Day 1, we flew with Gerbie (our airplane) to the beautiful Maui island. As soon as we located our seats aboard the airplane, Han got comfortable right away with her new favorite - the airplane pillow and blanky. After a lengthy 5 -hour flight, we finally arrived.
Upon arriving at the resort, a lovely lady greeted us with fresh flower leis and refreshing fruity water. Han immediately was attracted to the lobby waterfalls and the fish pond filled with giant koi fishes, live flamingos and a couple of friendly gooses.
This pond turned out to be a major kid attraction every morning during feeding time.Han enjoyed feeding her fish friends so much that we went back there 3 times
We stayed at the Westin Maui Resort in the Kannapali village with beach front access to the Kannapali beach just south of Black Rock. The lobby and the outdoor pool area definitely live up to its 4-stars rating, but the room did not. Our room was small and in need of renovation. The water sprinkler in the bathroom was rusted, the tiles on the floor were scratched and the toilet was LOUD. But the worst of all, our hair dryer was sticky, yikes!
Although I have many complains about the room, I was impressed by the pools. There are 5 pools at the resort (not counting the whirlpool) and 2 water slides. The lower level opens to everyone but mostly families show up here. The upper level is adult only with a bar right in the middle. Nice way to separate the crowd for enjoying different amenities.
That night, we dined at the resort's Tropica restaurant with mostly beach front outdoor seating. The sunset view of the Pacific Ocean was just breath-taking. The food was good, one of the best we've had during our vacation. Romantic? Absolutely! But not recommended for families (especially with young kids like my 4-year-old) because after the sun set, we can hardly see our plates and Han was eager to get out of the dark. Oh, and the food wasn't cheap; we racked up $100 easily on that dinner bill (which mostly paid for the view in my opinion).
For families, I'd recommend the Ono Bar & Grill next door which has a more family-oriented menu (and pricing). Plus kids eat for free (per each paying adult). I personally think the food came from the same kitchen anyways...
So there, that was our uneventful first day at Maui .
Day 2, we got up early to see the Nakalele Point and Blowhole that I read in “Maui Revealed” (an excellent Maui tour book, highly recommended). With each wave, water is forced through a hole in the lava shelf resulting in the "eruption" of water similar to a geyser; hence the name “blowhole”. This is a magnificant sight to see but hard to find without a guide. We later found out that the white marks on the rocks guide you to the blowhole but finding that out on our way back certainly didn’t help. It is about 20-30 minutes hike down toward the ocean and the last 5-10 minutes can be rocky.
After the hike, we were hungry. We decided to try Honokowai Okazuya & Deli which was described as the best take-out place accordingly to my Maui bible. It was indeed an excellent choice for local food. The teriyaki steak and grill mahi mahi were the best I’ve had. One word of caution here – avoid the donburi. You will be glad that you did!
After a satisfying meal without breaking my wallet, we headed back to the hotel for some pool time. On the way back, we stopped by a fruit stand and bought a fresh coconut. Han really enjoyed the coconut water but shy away from the coconut meat. I don't blame her; it's kind of weird for me, too!
Back in 2000 when we first visited Maui , we discovered Sansei Seafood and Sushi just before leaving, and I’ve been craving about the food since then. So tonight, it’s dinner at Sansei’s. I was a bit disappointed because the food tasted 2nd-grade to any decent Japanese restaurant in the bay area. Mark said I was too picky, but I was just glad that there’s decent Japanese food waiting for me back home… BTW, Sansei offers an early bird special of 25% off if you get seated and order before 6pm. But plan to go early, there’s usually a long line by 5:30pm already.
And that concluded a very interesting second day at Maui.
Day 3, was our activity day. Flipping through all the free guide books gotten from the airport, I found a good deal on the Atlantis Submarine Tour ($74/adult with 1 free child) from Expedia, so off we went. We first took a 15 minutes ferry ride from Lahaina's dock to reach the submarine's dive site. Then we boarded the submarine and started our dive down the Pacific Ocean .
