Warning: This is going to be a long post…I am spilling tea!
“Hawaii is paradise. It sounds cheesy to say it, but there’s music in the air there.”Bruno Mars
I couldn’t agree more with Bruno Mars, Hawaii is where I go when I want to escape the bustling city or whenever I am feeling burnt out; I never fail to find myself fully rejuvenated after–the tan is an added bonus.
There are five islands and judging from the three that I have visited, each island has a completely different vibe despite being so close to each other in proximity( I have only been to 3 because I love Oahu so much and opt to go there EVERY time I am in Hawaii). I have never gotten or think I will ever get bored of it. That is because Lanikai Beach–which is in Oahu– is my favorite beach of all time and I would visit just to relax there. This year, I was lucky enough to get the chance to go twice; both times with my dearest friends. The previous years have been with people I love as well, my mother being one of them(Hawaii is her jam) as well as my grandma. So as you can guess, this place holds a permanent spot in my heart.
Maui and Kauai(which I will cover in a separate post) were both a breath of fresh air and completely different from each other. Each Island offers a unique experience. Oahu by far has the most clear water but each Island has it’s own redeeming quality. The best part of it all is that it’s not Hawaii itself that is so special–even though it’s the bomb dot com–but it’s the people I’m surrounded with whenever I am there. Lots of good times were had and memories made! It’s oa-who you’re with not where you are…I had to.
“It’s not where you are in life; it’s who you have by your side that matters”idk who said this but #deep af
Okay, now that we got the cheese out of the way, we can get down to business…to defeat the buns(I am so sorry). If you are still here after that atrocious Mulan burger joke, kudos to you. Your prize is you get to come to Hawaii with me in spirit as I relive my experiences😁. Don’t forget to turn your imagination cap on—is that even a thing?– because you are going to want to envision the gorgeous scenery(don’t worry I’ll include pictures too).
My first time visiting Oahu was back in middle school with my parents and I came back almost every year after that with either my mom or close friends. If I am with my mom we usually ditch the touristy things and get straight to it. Our first stop would be Chinatown to grab her favorite tropical fruits and to eat at her favorite spot–Maguro brothers. Then after we would head to Lanikai and chill there for the day. After plenty of swimming and tanning, we would go to Whole Foods to grab a snack or find a new acai spot. Other days we would drive to the North Shore and stop by Giovanni’s shrimp truck and the fruit stands along the way to Sunset Beach where we would watch the sunset. Tip: this is the best sunset on the island, it has earned the name. Second best is the view from the Pillbox hike.
Oahu pt 1- Moped and Roofie Incident
Fun story time(it was definitely not funny at the time): Please excuse the run on sentences and bad structure for this portion but I need to include all the details–which is the best part. And before I forget, shoutout to Savannah and Kina because we almost died so many times during this trip and most of it was my idea LOL sorry guys.
This entire trip resulted in one giant ridiculous story about us making dumb life choices which led to at least one of us almost getting killed. The first day consisted of us renting mopeds–keep in mind, Savannah gets in like 10 car accidents per year and I am not the best driver either(road rage)…Kina is a good driver but she drives slow which caused her to get hit by a car but I’ll get there in a sec. Picture the three of at some shady tourist stand renting out these janky mopeds(side note: They gave us defected Mopeds. Mine would stall at green lights and Savannah’s kept running out of gas no matter how many times we filled it). We could barely balance on these things and we attempted “mopeding”(not a real word but it is now) from Waikiki to Lanikai because the plan was to kayak to the Mokulua Islands(the two Islands you can see in my Lanikai pics).
It’s usually only a 20 minute drive if you take the freeway but we weren’t allowed on the freeway(that didn’t stop Savannah) so it took us 4 hours one way, maybe more, because it started getting dark by the time we made it to Kailua. To add a cherry on top, it started to rain that day too; maybe this will help you form a better image of what went down. Three dumb girls on their mopeds, one following after the other in a line formation over cliffs(that our mopeds could barely climb up) in the pouring rain. We were lost, soaking wet and bickering whilst sobbing. On the bright side you couldn’t distinguish if it was tears or rain drops falling down our cheeks..probably both. It was literally the perfect example of the blind leading the blind.
Okay enough self-pity, back to the good stuff. Not even 10 minutes after we set off on our journey to hell, Savannah–who was leading because her phones GPS was the only one that worked–turned into the freeway on her moped at 35 mph. Imagine the image, poor Savannah going at a solid pace of 40 mph max.– ’cause that’s the fastest the damn moped would go– on the freeway while the cars woosh past her at 70 mph. We thought we had lost her and so Kina and I just stopped on the side of the road and looked at each other in disbelief.
Half an hour later, Savannah somehow managed to circle back just as we finally figured out how to break the news to her mom(jk) and we started off again. Since the freeway wasn’t an option, we had to take the highway which circles the coastline and goes through very steep, rocky cliffs that are extremely high. So high that we would forsure die if we were to make one wrong swerve(and we didn’t know how not to swerve on these mopeds honestly). On top of that, we had to drive next to cars on this narrow and imaginary moped shoulder lane we made up to justify our right to the road(not a single soul was on a moped or bike on this road, not one, it was just cars and I’m sure the cars hated us for going so slow and also b/c we were in the middle of the lane blocking everyone). I’m looking at you Kina. Savannah was speeding off because she likes to drive fast(In hindsight, I think she was panicking and wanted to get there quicker) and I was following after her trying to keep up when I look back and no longer saw Kina. I yelled for Savanah to stop and caught up with her and I’m pretty sure the dialogue went something like…
Me: “yo, we lost Kina.”
Savannah: “Nah, she’s prob just slow.”
*both waiting impatiently waiting for 20 minutes, a little pissed at Kina for being slow
She is finally in view coming up super slowly, as you can already guess, and we were both annoyed until she told us she was hit by a car but got up and kept going because we both didn’t look back and left her behind. The person offered to take her to the hospital but since she didn’t want to lose us she refused and tried to catch up with us instead, what a trooper. We felt so shitty for leaving her so we let her take the lead this time, which obviously did not work out. Savannah kept tailgating me but I couldn’t go any faster because Kina was in front of me so we started bickering. I was scared Savannah would rear end me and Kina was scared I would hit her. Eventually they made me lead but I didn’t have a working phone so that was an issue since I had no idea where I was going. I’m going to save you from the nitty gritty details of us struggling to find the right directions and tell you that we didn’t make it in time to Kayak because they close at 4 and we got there close to 6. We left at noon, I believe.
We didn’t want to moped back in the dark and over the cliffs at night in the rain, so out of desperation we called the rental place and demanded they come pick up their mopeds and we would just uber home. They didn’t agree to this of course and we headed back on the wretched mopeds and took turns having mental breakdowns. We made it back to civilization–not before Savannah almost fell into a ditch twice and ran out of gas, though– and by this time all of our phones had died so we had no way of navigating our way back to the hotel. We got lost on some residential street in front of this house with a white van and started losing our shit. That was when the owner of said van came out and asked if we needed help. After he had heard about the entirety of our ordeal, he offered to lead us back; we would follow his van back to the hotel, at first we were skeptical because if you put two and two together, white van+stranger equals questionable circumstances. BUT we were so exhausted at this point that dying didn’t seem all too bad so we accepted his help and he turned out to be the kindest man ever to inhabit this planet. He helped us get back and when we offered him gas money he refused even though he had to drive a good 15 minutes to get us back to our hotel and another 15 minutes home. While he was leading us, he had to stop multiple times to wait for us to catch up too. Thank goodness for kind people! I noticed that lots of locals are super nice and willing to help out struggling tourists so you are not on your own. Whenever we made our pit stops to cry on the mopeds, people would stop and see if we were doing okay, their kindness definitely boosted our morale.
That night, after everything that we went through, we decided that we needed drinks. So we went bar hopping in Waikiki(not recommended). Long story short, Savannah got roofied by some dude and luckily I was being a “debby downer”(her words) l o l and refused to drink that night. My gut was telling me that there was something off about that bar and the people there that night. The guy told Savannah he was a businessman and was visiting from out of town and she believed him but another guy came up to me and told me that this dude was a local who comes every night. I think this was when I got distracted and the guy put something in Sav’s drink. Thankfully, I was completely sober so he couldn’t take her away with him. He even tried getting all of us to come with him and his friends when another guy stopped us and told the bouncer about the situation. It was a weird night. We ended up in the club upstairs(where the owner told us that she thought our friend had been drugged) and Savannah ended up throwing up so much that we contemplated taking her to the hospital but drunk Savannah convinced us not to somehow and we just took her back to the hotel. Next day, we rented an actual car and went to the north shore and then we went jet skiing; so the trip was redeemed at the end. I actually saw the bar where she was roofied the last time I was in Waikiki and it burned down, symbolism.
