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Hawaii Vacation Tips

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For the discerning tiki traveler in Hawaii, does the community have any recommendations as to "can't miss" spots to visit on the island? Mysterious, exotic, hard-to-find, unspoiled spots you'd feel foolish having gone all that way without stopping in for a visit?


I have been to 2 islands (Oahu and Hawaii) so I'll stick to those.


  1. The Polynesian Cultural Center. Forget that it's run by the Mormon Church. It's lots of fun to wander around and see the various exhibits and shows and the evening show is amazing (don't miss it)! The luau was OK but not that great.
  2. The La Mariana Sailing Club in Honolulu. It's a hard-to-find polynesian restaurant and bar with many items salvaged from old defunct tiki bars.
  3. The Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Lots of original polynesian artifacts.
  4. Have a Mai Tai at the New Otani Hotel in Waikiki under the Banyan trees and try to imagine Arthur Lyman playing (as he used to every week). It's a gorgeous beach front spot even without the sounds of Mr. Lyman and the Mai Tai is pretty good.
  5. Have a drink at the House Without a Key bar on the beach in Waikiki at sunset preferably.
  6. See Don Ho if you want to but expect crappy drinks and a terrible seating arrangement at cafeteria-like tables for lots of money.
  7. Wander the grounds of the Royal Hawaiian hotel and stay there if you can afford it, or stay at the Hawaiiana Hotel, a much less expensive smaller 50's hotel in the heart of Waikiki with lots of tikis and 2 pools. I highly recommend it.

Hawaii (the big island):

  1. See the Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, including a restored temple with many tikis.
  2. Hike a volcanic crater at Kilauea and maybe see lava flow at night (from a distance)
  3. Go to the beach at the Mauna Kea resort. It's open to the public and it has the best velvet soft sand and excellent snorkeling at each end and it's not too crowded. It's the best beach I have ever been to.
  4. See the historic town of Hilo on the east side with many waterfalls and orchids everywhere.
  5. See the Waipio valley in the northeast, an incredibly steep canyon with a black sand beach at the base.
  6. For lodging, may I recommend the Tiki Hotel on the ocean in Kailua-Kona. It's small with kitchenette units (with tikis on the doors) that look out over the ocean and there's a lava rock pool. Get a ground floor unit and you have a private patio overlooking the ocean. The staff is super friendly and it's inexpensive.
  7. Camping is excellent on the big island if you want to rough it. There are secluded camping places where you can pretend you're on Gilligan's Island.
mig posted on Tue, May 14, 2002 7:10 PM

I've been around four islands quite thoroughly: Hawaii (Big Island); Maui; Kauai; and Molokai. Camping on all of them. I've only spent a wee bit of time (half a day) on Oahu, which is kind of backwards from how most people do it. My favorite was Molokai-- it is VERY rustic.

If you want specific island tips, drop me a line on the side. Generally speaking, my tips are this: seek out the country and the locals. It's very easy. Try to spend very little money, and your experience will be that much better. Stay away from the touristy places (Waikiki, Lahaina)... why? because you're in freekin' HAWAII and you really have no reason to need an overpriced hotel with a pool or a fast internet connection; and you have better things to do than eat at the Hard Rock Cafe and shop at the Gap.

So forego the McDonald's when you're out there, and go instead and get the "Paniolo breakfast" from a local mom & pop. Make a stop in a grocery store to get fruits that you wouldn't see otherwise. And you can pretty much strike up a conversation with ANYONE when you're out there... it is not hard to get lucky and befriend someone enough to where they will invite you to their home and cook you a raging dinner.

Oh, major tip: call it "the mainland" and do NOT call it "the States" or some variation thereof. They get really bent about that. :)

If you stay in Maui, definitely stay in a Condo rather than a Hotel. Then you can buy Azeka's Ribs (cross-cut ribs you buy marinated from Azeka's in Kehei), grill them yourself , mix a big pitcher of Mai Tai's, and watch the sunset.

Other than that, I mostly recommend outdoor stuff...hiking, snorkelling, etc...

which island? i could give you a little advice about oahu (but just the honolulu area), a little more about maui, and some more substantial advice about things to do on the big island. and if you can only visit one, i recommend the big island, but since you'd probably have to fly to honolulu first anyway, you should try to stay there at least one night before embarking for another island.


Ah...this is all excellent information, and I am grateful for your assistance. Although my initial intent was to help a friend make quality honeymoon travel plans, as well as research an upcoming vacation for me and the missus, I reckon this thread could have value to all tiki travelers. I don't think you're going to get this level of detail from Expedia or your local travel agent about this sort of stuff. So I encourage others to continue to add to this. It's a good resource. And again, I thank you...

Kauai, Kauai, Kauai!

If you don't care about nightlife but you want to see unspolied splendor and have outdoor adventures, Kauai is the place. When Hollywood looks for exotic island locales, they go to Kauai. Among others, Jurassic Park, King Kong (the remake), and Raiders of the Lost Ark were shot here.

There is no match to a boat trip along the NaPali coast, or a visit to the Fern Grotto, or a kayak trip down the Hanalei Bay River, or a hike through the magnificent rainforest to hidden waterfalls. It's out of this world.


If you go to Kauai, avoid Poipu, it's too resorty. We origianlly planned to stay 2 weeks there but changed out minds and headed for the Big Island after one week. We liked it much better there. Try staying in Hanalei instead.

Big Island: The Place of Refuge (Pooonaaah, oh Honononaaa.... ahh, I can't spell it, sorry) mentioned in an earlier post is SPECTACULAR. It was my favourite thing.

When we were there last year there was some extremely noisy and disruptive construction of a hotel or something going on across the street from the Tiki Hotel, so call before you go to make sure that's over. We stayed at the Sheraton a little further down the coast and it was pretty spiffy. A great little beach for snorkeling, and some historic sites on the grounds of the hotel.

On 2002-05-15 07:37, kongtiki wrote:
... my initial intent was to help a friend make quality honeymoon travel plans, as well as research an upcoming vacation for me and the missus, I reckon this thread could have value to all tiki travelers.

My wife & I had our honeymoon in Hawaii (overnight in Honolulu plus almost two weeks on the Big Island). We had an absolute blast!

If you have any specific questions (accomodation, food, etc.) feel free to email me: [email protected]

I'd say The Jab did an excellent job of summing up many of the things that I would have suggested.

:sheckymug: Tiki Chris :sheckymug:

[ Edited by: Tiki Chris on 2002-05-16 11:01 ]

I spent most of my Hawaiian vacation on the Big Island. I loved it! I wish I had more time to spend there. Here are some of my favorite spots on the Big Island:

The town of Kailua-Kona: a pretty much unspoiled beach town, with lots of Hawaiian history. Visit Hulihee Palace, built in 1838. Gives a good tour of the restored palace, and a look into 19th century Hawaiian royalty. Small gift shop with huge selection of books on Hawaiian history & culture. Also check out Kamakahonu Beach, where King Kamehameha the Great lived before he died in 1819. His home site is faithfully recreated with awesome Tikis guarding it. It is considered a sacred site and can only be viewed from outside its fence.

Honokohau National Historic Park: just a few miles north of Kailua-Kona, features a very creepy trail thru an arid forest, ending at a huge petroglyph site.

On the north shore of the Big Island, everybody visits Waipio Valley. I would suggest going a bit further north and take the slightly challenging hike down into Pololu Valley. You'll have an awesome descent into the valley, and enjoy a very secluded black sand beach.

Of course, you gotta visit Hawaii Volcanos National Park. If you can, try to stay a night at the Volcano House, a turn of the century resort right on the rim of Kilauea Caldera. Or, at least visit the volcano park via helecopter flight from Hilo.

Some of the best stops weren't in any of the tourist guides. We just followed some of the local signs and met some of the local artists, visited tiny gardens & coffee plantations, etc. And just ask the locals aabout those off-the-beaten-path sites.....


Trader Pup

visit Traderpup.com

[ Edited by: Traderpup on 2002-05-16 11:04 ]


tikifish wrote of the Big Island:
"We stayed at the Sheraton a little further down the coast and it was pretty spiffy. A great little beach for snorkeling, and some historic sites on the grounds of the hotel."

That Sheraton in Kailua-Kona also has some great record-size marlin, swordfish, and sailfish mounted on the walls and there is a small but impressive museum with Hawaiian artifacts.

Another good lodging choice in Kona is Uncle Billy's Kona Bay Resort. It's a clean 50's hotel with large rooms and has a friendly Hawaiian staff and it's right in the heart of town. There is also an Uncle Billy's hotel in Hilo that I spent a few days at. It was cheap but very nice with a central garden with ponds full of koi and our room had a lanai that looked out over the lava rock gardens (with old rotting tikis) next to the hotel and beyond to Hilo Bay. They had some tiki mugs in the gift shop for sale and you could get drinks in ceramic bamboo mugs in the bar.

There is also an Uncle Billy's hotel in Hilo that I spent a few days at. It was cheap but very nice with a central garden with ponds full of koi and our room had a lanai that looked out over the lava rock gardens (with old rotting tikis) next to the hotel and beyond to Hilo Bay. They had some tiki mugs in the gift shop for sale and you could get drinks in ceramic bamboo mugs in the bar.

can't vouch for the accomodation at uncle billy's in hilo, but i gotta recommend the free hula show and the bar w/ the giant pineapplde hanging from it!


traderpup wrote:
"On the north shore of the Big Island, everybody visits Waipio Valley. I would suggest going a bit further north and take the slightly challenging hike down into Pololu Valley. You'll have an awesome descent into the valley, and enjoy a very secluded black sand beach."

We actually didn't go into Waipio but hiked into Polulu Valley as well. It was incredible and there were very few people there. However, the road ends at Waipio and it's actually quite a ways around the north end to Polulu. You should take the whole day if you can and visit all the places in the North like the aforementioned Kamakahonu Beach and Polulu Valley.

I also remember visiting a shop in a town near the Waipio Valley that had a huge collection of tikis and other polynesian and nautical items for sale. I mean large old tikis up to 8 feet tall or more. The man who collected them had been collecting for over 50 years and he had died so his wife was running the shop. She is a native Hawaiian. No prices were posted on the stuff but I think they were expensive.

for excellent accomodation on the big island get in touch w/ michael sisk (& tell 'em chris & emilia from nyc/london - bob & joe's friends - told you about him!):




I'll be in Honolulu next week for the whole week. TheJab had some fine suggestions for things to do. Anybody have any more recommendations for not-to-miss-experiences? Food, music, shows, sights, etc. Let me know here or at: [email protected]


-Weird Unc

Well, the Jab's list for Waikiki is pretty complete...

So La Mariana's is at 50 Sand Island Road and Auiki Street, Tel 848 28 00

Try to find the Hawaiian Hut/South Seas Village show venue, near the Ala Moana Shopping Center, it still has some nice artefacts, it's the last of the Spencecliff Restaurants. And go to the International Marketplace and look for the Beachcomber's Treehouse and the deserted Trader Vic's upstairs.

The Hawaiian Antique Center at 932 Kapahulu Ave. before Kaimuki Ave. has nice stuff, but not cheap...

And don't miss snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, and if you are there for a week, you should make the drive up to the Mormon run Polynesian Cultural Center for a day.

Maybe you'll find Allen St. James preaching there... : )


Don't take pictures of the hookers in Waikiki! They will attack you in a bad way and destroy your camera!
No more boats along the Napali Coast on Kauai (they banned the boats but kept the helicoptors. does that make sence??). You have to hike the trail by foot the old way, but it's better anyway. Wear all white clothes and you will have orange red suvenior's for life! Rent a house in Hanalei, not a condo.If you paddle up the Hanalei river, say Aloha to the cows for me. Bring an ice chest full of booze in your kayak. The cows love a mai tai. And, say Aloha to Aunty Louise at Tahiti Nui. she's one of a kine!
Maui. go to the 7 sacred pools and hike the trail up 3-4 miles. You will hate guava after that. But, when you get to the Giant Bamboo forest, you will be stoked!! Go off the trail once inside of it and it is an awesome trip! Get back on the trail and keep heading up to the waterfall. It's a big one! And, there are all sorts of wild Hemp plants growing from the locals enjoying it. On your way down , screw the trail and take the water route as far as you can (some of the falls are a little to steep so back to the trail and then back to the water!!). The trip there is a nutty drive so don't be too hung-over. End of the road past Hana.
If you go snorkeling in Hananuma Bay, rent your gear at "Snorkel Bob's, cause he cares." Rub salami all over your body(don't let anyone see you do this) and you will be the most popular person in the water!!! Or, play a trick on your pals and sneak some into their suits!! It's a blast!!
One more thing. If you are in Waikiki, stop by the tree on the beach by the Sheraton and say hi to Don Hildreth (my father in law) and tell him you know me and he might hook you up on a outrigger ride. Or, at least party you down at happy hour at the circle bar! God I need a vacation!!


For da Weird Unc:
You'll have a great time on O'ahu...it's da best despite the L.A. feeling in Honolulu. In Waikiki one of the best kept secrets is the outrigger canoe ride for 5 bucks hosted by the Waikiki Beach Boys. The easiest way to find them is walk through "Duke's" at Waikiki and turn right on the beach. It's a great ride on the surf in a canoe just like you see on "Hawaii Five-O".
There are tons of places to eat good "grinds" just ask any local for their favorite plate lunch wagon and you won't go wrong. L@L Drive Inn, they're all over the island, has a great chicken katsu for around 5 bucks. Out North Shore way in Kahuku don't miss Giovanni's white shrimp truck. They have a plate lunch of shrimp scampi that is incredible. A little pricey at 11 bucks a plate but the garlic lasts forever. Other than surfing, outrigger paddling, and other water stuff the second most popular sport in Hawaii is eating. Oh, I forgot to mention the malasadas (a Portugese donut) at Leonard's on Kapahulu Avenue in Waikiki.
Aloha nui loa,
Da Kine

A must is rainbow Shave Ice at Matsumoto's in Haleiwa.


