Shangri La is highly recognized around the nation for its amazing artistic value and is one of the most significant homes here in Hawaii. While you are visiting here on Oahu this a magnificent sightseeing opportunity that you should take advantage of. The beautiful collection of art and the architecture of the home offers one of a kind breathtaking views and scenic overlooks of the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head. Tours of Shangri La begin and end at the Honolulu Museum of Art. The tours last approximately two and a half hours with one and a half hours actually spent at the Shangri La mansion. The tours feature the public rooms of the main house and portions of the grounds which include: Entry Courtyard, Foyer, Damascus Room, Central Courtyard, Living Room, Upper Lawn with views of the Playhouse, pool, terrace, Syrian Room, Moghul Garden, Mihrab Room, Dining Room and covered lanai’s.
Shangri La is located on about five acres near Diamond Head, on the island of Oahu. The mansion is on an ocean front property located in the exclusive Black Point residential neighborhood.This unique structure was given the name Shangri La and is an Islamic style mansion built by heiress Doris Duke. She wanted to build it after the honeymoon she took to the Middle East in 1935. The construction on Shangri La began on the site in 1937. She owned other homes, but this is the only one that she had built from the ground up and filled with art from the inside out. While on her honeymoon she became captivated by Islamic architecture and art, as well as the beauty of Hawaii. With the assistance of architect Marion Sims Wyeth they worked to fuse the two ideas together.
The 5 acre site boasts a 14,000 square foot house, a playhouse, and a pool. It also contains a series of interlocking spaces that include gardens, lanais, terraces, numerous water features, and indoor and outdoor rooms. Doris took many pictures of varies architectural styles and ideas while traveling. She wanted some of these incorporated and sent them to her architect. She also commissioned large orders of artworks from local artisans from India, Morocco, Iran, and Syria. The Shangri La property is filled with traditional Islamic artwork and modern sensibility. An example of this concept can be seen in the contrast between the Moroccan living room ceiling and the adjacent glass wall that can be full retracted into the basement which gives a sense of the fusion between tradition and modernism.
Doris Duke spent nearly 60 years acquiring a massive collection of over 2500 pieces. Many of these pieces have been incorporated into the structure of the house. Iranian tile panels, Moroccan ceiling paintings, perforated screens doors and windows, and various textiles and carpets all of which create an environment of Islamic design and architectural decoration. This is a unique chance to visit and tour one of the islands most impressive art and architectural features.
‘Tis the season and Honolulu is decorated with lights and everyone is in a festive mood. Children are playing and parents are shopping for Christmas gifts, so why not take a break and enjoy a relaxing tour of the Honolulu Christmas Lights? Polynesian Adventure Tours offers a very unique way for you to experience this Honolulu Holiday Tradition. Our Double Decker Tour of the Honolulu Christmas Lights offers you a one of a kind bus tour with spacious open air views of the decorations.
The Honolulu Christmas Lights plus Waikiki After Dark tour has 3 convenient locations to board on the way to see the beautiful Christmas decorations including; Ward Center, Honolulu Hale and Bishop Square. Once you have viewed the Honolulu Christmas Lights, enjoy the sights and sounds of Waikiki after dark from the perspective of our Double Decker buses. With stunning 360 degree views you won’t miss anything going on all around you. There are many different stops where you can be picked up in order to enjoy this special tour including, Aston Waikiki Beach, the Ilikai, Duke Kahanamoku Statue, and others.
Families really enjoy the opportunity to travel on a double decker bus and children are always excited to see the Holiday Lights and decorations. Our tours run every day starting at 6:30-10:00 p.m. With this great package deal you get the best of two different tours all in one. Book your tour now, seats are filling up quickly and you may miss your chance. Mele Kalikimaka, and Aloha!
This weekend I spent an amazing day out around the island of Oahu with some good friends this weekend. We wanted to be out of the house and enjoying some quality beach time, and the weather did not disappoint. The weather for our little excursion was almost perfect, the sun was shining the trade winds were blowing but not to hard. The water was a crystalline blue, and was a cool temperature that contrasted very nicely with the warm day.
So we got together around 10 am and made our plans, we picked up supplies and agreed to meet over at Makapu’u Beach. Once we met back up we finished our brunch and headed up to the Makapu’u Lighthouse trail. Our goal was to head to the tide pools on Makapu’u point, I had never been down there and wasn’t fully prepared for the experience. That being said I thoroughly enjoyed myself despite the effort required.
