Oahu Travel Blog› entry 1 of 3 › view all entries
Crew change was actually happening for me and I was all excited about my first ever trip to Hawaii and first solo trip. My route was Brownsville-Houston-San Francisco and arrived SF at night about 9pm. I checked into Westin San Francisco Airport Hotel which I have to admit, it was certainly a luxurious hotel but affordable, thank God for my Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) membership. In the morning I took a flight to Honolulu which is on one of the eight magnificent islands of Hawaii, namely Oahu. Thanks to the reviews of Oahu hotels on TravBuddy, I definitely made the right choice in putting up the 5nights at Sheraton Princess Kaiulani on Waikiki.
When I arrived at the airport, I couldn’t resist the beautiful Leis (fresh flower necklace) that were sold at a Lei stall near the baggage claim area. Although the price was a little absurd, I was not willing to throw away my Hawaii experience without wearing one on my neck even though it cost me $16!!! I then took the shuttle bus that drops passengers to all the major hotels in Honolulu. That was $8 (hmmm a 10km ride costs cheaper than my lei??!) The Sheraton Princess Kaiulani is a decent 4star hotel with helpful staff and is at a fantastic location, without being overpriced. Furthermore, for each night stay I get a 60mins phone calls to anywhere in the world! Unheard of! And it gets better, since it’s a Starwood hotel, all occupants at Sheraton Kaiulani are privileged with a discount if dine at other 5star hotels e.
Since I pre-booked using spg.com, checking in took me only 5mins and I was guaranteed by the Receptionist that the Oceanview King sized bed on the 18thFloor was the best room type they can offer. The little view that I got of the sea was enough to make me smile every morning when I wake up. Afterall, it is HAWAII! What a dream come true for me. The balcony was sufficient, I had a pool view and every night there is a Hawaiian band playing the soulful music.aaah what a bliss!
Walkabouts on Waikiki beach, and did the much needed shopping as this trip wasn’t really planned. At night, I had dinner at the Cheeseburger at Paradise. The name of this restaurant says it all.
Today was an exhilarating day of hang gliding activity that I signed up for. I was determined to do this to tick off one of the must-do things in my Bucket List. Thanks to Paradise Air (http://paradiseairhawaii.com/) and their impressive pilots, Denise and Tom, I had the best ever experience of my life. Can’t even deny how freaked out I was the night before, but once you are under the hands of such professionals, all fear goes away!(Tips: do not be afraid to sign the indemnity although I have to say, that form was worded so gruesomely you might not even want to go (IF you are not 100% sure of yourself).
More walking around Waikiki, tried the Cheesecake Factory. Decent but too pricey in my opinion. During night time, there will be some dance & music shows on Waikiki and the best one I enjoyed was at the courtyard in between the Sheraton Waikiki and the Royal Hawaiian Resort. In the afternoon, I was lucky enough to catch the parade commemorating the Armed forces of USA, passing thru Waikiki.
Later that afternoon, I took the Hop-on Hop-off bus and it wasn’t as great as those I have been on in London, Paris and Rome. It was a bit disappointing as the bus would drop by the huge mall in town twice, in the same route!! Why anyone would want to go to a mall in Hawaii?!!hmmm..Nonetheless, I did enjoy the scenery of Honolulu city, beautiful lush green trees, breathtaking beaches, etc.
At 5pm, I was picked up by TB Keith (yes, the famous Aloha_Keith y’all!) at the lobby and he had kindly planned for me to have a great evening at his city. He took me to the Ala Moana Beach Park to watch the scenic sunset and off to the Aloha Tower for a good meal, and to meet up with Cherry (nanipu). We had a fabulous time. Keith was so kind, he also prepared his best camera and we were snapping pictures and enjoyed the Christmas lighted up City Hall. The whole stretch of road was brightly lit up with Christmas trees, Hawaiian Santa wearing shorts,etc. TB is BRILLIANT!
I was all geared up for a day filled with physical challenges and adventures. Surf top and surf shorts were bought earlier for this BIG day. It was time for my first ever surf lessons! I crossed the street from my hotel and head for the surfing scene.
The Polynesian Culture Centre (PCC http://polynesianculturalcenter.com/?=msn) was next on my list and booked a ticket (I took the once that starts at 12noon instead of 9am) through Shaka Tours. I was picked up at the hotel, along with other people. The journey there was stunning I couldn’t believe my eyes! The North Shore was to die for, the Valley of the Temples were also…*speechless* There‘s no word that can even describe how amazing these places are! The highly recommended PCC was not disappointing at all. They had small culture villages within that huge area. Filled with traditions, rituals, dances and beautiful people of the Polynesia.
What a sad day for I have just fallen in love with Hawaii but had to leave. Got the shuttle bus to the airport and even in the airport, there was a live Hawaiian music and 2 ladies doing the hula dance.