Hawaii – Oahu 5: Hanauma Bay

Hawaii – Oahu Day 5

Aloha, another beautiful morning in Waikiki!! Today was our last full day in Oahu so we tried to see as much as we could! I waited for a beautiful day to visit Hanauma Bay because I have been picturing this gorgeous bay in my mind for the perfect postcard photo. Blue sky, turquoise clear water, and with a little bit of white clouds, just everything I imagined it would be.  Hanauma Bay opens at 6 am and I have heard to be there early because once their parking lot is full, you’ll be turned away!! We left our hotel at 7 am and drove there but due to the Honolulu Marathon, the ways that our GPS pointed us to were all closed!  We keep re-routing along the way but eventually got there 🙂

Here is a picture I took while in the car watching the Honolulu Marathon:




Finally we got out of the marathon route, we drove by this very nice view!

Finally arrived Hanauma Bay, it was breathtaking! I can’t believe I finally get to see this; I have been seeing others’ picture of it and wished I could take as nice photos! Thanks to the marathon, we got there around 8:30 am and the parking lot ($1 for parking and $7.50 admission per person) was almost empty!! Wohooo felt like we have the whole bay to ourselves!

Here are the photos we took, enjoy!!

Hubby is getting professional!

The water was so clear that you can see the corals!

Amazing view!

Is this post-card perfect???

Snorkeling but the wave was rough today so didn’t get to see as much fishes 🙁

Very enjoyable just to walk around the beach for its great views!

Lovely memories of Hanauma Bay 🙂

We spent at least 3 hours in this stunning bay!  Continue to the next beach: Lanikai Beach, I heard this was a very hard to find beach so we give it a try. We passed by many scenic stop to snap some photos:

One of the blow-holes:

We passed by the Makapuu Point Lighthouse:

We passed by McDonald’s and we were hungry so we bought Chicken McNuggets for lunch, not knowing where else to eat.  Just minutes after it, we saw this grill chicken place!!!

We got the whole chicken to share among 4 of us and it was really yummy (we stopped eating the nuggets loll)!

We continued our search for Lanikai Beach…..we reached some beach in Kailua:

Nope..that’s not Lanikai Beach so we keep going on to a one-road route, it was basically a loop around, but pay attention to this sign:

We figured that there are so many access points to Lanikai Beach, some of the access ways are in between private houses looking like this:

Some of the access ways only lead you to the sea, not the beach but some has beautiful views of the two islands:

Although this access way does not lead us to the beach, it was a great spot for photos with no people in the background!

We drove around the loop almost the way back out and that’s where the access to the beach.

Next we drove to Kualoa Ranch for its Legend & Legacy tour but no tour available today and the next tour is the Movie Tour which was at 2:30 pm! Oh well, we quickly walked around and took some photos, it was getting very cloudy too so the view of its backdrop mountains weren’t as nice.

This is a funny horse 😛 haha!

Are they kissing? sweet!

It was still early so we drove all the way back to Downtown Honolulu.  We parked near the King Kamehameha Statue and took a picture with it of course!

Across the street was the Iolani Palace:

We continued walking along the way and ended up in this very well Christmas decorated place.  We have no idea what is this place but something to do with Honolulu City of Light event (if you know where it is, let me know!)

 Hawaiian style Santa and Mrs Claus haha!

I really like huge ornaments on big trees!

Entrance to this place filled with Christmas trees!

Sea-themed Christmas trees!!!

I would love to spend a Christmas in Honolulu!!!

We still have some time left before our dinner so we went to the Ala Moana Center.  I have read a lot of tourists love this shopping center but for us who came from the US, we have almost all the stores in our town so really nothing special (in my opinion).  We quickly browsed the stores and left the mall.

We arrived at our dinner restaurant – Sweet Home Café (2334 S King St Honolulu) at 5 pm, this restaurant opens at 4:30 pm for dinner and there was already a line outside!! I wrote my name on the waiting list at the front door and sat on the chairs outside to wait.

We waited maybe 15-20 minutes and got a table.  The waitress told us we only have 1.5 hours!!!  This restaurant is a Taiwanese hot pot restaurant, first we ordered the soup base and the meats.  Then, we went up to those huge fridge to grab vegetables, different varieties of balls, noodles, etc. Each plate was color-coded for pricing…here’s a picture I took of the prices:

Green or white plate (mostly vegetables) is $2.95, orange or yellow is $3.95, and blue is $4.95 each plate.  We ordered the seafood soup base and the house herb soup base.  The house herb soup base was my favorite, I could just drink few bowls of this soup!

They also have many choices of homemade sauce:

Almost all the sauces were a little bit sweet, perhaps homemade so no MSG!!!

Our table quickly filled up with food!

The soup bases were so good that you really don’t need much sauce to give the food its taste!  If you ever had hot pot, do you noticed that by the end of the hot pot, the food/soup gets really salty?  This is the first time I had hot pot that I don’t taste saltiness, it was that good!

The waitress bought out the famous Taiwanese shave ice to us which reminded us that we only 15 minutes left!!! The dessert was on the house and it was very very very good! We wish we could have more time to enjoy this delicious dessert! It contains pudding, green tea flavored ice, boba, tapioca, coconut chunks??, lychee flavored ice, and so much more we couldn’t even name them!

Here were the total plates we ate, we would’ve eaten more if we have more time!!  The bill for four of us was $91.63 (we included 15% tips) so it wasn’t bad for the delicious meal!

By the time we left, there was a huge line of people waiting so be here early!

After our last dinner in Oahu, we went back to our hotel and did our packing.  Oh boy, I was so worried that our luggage will be over weight because I heard Hawaiian Airlines (our flight to Maui) will weigh the checked bag and limited to 50 lbs!!!

Reflections on Oahu:

Oahu is a great island, plenty to see and do, and excellent restaurants to choose from.  We enjoyed all our meals.  I had been to the Caribbeans many times and I don’t have high expectations on island food since most of their ingredients were imported.  However, it was a totally different experience in Oahu.  Rather you choose American, Korean, Japanese, Chinese cuisines, you can’t go wrong if you do your homework to read reviews! Another thing is when people tell you that Hawaii is very expensive, there’s always plenty of cheap eat, stay, and fun!  We were among those people who heard Hawaii is very expensive but look at how much we spent on our meals, not bad at all!!  All the admissions were reasonably priced and most importantly was we felt the money we spent on going in those places were well worth it…..look at the pictures we took! Don’t let what you hear make you stay away from Hawaii, just go and explore it yourself!  Hawaii has so much culture and landscape that you can always find something to see and do!

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