Two Tickets to Paradise

Summer trip to Hawaii, relaxing in Waikiki.

Two Tickets to Paradise

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by travellingdave on December 10, 2006

Swimming in the beautiful, shielded swimming area of Kuhio Beach Park on Waikiki Beach, directly across from Jack in the Box. Free nightly Hula shows at 6:30pm.

On certain days in the afternoon, the Royal Hawaiian Orchestra plays at Kuhio Beach Park for free, which can be a very entertaining show.

Pearl Harbor is one of the United States' most meaningful and amazing sights. Plan to spend an afternoon here, at least.

The Honolulu Zoo can be a welcome respite from the crowds, but can be claustrophobic and in reality is a bit too expensive for what you get.${QuickSuggestions} Avoid peddlers trying to sell you free luau tickets and the like in exchange for a timeshare meeting. Trust me, you will be sorry when they harass you at your home every week until you purchase.

Pass up the free Luau show at the International Market Place in the evenings. It is of severe low quality and I actually felt stupid coming out of it. This is one of the only luau shows that seem to be gay-oriented, so some may be disappointed that the hula dancers are men.

Don't dine at cheap restaurants too often, as Hawaii has different hygienic standards for food preparation, and mainland stomachs may not be able to tolerate some food choices (I received food poisoning from eating warm macaroni salad).
${BestWay} Honolulu is an easy city to get around by either car, bus, or foot. Some might find the idea of renting a car too stressful in Honolulu traffic-wise, so for those people, riding Honolulu's excellent The Bus is a cheap and affordable alternative. The Bus has routes all over the island of Oahu, so getting anywhere is easy and inexpensive.

Visit The Bus online at:

Aqua Kuhio Continental

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by travellingdave on December 10, 2006

Fairly standard Hawaiian budget accommodations, comfortable enough for their purposes. As this is Hawaii, don't expect too much from your hotel, as they are over-used and over-worn. Instead, just use the hotel to sleep and to store your luggage, spending as little time as possible in it.

The building had some severe wear and tear in that the paint in the corridors was peeling, and wallpaper was peeling in the rooms. The walls had visible cracks and scuff marks in the corridors, and there was some denting in the doors from what appear to be kicks to the doors. The elevator was in disrepair, and smelled of urine.

The rooms were generally in good shape with working AC and comfortable beds. The tiny rooms have kitchenettes (at least mine did) with a decent selection of Cable TV. The room came with two small single beds, which were quite comfortable. There was a table for working, as well as a complimentary coffee pot.

No Internet service here, nor any other amenities onsite. However, guests are allowed to use the pool at the Aqua Bamboo across the street, since their pool was under renovations. I was able to pick up many wifi signals from people living near the hotel room, though.

The hotel doesn't feel incredibly safe, with some people blatantly living there full-time, but it is good enough for this price range.

Rates start at around $50 and go as high as $100 per night. I paid $65 in mid June for a double room, booked on Orbitz.

Rooms do NOT have balconies, and breakfast is NOT served.
Kuhio Village
2463 Kuhio Avenue
Honolulu, HI, 96815
(808) 791-7171

Waikiki Resort Hotel

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by travellingdave on December 10, 2006

This Korean Airlines-owned hotel does the job with large, spacious rooms and pleasant balconies with ocean view. Balconies include chairs to lounge on while enjoying the views. Rooms are clean and comfortable, with satellite television and ironing boards.

The downside is that this hotel is all-smoking, and has no amenities other than a frigid rooftop pool. The pool was so cold I had to immediately retreat from it in fear I would catch a cold (it was less than 5 degrees Celsius).

The hotel is frequented by prostitutes, but the management is cracking down on this. It is generally safe, however.

Free bag was provided with stay, courtesy of Expedia Travel. Staff were friendly, but spoke in broken English. The manager spoke good English, though. The staff are not very willing to direct you to restaurants or other sights, and mostly just "do their job."

On-site cafe and Korean restaurant seems to be high quality, but I did not sample their cuisine. Many people did, though. Prices are expensive.

