Honolulu for 5 nights

Old Apr 14th, 2022, 01:05 PM
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Honolulu for 5 nights

Hi, Fodorites!

I’m finally dipping my toes back into air travel…very tentatively…with a trip to Hawaii to visit a college friend. I spend 5 nights in Honolulu solo and then I’m just planning on relaxing with my friend on Molokai for another week.

Does y’all have any “can’t misses” on Oahu? Or things you wish you would’ve known before going? I plan to at least go to an art museum and Pearl Harbor. I’d like to enjoy the beaches. I won’t have a car, but I don’t mind the bus. This is a very different holiday for me, because usually my schedule is jam packed. I really want to relax this trip, though, and I’m finding that aspect a little difficult.

I’d especially like to get out of the city for one day, and I’m wondering what the most logical destination/bus routing would be.

Food recs always welcome, of course!
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Old Apr 15th, 2022, 02:34 PM
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aloha, I can help. I'll be there next month (my 7th trip, 6 of them were solo) for 10 days. I just stay in Waikiki. Getting out around the island without a rental car isn't all that practical by The Bus, if you really want to fit that in without driving yourself, I'd join a small tour. But there is so much to see and do walking distance right in Waikiki (or The Bus to Honolulu) you can easily fill 5 days.

Iolani Palace is my #1 suggestion. Fascinating. There's also Foster Botanical Gardens, Kuan Yin Temple, ShangriLa Estate, Honolulu Museum of Art, Bishop Museum, Queen Emma's Summer Palace, Mission Houses.

As far as relaxing I have no problem finding that right in Waikiki. I stay at a relatively quiet hotel with a nice pool and an easy walk to the beach. Where will you be staying (if you don't mind saying)? Can suggest restaurants close by, although as long as you are in Waikiki... it's not all that big or an area -lol! suze
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Old Apr 15th, 2022, 02:42 PM
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https://www.royalhawaiiancenter.com/events
Here is a calendar of free classes and performances that happens at the Royal Hawaiian Center (stage area called The Royal Grove)

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Old Apr 16th, 2022, 10:31 AM
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Oh, thank you so much, Suze! Those classes were exactly what I was looking for. Any suggestions welcome in Waikiki, I don’t hang out at my hotel much usually. I don’t remember if you drink or not? But I’d also like to go to a terrific bar for a tiki-esque cocktail, as I haven’t had a good cocktail out since 2020.

glad to know there’s plenty to see in Honolulu. I think I’ll give north shore a pass, as I really would prefer to just relax and enjoy myself. A lot of those places are in my list, but alas, my top one, Shangri La turns out to sell out too quickly for me to snag a tour. Soo wanted to see that, oh well, next time!
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Old Apr 16th, 2022, 09:01 PM
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Get your Iolani Palace tour booked. I loved ShangriLa Estate but I know the tours have been cut way back since covid poandemic hit; even in normal times they only allow small groups to go and only certain days of the week.

What month is your trip? And where are you staying? I ask to give other suggestions closer by, depending which end of Waikiki you are at, or if you're at Sans Souci or Ala Moana.

You'll laugh but on my itinerary for next month are hula lessons at RHC, Zumba & Aqua Zumba at a nearby hotel/health club, farmers markets at 3 different locations, 4 different days (that's where I like to get take-out food for dinner), and a third visit to the Palace. Maybe the kitty cafe by the library at the end of the Ala Wai canal.

Yes I drink. Just head down to the hotel bars that line the beach around sunset. You'll find place with live music, tropical cocktails, etc. easy. Rum Fire at Sheraton, the patio at Duke's, Mai Tai bar at Royal Hawaiian, the Banyan Courtyard at Moana Surfrider. Also Tiki's Grill & Bar (across the street from the beach with a view). The bar & restaurant down at Kaimana hotel (used to be New Otani) called Hau Tree Lanai. To name a few.

