Thursday, September 19, 2013

Honeymoon Travelogue: 4 days 3 nights in Oahu [Hawaii]

I have to write everything down before memories from our dreamy vacation fades away!!!

As mentioned before, we visited 3 islands in Hawaii (Oahu, Kauai and Big Island) and loved them all. Of course, some more than others. With days passing by so quickly, we wanted to do everything and I truly lived by what younglings say nowadays...YOLO! "Oh look dolphins out in the distance where sharks might lurk...must swim there..YOLO!"..."Oh look, a waterfall but we don't have hiking shoes...must walk barefoot down to go see it...YOLO!"..."Oh look, a tall cliff which I must jump off of...YOLO!". Just some examples.

Three days in Oahu seemed so short and since it was the beginning of our honeymoon, we went full throttle and expected to get some rest by the time we reach the Big Island. Without further ado, here is the list of some noteworthy (and some not so worthy) places we visited in Oahu.

-Hanauma Bay: This is where we got our back totally sunburned on our first day in Hawaii. I'm usually really really good about putting on sunscreen so I was pretty disappointed at myself for being lazy. Hanauma Bay is recommended if you're a beginner snorkeler HOWEVER, we did witness a drowning (no death) the moment we left the bay and we were told that incidents like this happen often due to snorkelers panicking and gulp in way too much water. My best advice, always go in with a partner and keep each other in sight. Actually, the 9 minutes educational video they force everyone to see before you enter the bay will also advise the same thing!

In hindsight, this is probably my least favorite snorkeling place we've tried in Hawaii!

-Halona Cove/Blow Hole (water blows out of lava tubes during the winter time only): There's a secluded beach near the blow hole which is called Halona Cove. We had just gone snorkeling so we didn't check it out. It's too not crowded probably due to the rocky climb to get down there.

Bonus: Two resident green sea turtles are often spotted there which we we got to see from afar!

-Keneke's: a local dining chain where I thought I had the best of the Li hing mui shaved ice. It was the first time I had shaved ice so I had nothing to compare it to but now that I've tried multiple places, I think it was my fave shave ice spot. For Li hing mui flavor anyway. It's also a good spot to get some really big lunch plates for less than $10! Check out the lunch plate Dave got which we shared. I end up eating a tuna salad and got a spicy salmon roll from the nearby 7-eleven.

The 7-eleven served dim sum and all these good stuff for cheap!

Char siu bao at the 7-eleven 
7-eleven spicy salmon roll for $1.99

-Kahuku Superette: Famous for their poke and yes, really good ahi tuna poke is served here! I think it was $17.99 per pound!

-We took a nap under palm trees at Kualoa Regional Park:

-Shrimp trucks: We tried Romy's shrimp trunk which is one of the two well known shrimp trucks on the North Shore. The other is Giovanni's and we heard the hot sauce is so hot that there is no refund if you change your mind! We weren't impressed with the garlic shrimp from Romy's which we heard was better than Giovanni's. Maybe we were full from our lunch already because I usually love garlic anything! Now I wish I could have tried Giovanni's so that I can compare the two. We were only minutes from closing so had no time to stop at both! I guess it is still a must-try if you're up in the North Shore. Don't forget to try the Li Hing Mui pineapple! 

Li Hing Mui + pineapple!

Romy's garlic shrimp over rice

-Waimea Bay: Love!!! (Will have a separate post about this place! YOLO! Click here )

-Sunset beach: Watch hot surfers and sunsets. I didn't see any hot surfers but we did see a gorgeous sunset.

-Ala Moana Center: This is where we pigged out on unami flavored ramen at MenYa-Ifu-Do-Do ramen. We also had fried octopus balls from Yama-Chan, a French crepe from Crepe Harajuku and salmon sashimi from Maguro Zanmai. All the food was consumed within about an hour.

-Side Street Inn: This local favorite serves the largest portions we had seen on the island and at a very decent price. We were definitely stuffed and had enough leftovers for lunch. The fried rice is popular and was pretty good.

-Pearl harbor: Finally, on our last day in Oahu, we had less than hour to visit Pearl Harbor. We had a plane to catch in the afternoon and didn't know the museum was not free. Some of the tickets were actually sold out. There are shuttles that brought you into different vessels where the museums were located. What was annoying is that you cannot bring any bags inside Pearl Harbor including purses or even your camera bags! There's a locker space you can rent for $3/bag and they suggest you do not leave any valuable items in your car due to high volumes of thievery so, it was like a trap for tourists to check in their bags. So, before you go, leave all your goodies at home or pay up! We didn't care and left our shit in the car only because we were staying for such a short amount of time.

All the vessels you can visit at Pearl Harbor

Some not so worthy places to mention but nothing to brag about:

-Jameson by the Sea: We ate there because everything else was closed that evening we arrived in Oahu. Most of the local restaurants close early and the rest are mostly tourist traps i.e. expensivo $$$

-Dole Plantation: Everything was kind of overpriced as expected and catered to tourists. We bought this little guy as a gift for Dave's aunt and he's the cutest thing Totoro has ever met. We heard the pineapple yogurt was good but did not try and I was intrigued by the Spam flavored macadamian nuts. We didn't stay for very long but some families could make it a day's event touring the plantation and play in the world's largest maze.

-Matsumoto's shaved ice: You go here because it is famous. Since i was all about Li hing mui flavoring, that's all I know to compare. I still prefer the syrup from Keneke's. The other stuff all tastes the same to me. And it's not a grocery store, it's just pretty much shave ice and souvenirs. 

-Royal Hawaiian's legendary Mai Tai Bar: This is where the "original" Mai Tai drink was born. I would say it's definitely not the best place to get a Mai Tai.

some winning drink 

overrated original Mai Tai

That's it for now! Next stop, Kauaiiiiiiii........

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