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While hula-clad dancers, sun-kissed beaches and killer surf shape Oahu's image, this island has all this and more: The downtown district of Honolulu, the most populous city, features many of the island's finest landmarks, such as the Aloha Tower and the Iolani Palace, and it is also home to some of Honolulu’s finest restaurants and cultural institutions. Nearby, Chinatown is one of the most interesting and vibrant areas, as in between its beautiful temples, cutting-edge cultural and entertainment venues and a fine array of restaurants take place, while a host of Chinese herbal and medicinal shops sell a range of cure-alls. To the North of the city, Pearl Harbor reminds of the Japanese surprise attack that led to American intervention in World War II. To the East, the famous suburb of Waikiki awaits with its beautiful beaches, pounding surf, resort hotels, bars, and restaurants. Manoa, Hawaii's university town, is a tranquil yet beautiful suburb tucked in between the mountains and towering above everything, while Diamond Head dominates the impressive skyline over all.
The breath-taking island of Oahu offers an endless array of activities and sights. While relaxing on the beaches or braving the surf will always be Hawaiian specialties, culture and adventure should also be on the bucket-list: celebrate Polynesian culture at a luau, get a dose of modern culture in Honolulu or admire the mesmerising natural reserve wildlife.
The cuisine of Oahu has naturally been influenced by its surroundings – seafood, therefore, plays a large part in the local cuisine, complemented by excellent roast meats, and the traditional kalua pork should not be missed, as well as by daring Asian influences. Dishes are served with a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables including the local root vegetable taro, which is usually mashed to provide the staple poi.
Coffee culture is on the rise on Oahu, and skilled baristas can whip up special coffees for any taste. Do sit down and savour a coffee while also enjoying the most spectacular atmospheres. Let the gentle sea breeze caress your face, while the fragrance of the colourful flowers soothe your soul, and the views of the Pacific Ocean tantalise your imagination.
After soaking up the sun or pounding the surf all day long, it is time for hitting the town and for sampling the famous Mai Tai cocktail – dive in, kick back, and enjoy the ‘aloha’ vibe. If the Mai Tai’s have hit their mark and your feet begin to dance, then head out to one of Honolulu’s many clubs orr experience Hawaiian culture by catching a show or by devouring a luau buffet.
If you are looking for souvenirs or just a little self-indulgent shopping therapy, then Honolulu has everything you could possibly desire. From the bustle of the marketplace to the refined shopping experience of the designer boutique, Honolulu caters to all and everything. However, local shops tend to specialise in designer and vintage items and knickknacks, making Oahu a perfect place to shop for unique gifts.
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