Hawaii, easily one of the world’s most beautiful places and blessed with earth, never ending crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, landscapes that are dramatic, to say the least, has lured many a traveller from times immemorial. Apart from natural treasures, Hawaiian people are a blissful lot and peace is of paramount importance to the natives here, superseding even trade, commerce and all that big talk about money that actually drives the contemporary world.
No wonder that billionaire Yoga Guru Bikram Choudhury has opened his signature Hot Yoga Studios in several scenic locales in Hawaii so as to offer the original, therapeutic, effective and proven method of being blissful, just as nature wanted. As an Indian, it is so inspiring sight when in front of your eyes, hundreds of Yoga freaks from across the world actually stretch out on the big island of Hawaii, immersed in a series of 26 life changing Yoga postures. Here in Hawaii, you actually feel that “Yeah, India has arrived”.
Hawaii is so dramatic that just about every by lane is charming. From the best kept secrets of the Napali Coast to biodiversity-rich national parks, visitors are spoilt for a choice when it comes to choosing the perfect place for holidays.
Visitors to Hawaii come with a purpose - they want to earn bliss, peace and tranquillity. And many try to achieve and attain that life changing elevation by mixing Yoga and other oriental methods of wellness. According to Yoga Guru Bikram Choudhury:
The Hawaiian landscape is perfect for Yogic indulgence. The Yoga journey is lifelong and every experience is unique. You will experience a range of emotions like exhaustion & exhilaration, sadness & euphoria, soreness & herculean strength, anxiety & fearlessness. Nothing is untouched. It is just that you need to be alert.
What a statement! And so very Indian, ain’t it?
Brookie Obie, an avid new age traveller who keeps coming back to the land of Aloha has this to say:
For the natives, Aloha is not just a way to greet people; it’s much more divine - it’s a lifestyle of love, compassion and recognition. Out here in Hawaii when you greet someone with Aloha! It is more about recognizing a person’s humanity and their significance in creation. When you utter the word Aloha! you actually recognize the god that dwells within the other person.
What a powerful message for today’s stressed out jet-age traveller in search of tranquillity in a discontented world!
With as many as 100 isles and atolls, each one more beautiful than the other, Hawaii truly is heavenly. However only eight islands are prominent in terms of tourism. Hawaii, Oahu, Maui and Kauai are much preferred by visitors where every bit of luxury is on offer: transportation, accommodation, connectivity...
Many visitors who do their pre-departure homework well, opt for Vacation Homes that offers more space, fully equipped kitchens, exclusive pools and that seclusion which sets them apart from the usual touristy crowd. And the best part of hiring Vacation Homes is that most are ideally located on the Oceanfront. Once you zero in on your preferred Vacation Home, the rest of your Hawaiian vacation would be nothing short of blissful.
Hawaiian Islands basically are volcanic mountaintops that emanate from the ocean. Be it the remarkable Na Pali coast or for that matter the spectacular Waimea Canyon, Hawaii is breathtakingly beautiful. Needless to say, Hawaii is blessed with endless beaches, you can rest assured of some exhilarating water sports ranging from snorkeling to scuba diving.
Pearl Harbour, one of Hawaii’s most visited tourist landmarks is iconic and is home to World War II attractions - Pacific Monument, the USS Arizona Memorial, the Pacific Aviation Museum (Ford Island) as well as the USS Oklahoma, the Battleship USS Missouri and USS Utah. This is actually the site where in the 1941 assault of Pearl Harbor, as many as 1,777 military personnel were killed.
When it comes to bewitching beaches, the stunningly beautiful Waikiki Beach and the Diamond Head State Monument together create an ambiance that has “EXCLUSIVITY” written all over. Here at this marvelous locale, you will come across top-end resorts, fine dining options, king-sized entertainment and shopping that is truly Hawaiian.
The Waikiki Historic Trail, which offers footprints of its rich virile past by way of surfboards, owes a lot to the Hawaiian royalty - Duke Kahanamoku, who himself is an Olympic gold medallist swimmer. Visitors would do well to embark on a leisurely walk along the Waikiki Beach shoreline, which is lined up with amazing Hawaiian cafes.
The impressive neighbourhood surrounding the Diamond Head State Monument once used to be a strategic military base of the island and if you have the energy to go hiking on top of the hill, the well preserved old bunkers and artillery positions will be a revelation of sorts.
Volcanoes are an integral part of Hawaiian folklore and right on the Big Island at the Kilauea neighbourhood is the Volcanoes National Park, which was active even a year back.
This perhaps is one-of-a-kind Park where visitors get to have a firsthand experience of how lava percolates from earth’s crevices. As you walk around, the sight of volcanic landscape, much of which is shaped by volcanic lava rocks. If you happen to be here during the peak volcanic periods, the exhilarating feel of the seismic activities could be an eye-opener.
One of the world’s most exhilarating road drive is the Hana Road drive. Hire a car and hit the Hana Highway, the 52-mile drive from Paia traverses through the coast and touches the secluded town of Hana. On the way, should you have the adrenalin energy, hiking is a great option. And once you reach Hana, the one thing that will strike you is the seclusion and the surreal sense of splendid isolation from the so called civilized world.
The rich marine life that Hawaii is blessed with has lured not just surfers but Marine Conservationists as well. The Maui Ocean Center offers a fascinating glimpse of the mysterious underwater drama and the unique Hawaiian ecosystem. The aquarium, which is massive in size is well stocked with 40 rare and elusive Pacific coral creatures. The underwater tunnel - all of 750,000 gallons offers visitors to walk in the company of monster Sharks, Stingrays and other creatures of underwater.
For all things Polynesian, embark on a beautiful drive to Oahu from Honolulu where one of the world’s most outstanding Polynesian culture storehouse is located – The Polynesian Cultural Centre at Kamehameha Hwy neighbourhood. The Center attempts to offer a genuine Polynesian experience through a bewildering array of social expressions like dance, music, art & craft and the best part of these demonstrations are that they are all demonstrated by the natives of the great Polynesian nations like Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa etc.... Every evening, the centre comes alive with a distinct Polynesian ambiance and the scene is eclectic, to say the least.
To get the most out of your Hawaiian vacations, plan your trip to Hawaii in time of the Annual Events & Festivals. The Hawaii Tourism Authority through its team of dedicated Tourism professionals offers not just information on the islands, they go that extra mile to design tailor made holiday plans as per your cultural orientation.
Major events like the Honolulu Marathon, International Film Festival, the Prince Lot Huala Competition, the King Kamehameha Celebration, for instance, are much hyped about festivals that offer significant insight into the lifestyle of the Hawaiian island natives.
Events that feature local foods and agricultural products attract both locals and visitors. Food festivals are a definitive way of getting to know the islanders’ tastes and preferences. The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival (October), the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival (June) and Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival (November) are top draws. Bear in mind, the Island of Hawaii is a coffee paradise the Kauai Chocolate & Coffee Festival (October) is your passport to a world of aromas.
Traveler’s Fact File
A vast majority of visitors touchdown at Kona airport. The Honolulu International Airport located in Oahu too can be a touchdown base from where a half an hour flight takes you to Hawaii.
Fine dining options
Duke’s Canoe Club - Kauai 3500 Rice Street, Manta - Kohala Coast, HI 96743-9706, Rainbow Lanai - Honolulu, HI 96815, Cane & Canoe - Lahaina, HI 96761.
Outstanding Hotels: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection, 62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Drive, Puako, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii.
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, 69-275 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Waikoloa, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii.
The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, 62-100 Kauna'oa Drive, Kohala Coast, Kamuela, Puako, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai 72-100 Ka'upulehu Drive, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii.
Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii, 1 N Kaniku Dr, Puako, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii.