Gotta say: Aloha Hawaii for being splendid! This is my very first article about travelling and I will be sharing with you about my travelling experience from Sydney to Hawaii.

Day 1:

I went to the airport quite early. Paying only $2.5 to go to the airport was really a bargain because it was Sunday, when the public transportation in Sydney always costs only $2.5, no matter how long you travel. A small tip if you want to save money to go to the airport: take the train to Mascot station, walk to Stand B (Coward St) & take bus 400 to Domestic Airport or International Airport. It’s much cheaper than taking the train directly to the airport.

I arrived in Hawaii at 6AM on the same day I left Sydney, so I experienced the longest 17th of my life – I’ve got 44 hours for that day. Let me remind you, in Hawaii, to take the bus, you need the exact change to pay for the ticket, since they won’t give you the change back. Be prepared! Don’t expect to find many shops in Honolulu International Airport because it is actually very, very small. There was only a Starbuck shop nearby.

The bus in Hawaii will inform the bus stop name and all popular destinations nearby, so it’s really convenient and easy to follow. Bus 19 goes from the airport to most of the hotels/hostels in Waikiki (45 mins). Additionally, with $2.5 ticket, you can use it 2 times if you use the second bus within the mentioned time in the ticket. What a bargain, especially if you travel far.

I stayed in “Seaside Hawaiian Hostel” in a 6-female room. The price was super affordable ($32/night before tax). The location was perfect, within walking distance to Waikiki beach as well as some famous shopping malls. Free coffee in the morning was a big bonus for me.

Aloha Hawaii!!!!

The first thing I did in Hawaii was to try Spam Sushi and Bento (in Korean style, I prefer the Japanese one though), but I didn’t like both. I used the International Travel Money Card (Commonwealth Bank) for the first time. You shouldn’t put pin number even when the machine tells you to. Highly recommend this card if you travel from Australia.

The next thing I did was to pick up Go-Oahu Card from Coconut Hotel. I will talk more about this card in the next article, specifically discussing all the deals offered in Hawaii.

I caught the bus to Magic Island, which was close to Ala Moana Beach Park and Ala Moana Shopping Center. Google Map worked perfectly & was my best friend when I was in Hawaii. The coolest thing was that I got around the island without a car. After Magic Island, I went to Iolani Palace – one of the iconic symbols of Hawaii. I reckon it’s like Sydney’s Opera House. If you go to Hawaii yet don’t see Iolani Palace and King Kamehameha, probably local people will be mad at you.

 

Day 2:

As I was a big fan of an American TV series called Hawaii Five-0, which was filmed on the island, I wanted to visit all the scenes from the show first. So I booked a Hawaii Five-0 Tour with my tour guide – Yen Phan (https://www.vayable.com/experiences/1582-hawaii-5-0-tour). To me, she’s the best choice and booking her trip was my best decision in this whole trip. The tour lasted for roughly 4 hours. I will write another article talking about these scenes if you’re interested in discovering more about them.

For dinner, I tried raw fish – one of the signature Hawaiian dishes. I enjoyed it a lot, it was quite salty but not too much. Next to Seaside Hawaiian Hostel was a pub with super cheap drinks. $3 for any drink: Mai Tai or Blue Hawaiian during the special hour in the evening. Such a sweet deal! I haven’t seen anything that cheap in Sydney. I tried Blue Hawaiian and it was amazeballs!!!

 

Day 3:

Day 3 started with a hiking tour to Moana Falls Trail as a “Rainforest, Waterfall Movie Sites Hike”, and it’s not a guided tour. It wasn’t too difficult and the view wasn’t THAT great, it’s just fairly great. My recommendation is getting here on your own (by bus), don’t book any tour because they don’t actually charge fees at the gate. The tour includes the transportation from/to Waikiki, a walking stick, and bug spray. However, it costs around $26, which I don’t think it’s worth it because you don’t actually realize any scenes being filmed here. I felt cheated a bit.

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The second activity I did during the day was Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, I forgot to get the online ticket the day before, so I couldn’t get a ticket for the tour I wanted – “USS Arizona Memorial Narrated Tour”. I ended up taking the tour to visit “Battleship Missouri Memorial”. I just somehow have a soft spot for US Navy, so I’m really interested in seeing those things. Being on that ship reminds me a whole lot of Hawaii Five-0 and The Last Ship.

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I came back to Waikiki pretty late, almost 7pm. I went to Moana Surfrider because they often organise free yoga sessions around 6pm, where you can do yoga right next to the beach, under the sky and enjoy the amazing sunset view. They even offer free wine for people tasting and it was awesome.

 

Day 4:

The plan for the day was to go to The Kualoa Ranch for a Movie Sites Tour. I had to transfer to another bus in Ala Moana Center. I got off one bus stop earlier than I was supposed to, so I had to walk to the right bus stop, which made me miss the second bus that I need to take. Normally, buses in Oahu are 10 – 20 minutes apart, but two buses of this route are almost 1 hour apart. I had to wait for 50 minutes to get on the next one, which was a disaster because I was pretty sure that I would miss the tour.

How did I solve it?

I couldn’t cancel it either because I would be charged 100% if the cancellation was on the same day anyway. I tried calling Kualoa Ranch, but couldn’t reach them as the line was busy all the time. Finally reached them at the 4th call. I told them my situation, luckily, they were so sympathetic, which totally surprised me. (I thought they would say smt like Heyyyy it’s your fault that you miss your bus).

The operator told me not to worry, she would put a note on the list that I’m on my way, I will show up. In the end, I still missed the tour. I was so worried, but surprisingly, when I told the staff my situation and asked if it is possible for me to join the next tour. Luckily, there was only one spot left and she put me on the next tour. Wow. Such a relief!!!! It amazes me how these staff can be so calmed and sympathetic and they are really willing to help. These little details made me love Hawaii soo much.

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Kualoa Ranch

The bus driver took us around the Kualoa Ranch and introduced about all the shows/movies that have been filmed there, including Hawaii Five-0, Lost, Battleship, First 50 dates, Jurassic World etc. Generally, Kualoa Ranch is really green. This was a bus tour, we didn’t really get off the bus much. This tour costs around $50 for 90 minutes, which I think is a bit more expensive than the value it offers.

After that, I took the bus to Turtle Bay Resort to attend a free yoga session for one hour, again, under the blue sky, next to the beach. We got to taste some samples of different vodka and grabbed some dinner nearby. I got a “Aloha – a state of mind” T-shirt, an awesome slogan for Hawaii. We waited for the sunset and it was beautiful, but when the sun was really close to the water, it started raining, so we miss the actual sunset. (From my pictures, it still looked like I caught the sunset though). I didn’t know there were so many free activities in Hawaii.

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Day 5:

That’s nearly a wrap for my vacation. OMG, I still can’t believe time flies by that fast. It’s Day 5. How come?

We went to the east side of Oahu, checked out Waimanalo Beach and Lanikai beach. Both of them have amazing views with crystal clear, green colour. Waimanalo Beach was voted as Number 1 Beach in Hawaii last year (2015). I was surprised because I had always thought Number 1 spot should be Waikiki Beach. Lanikai Beach really wowed me with its background in which two islands were standing. The view was really special.

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5-day vacation was really a highlight of my 24-year life! I experienced much more than I expected! Best decision ever!

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