A centre for Islamic arts and culture is probably not what you’re expecting to find in Hawaii, and that’s exactly what makes this home, constructed by philanthropist Doris Duke in 1937, so exciting. Filled with over 3,500 paintings, tapestries, and artifacts from Doris’ travels around the world, Shangri La is one of Honolulu’s most unexpected attractions.
Aloha Stadium Swap Meet & Marketplace
Hawaii's largest open-air flea market is held in Aloha Stadium and is a great place to pick up cheap, unusual gifts, enjoy a meal of traditional Hawaiian food, or simply wander through the stalls of over 700 vendors, artists, and craftsmen.
Nico's Pier 38
Blending the style of French cuisine with the traditions of local Hawaiian food is not easy, but that's exactly what chef Nicolas Chaize does — and patrons agree, successfully so. The Catch of the Day is less than $10 USD, making this a perfect spot for a meal that's cheap and tasty.
Choose from the Green, Red, and Pink Lines and enjoy tours catering to the activities you like best. Whether it's scenic attractions, historic and cultural sights, or the best of Honolulu shopping, there's a Trolley route for you. Seniors and children are entitled to discounts on all tickets, and multi-day passes are cheaper when you buy them online.
Turtle Bay Resort
This resort is ideal for those looking to enjoy Oahu's beaches without the constant buzz and bustle of Waikiki. Check in and enjoy incredible views of the ocean, a sumptuous breakfast buffet, some of the best surf spots in Hawaii.
As every seasoned Hawaii traveller knows, Honolulu is where the action is. The energy here is truly contagious and there's nowhere better to experience it than Waikiki Beach. Sunbathers, surfers, people watchers, and everyone from toddlers to grandparents can be found here enjoying the sun, sand, and the irrepressible holiday atmosphere that never dies out, no matter when you visit.
If you're looking for something along the cultural and historic lines, stop by the Iolani Palace, America's only royal residence, or spend at day at the impressive Bishop Museum, which houses ancient Hawaiian artifacts, natural history exhibits, and even has its own planetarium. At Pearl Harbour, you can travel back in time as you tour the USS Bowfin, a submarine used in World War II and for some truly spectacular photographs of your trip, make your way up to Diamond Head, the volcanic crater that overlooks the city.
The capital of Hawaii is home to the state's busiest airport so finding cheap Honolulu flights is never a problem. Honolulu International Airport (HNL) receives the majority of flights heading to Hawaii and is located about 10 km from the downtown area. A large number of airlines have flights to Honolulu from North America's west coast, including Air Canada, American Airlines, Continental, Delta, US, and WestJet. Passengers flying from Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle have the benefit of regular direct services to HNL.
If you plan on going island hopping from Honolulu, go! Mokulele and Hawaiian Airlines offer inter-island flights to Hawaii's major cities and towns.
Like most of Hawaii, Oahu also enjoys great weather for most of the year and there's never really a bad time to visit. The peak tourist periods are quite long, extending from June to early-September as well as from December to January. The spring break and Easter holidays are also popular times to visit for students and families. To get the best deals on your flights and hotels, try to fly from mid-September to November or from March to May, avoiding the major holidays. You may have to deal with a little more rain, but there are still enough sunny days for you to work up a great holiday tan.
Honolulu International Airport (HNL) has three terminals —Overseas, Interisland (served by Hawaiian Airlines and go! Mokulele), and Commuter (served by Hawaiian Airlines only). Most ground transportation services are located on Level 2 of the airport, and inter-terminal transfers can be made using the endearingly named Wiki Wiki bus. For more information on any of the transportation options listed below, visit the airport's website before you fly.
Public Transit: Routes 19 and 20 on TheBus public transportation service run via Level 2 of the airport, connecting to destinations in downtown Honolulu. Route 31 also departs from here and goes up to the Kalihi Transit Center, from where you can transfer to other routes. Tickets for adults are about $2.50 USD while seniors, children, and students are eligible for discounts. If the bus is going to be your main mode of travel in Honolulu, it may be cheaper to buy a Visitor Pass which costs approximately $25 USD and is valid for four days of unlimited use. Taking the bus may be more time-consuming but if you're not in a hurry, there's no cheaper way to travel.
Airport Shuttle: If you've booked a hotel which doesn't provide a courtesy pick-up service from the airport, the Airport Waikiki Express is a good alternative. One-way fares are approximately $10 USD with discounts available for booking round-trips and children's tickets. Make sure your luggage fits the shuttle's free allowance or you may have to pay extra for strollers, oversize bags, and car seats. If you're having trouble locating the shuttle stops on Level 2 of the airport, look out for the dispatchers in bright yellow shirts who can point you in the right direction.
Private companies such as Reliable Shuttle and Honolulu Airport Shuttle also run similar services for about $13 USD one-way or $19 USD for round-trip tickets. If you're in a group, it may be cheaper to hire the entire shuttle (four passenger limit) for $30 USD (one-way) and $60 USD (return) to destinations in Waikiki.
Hotel Shuttle: Only a few hotels and government organizations are allowed to operate airport shuttles at HNL. You can use the courtesy phones located in the baggage claim areas to confirm if your hotel has one.
Taxi: You can catch a cab from just outside the baggage claim areas on the airport's lower level and dispatchers in green shirts are also on hand to get you to the right vehicle. From the airport to downtown Honolulu, fares average $20-$25 USD while getting to Waikiki will cost you about $35-$40 USD. Only a few companies are authorized to run metered cabs from the airport so if anyone tries to offer you a 'special cheap fare', the odds are that you'd be ripped off.
Car Rental: For on-site rental companies you can choose from Avis, Dollar, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and National, all of which have kiosks in the baggage claim area. Off-site companies like Alamo and Advantage run courtesy shuttles from the airport's ground level to their facilities located a short distance away from the airport terminal.
Chauffeured Car Services: 'Permittee' pick-up zones are located outside the baggage claim areas of the airport where you will be met by your chauffeur. Booking in advance is essential and you can pay anything from $50-$350 USD depending on the size and model of vehicle you require as well as the distance to your final destination.