The submarine seated up to 48 passengers and each passenger had his/her own viewing window. The tour lasted 45 minutes and the deepest we got to was 135 ft below sea surface. Han was excited at first, especially when a couple of fishes got real close. But after 20-30 minutes of about the same thing, she was bored. We saw some fishes, coral reefs, sea urchins and a sunken ship. No turtles, stingrays, or sharks. Nope, it’s not our lucky day. Our tour guide, Greg, had a great sense of humor and kept us entertained the whole time. Would I take the tour again? Probably not. But I would recommend trying it out if you’ve never done it before.
After the dive, we took the ferry back to Lahaina. The whole trip lasted about 1.5 hours and we reached the shore just around noon hour so we started to look for some food. Following the recommendation of another “great lunch place” (according to my Maui bible), we ended up at Kimo’s. The outdoor seating on the deck offered great ocean view, but the food was disappointing. We even tried the “must-have” Hula pie and weren’t’ ecstatic about it.
After lunch, we strolled in Lahaina a little bit and ended up at the Great Banyan Tree. This is definitely the biggest tree I’ve ever seen and it’s one of the largest Indian Banyan tree in the world. Just amazing!
Dinner time, we decided not to drive out so we walked next door to Whalers Village looking for the busiest place to dine in. Right away we spotted the Hula Grill. Looking at the exotic menu (and the price), I had high hopes for a decent meal. Unfortunately, a mediocre meal was what we got. We later found out that Hula Grill and Kimo’s were sister restaurants. Ah, no wonder…
So after an adventurous day, we went back to our comfy beds and slept away...
Day 4, we followed our concierge’s recommendation to ride the tour tram at the Maui Tropical Plantation. Since Han loves fruits and train rides, we thought this would be a great place to visit. The ride was 35-40 minutes for $10/adult (AAA discount price) which I thought was over-priced for looking at some fruit trees. $5 would have been more reasonable for what we got. Well, the rule of thumb of vacationing at Maui was - all expenses must and will double…Despite the ripoff, it was educational for Han to see the fruits and their plants in their natural forms - sugarcanes with leaves, avocados, bananas, coconuts, and papayas on the trees. Do you know that pineapples grow on top of their trees? Do you know that macadamia nuts grow on trees and not on the ground? Embarrassing enough to say, I had no idea until today.
On the way back to the resort, we stopped by another fruit stand for fresh sugercane juice. The flavor of the sugarcane juice was very intense and soooo sweet. I was glad that Han not only learned about sugercanes today, but had a taste as well. A complete learning experence, I thought.
Back to the hotel, Han had demanded more swimming time so we went back to the pools. After I put on the 2 swimmer’s training arm bands on her, she was free to go. Han was able to jump into the water and swim back to jump again all by herself. I was impressed, I had a little mermaid after all (a very sweet one, too)!
So that was our fourth day at Maui , only 2 more days to go.
Day 5, was our last full day at Maui . Mark had planned to golf at the Plantation Golf Course in Kapalua so we went along and rode the golf cart. Once on the green, Han wanted to putt-putt so we gave her a club and a ball. With just 2 tries, she putted a ball right in the hole, YES! Watch out Michelle Wei, here comes Kristen TIGER Hung!
There are many rules while playing on the golf course, the most important one is to keep quiet when golfers are getting ready to play. Lady Han was so well-behaved that she would tell you to “shhhh” while others were about to play. J
The golf course was located at the northwest corner of the Maui Island overlooking the Kapalua bay. The view was stunning; the calm water, the blue sky and the white clouds looked just like the pictures on postcards. I truly envy people who live and work here, life just seems happier on Maui .
Dinner time, we ended up at Honokowai Okazuya & Deli again. Who can resist a quick and delicious meal for under $20 per person on Maui ?!!
After our meal, it was already dark outside. Somehow, the stars seemed to shine brighter on our last night here on Maui...