I agree with Bamboo Ben - Snorkle Bob's is the best to rent your gear from!

laney posted on Thu, Aug 1, 2002 11:53 AM

I must agree with most posts the Big Island is the best! Great local farmers market on Alii Dr. The best sandwich in the world is at a little bar/restaurant just across the King Kam Hotel on Alii Dr. in Kona, Hawaii! It is a hot crab salad sandwich and they call it the Kona Gold. I believe the place is "Lucilles almost by the Sea" ask anyone in Kona where this place is-they'll know. They stay open past the bars too! We had one almost every night! It's worth the trip just for this sandwich! MMMMMMMM sound's silly but true!
If you (or anyone out there) is a diver, there is a must see off the Big Island. They have a night dive where you go to about 45' sit around a giant light and hold a flashlight above your head. In minutes the giants come! A species of Manta Ray only found there! One of the most exciting dives ever! We saw 5, about 16 feet wide, gracefully swirling above our group, comming with-in inches of our heads to feed on the plankton attracted by our flashlights. It's worth getting Scuba Certified for this once in a lifetime experience!
Other islands have great dives also, many wrecks off Ohau (we dove a huge Mine Sweeper Ship, WWII airplane, and a cave), and a lot of life off Maui.
If you dive while the whales are migrating (Dec.Jan. and early Feb.) You can hear them sing underwater. It is beautiful. You can easily watch them from shore at that time of year also.
Get Scuba Certified if you are planning a trip to Hawaii. There is as much to see underwater as above!


On Oahu: Make sure you go to Sunset Beach on the North Shore. It's a great beach with many locals and if you're feeling brave or crazy you can jump off the giant rock (don't try this at home, kids)! I've done this a couple of times but that was about 10 years ago! I don't think I could do this now!

Also, if you get hungry for a plate lunch in Waikiki, one of my favorite places is the Rainbow Drive-In just up the street from Kapiolani Park. The "Mixed Plate" comes with teriaki beef, chicken, and fish with 2 scoop rice, one scoop macaroni salad! Ono ono!

On Kauai, check out Captain Zodiac's rafting tours. My wife and I were able to see dolphins and sea turtles and they take you into these really cool caves along the coast.

And if you really want to splurge charter a fishing boat. I did this one time with some friends and we caught Ahi Tuna. We had a great day fishing, took it back to the condo and cooked it up! We ate like kings! Great fun!


Uncle Arty

Oh stop it you guys... you are making me sooo homesick for Hawai'i.

Anyone know a travel agent who could put together an inexpensive annual Tiki Centralite trek to Hawaii?

For expert body surfing, Sandy Beach. A local spot. The waves crash right on the beach. Strong current wear your flips.
Ditto on Rainbow Drive-In thanks stentiki for the flashback.
Ditto again on the Zodiac trip. My wife and I did a 2 1/2 hour each way trip. In and out of sea caves and lunch at a deserted beach. You and your group of 12. Nearby were some Hawaiian temple ruins.

Tiki Central comes through again! Thanks so much for all your tips. I can't wait to get there and start eating, drinking, diving and relaxing(after my one day of work) my way through Oahu. Full report to follow!

-Weird Uncle Tiki

p.s. Anyone have info on the swapmeet at the football stadium in Honolulu?


Anyone know about the Copper Bar at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel? I can't remember who told me about it. I think it was a girl on the Luxuriamusic.com chat room who lived there. Well, not at the bar, but in Hawaii. Seems there are great sunset views, Mai Tai's and music. Might be worth a look.

thejab posted on Thu, Aug 1, 2002 1:34 PM

Another place in Waikiki I forgot to mention is Buzz's Steakhouse at the Ohana Waikiki Reef Lanai Hotel. It's an older place with polynesian decor, a few small tikis, and low-priced tasty food. The address is 225 Saratoga Rd (near Ft De Russy) tel 808-923-6762. That's within walking distance of many Waikiki hotels (including the Hawaiiana Hotel). Here's a pic of the hotel it's at (you can see the restaurant's bamboo covered lanai on the ground floor):

There is also an Original Buzz's at 413 Kawailoa Road, Kailua, HI 96734. That's on the windward coast. There are also some uncrowded beautiful beaches there.

There's another Original Buzz's at 98-751 Kuahao Pl., Pearl City, HI 96782-3100(Pearl City District) Tel. (808) 487-6465.

I haven't been to the 2 other Buzz's but they might be worth checking out.

Another old steakhouse in Waikiki is Chuck's, since 1959:

I wish I were going. Aloha, weirdunc!

"...p.s. Anyone have info on the swapmeet at the football stadium in Honolulu?"

**Poly-Pop ***

Bartender, make mine a glass of WATAHHH!!!!!

[ Edited by: polynesianpop 2013-02-04 20:02 ]

GECKO posted on Thu, Aug 1, 2002 3:03 PM

Aloha to all,

If there are Tiki Centralites coming to da islands be sure to give me an email and we can meet at my favorite Tiki bar La Mariana for a few drinks and talk story! That goes for anybody! Since I don't plan on going to the mainland any time soon so I wont be able to meet any centralites unless u guys & girls come here. drop me an e-mail wierdunc.
live Aloha

[email protected]


Man, reading all this makes me long for the islands!!! I used to go twice a year on business with my old job and now I haven't been in five years!!! Gotta get back! Hopefully next summer.

Thanks for the invite, Gecko. We will definitely look when we get to The Rock.


Uncle Arty

PS -- A couple more things on Oahu - there is a great shaved ice place on your way to the North Shore, but I can't recall the name. Gecko, you know it? Anyhoo, for those of you going, you gotta get some!