Now, if you have been following my other posts you may have noticed that I like to start off with a shitload of picture but not this time because I believe in saving the best for last. LOL just kidding you have been patient enough. In fact, I am going to try something new and use more pictures to tell the story since a picture is worth a thousand words, am I right? aka I just took a lot of pics and want to share with y’all.
Oahu pt 2: Biking instead of mopeding this time…I learned my lesson
This girls trip was a lot more tame, I was with with Shon and Heyun, it was mostly just us getting sunburned(even though it was cloudy) and eating Poke at the Costco food court because we couldn’t find a place to sit. The bickering started on the third day but that was expected and it was overall a fun/relaxing trip with the gals.
I do have a funny club/bar hopping story for you that, you guessed it, happened in Waikiki. Point is going out to drink with your friends in Oahu is not what you expect it to be; you come looking for a good time and leave with regrets. Our story begins at Rumfire in the Sheraton. It started off with us enjoying each others company, sharing a huge MaiTai and fries, and ended with all of us being questioned if our names were actually Tiffany. Why can’t 3 girls who are in the same bar and happen to be friends all be named Tiffany? Well, turns out somebody lied about their name–and couldn’t come up with any name other than Tiffany– when a group of guys came over and started talking to us; if some people are not aware, Shon’s first name is Tiffany and so is mine, that is why we opted to use our last names when referring to each other. Well, one of the guys caught on(the others didn’t lol) and called us out. It was embarrassing and resulted in all three of us literally making a run for it. Also if someone invites you to their “private beach” do NOT go with them, there is no such thing, most beaches are public in Oahu.
The next day we decided to bike to a fish market called Tamashiro to get poke. We ended up ubering there halfway because Shon couldn’t keep up with Heyun’s SoulCycling pace. Once again, I was in the middle so I was trying to keep up with Heyun while waiting for Shon after hearing her cries for help. We followed a basic itinerary for this trip, we hiked Diamond Head and Lanikai Pillbox then rented a car for one day to go to the North Shore. I’ll provide full list of my favorite spots and things to do at the end of this post! In regards to accommodations, we stayed in a hotel(the Hilton) for half of the trip then an airbnb in Lanikai(it was closer to Kailua so we drove to the beach, which was about a 10 minute drive)so we wouldn’t have to pay for parking in Waikiki.
“Point is going out to drink with your friends in Oahu is not what you expect it to be”me
Oahu pt 3: Parasailing and surfing and a #deep tangent!
Spontaneously, I came back about a month after with another friend and this time we decided to Island hop and spend half our time on Oahu and the other on Kauai. The first day he came in riding a moped(triggered, jk) but since we planned on staying in Waikiki the entire time with the exception of stopping by Lanikai for a bit, he ended up returning the moped and we opted to walk and get a zipcar(good option if you only need the car for a few hours and don’t want to pay the overpriced hotel parking fees) for a couple hours.
We didn’t have a set itinerary so we could do whatever we wanted to and so the first day consisted of chilling at Waikiki beach and catching up over some beer. Then we enjoyed beachside drinks at Duke’s to some Hawaiian music and watched the sunset; I had always passed by this place but never had a chance to try it out. Their MaiTai’s are definitely stiff so warning for all you light weights out there but they were delicious. I wish I was more sober during this trip so I could’ve taken more pictures but I was too busy having a good time and living in the moment. My friend and I were both dealing with our own personal issues at the time and this trip was a nice break from it all. We both needed to take a step back and reassess our lives… I am not saying you should do what we did and escape to an Island to get drunk but hey, yolo amirite?
Going off on a tangent: I think as human beings, we tend to isolate ourselves( I am guilty of this, trust me) when we are dealing with things that we can’t comprehend because it is overwhelming to have to be around others and to put on this front that everything is fine when it isn’t( and as much as people don’t want to admit this, we “act” as different versions of ourselves depending on who we are around). Just the other day, I was having a conversation with a couple people who I considered to be my close friends and haven’t seen for some time and they made some comments about how they perceived me–this was when I realized that they don’t really know me. It might be because people change as time passes and you have to get to know them again but also because they only know one side of you so it can sometimes feel exhausting to feel like you have to live up to the expectations people may have of you(I can’t always be a clown y’all).
So my point is, that it is important to have a people who you can just be around(literally just BE and know that they’ll love you no matter what). There are no expectations or labels, you can just be you and it’ll be accepted. It is most often that around these amazing humans(shoutout to my friend, who I will not name because it’s no one fucking business) that you can truly grow into the person you are meant to be and become the best version of yourself. Find these humans and protect them at all costs.
Sometimes you may not realize that what you are experiencing is growth because it can look messy at times and it is absolutely not glamorous but when you look back in hindsight the things that you thought broke you as a person just helped build you into a better version of yourself. Of course, I am in no position to give life advice to anyone, my life is a mess if you haven’t already noticed. This was what I learned on this trip and I thought would be worthwhile to share with y’all.
Okay, back to the fun, because there was tons of that…it wasn’t just two alcoholics moping around muttering shit about existentialism. We still like to enjoy life despite sucking at it sometimes. The next day was less off the books. I had planned everything out beforehand because we were celebrating my friend’s birthday and I wanted to surprise him with a fun day. This was when I learned that I am horrible at surprises LOL. So my friend does a lot of cool things and has done pretty much everything but I took a gamble and booked parasailing. I thought it was pretty cool and he probably just humored me. We got to see the entire Waikiki skyline and Diamond head from the air. I def recommend, it wasn’t scary at all and was quite peaceful once you are higher up. They decided to drop us about waist deep in the water though so if you have a shark phobia, good luck, but then again why are you in Hawaii?
The experience reminded me of the movie UP when the grumpy old man and the little boy fly off with the colorful balloons in search of adventure. We went surfing the day after too! I got surfing lessons from Micah, I’ll link his website here(http://mickeysurfschool.com), he held my hand(literally) through the entire process; I think I would’ve drowned if he weren’t by my side giving me pep talks and holding onto the board. My talented friend made it look easy. I learned the hard way that despite looking like you are pretty much snowboarding on water, surfing is a lot harder and requires a completely different skillset. I fell on every wave and I think I caught like half a wave before wiping out. The goal is to finally catch a full wave and ride it out without falling off. I love the waves in Waikiki because there were plenty of beginner baby waves(but this doesn’t mean that it’s a walk in the park) and the water was clear so you could see beneath you(I am always paranoid when I cannot see in water).
Things to do on the Island and my favorite places to eat:
- Waikiki Beach area: There are tons of things to do in this area for everyone. Even though it is not one of my favorite beaches because of how crowded it is with tourists, it is a good place if you are just learning how to surf since you will be surrounded by other beginners too so it won’t seem too daunting. There is also a lot of food and shopping for those who do not want to get wet and sandy. Check out the Hilton Hawaiian Village if you are a fan of birds and one of the many seaside restaurant and bars. There is an infinity pool on the Sheraton side of the beach where you can grab Piña Coladas and chill with a view of diamond head. There is an abundance of Japanese food in this area and you should take advantage of it. Marugame udon is a must try. The line is almost always long but it moves quickly. Also try the spam misubi and poke here. Ono has the best poke and fish and for acai I like Island Vintage Coffee Co(try their coffee too).
- Diamond Head hike: This is a relatively easy hike that you can do you in 15 minutes if the crowds aren’t too bad. The view from the top is stunning.
- Kailua area: There are two main beaches in this area and it is more residential. The first is Kailua beach and the second is Lanikai. Both are, imo the two most beautiful beaches on the Island. You can windsurf at Kailua beach and kayak/paddle board at Lanikai. The snorkeling is better at Lanikai because the water is more calm and there is coral there too.
- North Shore: You are going to need a car for this but it is worth it because there are so many attractions to see. There is Chinaman’s hat, the place where they filmed Jurassic Park where you can ride horses (no Chris Pratt is not part of the experience sadly), a waterfall, Dole plantation, Macadamia farms, Giovanni’s shrimp truck, fruit stands, and beaches with gnarly waves). The waves are a bit rowdier here so I do not suggest going out there until you are at least an intermediate surfer and swimmer.
- Hanuama Bay: Snorkeling fanatics, this one is for you. The underwater sights are unparalleled because this is one of the largest reefs on Oahu.
- Makapuu Lighthouse hike: This is a nice hike if you like vast ocean views, it was pretty windy the day we were there so we didn’t do the entire hike. There is a lighthouse at the end of it though.
- Eternity Beach: Super exclusive beach since it’s difficult to get to but oh so beautiful. The hike is a bit dangerous, you need to climb down a rocky cliff area so wear proper footwear!
That’s it for now but you can bet I will keep adding to the list as I visit more and have more stories to share, adios beaches!