Oahu Island: from Sunsets in Lanikai to Climbing

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Known as “The Gathering Place,” Oahu, surely lives up to its name as it offers so much to draw the attention of a large number of visitors each year. Home for one million people (over two-thirds population of United State of Hawaii), it is the third largest Hawaiian island rich in diversity, culture, and fusion. Located within the state capital Honolulu County, this magical island of beauty comprises two divided shield volcanoes: the Wai’anae and Ko’olau Ranges, separated by broad valley. This volcanic doublet formed asymmetrical butterfly shape and caused volcanic eruptions forming the Diamond Head, Koko Head, and Punchbowl. Oahu is the perfect representation of paradise, and it is so much more than Honolulu and Waikiki.

Oahu, A Waho Makou o Awawamalu is the famous chant in Hawaii that composed by Kumu Hula Manu Boyd and performed by Kumu Hula Snowbird Bento. The purposed of this sacred chant is to ask for entry into a protected realm of hula, traditional knowledge, noble practices, creativity, mutual respect, and aloha. Although, Oahu does not have any confirmed symbol or meaning in Hawaii, ancient Hawaiian defines it otherwise. The name was originated in the legend of Hawai’iloa, the Polynesian navigator who found Hawaiian Islands, and named his daughter as Oahu. The Gathering Place nickname was suggested by Thomas Thrum, Hawaiian Almanac in 1922. Oahu is the first of the Hawaiian Islands that was sighted by the crew of HMS Resolution back in 1778, during Captain James Cook’s third Pacific expedition. The state’s capital city, Honolulu shows the appearance of what it called urban islands.

The best time to visit Oahu is starting from mid-April to early June or you may go between September and mid-December. During these recommended months, people are less crowded with few festivals going on. However, if you plan to surf or watch surfers ride on the waves, go to Oahu between late December and early April and head to the North Shore.

Top Oahu attractions consist of Pearl Harbor, the North Shore, Iolani Place and Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. Pearl Harbor is one of the most attractive places in Oahu that portrays ancient and historic scenery. There are few places that can be visited while enjoying most of the time at Pearl Harbor such as USS Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine, USS Missouri Battleship, historic Pacific Aviation Museum, and a full tour at the USS Oklahoma Memorial. While the North Shore is a heaven place for surfers. Located one hour drive from Waikiki, it is surely a surf mecca for all, and you may see veterans in and out of the water. In November, there is Superbowl of wave riding which is the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. However, in winter session, waves can exceed 30 feet thus extra precaution is needed before surfing. Another beaches that are popular on the North Shore includes Waimea Bay, Ehukai Beach and Sunset Beach. Ehukai beach park have all the famous Bonzai Pipeline, it is also known as “Reddish tinged water.” Whereas Ko’Olina have four lagoons named Kolola – whale, Hanu – turtle, Naia – dolphin and Ulua – fish that embark beautiful sunsets that rarely spots in other places. This is the perfect place for people who says no to surf.

“The Mystery of the Makiki Tunnel: There is a myth about tunnels under the Makiki area that were built during the war. Some claim that the ghosts of dead soldiers can be heard in these tunnels.”

Oahu is not always about beaches, horse riding on the North Shore, helicopter tours for once in a lifetime experience, windsurfing, bodyboarding, snorkelling, diving, and hiking are the most enjoyable and splendid activities. Diving in Oahu will leave a special place to your heart as you will spot the sunken WWII ships and airplanes. Kayaking on the windward side to the Mokolua Islands will give you a spectacular view of bird sanctuary and often tourists will encounter with turtles. Hiking up to Koko Crater Railway Trail in Waikiki will put you in a fittest body as the trail have a very steep incline. The Koko Head Creator summit are 1208 feet above sea level, with 1,048 railroad ties to climb. Historically, it was used to transport supplies and soldiers during WWII. Paddle boarding at Ala Moana Beach Park near Waikiki is worth the experience and most importantly the water was calm as it was protected by outer reef. Otherwise, visiting the Valley of the temples at the East Windward Oahu Region, in an area called Ahuimanu, this is a favourite place for people who wants to enjoy peace and tranquillity.

“The Curse of Manoa Falls: Manoa Falls is believed to have a curse associated with the spirit of an old woman who drowned there. Legend has it that if you laugh or talk loudly at a waterfall, you will cause bad luck.”

For so many travellers, Hawaii is definitely in the bucket list of a place to visit. Most of them squander around Waikiki as it is full of high-end luxury shops with national chain hotels and easy-access foods. For people who love the quieter vibe and a perfect sunset, Lanikai and Makua Beach is the upmost recommended. Food lovers are as spoiled as the others, local cuisine from Oahu like loco moco – white rice topped with a hamburger patty, a brown gravy with fried egg, malasada, kalua pig – wrapped pork in banana leaves and cooked underground, shave ice – cold ice flavoured with coconut and passion fruit, poke and pipikaula short ribs is scrumptious and worth the money. Step outside of your comfort zone and stop eating the same ho-hum food.

Oahu culture and customs was undeniable beautiful, it was preserves while adapting with modern civilization. Option for attending a luau, a traditional Hawaiian feast and cultural performance to know deeper of the island’s native heritage. Besides, you may visit Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Kalihi to get to know the culture and customs. Locals in Hawaiian speaks English widely throughout the islands, but they also spoke Hawaiian Pidgin on certain occasions. Be familiar with the word ‘aloha’ that used for greetings or to end a conversation and ‘mahalo’ which simply means thank you.

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