Even the exotic name of this particular Hawaiian island, Oahu, conjures up images of grass hula skirts, beachside bars, surfing, cocktails and coconuts. You could happily drift away for weeks enjoying the Hawaiian music, dropping in to the world famous Waikiki Lounge every night, and subsisting on the affordable noodle-based cuisine that seems to have found a second home here. You’ll certainly want to escape the island capital Honolulu at some stage, but the exotic city has its own unique vibe too.
In fact, with its mixed ethnic background, Honolulu is as reminiscent of Asia as America (and often not particularly similar to either). It shows it with its varied cultural outlook, as well as being home to some hugely un-American draws like the nation’s only Royal Palace. The Iolani Palace is a grand, pillared structure with a palm-fringed walkway, and the traditional home of the King and Queen of Hawaii.
Kawaiahao Church is another local wonder, with coral foundations and those same iconic palm walkways, as well as a nightly rendition from the local bell ringers to listen out for. With plenty of museums, colorful marketplaces and even its own China Town to explore, you won’t be starved of culture in Honolulu, but let’s face it, culture’s probably not why you’re here.
Jazz clubs, wine bars and restaurants that are closer to what you might find in Cuba, India and China than America will keep you busy at night; most visitors enjoy the affordable 'hole in the wall’ dining experience and then head straight for the cocktail heavy clubs.
During the day you’ll probably want to learn to surf, drape yourself in flowers, take a Dole tour or simply wonder the sands of the often-abandoned beaches around the islands pristine shores. Orchards, striking trails, freshly made fruit ice cream and quaint old surf shacks will have you longing for the picture-perfect coasts of areas like Waikiki and North Shore long after you’ve departed this particular tropical paradise.
There’s a reason Hawaii’s top of so many travelers’ wish lists, and you’re about to learn all about it. Throw on your worst floral aloha shirt, give your liver a gentle few weeks, and get ready for the perfect tropical experience.
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Kane'ohe is a town on the Windward (eastern) side of O'ahu. In the Hawaiian language, Kane'ohe means "bamboo man". Kane'ohe was traditionally an agricultural area, due to the large amounts …