We understand that not everyone loves cities. But the folks who skip the Hawaiian Island of Oahu miss so much more than just Honolulu and Waikiki. To see how much more, we spent several days wandering around the rest of the island.
Here’s what we found:
A beach of our own
The North Shore of Oahu is everything Honolulu isn’t. It’s quiet and overgrown and mostly untouched by signs of tourism. With few hotels in the area, we booked an affordable oceanfront cottage in the town of Waialua through AirBnB. On the few occasions we roused ourselves off our deserted stretch of beach, we’d bop over to the less than laid back surf town of Haleiwa and grab some delicious truck-food grub. Then we’d head back to our patio chairs and watch the evening show.
Some of the most amazing shoreline anywhere
Yes, we’ve been to Maui, and Kauai and the Big Island, too. We still think that Oahu’s eastern coastline offers some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery anywhere on the islands. Best of all, you don’t have to spend an entire day in the car just to see it. You can get to anywhere on Oahu from anywhere on Oahu in just a couple of hours. That means you can spend most of your time here hanging loose rather than stressing about what’s around that next blind turn.
Random Asian cemetery somewhere on Oahu
Speaking of driving, we just happened upon this remarkable sight along some random road.
Random dirt roads
Which isn’t to downplay the awesomeness of Oahu’s random roads.
The sea-monster like visage of Manana Island breaches just off Oahu’s southeastern shore.
Modeled after a 900-year-old Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan, this place of worship is among the most surprising and amazing things we discovered on our trip. And it is not just the beauty of the structure that wows. The loomingly dramatic cliffs of the Ko’olau Mountains and lushness of the surrounding jungle made us feel as if we were thousands of miles away, somewhere deep in the Asian countryside.
We spent a long while here, wandering through sprawling gardens and along acres of koi ponds. We took off our shoes and paid respects to the 9-foot-tall Lotus Buddha at the center of the temple. And before departing we rung Byodo-In’s three-ton brass peace bell; wishing for all the world the same harmony and serenity we enjoyed at this wonderful place.