As I said, Hawaii is such a beautiful paradise, if you didn't go there before, let's go and plan!
Day 1 was almost a travelling day, we departed from NJ newark airport, because it have a direct flight to Honolulu, it's around 10 hours flight. I decided to park my car in a company called Park2Go, it charge $9 per day which is a pretty good deal. But...as my own experience tell me, i will park my car in the long term airport parking lots next time, it costs $12 per day but I feel more comfortable as I don't need to leave my key to someone. When I get back my car on Park2Go, I find someone sat into my car, turn on the A/C, listen to the radio, and left some snack trash in my car! It's better than a scratch on my car, but I did pay for the parking, I don't expect anyone to USE my car.
Okay, forget this. It's around 6:00pm when we arrived honolulu, you will see the Pearl harbour when the flight decending to the airport, the ocean is crystal clear. We took the rental car shuttle to Thrify, which offer the cheapest car rental services on Honolulu I believe, I got it for $23 a day with 10% off coupon code. It's a new Dodge car, but I would perfer to ride on a Japanese car instead, I don't know why, I kept feeling dazzle when I was seating on the passenger seat. It took us around 45 minutes to Waikiki beach area, because we got lost....i always think that getting lost is the most exciting part in a trip =) We checked in at Sheraton Priness Kaiulani, its location is great, just right off from the waikiki beach, and it's have a parking lots just next to the building, but it costs you $15 for a day.
I had good experience with this Sheraton hotel, as they gave me an upgrade to a partial-ocean view room, the room size is just right for me. It don't provide Internet access in the room, you can use some pay wireless services, or you can enjoy the 3 free Internet consoles in the lobby, you certainly need to spend some time on waiting. From 18 floors, I can still hear the music downstair, the windows and wall won't block it, so it's a little bit noisy at night. After all, I got this room for $100 at priceline.com, it's already beyond my expectation! The first night we walked around the waikiki central area, the International market place, and ABC storeS. We had dinner in a small japanese restaurant nearby.
Day 2 was a real start for our journey, we woke up earlier morning trying to get a quick start on Arizona memorial, we came there at 8am, but there was already a long long queue. Fortunately the queue run fast and we got in the threatre at 9am. The film gave a brief introduction to Pearl harbour attack, after that we got into a boat to the wrecked Arizona battleship. That's not much to see in the Memorial, but it's have a visit.
Next we went to Dole plantation, we saw a lot of pineapple still hanging on a tree, and you can taste pineapple icecream in the food court too. We don't have much time, so we didn't join the garden tour and train, we did went to the world largest maze, they had a small quiz that you can play around. We then went to the Hanauma Bay which is around 30 minutes from waikiki beach, I can tell you that's a must go place in Honolulu, the bay is so clear, crystal blue! lots of ppl snorking there, and you see the reef right there from the sky. Admission fee is $5 each, we didn't have time to go to the beach on Day 2, but we did come back. We had a great dinner at the japanese bbq restaurant Tanaka of Tokyo Japanese Steak and Seafood located at the King Village, just right across Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, it costed around $40 for a main course, but you see the chef playing with the food and bbq knife in front of you, the price is reasonable.
Day 3 began with a early flight from Honolulu to Big Island, as we had to catch up the Lava hiking tour at 11am. After we arrived the Big Island airport, we called Arnott lodge to pick us up to the lodge, that's is 10 minutes ride which is free if you stay at Arnott lodge. Arnott is more like a hostel style in European, priced right for backpacker. We chose one of the delux room that cost $70 per night, don't expect that's a hotel grade or even a motel grade, what you can do there is sleeping. They have fee Internet access and laundry in common area.
What attracted me was not the room, but the lava hiking tour, that is a guided tour which bring you close to the lava. The trip started at 11am, we got into a mini van, after a 45 minutes drive we up to the volcano village, there are some screnery point for you to stop and take great pictures, we saw lava rock from different years of explosion, and the crates. The end of road meant the start of our REAL journey, WALK on the LAVA! That's not an easy hiking, we walked on the lava for more than 4 hours, that's nothing but walking under the sun, you will certainly get a good tan after that. Lucky we did see the lava, real HOT lava from the rock, it's so HOT that you couldn't really come closer, so long walk worthed it. When we came back tothe road,it's already 7:30pm. The moon night view was wonderful down there, the full moon shadow on the ocean, if you have a SLR and a tripod, you can take some good picture there. That night we got some pizza and then fall asleep quickly.
Day 4....a slow day. We rented a car from Enterprise, because they can picked you up from the Arnott Lodge. Enterprise offered the cheapest price on Big Island, around $22 a day, excellent services. We had a morning on Big Island, visited the Macadamia Nut visitor center, big island candy factory, coco but island, and then we went to the airport to catch a Pacific Wings jet to Maui. PW jet is a small aircraft company, only 8 seats on the jet, it ran slower than the Hawaiian or Aloha, as they fly on a lower latitude, but you are guarantee to get great view, and greate services from the pilot, because it's the pilots who carry your bags, assign your seats and take photo for you, good deal huh? we paid for $95 a person, services is priceless.
On Maui, again we drove under the umbrella from Thrify, $16 a day, can't beat elsewhere. We drove to Maui Coast hotel, where we stayed there for 4 nights, it's around 30 minutes from the airport, on the south side of Maui, a lots of beaches and luxury hotel on South Maui, but if you perfer shopping or guided actitivies, you better stay on the west side, like Lahaina and Kaanapalil. Maui Coast hotel is a nice one, as they upgraded us to a 1 bedroom suite, plenty of space although no good view. I booked directly from their website, with a AAA discount, $150 per night, include parking, free Internet access down to the lobby. The pool is really small, don't expect you can have any activities inside the hotel. anyway, you got what you pay for.
