Away from the hustle bustle of crowded haunts in Waikiki, a boisterous Polynesian capital, Honolulu awaits to shake hands with you and give a chance to taste authentic Hawaii. There’s no turning back from the temptation of finding yourself in an island-style, Honolulu.
- 1 Honolulu at a glance – An endless adventure
- 2 Honolulu Attractions – Things to do in Honolulu – Experience mystical beauty
- 2.0.1 The Bishop Museum
- 2.0.2 Chinatown Markets – Experience the vibe
- 2.0.3 Ala Moana Beach Park – Sensual delight
- 2.0.4 Iolani Palace – Relive the historical era
- 2.0.5 Manoa Falls Trail – For an endless adventure
- 2.0.6 National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific – Nicknamed as Punchbowl
- 2.0.7 Sweet Home Cafe – Savour the delicacies
- 2.0.8 Honolulu delights
Honolulu at a glance – An endless adventure
Grab from some of the most tempting eateries at on your way through the pan-Asian alleys of Chinatown. The historic place from the 19th-century era where the whalers once brawled and the traders used to thrive. Take a halt at the Landmark Aloha Tower and gaze at the sea. Start your journey again and stare at the Victorian-era buildings and the only royal palace of USA as you walk past them. Discover everything new at the world’s largest open-air shopping centre at Ala Moana. Don’t feel content here and find your way to the city’s impressive art museums.
After exploring the picturesque city, let yourself submerge into your true self as you walk beside the lush-green Palm trees along the harborfront. Wear your hiking shoes and go hiking on the Ko’olau Range, which will soothe your eyes with postcard city views. And as the sun goes down, start cooling yourself, as you splash in the ocean at Ala Moana Beach. And the dusk turns into the dark, you start migrating to Chinatown and indulge yourself in its edgy nightlife and art.
Honolulu Attractions – Things to do in Honolulu – Experience mystical beauty
The Bishop Museum
Similar to Hawaii’s version of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, the Bishop Museum portrays a magnificent array of historical, cultural and natural exhibits. The place is often ranked as the finest Polynesian anthropological museum in the whole world. It was in the year 1889 when the place was found in the honour of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. He was the descendant of the Kamehameha dynasty. The place used to house only Hawaiian and royal artefacts. The legendary place now honours all of Polynesia.
Explore the main gallery at the famous Hawaiian Hall which resides in the Victorian Building. The main gallery is situated inside three storeys of the building and its floors are designed in away that it takes you on a journey amidst different realms of Hawaii.The 1st floor of the building signifies the Hawaiian Gods, Legends, beliefs, and the world of pre-contact Hawaii. The second floor of the building throws light on the importance of land and nature in our daily routine. The third/top floor is the floor of Gods.
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The most fascinating and captivating two-story inside the adjacent Pacific Hall exhibits a myriad of a culture of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia. The place reflects the people of Oceania as diverse yet strong connection and is filled with treasures of culture, such as canoes, woven mats, and contemporary artwork.
The eye-catching and state-of-the-art multi-sensory Science Adventure Centre is based on the understanding of Hawaii’s pleasant environment. Explore or know about the areas of science where Hawaii has attained international recognition which includes volcanology, oceanography and biodiversity.
The Hawaiian sports legends have found their place inside the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in the form of photos and memorabilia. The Na Ulu Kaiwi‘ula Native Hawaiian Garden displays some of the most important species in the Hawaiian culture. From endemic plants to others as breadfruit which was brought to Hawaii by Polynesians centuries ago.
Home to O ‘ahu’s only planetarium, Bishop Museum has the ever-changing range of shows that includes traditional Polynesian methods of navigation. You can always check the museum website for upcoming events or shows. From exclusive gift shop on the Pacific, sells books which are not found elsewhere very easily. You can also be surprised with some high-quality Hawaiian art, craft and souvenirs. Indulge your taste-buds in a quality cafe available there. The cafe remains open from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm daily.
You can book online for reduced admission rates.
Chinatown Markets – Experience the vibe
There are markets and food shops which portrays the commercial heart of Chinatown. From pastry shops, noodle factories to produce stalls line the narrow sidewalks which remain crowded always with errand-running families and cart-pushing grandmothers. O ‘ahu Market is an institution since 1904, which has been selling everything which can be needed by a Chinese cook. From the ginger root, quail eggs, fresh octopus, jasmine, rice, slabs of tuna, long beans to salted jellyfish.
Savour your taste buds into the bubble tea if you come to spot a pig’s head. Head towards the Kekaulike Market which is vibrant and full of life. At the topmost end of Pedestrian, the mall is the Munakata Marketplace which is people’s favourite food court.
Ala Moana Beach Park – Sensual delight
Soothe your senses as you walk past to golden sand beach which is a mile long boasted by shade trees. The beach is situated opposite to the Ala Moana centre shopping mall. The place is highly popular but never seems too crowded due to its humongous space. Exploring Ala Moana is one of the top things to do in Honolulu. This is the place where residents of Honolulu come for jogging after work, play beach volleyball and enjoy picnics in the weekend. The park is full of ample facilities, such as tennis courts, ball fields, picnic tables, drinking water, restrooms, outdoor showers and lifeguard towers.
You can always admire or submerge yourself into the idyllic sunset as you walk around the peninsula’s perimeter. You can also enjoy the anchor’s toss of sailboats pulling in and out. It happens in the neighbouring Ala Wai Yacht Harbor.