And...there used to be a Bishops Museum Store in Waikiki at the mall adjacent to the Royal Hawaiian (I hope it's still there). They have some authentic tiki artifacts and repros. I got a really cool coral tiki amulet there and they have some great koa as well. Also outside of the International Market Place there used to be tiki carvers with small tikis and masks for sale. Hope you get to check it out!

Hey, Gecko!

Thanks, I'll send you an e-mail and let's hook up early next week.

Uncle Arty- I'll bet you're thinking of Matsumoto's for shave ice, I'll certainly be stopping in for a mountain of cool colorful chill!

-Weird Unc


That's the place! Have one for me!!!


Uncle Arty


If you plan on going anytime soon, go to Buzz's on Saratoga cause I heard most of the block is going to be raised and made into a "mega-complex". Long live the Tahitian Lani!!!!!(now a mega complex)!!!!!! Long Live Buzz's!!!(the best "Tail"in town)!!Lot's of Bamboo Board too. If any of you are christian scientists (don't get me wrong, I'm not) Ask for Seaward Grant, he's my cousin. He's like the head (mad) scientist on Oahu. Tall dude with grey hair and looks like Eli more than I do .
For a nice view of New York, oops, I meant Waikiki, Do diamond head during sunrise. Bring a flashlight for the trial! Rest up, the "stairs" are a doozy! Memories...la la la la la la la , la la. Wait, or is it Yesterday.... La la la la la la, la la la ? Was that the beatles who did that song? Oh well, back to the subject Ben!
Hawaii "Rules" as the new guy said, or did he say Tiki's rule? God I'm lost! Any Shrinks out there?? I'll trade a tiki bar if you can fix my head!!!! Speaking of bartering, any dentists? Also, I need a new u joint for my knee. Wana barter? The old Hawaiian way of doing things.....3 coco nuts for 3 mangos!


What's the name of that break next to the olympic pool?(like the Wedge, here) I almost died there back in 2000 during that freak swell that came to Waikiki! It was like 10'+!! Out of shape BambooBen decided to rent a boogie and fins.Wrong answer!! Ala Moana and Bowls were going off! We were kickin at the sheraton circle bar for happy hour and tourists were drowning left and right!! It was a mess!!

samoa posted on Sat, Aug 3, 2002 8:13 PM

i want to go too :(

Aloha, Gang!
Hawaii was fab and here's the report:

Genki Sushi
900 Kapahulu Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 735-8889
This is a local branch of Japan's largest sushi outlet. Small plates of a wide variety of sushi and salads wind there way around the joint on a conveyer belt and you just grab whatever you want. When you're full, they'll count up your empty plates and charge accordingly. It's good(not the best)and cheap! Two of us ate until full and the whole tab was less than $20. Prepare to wait in line for a table.

Alan Wong's
1857 South King Street • Third Floor • Honolulu, Hawaii 96826 • Reservations: (808) 949-2526
This place is truly amazing. One of the finest meals I've ever eaten! The food vibe is Hawaii/Asian/Pacific rim with an emphasis on fresh seafood. We decided to go for the gusto and order the chef's 7-course tasting menu. This is like playing mystery date, you don't know what's coming out. Will it be a dream or a dud? It's all up to the chef, and it was all dreamy. I could go on and on about how wonderful the quality was and the delectable subtleties of taste and that they brought extra courses and that I still fantasize about their onaga(yes, I'm fantasizing about a fish, it was that good!), and the individual dessert platters, but let's just say that towards the end, we were pleading with them to stop bringing food 'cause we discovered there can be too much of a good thing. On the pricey side, but if you are a serious diner and winer(superior wine list), do not miss Alan Wong's.

The Historic Waiahole Poi Factory
48-140 Kamehameha Hwy.
Kaneohe, HI 96744
(808) 239-2863
A very pleasant surprise. We just stumbled into this place 'cause we were driving up to North Shore and got hungry. It looks like it's been there for genrations and belongs in a cowboy movie. The specialties are plate lunches, which come with lau-lau, poi or rice, chicken long rice, a purple potato, lomi salmon, and haupia. The best lau-lau and poi I've had and the chicken long rice was such good soup, someone's Jewish grandma must have been back there stirring the pot! Also try their chocolate haupia. Table seating is outside on picnic tables and the view is the lush tropical foliage of the windward coast. The proprietor's 90-year old father came and sat with us and gave us tips on how to eat the lau-lau and poi. It was charming to talk story with him. Then his nephew showed up and we go the whole ohana experience. Great food, great vibe, inexpensive, and beautiful setting. Maxine Prudencio is the gracious host here.

Curry House CoCo Ichibanya
Vaious locations around the city
Hearty and delicious bowls of Japanese curry over rice. You choose the toppings, spiciness and how much you want. Go for the Challenge Bowl. If you finish it, they'll put your picture on the wall. Doesn't seem worth it, though. This is the perfect tank-up before heading out to the bar.