You say you don't hang at the hotel, I do at mine during the day because pretty much everyone goes out on tours and stuff. I often have the pool nearly to myself from 10-2 or so. then when everyone comes back, I go out

And by evening time, head to the beach for a cocktail, then pick up dinner and a bottle of wine and head back to eat on the lanai, is my usual day in paradise.
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Old Apr 17th, 2022, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by suze View Post
Get your Iolani Palace tour booked. I loved ShangriLa Estate but I know the tours have been cut way back since covid poandemic hit; even in normal times they only allow small groups to go and only certain days of the week.

What month is your trip? And where are you staying? I ask to give other suggestions closer by, depending which end of Waikiki you are at, or if you're at Sans Souci or Ala Moana.

You'll laugh but on my itinerary for next month are hula lessons at RHC, Zumba & Aqua Zumba at a nearby hotel/health club, farmers markets at 3 different locations, 4 different days (that's where I like to get take-out food for dinner), and a third visit to the Palace. Maybe the kitty cafe by the library at the end of the Ala Wai canal.

Yes I drink. Just head down to the hotel bars that line the beach around sunset. You'll find place with live music, tropical cocktails, etc. easy. Rum Fire at Sheraton, the patio at Duke's, Mai Tai bar at Royal Hawaiian, the Banyan Courtyard at Moana Surfrider. Also Tiki's Grill & Bar (across the street from the beach with a view). The bar & restaurant down at Kaimana hotel (used to be New Otani) called Hau Tree Lanai. To name a few.

You say you don't hang at the hotel, I do at mine during the day because pretty much everyone goes out on tours and stuff. I often have the pool nearly to myself from 10-2 or so. then when everyone comes back, I go out

And by evening time, head to the beach for a cocktail, then pick up dinner and a bottle of wine and head back to eat on the lanai, is my usual day in paradise.

sounds like a lovely trip! Would love the aqua Zumba, I didn’t even know that was a thing. The BEACH Waikiki boutique hostel is where I’m staying, although I may give in and move to a hotel with a pool if I’m in a lot of pain. But truly anywhere is okay, because I tend to get up early and go back late.

you’ll laugh, I know, but I land in Honolulu today. Currently on my layover at Oakland. The trip is mostly to visit my friend, and dip my toes back into travel, so to speak—first time on a plane since pre-pandemic. I have a bucket list—I’ve been wanting to go to Honolulu since I was a child! And normally I would’ve posted this ages ago, but I was half convinced we’d have another surge, and I’d be cancelling! Then this week I finally got excited, and began thinking about food—and Fodorites have never steered me wrong there!

do you have a favorite farmer’s market?
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Old Apr 17th, 2022, 07:00 PM
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The farmers markets are just getting going again (closed thruout Covid). There is a long-time Saturday morning at KCC, down by Diamond Head. I've been researching for my own trip and others I have been told about are at Hyatt Regency on Mon-Wed from 4 to 8 pm. And one downtown Honolulu at Blaisdell Center on Wed.

Your hostel is at the Kapiolani Park end of Waikiki. Here is one decent map. From $75 808-394-2112. Hotels and Condos in Honolulu (808)394-2112 Cheapest rates for Waikiki Hotels, condos, vacation rentals and Honolulu Airport hotels. Or grab a paper one upon arrival. You can rip one out of Oahu Gold or 101 Things To Do, the tourist brochures you'll see around on stands.