So to get to this amazing hidden area of the island, you first hike up along the Makapu’u trail as usual. Once you reach the whale watching sign it is a good spot to catch your breath and drink a little bit of water before continuing on your way. At the sign there is a small trail that leads off to the right of the main path, that is where you begin your descent down to the tide pools. You will need to be prepared for this climb, it is a good form of exercise. You will also need to be wearing good reef shoes or hiking shoes in order to handle the trail. The trail has some loose rocks and you will need to be careful so as not to slip.
The trail is marked with spray painted white arrows so that you can tell the easiest path on your way down and the way back up. These little markers make a big difference on your way back to the top. Once you get started there are a few places where you can stop and take a break if you need to, you will also be treated to another “blowhole” that is located down near the tide pools. The “blowhole” phenomenon occurs when a wave crashes against a cave that is partially submerged in the water and the resulting ‘whoosh” of air blasts out of a small opening on the surface.
On Sunday the waves were coming in pretty good and steady and the show from the blowhole was amazing! Water was being sprayed 20-30 feet in the air and the resulting mist was creating a rainbow haze, it was an beautiful thing to see. Once you get down to the tide pools you will need to be extra careful because the rocks in and around the pools are extremely slippery. We hung out in the tide pool that was on the right about halfway to the edge of the point. The water lever was about chest high and really clear and refreshing.
There were some pretty fish swimming in the pools and we used our masks to swim around and check out the sights. There were some majestic waves that would come crashing over the point and send a surge through the tide pool and it created a level of excitement and adventure to our little excursion. All totaled we spent approximately 3 hours round trip on our day tour of these hidden pools, including the hiking times and the stops for the views and pictures. If you want to see some magnificent views and add a little excitement to your trip, then this is a must try! I hope everyone might get the chance to see this before they leave Hawaii, Mahalo and Aloha!
With the holiday season upon us and excited children barely holding on to their patience before the big day, I thought I would make a list of Holiday Parades on Oahu that so everyone might have a chance to share in the spirit of the season. These parades are in seperate areas and spread out so that there is sure to be a parade near you. The festivities begin later this week and last through the majority of the month. On a related note, Shaka Santa and Tutu Mele have arrived at Honolulu Hale for the upcoming holiday season.
December 4, 2014 Kaimuki Christmas Parade 6pm-8pm
This event is expected to feature about 1,500 people marching along with 35 vehicles and 5 floats. The route will begin at St. Louis/Chaminade University and head to Waialae Avenue, continuing to Koko Head Ave, and ending at the Munincipal Parking Lot.
December 5, 2014 Wahiawa Town XMAS Parade 6pm-8pm
This Holiday Parade is sponsored by the Wahiawa Community and Business Association, and is expecting to have approximately 300 marchers, 10 vehicles and 2 floats. The parade will begin at Kaala Elementary school to California Ave, to N. Cane Street and will be wrapping up at Center Street
December 6, 2014 Kaneohe Christmas Parade 9am-12pm
This early morning parade is sponsored by the Kaneohe Christmas Parade Commitee and is expected to have 1,800 marchers, 40 vehicles, 18 floats, and 5 bands. The parade route runs from Windward Mall at Haiku Road and continue to Kamehameha Hwy, to K-Bay Drive and ending at Castle H.S.
December 6, 2014 Mililani Christmas Parade 9am-10:30am
Starting at Mililani H.S. stadium at Kipapa St the parade will move past the Shopping Center onto Moenamanu St, following to Kuahelani Ave to Muehela Parkway and onto Lanikuhuna and finishing at Mililani Town Center. There is an estimated 1,500 marchers, 10 floats, 30 vehicles and 2 bands.
December 6, 2014 Pearl City Christmas Parade 4pm-6pm
This event is sponsored by Pearl City Shopping Center. The event is expected to have 2,000 marchers, 30 vehicles, with 10 floats. Beginning at Momilani Elementary School, to Hookiekie St., to Hoomoana St., to Hoolaulea St., and will end at the Pearl City Shopping Center.
December 6, 2014 Honolulu City Lights Parade 6pm -11pm
this annual event is sponsored by the City and County of Honolulu. The event is expected to have 2,000 marchers, 40 floats & 15 vehicles. It will start near Aala Park to King St, and will end in a closed off portion of King St., between Punchbowl & South Sts.
December 7, 2014 Pearl City Christmas Parade 4pm-6pm
This will be the second Pearl City Shopping Center Parade in case you missed the first one. Again its route will be Momilani Elementary School, to Hookiekie St., to Hoomoana St., to Hoolaulea St., and will end at the Pearl City Shopping Center.
December 7, 2014 Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade 6pm-11pm
This amazing parade is sponsored by the Pearl Harbor Memorial Committee. The event is expected to have 2,000 marchers, 40 vehicles, 8 floats, and 10 bands. It will begin at Ft. DeRussy, to Kalakaua Ave., to end at the corner of Kapahulu, Kalakaua, Monsarrat Aves. by the grassy area fronting the Honolulu Zoo.
There will also be many other parades and events in the coming weeks. There will be heavier traffic in these areas so be patient and spread the Aloha. Everyone needs to be safe and responsible and lets make this a great holiday season out here in paradise. Perhaps I’ll even see you out and about at one of these amazing Christmas events on Oahu.
The Puu O Kila lookout on Kauai, is one of the most visually spectacular locations on the garden isle. The lookout is literally at “the end of the road”, and by that I mean you take Highway 550 in Koke’e State Park. While enjoying your time on Kauai, I would highly recommend you add this to your list of things to do. The view stretches out across Waimea Valley and will take your breath away and make your family and friends jealous.
As you stand at the Puu O Kila overlook you will find amazing views of the lush tropical forest in the Waimea Valley. You will also experience the view that stretches across the Alakai Swamp all the way to Mount Waialeale. A couple of interesting fun facts for everyone; the Alakai Swamp is the highest altitude swampland on earth, and Mount Waialeale is considered one of the wettest spots on the planet with an average annual rainfall of over 40 feet.
In my opinion I would plan on arriving at the lookout at approximately 11 a.m, as the clouds clear up in the morning before starting to roll in later in the day. If it is cloudy when you arrive, take notice of the direction of the tradewinds. If the winds are blowing out to the ocean, the clouds will be pushed back into the warm air below and dissappear, however if the winds are coming from the ocean the clouds will gather along the back of the cliffs and actually thicken cutting visibility drastically.
The Pihea trail also begins here at the Puu O Kila lookout. This short day hike is an excellent adventure through a lush valley that leads into the swamp and out to the Kilohana Overlook. This one is a moderate to hard hiking trail that is worth the workout as the views are magnificent. The true beauty of the islands are on display for you to marvel at. You should make the most of this day and perhaps plan a small picnic on the slopes or at Koke’e State Park.
Movies are one of my favorite pastimes and I really enjoy the entire theater experience. The price of movies has gone up steadily for the last few years but we still go and appreciate the diversion from the ordinary day. The Dole Cannery and Ward Consolidated theaters offer a great way to see the new movies without breaking the bank. These theaters offer six dollar movies on Tuesdays for your enjoyment.
The movie selection is expansive and features all the new releases as well, for the discounted price. I have seen quite a few movies after opening weekend by waiting until the following Tuesday. By utilizing this one fact you are able to see approximately two movies for the price of one. The price of drinks and popcorn remain the same, however they do offer one dollar hot dogs for your hunger cravings. So all in all it is a great day to save some money and see the newest released movies.
This works especially well with large groups or family outings, the children always love to go to a theater and see a new movie. With the discounted tickets a family of four will save an estimated twenty dollars just to get into the theater. I highly recommend either theater, I don’t have a particular preference, I enjoy both of them. I am always up for a good movie, and I hope you are able to take advantage of this amazing deal. See you at the movies!
Tucked away at the very end of Hau’ula Homestead Rd in Hau’ula, Oahu, HI is Hau’ula Loop Trail. Best place to park for this? Hau’ula Beach Park across the Kam highway. Let’s see how many more times I can use Hau’ula. Haha.
Because it’s off the beaten path, this isn’t a very easy trail to find. You literally walk down Hau’ula Homestead Rd right off the Kam highway to the end. You second guess yourself because you eventually come to a yellow gate with no trail head sign and thick forested driveways on the left and right stating “Do Not Trespass” or “Private Property”. For a split second you think you’re in the movie “Wrong Turn”. Haha! Although, the reality is you’re in paradise and if you walk past the yellow gate and straight ahead you’ll come to a very colorful box with the trail head sign right after. Don’t ignore the colored box as inside there is a register for those that hike on the trail.
The trail itself is approximately a 2.5 loop up & down a mountain and you can either go left or right when you come to the fork. It’s rather easy compared to other trails around the island with many flat areas. Most of the trail is dense woods with some scenic views. There are lots of strawberry guava trees, if you like to eat wild grown fruit. If you haven’t tasted one of these before, do so or the fruit gods will be displeased. It can get muddy and slippery in certain parts, so don’t wear your nice shoes and don’t rush over rocky areas as you can expect to slip. You’ll come to 2 spots where it looks like there could be some cool waterfalls and small pools, but if it hasn’t recently rained they’ll look more like small trickles into uninviting clouded pools.
Bring bug spray & water. Afterwards, go check out North Shore Tacos. The food is really good and they have this pineapple smoothie that’s literally served in a full grown pineapple.