Ono Hawaiian Food
726 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816.
This is the classic joint for local food. My first experiences with lau-lau, poi, pipikaula, and lomi salmon were here and I'll always love them for it! It's a cash only, wait outside for a table small kinda divey joint that is full of character and characters. Not too may tourists come here, so when the proprietor saw us, he latched onto our table and stood there throughout the meal, telling us how to dip this into that and to pour that onto this, etc. A delightful fellow, he even ordered us extra food on him just 'cause he thought we had to try it to get the full local experience.

Pacific Beach Hotel Buffet Dinner
2490 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Telephone: (808) 922.1233
A wide variety of mass produced food, some very good, some kinda dry, some I wouldn't touch with YOUR 10-foot pole(pardon the expression). The real attraction here is that while scarfin' yer vittles you'll sit beside the gigantic 2-story Oceanarium aquarium. This impressive tank contains a slew of tropical fish, stingrays and eagle rays. A beautiful display indeed. A scuba diver even drops down tableside and displays signs like "Happy anniversary Milt & Ethel." If you're squeamish or health conscious, the lack of sneeze-guards on the fruit and dessert will be a problem.

Rainbow Drive In
3308 Kanaina Ave. at Kapahulu St
Honolulu, HI 96815
Phone: (808) 737-0177
Well, most people rave about this joint, but I didn't care much for it. Maybe I just ordered wrong. I got the mix-plate 'cause it seemed to have a variety of their dishes included. What I got was a BIG pile of very breaded, fried and dry meat and fish over rice. The only flavor was of frying oil and it took several shakes of chili water and an order of gravy to make it edible. I hear the chili's good though. An inexpensive meal for sure. The highest priced plate is $5.85.

The International Market Place
The Kalakaua Ave. Strip in Waikiki
Truly an international food court. Pizza, adobo, tropical fruits, pho, curry, etc, can all be found here. My choice is Yummy's Korean BBQ. It is what it's name claims to be.
More on shopping, drinking, etc. later on. Thanks for bearing with me. I know this is long, but I hope it'll help out future travelers. Thanks.
-Weird Uncle Tiki


Wow, Unc, sounds like you had a BLAST !!! (I'm booked for Maui in Oct., but you made the big island sound much MUCH more appealing!)

Thanks for the great tips and welcome home!

On 2002-08-18 12:29, TikiMel wrote:
(I'm booked for Maui in Oct., but you made the big island sound much MUCH more appealing!)

Be careful, Mel! Oahu (the island where Honolulu is located) is NOT the Big Island. The Big Island is the island that's actually named Hawaii.

But don't worry about Maui because an excellent time can be had there indeed!

Would you like some tips on Maui?

Tiki Chris

[ Edited by: Tiki Chris on 2002-08-18 12:47 ]


Be careful, Mel! Oahu (the island where Honolulu is located) is NOT the Big Island. The Big Island is the island that's actually named Hawaii.

Woops! As you can tell, I'm a Hawaiian virgin (wait.. NOT what I meant...) I obviously slept through geography class.

Yes Chris, I would love info on Maui!

Aloha again! Thanks, TikiMel for the welcome home. Let's continue with some more highlights:

Donut lovers pay attention here!
Leonard's Bakery - Honolulu, HI
933 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
808-737-5591 http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Review_Writeup.asp?Review_ID=1022
This place serves 'em fresh and hot all day. Kind of like jelly donuts without the jelly. They have two varieties to warm your cockels: plain sugar or cinnamon sugar. A great pre-Hanauma Bay-snorkeling quick energy fix.

Of course, shave ice the snack of the islands. In Honolulu check out Waiola Shave Ice 525 Kapahulu Ave. Honolulu, HI 96815 (808)734-3485. This is one of their two locations. The shave ice here is the finest(as in consistency)I've ever had. It almost tastes creamy. Along with the many flavors, you can also get your treat with sweet azuki beans, condensed milk, and other exotic toppings.

The most famous shave ice on Oahu is Matsumoto's in the north shore town of Haleiwa. http://www.matsumotoshaveice.com/
This stuff is da kine! More flavors than you can shake a poi ball at and several exotic toppings as well. Be prepared to wait in line and watch out for the swarms of bees that buzz the trash cans outside looking to sip up the discarded sweet stuff. If you're a souvenir junkie, Matsumoto's is a t-shirt clearing house.

All the major hotels on Waikiki beach offer live entertainment every evening while you sip your cocktails. Check to see what type of music/dance is being offered where. The Mai-Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian may not make drinks with all the subtleties of taste sensations as Tiki Ti, but the setting is beautiful. A beachside patio with tiki torches and a spectacular view of Diamond Head, this is a fab sunset stop.