Aqua Zumba is at the Alohilani hotel in the Island Club Spa, but it's a $30 day pass, but that gets you Zumba, Aqua Zumba and all day use of the gym, lockerroom, and the two pools.
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Old Apr 17th, 2022, 07:01 PM
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mm ~ I just posted a LONG post with lots of information but (fergoodnesssake!!!) it has been sent to a moderator for approval Hopetully it posts before your trip is over aloha, suze
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Old Apr 17th, 2022, 07:04 PM
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Oh, one more but I haven't been. Someone told me (on Trip Advisor forums) on Sunday at Royal Hawaiian Center, another "farmers market". I use quotes because these are usual a combination of arts, crafts, candles, honey, jewelry, some great hot and colr prepared food, a few fruits and vegetables, usual a bakery or two.
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Old Apr 17th, 2022, 07:47 PM
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OK I'll try again, what I said about farmers markets that I know of is:
Sat morning at KCC (community college near DiamondHead)
Mon/Wed 4-8pm at Hyatt Regency
Blaisdell Center (downtown Honolulu) on Wed
Sun at RHC

And Aqua Zumba at Alohilani's Island Club at 10:15 on Mon/Wed
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Old Apr 17th, 2022, 07:48 PM
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I give up... another one sent to moderation.

Oh well, know I tried!

HAVE A GREAT TRIP marvelousmouse, I'm sure you will. suze
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Old Apr 18th, 2022, 06:51 PM
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dang, hope you see this marvelousmouse...
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Old Apr 21st, 2022, 11:41 AM
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just got back from Oahu/Maui - based on tips from various places here is what we did that i would recommend
  1. - Hike Diamond Head - if you drive get there by 7:30 - better to just uber there - bring 2 bottles of water per person and not flipflops cause this is a fairly steep hike over uneven lava rock path - takes about 1.5 to 2 hours round trip but well worth it.....beautiful views.
  2. - go to USS Arizona / Pearl Harbor - sound boring? its not - very moving speeches by young military personnel that are tour guides....don't miss it.
  3. hopefully you have a car - go to north shore - drive to turtle bay on the way are a sweet bunch of beaches - big surf etc.
  4. go to leonards bakery, the chart house, lucky belly, rainbow grill if you can.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2022, 10:03 AM
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Probably we are too late, they were only on Oahu for only 5 days. My posts got thrown into moderation and delayed, so I'm not sure they ever read them. They are on to see their friends on Molokai by now.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2022, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jp4120 View Post
just got back from Oahu/Maui - based on tips from various places here is what we did that i would recommend
  1. - Hike Diamond Head - if you drive get there by 7:30 - better to just uber there - bring 2 bottles of water per person and not flipflops cause this is a fairly steep hike over uneven lava rock path - takes about 1.5 to 2 hours round trip but well worth it.....beautiful views.
  2. - go to USS Arizona / Pearl Harbor - sound boring? its not - very moving speeches by young military personnel that are tour guides....don't miss it.
  3. hopefully you have a car - go to north shore - drive to turtle bay on the way are a sweet bunch of beaches - big surf etc.
  4. go to leonards bakery, the chart house, lucky belly, rainbow grill if you can.

i did see this in time, in fact! Really enjoyed Leonard’s bakery, though the custard filled ones are not my thing.

Pearl Harbor was for sure a highlight—not boring at all, it’s been a bucket list item for a long time—I did not, unfortunately, get a ticket to see the Arizona, but it turned out fine, because the Missouri took up a good chunk of my time. Also went into Aviation Museum, which wasn’t my thing until I reached the Bob Hope exhibit. Loved that! Turns out his terrier in the ‘30s had the same name as my current terrier!

My back was not up to Diamond Head, regrettably. Recovering from a series of injuries, which is very frustrating. Still had a wonderful time. Such a novelty to swim in the ocean!

This is one of the rare trips I really regretted not having a car. It was prohibitively expensive for my dates, but I think it would be a must unless you’re REALLY into the touristy scene of Waikiki. It would’ve made my life so much easier. Everyone told me that the bus is great, and it is a nice system. But it’s maddening, because places that are 5-10 miles away turn into 1-2 hours on transit.

Can’t complain about the food scene, though I mostly ate at touristy places. I enjoyed Hula Grill, Eating House 1849, Cheeseburger in Paradise. (All three chosen for convenience, mostly.) My friend recommended Pho Saigon, and it was absolutely delicious. I’d say the other highlights were Musubi Iyasume and Honolulu Coffee.