Good location, only 2 blocks from Waikiki Beach. Hotel rates start at $80 per night and reach upwards of $150 per night. Book with a reputable travel agent for the best rates.
Waikiki Resort Hotel
130 Liliuokalani Ave.
Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815
(808) 922-4911

Seaside Hawaiian Hostel

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by travellingdave on December 31, 2007

The Seaside Hawaiian Hostel is a great little hostel located in the bustling center of Waikiki, only two blocks from the Pacific Ocean. Unlike the Lemon Road chain-of-hostels on Waikiki's eastern flanks, the Seaside Hostel caters to a more civilized, mature crowd (but still plenty young). While the other hostels may have the reputation of being somewhat rowdy, unclean, and drug-addled, this hostel has none of the above - it's a place for young people to get a comfortable night's sleep, be treated well, and have a ton of things to look forward to with each passing day of their stay.

I spent three nights at this hostel, and was pleased to see the quality of their dorm rooms. The bunk beds, although rickety and hand-made, were draped with privacy curtains. This added a much-needed personalized touch to the room that I enjoyed. No need to worry about stranger's eyes peering upon you as you sleep - here, you're bed is your private domain. The bedsheets were changed daily, so there were no unclean, foul-smelling body odors being circulated through the air like at some other hostels. Also, each room at the hostel has an ensuite bathroom, which are clean and well maintained. Everything was sparkling. There were shampoo and conditioner provided, and towels were well supplied.

The hostel offers two types of rooms: Rooms with ensuite lockers, and rooms without. The rooms with the lockers were approximately $5 more than the rooms without, but the extra price is worth it for peace of mind. The locks are not included - so bring your own.

The common areas of the hostel are excellent, situated in the open-air courtyard. Sitting here watching their big-screen television under a starry sky is one of the best things to do while at this hostel, and demand for seating can be high, so get out there early. There is also a games table in the kitchen area, as well as a one-computer Internet cafe for checking your email. The hotel also offers free wireless internet to those with laptops, which was a nice amenity to find in a hostel. The hostel has a full kitchen, which is much larger than those at most hostels. You can release your inner chef every night, but be prepared to share with your fellow guests (depending on how good of a cook you may be). There is ample food storage space available, provided free of charge. Breakfast was provided each morning, consisting of toast, cheez whiz, jam, and coffee.

The property is very quiet, mostly due to the strictly enforced 11:00 PM curfew as well as the laid back clientèle. Don't come here if you want to party, it's not all about that. Dorms start at $19 - $27 per night. Free beach equipment, snorkel gear, and cheap tours are also included, on a deposit basis.

Need more inspiration? Visit the Seaside Hawaiian Hostel online at
Seaside Hawaiian Hostel
419 Seaside Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815
(808) 924-3303

Perry's Smorgy

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by travellingdave on December 10, 2006

Perry's Smorgy is Honolulu's most famous budget buffet, serving up American specialties like carved turkey, prime rib, and roast beef, along with Hawaiian-Asian fusion dishes like Pineapple chow main and teryaki beef.

All the papaya you-can-eat, along with dozens of other fruits, compliment the extensive salad bar. The dessert tray is equally as impressive, with endless arrays of ice cream choices, pastries, and even bear's claws.

Drinks are bottomless, too. Drinks vary from typical soft drinks to exotic fruit mixtures. Try the iced tea here, it is especially good.

Lunch prices start at $7.95 including drink, and go as high as $10.95 on evenings.

The restaurant has both open-air and enclosed spaces. Birds can be a problem (I once brought a plate to my table, only to find two robins pecking away at it while I went to get a drink). Make sure you take turns to the buffet line, chasing the birds away for your dinner partner. Staying in the enclosed area doesn't help much, as the birds will fly anywhere for their food. The enclosed area does not have a door, just an open-air entranceway.

The food is decent and the service is not half bad. Give this a try if you are looking for something quick, easy, and typically Hawaiian.

The restaurant is located only blocks from scenic Waikiki beach, making it super-convenient. A bus stop is also out front, if your coming into Waikiki from another part of town.

Visit them online at:
Perry's Smorgy
250 Lewers St
Honolulu,, 96815
+1 808 922 8814


Member Rating 5 out of 5 by travellingdave on December 22, 2006

One of Honolulu's best Japanese ramen houses, serving up bowlfuls of hot, fresh noodles. Once you enter this establishment, it is as though you have entered another world. In typical Japanese fashion, small tables line the walls of the restaurant, with some stool seating near the windows, and a huge bar in the center, complete with stools around it. The chef stands behind the bar, filling your drink order and yelling your food order to the kitchen.

