai. Kailua Beach is another great one. We suggest getting a picnic lunch from Kawalapai (sp?) market in Kailua and bringing it to Lanikai. There aren't any public restrooms/facilities at Lanikai.

Island Snow in Kailua has great shave ice.

2) Definitely hit up the North Shore--Hale'iwa is amazing. Kua'aina Burgers in Hale'iwa is our favorite stop; the avocado on the burgers is yummy!

There's an amazing beach on the North Shore that has frequent visits by sea turtles. I don't know the name, but it's worth checking out.

3) As cheesy as it is, we adore the food court at the International Marketplace in downtown Waikiki. Lots of options for inexpensive Asian food. The Korean stall seems to be one of the most popular. I also recommend eating at the outdoor beach bar at the Westin Moana Surfrider--I think it's called the Banyan Tree. It's the oldest hotel in Waikiki, and the views from the outdoor beach bar are great!

4) As for luaus, I've done both Paradise Cove and the Polynesian Cultural Center (as well as the Old Lahaina Luau on Maui). I agree that the PCC does push Mormonism a little, but I would recommend it 20x more than Paradise Cove. You stand to learn a lot more from the PCC's luau than Paradise Cove; it's a smaller luau and has a fantastic show after the dinner (Horizons). In all honesty, I wouldn't go back to Paradise Cove. We were there over Christmas a few years ago, and there were 40 full-size buses that arrived full of guests. We were shepherded to a picnic table with the rest of our bus for dinner on paper plates, and the show was fairly lame. Some of the cultural activities were interesting, but you can get them--and more--at the PCC as well. I wouldn't waste my time with the Paradise Cove luau again.

5) If you go to the Dole Plantation, watch out on buying souvenirs there. We bought a Plumeria plant that cost $15--everywhere else it was $5. Our mistake! The Dole Whip (pineapple soft serve), on the other hand, is absolutely incredible!

On a related note, souvenirs at the PCC are a good value. They're not nearly as overpriced as the Dole Plantation.

Just my two cents. If you have any other questions, definitely feel free to email. We love Oahu and hope to get back soon!! Have an amazing time!

Sankoji

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CatStandish Posts : 2,766 Registered: 6/20/08
Re: Things to Do in Oahu
Posted: Dec 21, 2008 2:23 PM Go to message in response to: CatStandish

When I was a kid, I went to the PCC every year, and loved it -- so I've heard it from both ends. The problem I had with the reviews was that one of them was from someone who'd been years before and recently. I think had I never been, it might have been a whole different experience; however, as I'm not overly religious, that was a big factor for me. Going there with eyes open about it will be beneficial though.

As another poster suggested the Go Oahu -- I can't speak about that one as I didn't get it. However, I got the four day bus pass -- very useful and well used.

Regarding Halei'wa Town, you HAVE to get Shave Ice there. Sure, you'll see it all over the islands, but they have raised it to an art form.

Try to hit Pali if you can, and Waimea Falls (I was sorry I was unable to get to that -- we rented the car for but one day and while you CAN circumnavigate the island in one day, you can NOT stop everywhere if you do <G>)

Pearl Harbor - go early. Be there when BEFORE it opens. Note: you cannot take purses or camera bags into the Memorial area (museum or memorial). They do have locker storage available (but it's not 'close' to the entrance...it's a bit away on the other side of the parking lot)

International Marketplace is a must, as is Diamond Head (wear good shoes, bring LOTS of water, load up on the sunscreen, and bring a hat. And eat a good meal. This sucker is a B****, but oh so worth it.)

My best recommendation though would be this: don't overbook yourself. Plan on one item per day, and let the island lead you the rest of the way. We ran into a photographer one day and he took us on a tour of a part of the island that the tourists rarely go, and did photoshoot for us -- free. They really DO have Aloha Spirit there, and it has a different feel time wise.

Also... as tempted as you will be to go to bed when you arrive. DON'T. Go to be at the correct time HAWAIIAN time. That's the fastest way to reset your clock and get over jet lag. Yes, you're going to be dead tire the day you arrive, but the next day, you'll be on Hawaiian time and ready to go.

If you can, try and eat local....avoid the stuff you can get at home. There is so much--but so little time. And yes, you HAVE to try the poi (I recommend it with gobs of sugar, if they provide it <G>) You don't have to LIKE the poi, but you've got to try it. I mean, going there and not trying the poi is like going to Switzerland and not checking out the chocolate (okay...maybe not <G>)

Misty

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CasablancaBride Posts : 8 Registered: 12/2/08
Re: Things to Do in Oahu
Posted: Dec 22, 2008 2:21 PM Go to message in response to: CatStandish

I'm hoping the jet lag won't be so bad as we'll probably be staying two days in California (with relatives) before heading to Hawaii. Still, I'm sure it'll be an adjustment.

I love hearing all the things you each have experienced in Oahu! I'm so glad that we have a week to spend there. We're renting a car there, so hopefully we'll be able to do quite a bit of exploring.

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laceyisinlove Posts : 3 Registered: 4/28/08
Re: Things to Do in Oahu
Posted: Jan 3, 2009 3:27 AM Go to message in response to: CasablancaBride

hmmm...i have lived here my whole life; so i am trying to see this objectively. okay, renting a car is perfect, just remember to lock it; if you go to the beach, do not, i repeat, do not leave your things unattended; and also, if you have a very humble approach when asking directions, you will get great hospitality from the locals (usually). but i suppose that is advice for everywhere you go.

all the advice from the previous posts are great. if you want something authentic, go the the PolynesianCulturalCenter. schools here take students there constantly because of the cultural lessons; it is really fun.

also, the North Shore is fun to drive to and through in the mornings or the late afternoons; traffic will be really bad in the mid afternoon if there are any waves. And if you are in the North Shore and you want something romantic, stop by the Waimea Falls Park. There is a Waterfall at the end of a safe, paved path. You can swim there too if there are lifeguards on duty. Bring a sack lunch and have a picnic too.

and other really pretty hikes and waterfalls are everywhere: Manoa Falls, Kapena Falls is nice when people clean it, Mauna Wili Falls, Makapuu Lighthouse, Kokohead, and lots others.

there is also some catamaran rides and gosh, so many different things depending on what kinds of stuff you like to do together. For example, the Arizona Memorial is very sad actually (I wanted to cry when I went there) but it is free..

trinkets and gifts, yep, the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is the place to go; the International Marketplace has the same stuff but it all costs more because of the overhead.

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Kimsmith67 Posts : 1 Registered: 3/26/13
Re: Things to Do in Oahu
Posted: Mar 26, 2013 8:10 PM Go to message in response to: CasablancaBride

I hope you had a wonderful wedding and honeymoon!

I am super late to this forum, but I figured Iíd submit something for anybody else that might come across it again.

Iíve been to Oahu a few times and absolutely love it there! Something that I always recommend is a luau. Itís such a cool thing to experience while on the islands. If anyone gets the chance to visit I would recommend the Polynesian Cultural Center for not only a luau but also to check out the place and even see some shows.

I checked out the Alii Luau at the PCC ( http://www.polynesia.com/dining_and_luau.html ) and it was well worth it. The place is located on the North Shore (Laie), which I would also recommend everyone going to visit. It is incredible up there and in my opinion I could stay there the whole time.

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