• Amy Nguyen

A Week In Oahu - A Travel Guide

Last July I visited the beautiful island of Oahu for the first time! Here is a list of all the places I visited and would (and wouldn't) recommend from shopping areas, where to stay, and FOOD!

Where we stayed:

Planning this trip very last minute and during the peak travel season, we booked an Airbnb located a few blocks off of the Kalakaua Ave. (the main strip in Honolulu). While the room was recently remodeled, decently clean, and had a view of the water, it wasn't a stay that I would recommend. While the the listing showed a modern well-lit room, a beautiful view, and boasted of free additional amenities, we had plenty of issues during the stay. The listing was located in the Royal Monarch Hotel (which I wish I had known when booking the airbnb), a run-down two-star building that definitely cat-fished us. The building was not well-kept, the hallways were an interesting shade of cyan blue, paint was peeling off the walls, and I was definitely grossed out. Our room was decent but there were constant discrepancies with parking prices, room-keys, and many things not working. It was a frustrating stay to say the least. If I had the opportunity to re-book this trip, I would spend a little more money and stay at one of the hotels on the main strip. We spent a lot of time hanging out on Sheraton Waikiki grounds.

The Sheraton Waikiki is a beachfront hotel with a large infinity pool that faces the ocean. It is walkable distance to the Honolulu attractions, food, and shopping center. We spent a bit of money Ubering back and forth or paying for parking to hangout on Waikiki Beach that could have been saved if we stayed at an on-strip hotel. Check out the hotel here: http://gestyy.com/w7js0O

We also had family stay at The Kahala Resort on the east side end of Honolulu. Kahala is one of Oahu's top luxury resorts with its own private beach. The rooms are beautiful, spacious, and so relaxing. If you're looking to spoil yourself or getaway from the crowds, stay here! The private beach has all sorts of attractions such as parasailing, swim with dolphins, paddle boarding, and more! They even leave chocolates on your pillows! Check out the hotel here: http://gestyy.com/w7jsiE

Where we ate:

Ono Poke: http://gestyy.com/w7cTla | A traditional fresh ono ahi & tako poke spot that makes made to order poke bowls or sashimi platters (pre-ordered).

Ahi Assassins (my favorite): http://gestyy.com/w7cTUC | The best poke I've ever had! The family who runs this poke restaurant fish fresh tuna every morning. Not a sit-down spot, best i taken to-go.

Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar: http://gestyy.com/w7cTXt | Great for date night or meeting up with friends. They have great cocktails here and sharable plates!

Leonards Bakery: http://gestyy.com/w7cZie | Stop by for malasadas!

Marukame Udon: http://gestyy.com/w7cTMF | Beware of super long lines! This udon place is the world's largest Japanese Udon Noodle chain. The broths are flavor-packed, if you like curry you must try the curry udon!

Shirokiya Japan Village Walk: http://gestyy.com/w7cYeE | An amazing food hall located in the Ala Moana Center filled with all sorts of Japanese food! My favorite is the takoyaki and dessert stands! MUST GO.

Cafe Haleiwa: | A brunch spot located in the North Shore with your typical brunch foods. It was mediocre.

Island Vintage Shave Ice: http://gestyy.com/w7cYxd | My favorite shave ice spot on the island located on the street outside of the Royal Hawaiian Center. There is also a location inside Ala Moana. I had this at least once a day!

Yogurstory: http://gestyy.com/w7cYbH | A great brunch spot located in Honolulu, you must try the Ube pancakes! It's so good we had to stop by again on our way to the airport. Crab cake eggs benedict was another dish that stood out!!

Giovanni's Shrimp Truck: http://gestyy.com/w7cYUI | Located in a food truck landing in the North Shore, this iconic food truck is a must go! Buttery and flavorful shrimp that will have you craving it immediately after you leave.

Hula Dogs: http://gestyy.com/w7cYFg | I secretly love hot dogs and these hula dogs brought it to a whole new level! They have meat and veggie dogs, but the best part isn't the hot dog, it's the bun and topping options. I love the taro bun and their assortment of island flavored toppings such as pineapple or coconut relish. MUST TRY

Waiola Shave Ice: http://gestyy.com/w7cSjQ | Waiola Shave Ice is another affordable and iconic spot in Honolulu.

Matsumoto Shave Ice: http://gestyy.com/w7cSen | Matsumoto is another must-go even though there are lines, their shave ice is so worth it! Not only is it super affordable but they have a vast variety of flavors and their traditional toppings. While you're in line there are also Hawaiian li-hing candy and snacks - definitely grab a few of these. They're so unique and addicting!

Where We Shopped

Royal Hawaiian Center: http://gestyy.com/w7cIj6 | Located right on the main strip in Honolulu, this mall also has luxury brands, a food court, Waikiki beach access, indoor/outdoor hangout space and has many ABC convenience stores for water or daily supplies.

Ala Moana Center: http://gestyy.com/w7cInc | This mall is massive. From luxury goods to your typical mall stores, this mall has literally everything that you could think of.

Beaches We Went To:

Waikiki Beach: On the main strip of Honolulu, this beach sits in front of all the hotels, there are surfing lessons and catamaran rides. This beach gets crowded, the waters sometime felt dirty due to the amount of traffic it gets.

Kahala Beach: Kahala beach is a private beach reserved for those staying at the Kahala resort. It's clean and has lots of water activities. The beach is relaxing and doesn't get crowded. Sand and waters feel clean.

Hanauma Bay: My favorite beach! This beach is primarily meant for snorkeling but it is also a great spot to hangout and people watch. You might even get to see a seal or or two. If you're planning to snorkel, I recommend going as early as possible to avoid crowds and make the most of its entrance fee. If you plan to snorkel and don't have your own gear or want transportation, I recommend booking with Hanauma Bay Snorkeling Tours for a small fee, convenient transportation is provided both there and back so you don't have to worry about parking and lugging along your own gear!

Kailua Beach: Kailua beach is on the windward side of the island. It has some of the bluest, beautiful water that I've ever seen. Lots of room to set up umbrellas and lay out. It does get busier in the afternoon due to wind surfers. Also beware of jellyfish!

Makua Beach: One of the most secluded and far away beaches on the island, hidden by majestic green mountains and undeveloped surroundings. It's definitely worth the drive out to the seaward side of the island to lay out and relax on this beach. The water is clear and there are lots of ocean life. We saw crabs and small fishes in the tide pools.

Chuns Reef: We stumbled on this secret little beach on accident. There are not designed parking spots or signage, but you can easily find parking on the side of the road and walk down through the palm trees. This beach is definitely a local's spot, its a great place to relax without the disturbances of crowds. We even built a sand castle here!


Rent a Jeep through Turo and drive around the Island. It's so worth it!

Thanks for watching and I hope you enjoy my little guide to vacationing in Oahu!

xx Amy


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