Soldier to Soldier Hawaii

The ULTIMATE Hawaii travel guide for first timers | What you NEED to know!

Oahu, called a tropical paradise for 
a reason. Turquoise blue waters,   dramatic volcanic mountains and too many palm 
trees to count. The place of the aloha spirit   endless snorkeling hiking and poke. We live 
here and are experiencing Oahu every day.   In this guide, we tell you what you need to know 
before planning your trip to Oahu. We'll talk   about where to stay how to get around the island 
while avoiding this and more. Stick around till   the end where we will talk about the Hawaiian 
people and culture. This video is not about   the best things to do. We already made a video 
specifically about that but it is rather about   what you need to know to make the most out of your 
trip. Oahu is snuggled into an island chain in the   middle of the Pacific. All islands have their own 
nickname and Oahu is known as the gathering place   probably because there's a million people here. 
The only way to get there is by airplane and   you'll land on Honolulu International airport. 
So once you're here, how do you get around?   Let's talk about car rentals you'll find the 
bigger car rental companies on Oahu but it   will most likely not be cheap but in our opinion 
definitely worth the expense.

An alternative might   be Turo where people rent out their personal 
cars which could have cheaper daily rates. If   you plan on only staying in the resort areas such 
as Waikiki or Ko'olina, then you could get away   with just walking from place to place. There are 
taxis, lyfts and ubers on Oahu but in our personal   experience nearly not as many as on the mainland. 
there were times where we found ourselves on one   side of the island with zero uber and lyft 
drivers. If you want to maximize your stay   and really see Oahu, we do recommend getting a 
car but the public transportation is pretty good   on Oahu compared to the other islands. the bus 
fares are fairly cheap and they run to most parts.   Check out their website for more information and 
Oahu is also small so there are only three main   highways and the remaining roads are mostly 
one or two lane roads so you can expect some   traffic around the island and the horrible 
traffic you've heard about on Oahu usually   goes towards Honolulu during morning rush hour and 
away from Honolulu in the afternoon evening time.   Make sure to drive the H-3 since that has the epic 
view of the mountains.

One quick note drive with   aloha. You will notice that the driving style is 
not as aggressive and people will often throw you   this shaka or wave at you. So now that we've 
figured out transportation where do we stay?   Most hotel options are in these three resort areas 
with the most hotels being in Waikiki. Then you   have the Ko'olina resorts which have fewer but 
also luxurious options. Think Disney.

Lastly,   the Turtle Bay resort in North Shore. Think about 
paying the resort fees though and the parking fees   then you also have airbnb and vrbo. These 
options are not necessarily cheaper than hotels   but you can stay in different parts 
of the island and feel more secluded.   There was a bill passed in 2019 that limits 
short-term vacation rentals. This means that it   might be difficult to find a short-term rental 
because they typically have a minimum of 30 days   and that can be expensive.

This does not apply 
to resort districts which we mentioned earlier   Waikiki, Ko'olina and Turtle Bay area. So if 
you ask our opinion we would try to find an   airbnb in a resort area or just go for a 
hotel. So when is the best time to visit?   It's good to know that the winter months are the 
rainy months on Oahu. If you're all about surfing   the winter months are the way to go. There's high 
surf around many north and west shore beaches and   whale season last from December until early May 
but we like spring months and early fall months.   There's less crowds it's not extremely hot yet 
but still warm and there are no heavy rains.   Looking at the map you can see that the windward 
side of the island does get the most rain.

So now   that we got that figured out, where do we go from 
here? In our opinion to get the most out of your   stay you need to know the island. So let's start 
at the main hub for tourism and the birthplace of   surfing. We all know it it's Waikiki The place on 
the island with the most hotels and restaurants   and no parking. You could say that Waikiki 
is one of the busiest spots on Oahu where   most people stay while on their trip. This is 
also where you'll find the iconic Diamond Head,   a crater where you can hike to the top. In Waikiki 
you will find pretty beaches high-end clothing   stores and plenty of beginner surfers. Waikiki is 
crowded and caters to tourism. It's fun to be here   for a little while but it is not Oahu.

We highly 
recommend that you get out of Waikiki during the   day to explore other parts of the island because 
that's where you'll experience the adventure.   We'll give you some tips on where to go throughout 
this video. Let's look at Honolulu the city of the   island where you'll find the high skyscrapers 
and the business district.

Also it's packed with   culture. Hawaii is a mix of many different groups. 
You'll find Korean influences, Japanese, Filipino,   Chinese and many more. Explore the different 
neighborhoods such as Chinatown and Kaka'ako   our favorite neighborhood here for an artsy and 
creative vibe. Now let's look at the East side   of Honolulu the main neighborhood to explore 
here is Hawaii Kai where you'll find eateries   golf courses and extraordinary gems of the island. 
Follow the most scenic and beautiful shoreline on   all of Oahu where you can stop along the way and 
see true gems.

We are talking about Koko crater Hanauma Bay   and Makapu'u. You will be driving in between large 
cliff walls with the deep blue ocean right next to   you. I mean look at that view! You might as well 
add the scenic road to your bucket list right now   and at the end of this road you will find yourself 
on the windward side of the island known for its   turquoise blue waters and the majestic Ko'olau 
mountains that will leave you speechless. No   matter what road you take to the windward side you 
will be guaranteed with jaw-dropping views. This   side of the island gets the most rainfall in the 
year which makes the mountain even more beautiful.   Pockets of clouds hide in between the mountains 
and all the rain makes this the perfect place to   do all of your jungle and waterfall hikes. The 
windward side also has several small adventures   out in the ocean that you can explore by 
kayak or boat like the Mokulua islands   hiking up Chinaman's Hat or just visit the sandbar 
in the bay.

We suggest to visit Waimanalo for   the local vibes. Kailua if you want boutique and 
Kaneohe for the bay and mountain views. Keep going   north on Kamehameha highway to find the windward 
countryside and soon you will find yourself in   North Shore. The home of the big wave surfers and 
shrimp trucks. If you find yourself here during   the winter time, the waves will get pretty insane. 
Things to do here are snorkeling at Sharks Cove,   going to the many beaches and checking out 
the seven mile miracle. A seven mile stretch   of sand beaches with the most epic surf spots. 
Don't forget to eat at the many shrimp trucks.   A town to visit here is Haleiwa which looks like a 
cute small beach town.

Moving down to Central Oahu   where the farms and plantations are you will 
notice a change in landscape the majestic green   jurassic mountains are out of sight and replaced 
with rolling hills. You can visit the Waialua   chocolate farm, coffee farms, the Dole Plantation 
and of course the infamous Pearl Harbor memorial. Then last but not least the West side aka the 
leeward side. there's one way in and one way out.   You could say that if you drive far enough 
into the West side that you will reach the   corner of the island. You'll be introduced to 
the second mountain range in Oahu, the Waianae   mountain range. You will find wide stretched sandy 
beaches and deep dark blue oceans as opposed to   the turquoise blue waters on the windward side. 
If you want to escape the crowds check out these   quiet beaches you might need to drive a bit longer 
but you do get your privacy.

You will mostly visit   the west side for its beaches and hikes and at 
the end of the road is a worthy adventure on   any day Ka'ena Point a gorgeous shoreline hike and 
yes there are plenty of sunset views on the West side. This is Oahu in a nutshell. Now let's talk 
about culture and most importantly food.    There is so much to eat, so we're going to give you some 
ideas on what specific foods to try.   Kalua pork, pork that's traditionally cooked in an underground 
oven you cannot go wrong with Konos a restaurant   prioudly serving pork and try out a dish called 
laulau which you will find at local restaurants   such as Helena's Hawaiian food or the Waiahole Poi 
Factory next dish to try is haupia a coconut dessert   don't forget about poke it's delicious 
fresh and raw fish you can get poke   all over the island but you cannot go wrong 
with Foodland.

You will also notice that shave   ice cannot be missed it goes all the way back to 
Hawaii's plantation past where Japanese immigrants   used to shave flakes off of blocks of ice 
and drizzled it with fruit juice then you   have malasadas delicious Portuguese donuts and 
check out the 7-elevens here and try out a spam   musubi. This is just a small list of all the 
foods that you can try. Check out our food tour   in hawaii video to get some more ideas on what and 
where to eat. Then there are some things to know.   things that we have experienced here while living 
on Oahu. People on the island dress casual think   loose shirts shorts and slippers. It's not even 
crazy if you just walk in your bikini all day.   Then learn some Hawaiian words and start with 
these: aloha, mahalo, wahine, kane, ohana, mauka   makai and honu.

Then we would also recommend 
to not leave any belongings inside in your car   we've seen too many crushed windows and then 
all the gorgeous animals you'll see on Oahu   monk seals sea turtles dolphins birds keep a safe 
distance. You do not want to disturb the animals.   Then last you will see homeless people around the 
island and soon notice that it is a problem here   on Oahu. You will encounter homelessness all over 
the island you could say that it's a symptom of   many larger problems. Lets talk about the culture 
of Hawaii and the Hawaiian people. A topic that's   not talked about enough in most videos about 
Hawaii but yet so important because when you   are here you feel it and you see it. Over the past 
years there has been a revival of Hawaiian culture   the language the traditions they were almost 
completely lost. there was a Hawaiian Renaissance   in the 1970s that brought life back into the 
Hawaiian culture.

You can see that today Hawaiians   are very proud and happy to tell you about 
their culture connection is key for Hawaiians   some important things are malama aina to care for 
the land and then there is an ancestral connection   respecting their kupuna a way to respect ancestors 
is to practice traditions. The Hawaiian people   are descendants from navigators and explorers. A 
sensitive topic in Hawaii is the overthrow of the   monarchy in 1893 today you can still feel a hurt 
when you talk to people here on Oahu. Keep an open   mind and do more listening than talking. Live the 
aloha which means to love show love to each other.   If we sparked your interest, check out the 
Bishop Museum for more history and culture.   This is Oahu in a nutshell and what we think you 
need to know to get the most out of your trip. mahalo.