We couldn’t wait to board the plane to Honolulu, which meant another 5.5 hours in the sky. The flight was very bumpy, lots of turbulence, but luckily I still managed to have a little nap.
We fled the UK from Heathrow on Saturday morning. Eleven hours later, the United Airlines flight landed in LA which met us with the heat and sunshine, blue skies and incredible smog. Four hours at the airport were long and dragging. When we arrived to Honolulu, nearly 27 hours later, it was still Saturday!
O’ahu met us with the humid ocean breeze, the breeze I’ve been dreaming about while still in London. Aloha music and flower leis at the airport was very welcoming and soothing.
A day in Honolulu
We didn’t stay long in Honolulu, it was only a stop over for us before another flight a day later. But O’ahu allowed me to have my very first glimpse of the glorious, turquoise green Pacific.
Waikiki beach in Honolulu
We stayed only a block or so away from the famous Waikiki Beach and rushed there for a quick dip before it started raining. A fairly quiet beach on a weekday was nice and vibrant later in the evening.
Who is this Duke Kahanamoku on Waikiki Beach?
I loved this statue, it was probably the coolest thing about this beach. Duke Kahanamoku was one of the pioneers of the Waikiki Beach Boys, watermen who earned their livings teaching visitors how to surf and canoe at Waikiki Beach.
He broke the world record in the 100-yard freestyle during his very first competition and went on to win Olympic gold in the 100-meter freestyle and silver in the relay in 1912.
Duke was and I am sure he still is the true Hawaiian hero and one of the world’s greatest watermen. Absolutely loved the flower leis on Dukes hands and at his feet.
Exploring Honolulu’s landmark – Diamond Head
Having had enough of down-town, traffic and shopping malls, we headed towards O’ahu’s best known landmark – Diamond Head.
The historic trail to the summit of Diamond Head was built in 1908 to service military observation station along the rim of the crater. The trail is quite steep, but fairly easy to climb. Although it’s mostly hot and dry all year round, we were pretty unlucky to have rain pouring down.
Never mind the clouds and fog, we still made it all the way to the top through the muddy trail, claustrophobic tunnels and steep staircase.
Such a shame we were unable to see the 360 degree views, but it still felt fascinating to know that we were walking on the rim of a massive crater. On the way back to our accommodation, we took a little detour and saw a nicer part of Honolulu, a bit more Hawaiian, less touristy.
As you can probably tell, we weren’t massively impressed with Honolulu, we did like the Diamond Head though, it was a breathtaking hike.
Tip: Our Lonely Planet guide encouraged to go on and explore Honolulu beyond down-town, and so we did. We took a taxi to China Town in the evening, as suggested. Coming from London, where China Town is buzzing all week, we didn’t know that a Sunday night is not a good time to be in China Town in Honolulu. It’s much bigger than the one in London and covers a few blocks, but It was as quiet as a ghost town. So spare yourselves this trip for a weekday and just chill out somewhere down-town on a Sunday night.
Have you been to Honolulu? Did you like it? Let us know in the comments below:
Diamond Head on Google Maps: