Chinese statues line the plaza of this Chinatown marketplace.

In Honolulu there are many things to do besides go to the beach and spend money at Ala Moana Shopping Center. Hawaii itself is full of numerous nooks and crannies that pack cultural symbols from all over the world. In fact, there are many cultures that are represented in Hawaii all of which contribute to the islands unique sense of identity. Culture shock is not uncommon for first time visitors to Honolulu and this is because there are so many different sights to see that all of it can be overwhelming at first glance.

Sightseeing on the Hawaiian Islands can be a touch and go endeavor. Here is a list of places that are must see adventures for first time visitors.

10 Places to Visit in Honolulu

  • Atlantis Submarines - This is a perfect opportunity to go on a submarine adventure with offices right in Honolulu.

  • Honolulu Zoo - With animals from all corners of the world, the Honolulu Zoo is an ideal place to bring the whole family.

  • Honolulu Chinatown - Cheap prices and interesting sights, the Chinatown section of Honolulu has something to interest everyone.

  • Iolani Palace - The historic home of the kings and queens of Hawaii, it is the only palace in the United States.

  • Waikiki Beach - Swimming, surfing, kayaking and more. The Waikiki Beach is the best place to relax and enjoy Hawaii for the day.

  • Diamond Head - This volcanic crater is a bit of a hike to the top but worth the trip for the magnificent views of Honolulu.

  • Ala Moana Park - This great park is close to the shopping center. The beach offers swimming and other alternatives plus is close to Ward Warehouse.

  • Bishop Museum - This museum was donated by Bernice Pauahi and is used to teach people about Hawaii. The museum also includes a dinosaur exhibit and planetarium.

  • The Aloha Tower - Located on Pier Nine of the Honolulu Harbor, this early 20th century lighthouse is one of the most renowned landmarks of the state. Visitors can ride an elevator to the top for a view of the docks.

  • Ward Warehouse - This shopping center is filled with unique shops and often cunning bargains. Nearby is a movie theatre that amounts to a days worth of activity.


There are many more iconic places to visit while vacationing in Honolulu. The list above is at least a weeks worth of activities. If you have any questions please contact us via the ask page.

More Hawaii Photography

Have you ever heard about Jaws??? Jaws on Maui that is. What about the Banzai Pipeline? It is only the home of the Vans Triple Crown, so…maybe not. What about Castles on Oahu? The home of Duke Kahanamoku, a Hawaii surfing legend. No??? So if you haven’t heard of all those places than it is probably time to know that Ala Moana Bowls has nothing to do with breakfast cereals. What it all does have to with is surf in Hawaii. The most competitive sport that anyone could get into on the islands. There are so many big names in surfing that live full time or at least part of the year near their favorite surf spots that the local legends of Hawaii can often be unknown to the public.

You get what you give in Hawaii…

It is one thing to get comfortable with surfing places in California, Florida and even outside the country in Fiji, Brazil or Costa Rica. Though it may be hard to tell, the real difference in surfing Hawaii is the counter culture that surfing the islands really has to offer. If you act like a know-it-all surfer who is king of the break then it will be tough to get into any of the local surfing spots and fit in. Having one good day of surfing doesn’t change much of anything when it comes to how unforgiving Hawaii waters can be. One minute you are on top, the next you are eating reef. The cost of which can be very pricey. The best way to fit in to the local surfing scene is to give Aloha. Those that show humility and humbleness will have no problem on the ocean, even with complete strangers. Be warned. Travelling to Hawaii with the intentions of owning the scene can result in tragic karma.

 The pristine waters of Hawaii are a tantalizing temptation.

Hard to imagine that there is such a place in the world with the perfect combination of weather, beaches, reef and sun but such a place does exist as the pure definition of Hawaii. When the surfboard hits the break that is when it is obvious that there will never be a wave quite like this in a place so special. I think there are a lot of people who believe in a carpe diem mentality when it comes down to getting the most out of life. If you surf Hawaii and don’t believe it, then what are you doing?