Iolani Palace – Relive the historical era
You cannot find any other place that evokes a more sense of poignancy of Hawaii’s history. The historically popular place was built under the era of King David Kalakaua in the year 1882. It was at that time only when the monarchs of Hawaii used to observe many diplomatic protocols of the Victorian world. In those times the king used to travel around the globe to meet with leaders and used to receive foreign emissaries here. The place was filled with opulence for its time.
It was after two years when the former queen, Liliʻuokalani, was convicted of treason and had to spend nine months in the prison after she succeeded her brother David to the throne. Later on, the palace went on to be the capital of the republic to become the territory and now it is the state of Hawaii. And left Iolani palace n shambles.The palace was renovated and restored after a painstaking process of many renovations and reopened as a museum. Although there were many artefacts which were stolen from the palace before the work began.
You can always take a docent-led or self-guided tour (no children under the age of five years) to relish Lolani’s grand interior accompanied by the recreation of the throne room and may residential quarters upstairs.
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The royal palace was not only opulent but was equally modern for its time. It was made at the par with Victorian-era standards. With every bedroom equipped with attach bathrooms, flush toilets, hot running water and electric lights replaced by gas lamps years before the White House in Washington DC had installed electricity. If you’re in a hurry, you can quickly browse the historical exhibits in the basements, royal regalia, historical photographs and kitchens, which are reconstructed and chamberlain’s office.
You can always enjoy the palace grounds which are open during the daytime and is also free of charge. There’s also a ticket booth which used to be barracks the Royal Household Guards. The building looks oddly as the uppermost layer of a medieval fort. You can also a domed pavilion in proximity which was built for the coronation o King Kalakaua in the year 1883, which is still used for state governor’s inaugurations. Enjoy the Royal Hawaiian Band which gives free concerts on most of the Fridays from noon to 1 pm or as permitted by weather. The concert happens under the huge banyan tree which was allegedly planted by Queen Kapiʻolani. Book your tickets in advance during peak periods to confirm tour schedules.
Manoa Falls Trail – For an endless adventure
Image credit to : courtneyscott.tv
Feel the adrenaline rush when you are on Honolulu’s most adventurous but short hike, that is 1.6-mile round-trip. Follow the trail which runs on the rocky stream bed before you end up at a beautiful little cascade. Find yourself among tall tree trunks which are lined by muddy and slippery path. Get amazed when you see wild orchids and red ginger in the vicinity which falls from about 100ft Into a small and shallow pool. Though it’s illegal to explore beyond the prescribed viewing area.
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Entering the water can be a dangerous task due to falling rocks and the risk of the disease leptospirosis (a waterborne bacterial infection).
Take bus 5 Manoa Valley from Ala Moana Centre or from the university area to the end of the path. Walk for half-mile on an uphill trail. If you are in a car, you can drive to the end of Manoa road where you will find a privately operated parking with a lot of charges of $5 per vehicle. Though free parking is always available on-street, just downhill from the bus stop.
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific – Nicknamed as Punchbowl
In the northeast of downtown Honolulu is a bowl-shaped crater. The shape has formed by a long-extinct volcano. It also called the hill of human sacrifices(Puowaina) by Hawaiians.
It’s believed by many that an ancient heiau (temple) was used as the place for the slain of bodies of kapu (taboo) breakers which were then ceremonially cremated upon the altar. Today, you can embrace the remains of ancient Hawaiians who sacrificed their lives to appease Gods, share the crater platform with 50,000 soldiers who were killed during World War Two. Popularly known as Erin Pyle was a war correspondent from the World War II, who was hit by the machine gun during the final days of the war on le-Shima. You can find five stones to the left nearby to the grave D-1 is in the memory of astronaut Ellison Onizuka which is also called as Hawaii’s big island. The astronaut perished in the year 1986 with the Challenger space-shuttle disaster.
Even if you want to shift your view from the war sights, there’s plenty of other breathtaking views. From plum views of the city and the diamond head, Punchbowl would be worth a ride. Soothe your eyes with sweeping ocean view after you enter the cemetery.
There are many special events which are held at the cemetery, including memorial day to honour the veterans and traditional Easter sunrise Christian service.
Sweet Home Cafe – Savour the delicacies
Image credit to : honolulumagazine.com
After you have explored the whole of Honolulu’s beautiful sights, it’s time to relish its delicacies. Head to Sweet Home cafe and find your comfort there. From family-style tables or steaming-hot pots, you can choose your broth. From the refrigerator find your own choice to cook. Choose from many kinds of vegetables, lamb, tofu, chicken or the tender beef tongue. Apart from all these mouth-watering delicacies, there’s complimentary shave for your dessert.
Honolulu is a diverse, compact and lovely place with beaches, hiking trails for adventure, delicious cuisine. Last summer put Honolulu as the 11th best place in the world in terms of best quality of lifestyle (the only US city on the list).
The most amazing idea of seeing a city by foot isn’t the most traveller’s or tourist’s idea of a week in Hawaii. But Honolulu is filled with small details and little experience which makes a worthwhile walk around the city. With so much to experience in this vibrant city, one need to spare at least a week time to explore and live each and every moment of this beautiful city. So indulge all of your senses and enjoy the scenic beauty and sumptuous cuisine.