Travel Report

Pre-Departure Planning (San Francisco):

They were a lot of great deals coming up for Hawaii from San Francisco during the summer. A good place to look for these great deals were in the Sunday edition of San Francisco Chronicle. The two big chartered flight operators from San Francisco bay area were Pleasant holidays and Sun trips. I picked up a flight only deal from Sun trips for $199 only (I am sure no other airlines will match this price). I trusted my Lonely planet guide to get me a accommodation once i am in Honolulu. My plan was to stay at Waikiki beach and do all my sight seeing trip from their.

Day 1 (Fri 03 May) (Oakland / Oahu)

My chartered flight run by Ryan International (for Sun trips) left Oakland airport at 7.30am. It was in a old MD-10 aircraft where a lot of seats in the middle section were damaged and left empty. After a brief stopover in the island of Kaua'i  we landed at Honolulu international airport after seven long hours around 11.25am local time. I picked up my backpack and called Waikiki prince hotel. They had a single room for $40/day and the seventh night was free. I walked out of the airport and took a shuttle bus to Waikiki beach ($7 one way). The shuttle bus dropped me at the Waikiki prince hotel i checked in for 7 nights. It was clean and nice place as mentioned in the Lonely Planet guide book.The hotel is only 2 blocks away from the Waikik beach.

Later in the afternoon I took a walk down the beach. The beach is very lovely, beautiful and so not so crowded. I decided to sign up for some day trips for the next couple of days. I brought a City tour ($16) and Grand circle island tour ($24) from Tours 4 less Waikiki. The tour operators were Roberts Hawaii.

Oahu map      Hula dancer     Sky scrapers at Waikiki beach     Waikiki beach

Day 2 (Sat 04 May) (Oahu)

My half day city tour started at 11.00am. We first headed off to Pearl Harbor and Arizona memorial. In Pearl Harbor their was a movie show of the actual footage during the Japanese attack. Its interesting to watch this with American and Japanese tourists. A navy boat shuttles tourists to the Arizona memorial. The biggest ship which went down during the attack. The ship with its crew lays rest in the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor.
We later headed on to Punchbowl National Cementry and Iolani Place (the only royal palace in the US). There was also some interesting photo opportunity at King Kamahameha statue (the most famous Hawaii King).

I was dropped off at Ala Moana shopping center. This is the largest shopping mall in Hawaii. It has a nice food court at the basement. I grabbed my late lunch there and headed back to Waikiki by the city bus. I spend most of the evening walking around the nice shopping malls of Waikiki and enjoyed the beautiful sunset at the Waikiki beach.

USS Arizona memorial Pearl Harbour        

Day 3 (Sun 05 May) (Oahu)

I started early at 8.30am for the Grand circle island tour. The pick up point was Hyatt regency Waikiki. We first headed off to Diamond head volcano crater. The crater was made by a ancient volcano. There is a good look out point for a good view of Waikiki beach. The next stopoff point was the beautiful Hanauma bay. A good place to relax by the beach. After a quick lunch break we were off to a drive by the north shore beaches and Waimea bay. The drive past the vast pineapple plantation owned by Dole is truly remarkable. We had a stop off at the Dole plantation factory shop. The pineapple ice-cream they sell there is a hit among the tourist. Had dinner at International market place, Waikiki. They have two dozen stalls in the food court selling Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Mexican and Greek food. I tried out some Mexican food. A really cheap place.

Dole pineapple plantation       

Day 4 (Mon 06 May) (Oahu)

I took it easy today after two hectic days of day trips. I brought a four day bus pass for $14 so that i can explore the island by bus (the local bus system in Oahu is excellent). I headed off to China town. It was busy and colorful. A market and a few restaurants line the street. A good place to try some cheap Asian food. Took a stroll through the downtown Honolulu. I was back at Ala Moana shopping center to kill some time. 
I went back to Waikiki to check my email ($6/hr). Had dinner at Fatty's Chinese kitchen.

China town

Day 5 (Tue 07 May) (Oahu)

I took a small loop bus tour (bus no. 58) around southeast Oahu starting from Waikiki. The drive was through Diamond crater and all the beaches of southeast Oahu. The bus finally stopped at Sea life park. After a couple of photo shots i headed back to Honolulu by bus no. 57. The bus here is convenient enough, this isn't Tokyo - if you set your watch by the bus here, you will come up with " Hawaiian Time", a distinctly laid back pace.

Sea life park   

Day 6 (Wed 08 May) (Oahu)

I hopped into bus no.22 (Beach bus from Waikiki) and headed off to Hanauma bay. Its a wide sheltered bay of sapphire and turquoise waters set in a rugged volcanic ring. From the overlook (where the bus stops) you can peer into the crystal clear waters and view the entire coral reef.
I spend almost half a day lazing around the beach listening to music and reading the National geographic magazine. This is the most beautiful beach i have ever seen in Hawaii. A must for all tourists. 
The bay also has schools of glittering silver fish, bright blue flash of parrot fish and some sea turtles. But the beach is always busy and crowded.

Hanauma bay        

Day 7 (Thru 09 May) (Big island Hawaii)

Started the day very early at 5.30am. I was picked up from my hotel by Roberts Hawaii shuttle bus to start my Big island Hawaii day tour. Met the other members of the tour group at Honolulu domestic airport. We took the Aloha airlines flight to Hilo international airport at the island of Hawaii. It was a short flight (30 min). At the Hilo airport we were met by the local Robert Hawaii tour operator.
The Big island Hawaii day tour started off with a drive through the city of Hilo. We had our first stop at the Macadamia nut factory. The island of Hawaii is the largest producer of Macadamia nuts. I brought some Macadamia nuts gift packs. 
The main highlights of this day trip was the visit to Hawaii volcanoes national park. We started off first with Kalapana where the volcano flows into the sea. It was a nice hike on the solidified volcano to reach the beach where the sand is black in color.  We couldn't get a  glimpse of the lava flow and its only accessible by Helicopters.
After a brief lunch stop. It was off to another attraction the Kilauea Iki Crater. Its a remarkable sight. From the lookout point there's a good view of the mile wide crater below. There is a lake of molten lava below the crater. The whole place smells of sulphur which is due to numerous sulfurous steam vents around.
The next stop was at Thurston lava tube. This is a enjoyable 15-minute loop walk that starts out in ohia forest, passes through impressive lava tube and then enters a fern grove. The Lava tube are formed when the outer crust of a river of lava starts to harden but the liquid beneath the surface continuous to flow on through. After the flow has drained out, the hard shell remains forming the lava tube.
We were back at the Hilo airport  for our flight back to Honolulu. A great day indeed. 

Aloha airlines i flew in     Water falls at Big island Hawaii    Myself at Hawaii Volcano National Park   Hiking on solidified lava   Kilauea Iki Volcano Crater    Lava tube  

Day 8 (Fri 10 May) (Oahu / Oakland)

I checked out of my hotel at 10.00am and had arranged for a airport shuttle pick up at 10.15am. I was at the airport early enough. Check in my stuff and took a walk around. My flight back to Oakland left Honolulu at 1.00pm. After another long flight (6hrs) I was back in Oakland airport. I had to wait for quiet a bit of time to get my stuff from the conveyor (Oakland is a messy airport). 
What a refreshing trip it was before the start of my new job and my relocation from San Francisco bay area to Tucson, Arizona. 

Further travel tips for Hawaii can be found at
All photo's taken by Raman Srinivasan.
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Last updated 29 July 2002
2002  This site is maintained by Raman Srinivasan, Tucson, Arizona