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Deciding which island to go in Hawaii…

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

A friend of mine is asking for my advise on which island to go for a vacation as she knows I enjoy doing the trip research. June 17 2008 will be the day that Chinese tourists can land in US with a legitimated “leisure travel” visas, although the visa type is not going to change. (see my previous post here.) Hawaii is the first travel destination in US coming to our minds when thinking a vacation which in Chinese means “spending the holiday/non working day”.

Oahu (瓦胡岛): Oahu is where Honolulu is on. If you are not taking a cruise to Hawaii, fly to Honolulu is probably one of the best options. It is the capital city of State of Hawaii and the hub of Hawaii. I can imagine everything is more convenient in a more developed city, and there are more man-made attractions/landmarks/museums here: Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona Memorial and USS Bowfin Submarine – all are about “not-to-be-missed” military history – a family friendly island. Oahu is good at containing resorts in a single area – Waikiki. Outside, there are only 4 resorts. which is a good news for people have headache in planning where to stay.

Kauai (考艾岛): Kauai is the shell-shape island on the northwest corner of Hawaii. Its interior is mountainous with depply eroded valleys and large plains around most of the coastal areas. Travel guidebooks say it rains a lot. Looking at the map, there are freeways around almost the whole island. Kauai airport is in Lihue. You can find places for hiking, scuba diving, swimming and snorkeling on this island. My favorite dream activity is to swim in the Queen’s Bath and treat myself as a Queen.

Big Island: Big Island of Hawaii is the biggest island of the state, it lies on the southeast and it is the most far away island from Kauai. If Hawaii is famous of its volcano, then Big Island is where you should go to see how the islands are born. Hawaii is the name of this island as well as the state. Hawaii Volcano National Park offers more to see and you will be very lucky if you see the flow of lava. See my previous post about Hilo beaches.

(thanks Sang for the image)

Maui (毛伊岛): Maui is the second largest island in Hawaii. It has the reputation of being pricey. Most activities cost more $$ here than on other island. Be prepared for the fact that “spending time on the island is spending money”. Most of the resorts are on the west and the south, look for names like Lahaina, Kapalua, or Kihei-Wailea when planning where to stay. Beaches and waterfalls are what you can enjoy the most (to avoid spending a lot of money).

So the first thing to plan a trip to Hawaii is either pick a city (e.g. which you can get a discounted air ticket or resort stay) or pick an island. Generally, you can do most of the water activities on any of these islands. One other non-typical things to do is to hunt  a vacation home on the islands as investment. Oahu real estate is a local agent help people buy and sell homes, they have branches in Kauai and Big Island as well. Its website provides a searchable database to allow buyers to look for homes before making contact.

Discovered (?) a Black Sand Beach in Monterey

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

I went to Point Lobos State Park in Monterey in California two weeks’ ago in a sunny morning. The stunning blue color of Pacific Ocean is as beautiful as last time I visited Big Sur. We entered the reserve from the main entrance from hyw 1 and hiked from Granite Point Trail and then Moss Cove Trail to see the MOSS COVE (click the trail map for detials). One interesting finding is that I noticed a beach around Moss Cove is BLACK. (see image below.)

black sand beach in Point Lobos State Reserve

From my previous Hawaii Dream Vacation visual tours, I know that Punaluʻu Beach is one of the most famous black sand beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. And the black sand on the beach is created by lava flowing into the ocean which explodes as it reaches the ocean and cools. But there is no volcano activities around Monterey area on Pacific coast and we even suspected that the “black” color is a simbol of “dirty”. but when i took a close look on the surrounding area, I can see this is not DIRTY.

black sand beach in Point Lobos State Reserve, California

You see, did I discover a black sand beach? Even though I don’t think black sand beach is more attractive than white sand beach. I’ve also been to the black sand beach in Macao in Asia a few years’ ago. It was not a nice looking one, but different. Isn’t it an exciting moment to find/see some thing different and special? If I am going to take a Hawaii dream vacation, I will visit Maui, because “Maui no ka oi” which means “Maui is best”. We will rent an ocean front Maui vacation rental and to check out Red Sand Beach for sure. And take some random “wondering” steps to try new things. I also want to take a boat tour near Kauai to the ocean to see sea turtle swimming freely without notice human being’s existance.

black sand beach in Point Lobos State Reserve

Dream Vacation of Waterfalls in Lihue, Kauai

Monday, November 26th, 2007

kauai region mapKauai tourism official website calls Lihei “Kauai’s county seat, as well as the center for business and transportation.“ Located on the east shore of the island of Kauai, it is the second largest town of the island. “Lihue” in Hawaiian literally means “cold chill “. Viewing from google map, you can also see Kauai airport is also on that area.

Wailua Falls, Lihue, Kauai, HI As a waterfall lover, I took a virtual tour (as usual) on Picasa images for Lihue’s waterfalls. Wailue Falls is recommended as “Not to be Missed” by Andrew Doughty in the guidebook “The Uiltimate Kauai Guidebook”. To visit this “higher-than-Niagara-Fall” waterfall, take Maalo Road (583) on the Mauka Side. The official height of the waterfall is 80 feets, but the author of the guidebook measured it twice with fishing line and the result was 173 feet! In addition to its own beauty, Wailua Falls is also well known as a place that Hawaiian men prove their manhood by jumping from the 10-floor-height fall. (I figured out this from the number of Taipei 101, 101 floor, 1670 feet).

Kipu falls is only 20 feet high, so it is a practicial location for men jump off (See below picture from Picasa). I have jumped from a 50 meter high tower for my first bungee jump, so I think I would love to try this fall if I can swim.

