Thursday, November 29, 2018

Hawaii Trip - Day 3

Nov 25, 2018

Oahu is the 3rd largest island of Hawaii state, it is a good planning to tour around the island by self driving or travel agent tour. I booked Grand tour of the island on which is from Roberts Hawaii travel agent.

We set off at 7:30am, the first stop is Hanauma Bay which is most famous for snorkeling. We got 20 minutes stay for photo taking and scenery viewing. This is really a great bay beach for at least half day relax. Entrance fee is $7.5, there are many 3-4 hours' tour for snorkeling here at around $30.

Next stop is Halona Blowhole, which has astonishing coastal view.

After first 2 stops, we came to a shop called "Hawaiian Coral Factory" which provides restroom and free coffee. I just bought some beverage. They sell coral brooch, earrings and Hawaiian clothes. Tour guide gave this stop 30 minutes. It is not uncommon tour guide gives more time stay at shops than POI. That is the cons of taking a tour, but tour guide introduction about the history and culture of Oahu island is the pros.

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout is the 4th stop. It has stories about Kings and last battle in the history. It also has great green mountain view. It was not windy, so we cannot experience the situation tour guide described.

Byodo In temple is our 5th stop. It is located in Valley of the Temples Memorial park. This is a place deserves visiting. The Japanese style temple was built in the park, with water in the front, and mountain at the back. It has very good fengshui from Asian tradition. There is Buddha inside of the temple. There are many big fishes in the pond. If we get more time to stay, we can feed the fish, take some short hiking around the temple.

The six stop came to Macadamia Farm Outlet at Kaneohe. This shop provides nuts tasting, free coffee, and of course all kinds of souvenirs. Again we got 40 minutes stay, so that we could shop around.

The 7th stop was Kualoa Ranch for tram tour and lunch. It didn't provide any surprise from the 20 minutes tram tour. This ranch also provides other activities like horse riding, Jeep ride, zipline and Jurassic Park tour etc, but each activity needs extra money and time. From introduction and my experience with the tram tour, I don't suggest to take their activities except for Jurassic Park (movie taken spot). We got 1 hour for the lunch, some tourists booked buffet lunch, and some didn't. It was a right decision to not book lunch for me. I like to purchase lunch from ranch cafe menu than the plain and simple buffet. This ranch was built from Kualoa Sugar Mill, but now it is purely for tourism and activities.

After the lunch, it was a long ride around the coastal line. Tour guide gave a lot of introduction about the beaches, bays and surfing at the north shore. We also passed Polynesian Cultural center which was closed on Sunday, passed Laie college, came to fruit stand at Kahuku. Tour guide (the driver) gave us 20 minutes stop for fresh fruit purchase. This was the 8th stop.

Back to bus, we headed to our last and 9th stop Dole Plantation. During the ride, we passed sunset point beach park, Waimea bay beach park etc. Dole Plantation has very beautiful garden and tasteful Dole whip. They also sell BBQ corn at $5 which seems to be popular. I bought one whip at $6.5 which is similar to Yogurtland here. Dole Plantation has train ride, maze etc activities, but we don't have enough time to play. Usually the tourists can take pictures, use bathroom, and taste some deserts.

We returned to Waikiki around 5pm, passing through pearl harbor, airport, downtown, Aloha Tower, Ala Moana etc. Heading to Waikiki beach to watch the sunset was the right decision. It was fabulous to lay on the sand and watch the sunset. The sky, the sea, the beach, the hotel, the diamond head, the people under the sunset, what a unforgettable memory and astonish view.

After it was dark, I was leaving the beach to international market place. There was daily night show regarding Hawaii tradition, the stories about king and queen, and of course the Hawaiian music and dance. After the show, I came to 3rd floor for a dinner. I selected Goma Tei Ramen Waikiki which is owned by Chinese, but it tastes so good, highly recommend it. In the Mitsuwa Marketplace, there is Hokkaido Ramen too. I really enjoyed the atmosphere at this shopping mall.

Keywords: Waikiki beach, Hanauma Bay, Halona Blowhole, Pali lookout, Byodo In temple, Kualoa Ranch, Dole Plantation

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