Hawaii Trip with tips and recommendations

I haven’t been updating on a weekly basis partly because Chai and I were away in Hawaii for a babymoon~ I plan to update this website on a bi-weekly basis. On top of being pregnant, I am working on an online masters degree which takes up most of my time. I want to make time to do more of what I enjoy including playing piano and working on this blog. I still plan to continue to update this website regularly.

Now onto Hawaii! 😀
This wasn’t my first trip to Hawaii. I think it’s my third or fourth time being there but the last time I’ve made a trip there was when I was in high school. We decided to choose Hawaii because Chai had never been there and we also needed a relaxing beach trip compared to our usual jam-packed/running to the next appointment schedule in Germany. It was also nice seeing Hawaii again with the perspective of moving there one day. I highly recommend renting a car when you’re visiting the islands so you can venture outside the cities. The exception would be if you’re only staying in and exploring Honolulu for a few days where public transportation (buses) would suffice. I recommend purchasing the day pass for the buses where it’s cash only and you need exact change. I heard and saw that they are building for a train transportation in Oahu but I’m not sure when that will be completed.

 

MAUI

We stayed in Maui first which is one my favorite islands at my friend’s house. Maui is really a beautiful place with nice beaches and landscapes. It seems to be the favorite island of most people I’ve talked with! The only downside is the prices/cost of living there. We spent the most on food and gas in Maui where dinners usually were around $150 for two people. Chai and I were able to drive through the Road of Hana and see the Twin falls and Waianapanapa State Park. I recommend the drive to Road of Hana for some nice scenery! The one thing that we weren’t able to do was see the sunrise at Mt. Haleakala. We didn’t know that you needed to register in advance and the government shutdown probably didn’t help our cause either. A tip from the locals is to bring a jacket because it’s freezing up there! I also heard that the sunset is almost just as lovely and you don’t need reservations to see the sunset. We weren’t able to catch the sunset because we made dinner reservations almost every night we were in Maui. My friend who grew up in Maui recommended the Keawakapu Beach which was nice. 😊

 

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Dinner at Laihana Grill.

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Twin Falls at Road to Hana.

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Road to Hana.

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Maui Landscape.

 

Most of the places we tried that were popular on yelp and online failed to meet our expectations. ☹ I guess it’s an issue of difference of tastes. I’ve only listed a fraction of the places we’ve tried but tried to list the most well-known or highly recommended places.

Maui Restaurants/Cafes/Places to eat:

Lahaina Grill: (****) This was our favorite restaurant in Maui! I had notified the restaurant in advance that we were celebrating our anniversary dinner and babymoon and they were kind enough to take a nice photo of us, give us a baby bib and cards, and provide a free yummy cake for dessert! Our waitress was kind and highly energetic. The food was very nice as well. The only big downside was the parking where you have to either find street parking which can be difficult since it’s located in a popular area or pay at a parking lot.

Island Vintage Coffee: (****) This is like the Starbucks of Hawaii where there are several stores in Maui and Oahu. I preferred their frozen kona coffee over Starbucks frozen drinks. The only other drink I tried was their matcha latte which I found a bit too sweet. I did not try any of their food but it seemed like a popular place for breakfast. I recommend signing up for their rewards card where you can get a free drink after at least 62? points.

Paia Bay Coffee & Bar (***): This was a cute hipster breakfast place. It’s in an open area so it’s perfect when the weather is nice which is most of the time in Hawaii.

Da Kitchen Café (**): We tried the Loco Moco and the kimchi crabcake. I loved how there was Korean food infused into some dishes in various of restaurants. The kimchi crabcake was sad and overpriced as we only received one piece. The main dishes here were huge so splitting the Loco Moco was more than enough. The food came out really quickly which made me question whether it was prepared freshly. The taste was below average.

Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice (**): This place has so many flavors to choose from but they taste artificial.

Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread (**): This food stand is located on Road to Hana. Their banana bread was warm when we received it which was a pleasant surprise but it wasn’t the best banana bread we’ve ever tried like most websites claim. It was pretty average and overpriced.

Mama’s Fish House (*): This place was highly recommended online and by my local friend. Unfortunately, it was a bust for us. The atmosphere was nice as the restaurant was located closely to the beach and the property area was big. The restaurants boasted of freshly prepared fish but I couldn’t really tell if our fish dishes were fresh or not which mean it probably wasn’t. For the price paid and quality received, it was not worth it. Our server was unfriendly and not helpful especially when a flying roach flew into my dish. That was really disgusting and put a downer on our moods.

 

OAHU

We stayed at Kapolei for a few nights before spending our last nights in Waikiki, Honolulu. We definitely enjoyed Kapolei more than Waikiki because of the scenery and nature. It’s also more quiet and peaceful. I recommend visiting the Pearl Harbor where there is no entrance fee and you learn a lot of interesting things about the tragic events that occurred. We were able to also watch a moving short film before riding a complementary boat ride to the USS Arizona memorial out by the ocean. We weren’t able to enter the memorial because they deemed the docking area too dangerous and needed to be fixed but we were still able to see a lot of great views from the boat. The whole visit was very informing and thought-invoking.

If you’re at Honolulu, I recommend the Ala Moana Center not only for shopping but to visit the three food courts. Hawaii has a big Japanese population so there are a lot of delicious Japanese treats and restaurants! It was like being in Japan sometimes or Okinawa because of the nice weather.

We didn’t get to visit as many beaches as we’d have liked to but I recommend the Ko’Olina Beach Park. The Kapolei beach park was also relaxing. I do NOT recommend the Waikiki beach as it’s covered in tourists and garbage. ☹ That was the only beach out of the ones we visited that had so much garbage in the sand. It was really sad.

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Pearl Harbor Visit.

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USS Arizona Memorial.

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Memorial with Oahu Landscape.

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Kapolei Beach Park which was nice and relaxing!

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Oahu Mountains.

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Beautiful Ko’olina Beach Park.

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The mountains near Ko’olina Beach Park.

 

Oahu Restaurants/Cafes/Places to eat:

La Cucina Ristorante Italiano (****): An Italian restaurant that had some very nice dishes. The food is made to order so it can take some time but it’s worth it! The bruschetta appetizer was the best we’ve ever had!

Senia (****): We went here for their pre-fix lunch course. The food was delicious and well-presented while the service was nice and professional. I highly recommend the butter mochi for dessert!

Marukame Udon (****): We liked this place so much that we visited here twice during our stay! It was also close to our hotel and a very good value. There’s usually a line but it goes by quickly. The udon noodles are prepared fresh and you can watch them being made.

Matcha Stand Maiko (***): This matcha place is located very close to Marukame Udon which makes it a nice place to go for dessert! Their hojicha latte was a bit strong but authentic. Their matcha softserve was delicious.

Leonard’s Bakery (***): Probably the best place to eat masaladas. The masaladas were given to us piping hot so it’s best to eat them right away~

Roy’s Ko Olina (**): Roy’s is a chain with several locations. The food didn’t seem fresh and the dishes weren’t great so a one time visit was enough for us.

 

 

 

Have you ever been to Hawaii? What are your recommendations? 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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