Call me crazy, but Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of my favourite comedies. So it can’t come as a surprise that Honolulu has been on my bucket list for a few years. And I’m delighted to say that it lived up to my Forgetting Sarah Marshall expectation of it. Aside from the breathtakingly beautiful beaches and lush greenery, I think my favourite part about Hawaii was the people. Everyone I met from my cab driver to the people we bumped into at cafes were so warm and friendly. I went with my friend Ashley, and we had a wonderful time. I couldn’t think of a more laid-back place to travel to.
As you guys know, I always do a travel guide for places I travel to. So of course, I wanted to do one for Honolulu as well. I’ve gotten a lot of questions from you guys, and hope to answer them all here. First things first, I wanted to share a few basic tips:
- You absolutely must rent a car. Public transportation is basically non-existent, and without a car, you cannot experience Honolulu.
- If you’re into luxury shopping, Hawaii is the place to do it. Brands like YSL and Valentino have sales and it’s also tax free for tourists.
- Although most hotels are located in Waikiki, don’t spend any time there. Everything you want to see is a short drive outside of Waikiki.
- Opt to take the shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel. It’ll drop you off to your hotel and is much cheaper than a cab.
Where to stay
During my time in Honolulu, I stayed in the Lotus Honolulu and The Modern. I had a wonderful experience at both hotels.
You can read about my experience at The Modern here.
I absolutely loved my experience at Lotus Honolulu as well. It was centrally located, our room was beautiful, and the staff were lovely. Stay tuned for a more detailed review.
What to do
North Shore: Drive here and explore. Here, you’ll find the majority of sites that Honolulu is known for: Turtle Bay, Shark’s Cove, Haleiwa Town, to name a few.
Lanikai Pillbox Hike: Before going, I’d read that this hike was fairly easy. To beginners like myself, this is a lie. If you think it involves steep stairs, you are very wrong. You have to hike up a ‘trail’ which is basically just loose stones that you could easily slip and fall on. That being said, the view was totally worth it. I could only make it to the second pillbox (there are three), but my goodness, words can’t describe how beautiful it was.
Lanikai Beach: Of all the beaches in Honolulu, this one was my favourite. The water was pristine and the sand was white. It felt otherworldly.
Lanai Lookout: I worked with Sweet Escape on my very last day in Hawaii. It was my photographer who took me to this location, and for that I will always be grateful. If you’re looking to get blown away by nature, this is a good place to start.
What to eat
Before going to Honolulu, I was expecting it to be a lot like Bali. And what I mean by that is I was expecting every restaurant and cafe to be Instagrammable. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. While there are cute cafes and restaurants, a lot of research is required to find them. They just weren’t as rampant as I expected them to be. Here are a few of my favourites:
Sunny Days: We visited this joint for a post-hike meal. As you can see, the serving sizes are massive. However, the biggest tip I can give you is to not leave without trying their pancakes. They were so soft and cloud like, we were in heaven!
Haleiwa Bowls: One cannot discuss Honolulu acai bowls without the mention of Haliewa Bowls in the same breath. This was my favourite acai bowl place in Honolulu.
Da Cove: Another great spot for acai bowls. Although I should warn you that it is by no means fancy.
Koko Head Cafe: Again, far from fancy, but the food is incredible.
North Shore Tacos: There are so many food truck options in North Shore. The fish tacos here were delicious.
North Shore Shave Ice: If you’re looking for an excuse to eat a snow cone as an adult, look no further. Shave Ice is a specialty in Hawaii. I personally find it way too sweet, but hey, when in Hawaii…
Arvo Cafe: This was undoubtedly the cutest cafe we found. I mean, the latte art speaks for itself!
Juicd Life: This was another favourite for acai bowls. What I loved about Juice Life was the fact that I could add as many toppings to my bowl as I wanted!