More Hawaii Photography

(Source: hawaiiphotography.yo-rg.info)

The Chinese hibiscus can be found throughout the Hawaiian islands. Pictured in the photograph above, this ornamental flower is often used in landscaping outside of local businesses. These beautiful flowers can also be found growing wild in some places. The main difference between this hibiscus and the red hibiscus, is the jagged edges of the flower. Whereas red hibiscus have smooth and round edges on the petals. The Chinese hibiscus is edible and can be used to garnish dishes but the flower will wilt by evening time. Unlike the plumeria, Hawaii’s favorite flower for making leis, the hibiscus has cloth like edges that do not make into leis very well. However, because these flowers do last for a length of time they are popular for wearing in hair but be careful that they do not contain ants searching for sweet nectar.These flowers attract butterflies and nectar seeking birds making it a popular choice for city gardens in commercial areas around Hawaii.

Hawaii’s state flower was once the red hibiscus but was changed to the Hawaiian hibiscus.

Below is a list of flower, fruit and exotic plants found in Hawaii

  • ma’o hau hele

  • yellow ilima

  • ohia

  • jewel orchid

  • pamakani

  • koli’i

  • kauhi

  • dwarf iliau

  • allspice

  • banana passion fruit

  • cinnamon

  • coffee (arabica)

  • guava

  • java plum

  • lilikoi

  • macadamia nut

  • mango

  • strawberry guava

  • autograph tree

  • cannonball tree

  • golden shower tree

  • ixora

  • rainbow shower tree

This list of Hawaii plant life only names a few of the over 3,000 native Hawaiian plants found on the islands. Many of these plants are beautiful tropical flora that can only be seen on the Hawaiian islands. The sad part is because of the islands people population some of these rare species of plants are becoming endangered. If we do not do our part to protect Hawaii’s environment than it all could disappear forever.

Live and Breathe Aloha

We can all do our part to protect the Hawaiian islands by making sure we care and respect the aina. Pick up trash when we see it lying around and do not unnecessarily damage the environment. We must understand that there is consequences for everything we do and we must cherish what we do have before it is all gone. If we all act mindfully of the things we do than we can provide a better future for the generations to come. We must kokua to make sure that we do not take this world and these islands for granted.

More Hawaii Photography

(Source: hawaiiphotography.yo-rg.info)

Look at how happy this dog is to be in Hawaii!

You are all set to travel to Hawaii but…wait…you forgot the poor pooch at home. While your dog waits at home, you travel the beaches of Hawaii alone and without your four legged friend. Though the idea of bringing your pet to Hawaii is a novel one. Chances are likely that it will never happen. Few people are aware of this tiny fact about Hawaii. Hawaii has been rabies free and because of this Hawaii laws have been put into place to quarantine all pets on their arrival to Hawaii. Not to mention another harsh fact of the matter is that even though cats and dogs might be ok, other animals are not. The reason being, Hawaii is a lush tropical environment that nearly every plant and creature on this planet could potentially thrive in. Therefore this risk from pets could upset the ecological balance of the islands and kill off native species found only in Hawaii. Could you imagine your gerbils getting loose into Hawaii and populating the aina? Funny as that may be to imagine, most people living in Hawaii really don’t want to see our precious islands change from the beauty they already have.

Our friend Roxy is so glad to be out of quarantine!

The tough 11 hour flight was very difficult for our German Shepherd. The storage compartments underneath the cabin of most airplanes are actually pretty cold. When we had our dog moved over to live with us on the islands, we didn’t even get to see her for the longest time. The quarantine procedure for Hawaii can take up to 4 months! This is an especially long wait but the good news is that if your paperwork is completed then it can take even less time. Before we moved our dog to Hawaii we filed the paperwork 2 weeks in advance hoping to avoid the costly fees to quarantine. Yep. Guess who pays for the quarantine? The owners of the pets and the cost is approximately $19 per day. Even though that seems expensive, the laws really do help keep rabies out of Hawaii and protect the fragile Hawaiian ecosystems. So if you are looking to move to Hawaii than we recommend filling out your paperwork right away. Hopefully if the Hawaii government receives the paperwork early than your pet will not have to wait in quarantine for very long. If you are just looking to bring your pet with you to Hawaii for vacation, then the best plan is to leave them behind. Typically a quarantine will last longer than most vacations to the islands anway.  

More Hawaii Photography

In Hawaii, we have something called Ho’oponopono, where people come together to resolve crises and restore peace and balance.

Paul Leo Klink explaining how living with Aloha has helped improve his life even when staring congenital heart failure face to face. 

Missing out on the action? Check out the Hawaii photography of helicopter rides in Maui