It seems to me that Maui island is a place for sun tanning and surfing, maybe we stayed at the Keihi region, while surrounded by beaches. We had dinner in one of the most famous restaurant in Lantern "David Paul's Lahaina Grill ", we booked the
table in advance through its website, so we don't need to wait too long, the place was crowded, price range is around $60 per person, the food is not overwhelming good, but it's worth to try. One thing you have to aware of, there is not much off street parking available in that region, you have to park in some public parking lots, which costed you $5 to $10 per 2 hours. We also walked around the river street, but there are not much but souvenir shops.
On the way to the restaurant, we stoped by one of the Expedia fun activities center, to make reservation for Mokolini snorkeling and sunset cycling tour, actually we can do that in Maui Coast, but that shop close earlier. We joined the Molokini tour by Pacific Whale foundation, and sunset cycling tour by the Mountain cruiser. I did some research on the web, these 2 operators should provide the best services, and you can save around 20% if you book the activities through the Expedia Fun counter. The lady from Expedia counter did offer us a rebate from timeshare seminar, at first I really don't want to waste my vacation time to save $150, but the lady guaranteed that the introduction will only lasted for one and a half hour, so I finally took the offer.
Day 5... is a day of expectation, as it's my first time to do snorkeling, it turned out to be a wonderful experience. Around 100 ppl got onto a Pacific Whale Foundation boat, and we headed to Molokini, which is the most famous snorkeling place in Maui. PWF served simple breakfast, like muffin and juice. It took around 45 minutes to get to Molokini, and then we worn the snorkel mask and jumped into the pacific ocean. The view is not very clear under the water, we could bearly see a few fishes swimming around us, and we could see the reef as well, fishes are colourful but the wave was a bit vigorous that day. Maybe we are not lucky enough, that day was actually high tide, which is not good for snorkeling. We supposed to snorkel in
another island called Lani, but when we reached there, the crew said that the water condition was not safe for snorkeling, so we had to head back to Molokini
for second snorkel.
More than 10 ppl folded up on the boat, include me. I didn't want to describe in detail as that's really messy. But...if you really fell sick on the sea, folding up is really a good cure. I felt much better after THAT!
When the ship head back to the harbour, we also saw the hawaii sea turtles. After such an exciting journey, we went back to the hotel, got sunbath on the tiny hotel swimming pool, we also went to the shopping mall on the Whailer. We had dinner in one of the japanese sushi shop in Keihi, the food was good, fresh fish.
Day 6....We slept for a couples of hours, we woke up at 1:30am, and waited for the mountain
cruiser van. Sun rise Haleakala cycling is one of the most famous activity on Maui.
The sunrise view is really beautiful, we were the first person in United State to see the sunrise that day, but it's freezing uphill, so you must well prepare for that, the jacket provided by the operator was not good enough to keep you warm.
Shortly after the sunrise, we got on the bicycle and went downhill, you don't really need to ride on the paddle, and it's don't help at all. you have to lower your body to speed up, if you are thin, you might have some difficulty to keep up with your teammate. That's really a short trip, we don't really have any major stop until we reached the base. The shuttle then sent us back to the hotel before 11am. You know what, I don't know whether it's depended on the company or the team coach, I am not too satisfy with the trip, so I will not recommend mountain cruiser to you guys.
I would suggest you to rent a bicycle and drive up Haleakala yourself, it not only save you a hundred dollar, but also let you control your own pace.
We still have plenty of time in the afternoon. We just laid back beside the pool and beaches along the Keihe coastline. We went to Lantau again for our dinner, because there was an anuual food festival in there, all famous hotel and restaurant had a booth on there to show off their most delicious dishes. We had to pay $5 each for entry and then we bought tickets for the food. It's a wonderful experience as you can try different food in the same place, and the price was pretty resonable.
Day 7....is sort of time wasting. We have committed to attend a time-sharing seminar in Lantanu downtown, actually it took our whole morning. In the afternoon we visited some of the souvenir shop in Keihi
Day 8...this is the last day in hawaii, somehow it gave me surprise! We took a earlier flight from Maui back to Honlulu. The return flight was at the evening so we still have a whole day to spend in Honulu, so I decide to rent a car and ride! Our plan is go to the Polynesian Cultural center, but when we got there, it's close! I don't feel upset, coz I don't really interested in that kind of cultural show =P
We drove along the main highway in Honlulu, let make a cycle drive. We passed some beaches in the north Honlulu and enjoyed a shrimp lunch in a roadside cart. Then we went to the turtle bay, this name gave me a lot of expectation...we expected to see a lots of turtle on the bay, but....it's a beach, maybe the turtle won't show up in the middle of day. Okay, what's next....you know what, we went back to the Hanauma Bay Marine Preserve, right snorkeling!!!! again... It's a beautiful day, we swam a miles off the beach, under water was such an amazing picture, we saw over a thousand colourful fishs passing around us, that's what you see in the movie. We only spent like 2 hours over there, but we are so tired, and this brought us a beautiful end of our trip.
Do we love Hawaii? Sure we do
Will you come back to Hawaii? Sure we will, we probably go to other islands next time.
And now, are you ready to go to Hawaii?