For the elegant Chinese vibe, check out House of Hong. Here's a little blurb: http://www.hiohwy.com/h/houshong.htm
Drinks here come in very cool ceramic "jade" mugs and scorpion bowls. Sadly, they no longer sell the drinkware. If you want a mid-day fix, wander in and hopefully you'll get Cheryll behind the bar. She was a great character and liked to talk story. She had some great ghost stories and tales of Hawaii's supernatural. Some of her paranormal experiences had occurred right there in the restaurant! She let us in on the secret that the reason happy hour drinks are so cheap along the beach is that the bars use NON-ALCOHOLIC curacao, triple sec, blue curacao, etc. in the drinks with only the legal minimun of 1 oz. of booze in each cocktail. She was gracious, and poured us the real stuff at the nice price. Their happy hour runs almost all day with $1.95 mai tais and blue hawaiis.

DO NOT MISS La Mariana Sailing Club! http://www.opinionatedtraveler.com/reviews/USAHAWAIIHONOJNT952.html
Gecko met us there and introduced us to Annette, the owner. What a delightful woman. She has assembled this magnificent tiki establishment from the remnants of long-gone establishments such as Trader Vic's and Don the Beachcomber's. Gorgeous interior with all the trimmings! Great drinks from Tony the bartender and lovely melodies from the house piano player. Gecko says that Friday nights really go off there, with the locals coming in to sing along with the piano. I'll put that in the "Next Time" file. Do yourself a favor and get mapquest or dvery specific directions from someone who can really explain how to get there. It's an easy place to miss, but don't!

The night after La Mariana, Gecko and his most lovely lady met us at Hale Noa http://www.halenoa.com/ for our infamous night of the kava! The details have already been recounted in other threads, but let me just say that if you're looking to mellow out and smile for awhile, this'll make your evening. Let Gecko know if you're heading there and he'll pass on the Tiki Central kava ceremony we began that night. These guys will ship their kava to you if you e-mail 'em. Check the website.

The Pacific Beach Hotel has a pleasant bar/restaurant next to the Oceanarium and above the buffet. It's called Neptune's Garden. http://www.pacificbeachhotel.com/din.cfm#neptune
The drinks were well made, greatly garnished and presented by one of the friendliest bartenders I've encountered. The highlight of the evening was that Herb Ohta, jr. was playing there with his trio. He is a fabulous ukulele player and the son of Herb Ohta aka Ohta-San, the legendary uke musician. The tunes were played with a supreme grace and style I'd not encountered in any previous ukulele adventure. That coupled with the musician's good humor and friendliness made for a great vibe and the best night of music for the week. Both he and his father play there with some regularity, so check them out.
That's plenty from me for now. Pictures are forthcoming.

-Weird Uncle Tiki

My now ex husband and I eloped to Hawaii about 4 years ago...I looked in the back of a wedding magazine or it may have been Hawaii magazine..anyways lots of ads for people to do weddings and photos for you.We had a non-religious ceremony on the rocks with Diamond Head behind us at sunset...It was awesome, sadly the union didnt work out but we are still great friends...It was really low key they offered several package weddings depending on how much you want to spend...Hawaii like Nevada and Tennesee doesnt require blood test to be married you just go to city hall and apply it took like half an hour and we had our license..I would highly recommend eloping to Hawaii..Our wedding pictures are unreal!!!But they live in a drawer now cause I dont think my boyfriend would appreciate them...

Aloha! I'm just back from my latest Hawaiian adventure. This one was rushed as I visited four islands in four days. I was on four islands (Kauai, Oahu(twice), Hawai'i, and Maui) one of the days just making connections! A work schedule for sure, but if you gotta do it, I can't think of a more pleasant environment in which to to be so hectic.
Here are a few tips that I vaguely recall from this blur of a trip:

For decor, check out Coconuts Island Style Grill. The chairs, tables, menus and even the floor are all made from coconut. Very nicely done. I was there during prep-time and didn't get to eat, but if you do, be sure to try their chili water. It's the local Hawaiian seasoning on many a table in the islands and the recipes are ancient and varied. I was fortunate enough to be there when the old fellow who supplies them was making his delivery. One taste of this potent condiment and I was hooked! He bottles it in 16 ounce plastic Pepsi bottles and I bought one on the spot. He uses traditional ingredients such as vinegar, chilis, garlic, and water. The neato part is that he also puts a pinch of Kauai red dirt in every bottle. Wowee!

The dining room of the Princville Sheraton offers a breathtaking view of Hanalei Bay with it's azure water and dramatic mountains. A beautiful resort and you'll certainly pay for it. I say skip the hotel (unless you're honeymooning or just looking to luxuriate) and just jump in the water. A more beautiful spot is hard to find.

Golfer? Have breakfast, lunch or twice-a-week dinner or once a month wine dinner at Joe's On The Green located at a golf course, the name of which escapes me, in Poipu. An open-walled, bar and restaurant with stunning vistas of the ocean and the mountains including Mount Waialeale, the wettest (most precipitation) spot on earth. Not a tiki joint, but you may enjoy it.