Looking for a little before dinner or afternoon entertainment? Look no farther, tomorrow in Waikiki is a hula show. This friday between 6 pm and 7 pm at the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound there will be a free open air hula show. The Kuhio Beach Hula Mound is located near the Duke statue in Waikiki at Uluniu and Kalakau Avenue, beachside. This is a perfect setting to take your loved ones to see an amazing hula show. Waikiki is one of the most well known cities in Hawaii and has many great places to relax and grab dinner and a drink after the hula.
Dress casual and bring out your chairs or beach mats or just grab some a piece of soft grass or sand, and settle in for an early evening show. The show begins with the traditional blowing of the conch shell and a fascinating moonlit evening on the beach in Oahu. This free show features the artistry of Halau Na Pua Mai Ka Lani and Kale Palai which will leave you transfixed. The show lasts approximately an hour, and you are certainly allowed to bring your cameras and film or take photographs during the show and capture these once in a lifetime memories during your Hawaii vacation. Perhaps I will even see you there tomorrow, Aloha
Are you in search of a unique experience during your vacation here in the Aloha State? If so have I got an idea for you! Spend a little time as a “paniola” or Hawaiian cowboy at the Kualoa Ranch. Kualoa ranch is a working cattle ranch near the North Shore of Oahu, very close to the well known islet of Chinamans Hat. They offer tours of all types for you to enjoy. We traveled out here and made an afternoon out of it and were very impressed by the welcome and the amazing views that we were able to take in.
We ended up choosing the two hour horseback ride, and while we enjoyed it I must say if you are not regularly on a horse riding around, two hours can seem like a very long time to be on one. After a little while we were a little numb from the extended time in saddle. I would also recommend that you make some time in order to get some food and use the restroom before you begin, and you will need to make your way to the stables about thirty minutes before your tour is scheduled to begin. Once you are up in the saddle you will need to be assertive and firm with your horse in order for you to be able to establish a good relationship and remain in control of your horse.
A good application of sunblock is highly recommended as you will be out in the sunlight for the most part of your horseback tour. You will also need to be wearing covered shoes that you do not mind getting a little messy. Kualoa ranch makes safety one of their paramount concerns and has an option for you to have a helmet during your horseback tour. You will want to view the restrictions that they have so you will know whats expected once you have arrived.
The views of both the Ko’olau mountains and the Pacific ocean are magnificent and you will be afforded the opportunity to take some amazing photos. I would highly recommend that you use your mobile phone for the photos, so that you will be able to maintain at least one hand on the reins of your horse. Also, if you have a fish eye lens I would definitely bring it along so that you will be able to capture the entire scene as it is laid out in front of you. During the tour you will be excited as you travel along and visit some amazing movie sets where Hollywood blockbusters and other films and shows were filmed including, Jurassic Park, Godzilla, and You Me and Dupree amongst others. After it is all said and done this was an amazing change of pace from the city and other tourist attractions that are all around the island. I would highly recommend grabbing a half day package from Polynesian Adventure Tours and seeing what it is all about!
There is a unique spot located in Kaneohe Bay that is the only one of its kind on or around the island, its perhaps one of the most popular bars on the island…it is the Kaneohe Sandbar! People have been enjoying this little piece of land in the middle of the bay for years. If you or your friends have a boat or kayak you too can enjoy this amazing relaxing spot. At low tide the sandbar is fully exposed or just barely covered and at high tide the water level reaches about waist high.
You will need to bring your own refreshments and plenty of sunblock or shade, and your own chairs, but despite those small requirements there is a lot of fun or relaxing that can be had. It is always pretty cool to be standing on soft sand while completely surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and enjoying the company of good friends. We have at times also carried the barbecue grill and during low tide grilled and held a picnic right there on the sandbar. There is also plenty of room to throw a football around or host a volleyball game.
Kaneohe Bay has been known as a breeding ground for hammerhead sharks, however they are not typically a threat to humans and no one seems to mind at all. There is also some snorkeling that can be done around the sandbar, also just off the edge of the sandbar there is a steep drop off so the more adventurous snorkelers can swim to greater depths and check out the marine life if they so choose. This is a very popular weekend spot so plan on arriving early in order to make the most out of the time between the tides. Speaking of the tides be sure to check on the times of the tides in order to maximize your experience.
So don’t wait or even hesitate, grab your friends and a boat or kayak and get out there and explore the only sandbar on the island. Make sure you bring a trash bag and take all of your trash with you when you go, we must remember to always respect the ‘aina’ (land). Oh and please do not forget your sunblock or shade and bring plenty of water you will need it!