Think Hawaii, think hot sun, sandy beaches, and a gorgeous panoramic view all-around.
That’s the general picturesque image most of us would have of Hawaii, and it’s not too far off from reality.
It’s known to be a hot destination to travel to if you’re looking for that warm relaxing vacation surrounded by scenic views.
The Oahu island is a popular spot for first-timers to indulge in what Hawaii can offer but it can be overwhelming to pick the right kind of activities that are still off the over-travelled touristy path.
So here’re 8 activities you can add to your must-try list for your first visit to Hawaii.
1) Waimea Bay: Known for having the biggest waves in Hawaii.
Hawaii has many beaches with each one having their own unique attraction.
If you’ve ever been curious about surfing or just like seeing waves in general, look no further than Waimea Bay.
Located on the North Shore, Waimea Bay is one of the most popular surf spots in the world and is known to be home to some of the biggest waves. Some of the waves are at a minimum of 20-feet high.
It’s mainly popular with surfers during the big wave seasons which is around November through February.
This is also home to popular surfing competitions so even if you don’t want to try it yourself, you can catch some of the best surfers in action.
2) Shark’s Cove: Known as one of the best spots for diving.
Rated as one of the “Top Twelve Shore Dives In The World”, Shark’s Cove is where you should go if you want to experience the beautiful underwater scenery Hawaii has to offer.
The depths run about 60 feet and when the surf is low, Shark’s Cove is an ideal spot for scuba training.
It boasts blue water and an impressive amount of sea life such as butterfly fish, eels, turtles, and crustaceans. The bottom is made up of large smooth boulders and coral heads forming small caves and ledges for marine life to hide.
If you’re feeling adventurous, a company called Hawaii Shark Encounters specialises in an amazing Shark Tour with a shark cage snorkel experience that is highly recommended by locals.
3) Kukaniloko Birthstones: Known as the first recognised ancient site on Oahu.
According to Hawaiian tradition, a line of chiefs said to have powers from the gods often inhabited this area and claimed they could relieve labour pains.
The alii birthing ritual conducted at this site involved the participation of an additional 48 chiefs to minister to the newborn and the use of sacred drums to announce the birth to the commoners gathered below.
The Daughters of Hawaii announced that this site be preserved and recognised as an official ancient site to commemorate this tradition.
The stones, many of which are indented with bowl-like shapes, lie haphazardly in a small grove of coconut and eucalyptus trees located between Wahiawa and Haleiwa in a pineapple field.
4) Lei-Making Class: Known as a traditional garland among Hawaiians.
There’s probably a high chance you’ve seen these garlands before, whether in real life or through pop culture references (Lilo & Stitch, anyone?).
The lei is the jewelry or body ornamentation for hula dancers in ancient Hawaii. It was considered an integral part of their dance.
It used to be made of certain materials like human hair and feathers but nowadays, it can be made out of almost anything.
The lei symbolises friendship and goodwill, and is used to mark special occasions such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries and graduations.
There are many shops that offer to teach you how to make this and you could bring one as a souvenir too.
5) Aloha Festivals: Known as Hawaii’s oldest cultural celebrations.
Reaching its 71st year, the Aloha Festival is a highly regarded and traditional culture celebration. It’s an event that integrates the traditions and cultures of the islands through music, dance, cuisine and art.
Each year carries a different theme and the festival usually gathers about a million people to participate in various events held throughout Oahu.
The events are usually free and open to public so it’s a good chance to experience their culture yourself.
6) Waimea Valley: Known as one of the most historical places in Oahu.
Regarded as one of Hawaii’s treasure rich with history and culture, Waimea Valley’s nestled in a stunning botanical garden.
A paved path lies along 5,000 botanicals and leads to a 45-foot waterfall that is the only waterfall in Oahu that you can swim at that also has a changing room, life jackets available, and lifeguards on duty.
It’s not just scenic as you’ll see cultural practitioners and artisans sharing various native Hawaiian practices.
The valley is an important place in Hawaiian religion and includes several historical structures including stone terraces and walls constructed during the time of the Hawaiian monarchy.
7) Waipuhia Fall: Known as the “upside-down waterfall”.
Best viewed from afar, Waipuhia Falls is not your usual waterfall as you can probably guess from its name.
The water flows over the edge of a cliff on Mount Konahuanui where the powerful winds channeled by the location’s topography catches the falling water and draws it up the Canyon even before it reaches the bottom.
This creates an illusion that the water is flowing in reverse.
This gravity-defying wonder can only be seen along the Pali Highway during wet season (protip: after heavy rains) and when there are strong winds.
There is no lookout platform so it can only be viewed inside the car while driving along the highway, eastbound direction towards Kailua.
8) Kaneaki Heiau: Known as one of the oldest temples on the Oahu.
An agricultural and war temple, Kaneaki Heiau was constructed in the 15th century as a two-terrace structure. It was then followed by five more construction phases that eventually doubled the temple’s size.
The temple was dedicated to “Lono”, the benevolent God of harvest, agriculture and fertility. King Kamehameha I rededicated this temple to “Ku” the God of war. As a war temple, this is said to be the site where the first prisoners of war were sacrificed.
Admission to this site is free, and it’s a great glimpse into Hawaii’s rich history.
You don’t need to travel to the mainstream hotspots to really understand what Hawaii’s all about. The islands have much more to offer than just sandy beaches and blue oceans so why not skip the norm and learn more about what Oahu has to offer.
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Headquartered in Shanghai, China Eastern is the second biggest airline in China since 1957. The airline now owns 610 aircraft and as a member of Skyteam, they fly to over 1052 destination in 177 countries.
You can find out more information about the flights here or contact the China Eastern Airlines Kuala Lumpur Sales office at 03-21611666.
This article was brought to you by China Eastern Airlines.
Feature Image Credit: hawaiisharkencounters.com