The Big Island of Hawai'i: I was only on The Big Island for about 7 hours and the only meal I ate was poke from a local market. If you like that kind of thing, I can't recommend it highly enough. The fellow I was working with is a judge at Chef Sam Choy's annual poke contest and he thinks this market has the best poke around. It's called KTA Superstore in Kailua-Kona. The poke counter is in the back. We had ahi shoyu, marlin korean-style, ocean salad and steamed rice. A most excellent lunch!

The Four Seasons Hualalai has a beautiful beachside bar with gigantic cocktails. It's called the Beach House. Although I was working and didn't try one, the maitai on the menu seemed like the real thing(no pineapple or orange juice listed as ingredients).
Their Club Grill had a fine view and seemed like a nice luch spot.
The Pahui'a restaurant there looked like a real classy joint. Dark and old-Hawaiian looking with an upscale and up$$ menu.

The Martini Yacht Club in Kailua-Kona is a new restaurant with a view of the water, an old-time sailing/aviation theme, a fine winelist and a menu with an abundance of fresh seafood prepared in various sauces and styles.

Do not miss seeing Kona Village. http://www.konavillage.com Even if you have to sneak in, check out their tikis, a-framed dining room, private thatched hale guest rooms, beachside "Bora Bora Bar," etc. Room packages include your meals so if you just want to laze about and worry about nothing, stay here. No phones, no tv's, just you in your tiki village escape. This is a tiki lover's place for sure!

I happened upon a farmers market in Kona. Don't know how often they have it, but this was a Wednesday around 11:00am. It was right on the main road across the street from the water. Huge selection of local, tropical fruits and veges. Also there was a stall run by the Aholelei family who makes tapa and carves tikis. They are originally Tongan, but now reside in Kona. I purchased a tiki walking stick (I was not popular with airport security) carved by Uncle Sio. Their tapa designs were also marvelous. If you're interested in their work you can call (808) 334-1762 and ask for Saloté.

Maui: Again, I was here for mere hours so I didn't get to see too much. I will say that if you want to be surrounded by beauty in a heavily themed restaurant, you must check out Kincha at the Grand Wailea Resort http://www.grandwailea.com/dining/kincha.asp The photos on the website do not even come close to showing off the amazing Japanese decor and details. Boulders, bamboo, a stream, a table over a small pond, a sushi bar looking out on rock waterfalls, etc., etc, etc. I did't eat here, but boy, would I love to. Not tiki, but quite a spectacle.
My meal on Maui was at the local branch of the L&L Drive Inn plate lunch joints. http://www.hawaiianbarbecue.com
Seriously large and yummy plates of food. Mix plate with curry is good grinds. Da kine!

Oahu: If you're looking for that rare United Airlines tiki decanter, they've got quite a variety. If you want Okolehao or pineapple brandy, grab it off the shelf. The place is The Liquor Collection and it's in the Ward Warehouse 1050 Ala Moana Blvd. Honolulu (808) 524-8808.

Craving some poke and wine? Go to Tamura's at 3496 Waialae Ave. Honolulu (808) 735-7100. Mainly a fine wine shop, they do have a side counter where they make their own fresh poke and it is superb! Several kinds are available every day. Great to take on a picnic.

If you can swing it, have a cocktail at the Oahu Country Club. Sit in their lounge and gaze out of the picture windows over the golf course, down the Pali, across, the harbor and into the Pacific. Wow! And no, I'm not a member and I don't know who can get you a table. Work sometimes finds me in these places.

The Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu has their Mahina Lounge. Not tiki, but they specialize in flaming drinks and deserts and also the always impressive pousse cafe. Drinks were not over $6 and that included the one served in a pineapple. The maitai was strong and almondy, no orange or pineapple juice (a rarity around here). Not too shabby.

The highlight of Honolulu, of course, is La Mariana Sailing Club. Gecko and his lovely lady accompanied me there on Friday night which, if you can swing it, is THE night to go. All the old-timers are there singing along to the piano. There are some solos and some group sing-alongs. It's just an amazing vibe! So genuinely happy and celebratory. Gecko and I even got in on the act. I wish I had had a video camera to capture the sounds. Just watch out for the bartender, he may drink your drink when you're not looking!

I'll post some photos in a bit. Aloha!

-Weird Uncle Tiki

[ Edited by: weirduncletiki on 2004-08-17 10:49 ]

Some photos from La Mariana Sailing Club:

Gecko gets in on the act!

Hey Gecko,

I've got the same shirt!
It's a beauty.

Trader Woody

Aloha! I'm heading back to the islands next month. Kauai, Hawai'i, and Oahu are my stops. Any tips on things I've missed in my previous posts are always appreciated. Food? Activities? Music? Sights? Beaches? Dive Sites? And, oh yes... DRINKS!?! Full report to follow. Mahalo, Gang!

-Weird Uncle Tiki

[ Edited by: weirduncletiki on 2003-06-25 15:39 ]

So... any tips for your island bound unc?


Al, Shelly and myself (me) had the best Mai Tai at, oddly enough, the Mai Tai bar at the Royal Hawaiian. Check out Chucks Steak House on Beachwalk Street also.


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