Dozens of ramens are available, and all come with complimentary gyozas (Japanese dumplings). The food is excellent and the service even better. For my lunch, I had the wonton ramen, which was excellent, garnished with a piece of imitation crabmeat.

Lunch prices start at around $6 and rise to around $10 in the evenings. Full bar, including Japanese rice wine (saki). Highly recommended for its authentic food and ambience. English menus available.

The signage is in Japanese, so you might need to search for this one, but it's definitely worth the search.

The waiters generally speak broken English, so smile and point to what you want for quick service.
Ezogiku Noodle Cafe
2146 Kalakaua Ave
Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815
+1 808 926 8616

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by travellingdave on January 3, 2007

Hawaii's premier Hawaiian fast food chain is the L&L Hawaiian Barbecue. This greasy Asian-infused fast food chain is very popular in Hawaii, and is now being expanded across the western United States.

The menu is varied and enticing. With everything from poi (mashed taro root) to barbecue platters, to roasted pork, the menu has something for everyone. I ate here for the first time while recovering from food poisoning, so my stomach was pretty weak. The food was horrible. I ordered a barbecue platter. The plate consisted of tough strips of jerky covered in a sweet teriyaki sauce, served with rice and macaroni salad.

I decided to give it another try a few days later - big mistake. I ordered a similarly bad platter, the Chicken Katsu, which were tough, dry, and tasteless. The soup was the only thing decent on the menu that I was able to try. This experience turned me off of Hawaiian food entirely. It is a good, cheap place to experiment with the cuisine, though, so give it a try and see what you think.

Visit them online at:
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue
2280 Kuhio Ave.
Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815
(808) 924-7888

Honolulu Zoo

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by travellingdave on December 10, 2006

Honolulu's zoo is located east of Waikiki Beach in beautiful Kapiolani Park. This small zoo is home to many of Hawaii's indigenous animals, as well as some traditional zoo favorites like elephants and tigers.

Although it isn't the best zoo in the country by any means, it does showcase a variety of local animals and does bide your time well if you are needing something to do.

The zoo is best explored using the free map distributed by the visitor's center. Admission is $6 per person, including seniors. It's steep admission fee is hardly worth the admission, though, so be warned.

Once you enter the zoo, begin your day by exploring the circle route, which will take you alongside the most interesting of animals. There are some small uphill climbs, so wheelchair users be warned. Wheelchairs are available free of charge to disabled persons at the visitor center. You may have to leave your driver's license or passport, though.

If you are travelling with kids, do not miss the Keiki (Children's) Zoo, home to small miniature animals that are sure to make you smile. Children are able to feed, and sometimes pet, the animals. No extra admission fee is required.

For more info visit:
Honolulu Zoo
151 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815
(808) 971-7171

Waikiki Beach

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by travellingdave on January 3, 2007

Waikiki beach is one of Hawaii's most recognizable names, and is possibly the most famous beach in the world (to Americans).

Stretching around 1.5 miles along the Pacific Ocean, Honolulu's treasure is a sight not to be missed, and an experience not to be squandered.

Begin your visit by heading into any one of Honolulu's hundreds of ABC stores to pick up 1) beverages ($1), 2) a straw mat ($0.99), and 3) Pineapple slices ($2). The three necessities to a good day at the beach. Then, head over to Kalakaua Blvd. and walk along the beach until you find my vote for the best beach on Waikiki - Kuhio Beach Park.

Once you enter Kuhio Beach Park, lay down your mat, get undressed, and jump into the warm ocean waters. Unlike other parts of Waikiki Beach, the Kuhio Beach Park is a sheltered lagoon, keeping fish and waves at bay. No need to worry about sharks here, as they would have to jump over the 3 foot fence to get to you.

The waters are warm and relaxing, with just enough waves to float comfortably on an inflatable raft, etc. Many people try to cross the wall, which can be a difficult task, as the waves forcefully keep you out.

Equipment rentals such as kayaks and inflatable rafts are available for somewhat cheap prices at the bright yellow booths located centrally on the beach. There are public showers (not nude) to rinse sand off your body. At night, there is a free Luau show on Kuhio Beach Park, which is quite good. Also, the Royal Hawaiian Orchastra plays here every afternoon.

Go enjoy the sun at Waikiki, you won't be disappointed.
Waikiki Beach
Kalakaua Blvd
Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815
+1 808 951 4088

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