One of most interesting attractions to me in Lihue is Kauai Museum. It has a perminent display called The Story of Kauai. The artifacts, exhibits, and photographs in the collection show the history and story about the era preceding Western contact as well as the plantation period. I especially am interested in its history of sugar cane plantation history. Ninini Lighthouse sounds like an interesting place to visit, it is said that its light is using a 4.7 million candlepower light. Hmmm…4.7 million candlepower…

There are two major chain resorts in Lihue: Kauai Marriott and Hilton Kauai Beach Resort. An annotated Google map of kid friendly hotels of Kauai can be found here. More other choices of hotels in Lihue can be found here.

A Random Virtual Tour to Hilo beaches

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

My father called me today telling me a recent trip my mother and him took to a farm called Qianjin Farm in western Guangdong province. I grown up in that sugar-cane-planting farm where my parents “devoted” their best time of lives. Sugar cane, sugar cane, I love sugar cane in the way that none of my friends can understand.

Well, I googled sugar cane and found sugar industry was booming before 1980s in Hawaii. How interesting! Ok, see what I found here:

“Tsunami – 1960

Hilo became a stopping place for explorers, whaling ships, traders and those curious about active volcanoes. By the 1900’s, Hilo had grown into a commercial center. The sugar industry was booming, a number of wharves had been constructed, the breakwater was begun and a new railroad connected Hilo with other parts of the island. Then in 1946, and again in 1960,two destructive tsunamis swept Hilo’s Bayfront causing the relocation of Hilo’s government and commercial life. When the town was rebuilt, a large park and roadway were situated between the buildings and the shoreline to absorb future tidal waves.”

How about a virtual tour to Hilo beaches.

Hilo is on the right east side of Big Island of Hawaii (see Google maps). It is your town to stay if you want to explore the east part of big island, including a black sand beach, rain forests, themmost heated pool and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The most well-known attractions in Hilo is probabely the Rainbow Falls.

What really interested me are a black sand beach called Waipi’o Bay beach revealed by Andrew Doughty from Wizard Pub. Inc on guidebook , and an oceanside lava swimming pool.

black sand Waipio beach

Black sand beaches

lava swimming pool

Here are some more great photos about Hilo I found on picasa.

A turtle found on Hilo black sand beach

Rainbow Falls in Hilo Hawaii

Add the following image on Nov. 19

black sand hilo beach

black sand beach. 🙂

Do a Lahaina Vacation, When You Care Much about Eat, Shop and Walk…

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

I always tell my husband that I don’t need a beach vacation. Why? In my sense of a beach vacation, it is all about relaxing and relaxing. You go to the beach with your favorite book and stay there for a long afternoon. But I want to walk around, seeking and trying out local authentic food cooked with special seasons that I will never find in my home city. Otherwise, I am motivated to leave Shanghai, a great city I am enjoying Chinese food so much so far.

Well, I compromise sometimes, for places like Lahaina in Maui Island, Hawaii.


Can you believe there actually is a downtown in Lahaina? I am fine with the fact about this 1.5 mile downtown that you might find it a problem: crowded. Without the popularity, the charm of being busy and energetic but relaxing won’t exist. Strolling on Front Street, where you can park your car for FREE for 3 hours, you can DO a great Lahaina vacation:eat, shop, walk, and even boating (it used to be a whale port). The best parking opportunity is from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. when you have great chance to get a street-side stall.

A vacation in Lahaina will be made a perfect one if you stay in the resorts or hotels in north of Lahaina, say Ka’anapali. Ka’anapali beach is rated as a “real gem” by wizardpub, a travel guide book publisher specialized in Hawaii islands. Other fun activities (suggested by wizardpub guidebook) in west Maui include: snorkeling in the right side of Honolua Bay,seeing trees in Banyan Tree Park or having best banana bread at Last Stand in Kahakuloa.
Yalong Bay, Sanya, Hainan Province,China

Yalong Bay, Sanya, Hainan, China

beach on West Island_Sanya Hainan China

Lanai City Vacation, Your Private Vacation Spot

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Lanai city is located in the center of Lanai island – the smallest island in Hawaii. The island has been regarded as”pineapple island” in last century. Almost 98% of the island was owned by Dole Pineapple. Back to ancient time, this island was thought to be overrun by evil spirits until the son of a Maui chief, Kaululaau, was exiled to Lanai Island and freed the spirits.

Not until 1980s, the island has begun to be classified as a travel destination. Since then, Lanai island has been marketed as a “private island” that provides secluded vacation spots. The event that made Lanai a world romantic vacation name is a wedding in 1994, when Bill Gates took over the Four Seasons Resort Manele Bay – and pretty much the rest of the island for his wedding. Now, Lanai is a wedding location choice for couples who want privacy as well as the most beautiful scenery in Hawaii. A few luxury accommodations on the island also make Lanai perfect romantic getaway destination.

Hulopo’e beach is believed to be one of top 10 beaches in Hawaii by review for providing some best snorkeling spots in all Hawaii. The snorkeling spots are famous for the rich variety of colorful fishes and surprising clear water. While editor John Fischer in has nominated Shipwreck Beach to be a top 10 beach for its interesting features: boulders, lava rock, washed-up timber and sand. Some other “things to do” in Lanai island include golfing and renting a 4WD exploring the island.

Besides of Four Seasons Resort Manele Bay , Hotel Lanai is a nice 10-room lodging choice. Their restaurant Henry Clay’s is recommended as a”best bet“ by Frommers.

Things to do in Lanai Island, rent a 4WD Jeep and explore the island

photo from Flickr, drdrewhonolulu