My top two recommendations would be Foster Gardens and Hawaii Museum of Art. The only way I could’ve done Shang Ri La would’ve been a flight change, and I reluctantly decided it wasn’t worth the money. But the Museum itself has a terrific Islamic Art gallery, some great celadon pieces, amazing courtyards—wish I would’ve had more time! And that the Hawaiian exhibit was open. Oh, well.

Foster Botanical Garden had not actually been my first choice. I was in pain and it seemed doable. But it turned out to be well worth the trip, and it’s got a terrific collection of rare tropical plants, trees, etc. You should go if you’re a plant lover, and if you do go, walk a bit to get to Shimazu Store for shave ice. It’s not a pretty walk, but it’s well worth the ice!

so happy to be on Molokai with my friend, and it’s a wonderful change from Waikiki. Went to the overlook to see the Leprosy Colony today, it’s both fascinating and a little eerie. Also went swimming, of course.



Foster Gardens, one of many fascinating trees!

My traveling companion, “Mr. Aloha”, sampling Leonard’s excellent baked goods.🤣
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Old Apr 24th, 2022, 10:36 AM
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Thanks for that report and the great pix! Looks like Mr. Aloha had a fun time!
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Old Apr 24th, 2022, 04:18 PM
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Thanks for posting a great quick Oahu trip report. All sounds good. Too bad The Bus didn't work well for you. I've never had problems or took hours to get somewhere -lol- I've even used it for the airport. Also I don't ever have a car but am certainly not into "the touristy scene" either. Only reason I went to Foster as my botanical garden choice is how easy it was to get to on The Bus, and being the closest garden to Waikiki. Next time (if there is one) know you can rent a car by the day from several places right in Waikiki. Never been to any of those restaurants or bakery, always interesting to read what people find! Mahalo.
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Old Apr 25th, 2022, 04:48 AM
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glad you made it to Leonard's, they cook your malasadas to order thats why they are so tasty. I can relate to your back issues, good thing you decided to not hike up to Diamond Head if you were in pain, we are both in our 60's and needed lots of breaks to make it up to Diamond Head - i have a spine condition that requires daily stretching and my wife needs a second hip replacement so we were hobbling to be sure but took our time.and took our advil.
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Old Apr 27th, 2022, 10:42 PM
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Stayed my last night at Aulani, the Disney resort, mostly for the pool. Turned out to be an amazing way to unwind before my flight. Live music, soaking pool overlooking the lagoon, great drinks at Monkeypod in the shopping center.

aloha and mahalo!



At the entry of the resort—how cool is that? I’d love to figure out how to make much smaller versions of the lights!

Maitai at Monkeypod.

Chef’s special—gnocchi, Hawaiian fish, and shrimp at Monkeypod. Surprisingly, I think this might be my best meal yet. (Barring my friend and I cooking together!)

Surfing buddies, and fast friends.
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Old Apr 27th, 2022, 10:57 PM
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Oh! I just realized I hadn’t said anything about Molokai!

So, feel free to take my words with the following caveats in mind:

1) stayed with a college friend, so I can’t speak to the hotel situation. Or the food situation. I would assume, though, you’d want a rental with a kitchen and a lanai in order to live your best life.

2) friend had four wheel drive so we could access many places you simply can’t in a rental car.

3) I’m originally from a very rural farming area in eastern wa, so I’m so dang sentimental when it comes to small towns. I like hardware stores that sell everything, cafes that barely have a menu, but do have furnishings from circa 1970, and small farm stands.

so…I LOVED Molokai. Glorious, glorious way to spend a few days. Very relaxed. My favorite spot was the overlook for the Leprosy colony.



Goodbye, Molokai!

Trail to the fertility stone.

Just drinking wine and watching geckos. Best way to spend a good evening!
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