Honolulu, the metropolitan and commercial heart of Hawaii, also encompasses the awe-inspiring natural beauty famous of the majestic island-chain. It is no wonder why, then, in 1809 King Kamehameha I moved his royal seat from the island of Hawaii to Oahus Honolulu, making the seaside port todays state capital and a world class city in the middle of the Pacific to boot.
Temples, Tides, and Tankers: Travel to Honolulu
Honolulu is laden with layers of conflicting histories. Palaces and temples of a traditional Hawaiian past make it easy to forget that these islands are not their own sovereign nation; but, turn a corner and more modern relics tell a recent story of United States history. Of course, all around there is the never ending tale of biological and geographic wonders that outlives any human history.
Chinatown is tremendously influential to the cultural heritage of Honolulu. The Maunakea Marketplace and Chinese Cultural Center are filled with a sampling of immigrant life, featuring eastern herbalists, Shinto and Buddhist temples, island inspired pan-Asian cuisine and a handful of remarkable jewelers. Foster Botanical Garden is also a tranquil stroll away from Chinatowns center. Just west of downtowns skyscrapers and the airport, Pearl Harbor hosts visiting centers for the memorials of the Japanese attacks of World War II. A ferry can be taken to the USS Arizona Memorial, which was built over the hull of the sunken battleship. The public can also visit the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the historic site where the Japanese surrendered and ended the Pacific Theater fighting of WWII.
Waikiki, Why Not?
Waikiki may just be the most widely known beach in the world. This is the leisure, dining, shopping swimming and all around vacationing center of Honolulu. Aside from the ordinary, Waikiki offers a spectacular university-run aquarium located on the shore alongside a living coral reef where visitors can get a crystal clear view of sharks feeding and tropical fish swimming among anemone in the wild. Just to the south is Diamond Head Point where the rim of Leahi Diamond Head Crater looks out above the adjacent beach. A tough but rewarding hike to the summit will reveal an unbeatable panoramic view of Oahus south coast and the remains of a temple that was once used for human sacrifices. Stay for the golden sunset then make sure to stick around Waikiki for dinner, drinks and dancing.
Although travel to Honolulu may not initially seem like a getaway experience, the bustling capital city is surrounded by some of the best outdoor excursions the Hawaiian Islands have to offer. The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve lies just to the east of Waikiki and promises an unforgettable opportunity to scuba dive and snorkel the coral reef inside the crater of an extinct volcano! From the city, take a half-day hike up the Makiki Manoa Cliffs Trail and lose yourself among the soothing sounds of tropical rainforest and a number of rare bird species. You can be back for dinner, or choose to make a backpacking weekend out of it. These local and easily accessible adventures make a trip to Honolulu an all-in-one experience!
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