Traveling to Hawaii: Tropical island paradise

Maui beach in Hawaii. (Photo by Hao Lu.)

Maui beach in Hawaii. (Photo by Hao Lu.)

By Hao Lu


Too cold to stay in chilly Boston? If you are planning a short trip to get away from the cold weather, annoying work and weariness, try Hawaii. The fresh air, blue water, breathtaking natural beauty and warm residents will surely energize you and make you feel like you’re in paradise!


What to know before I go?

Being in the tropics, Hawaii has very consistent temperatures. In winter time, the average daily high temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit and drops by about 10 to 15 degrees at night. Even in the coldest month of the year, you will find Hawaiians enjoying beach life as much as possible. While folks in the Northeast are bundled up in down jackets looking out at the snow, people in Hawaii are in shirts, shorts, skirts, flip-flops and bikinis. If you plan to stay for a week or so, just remember to bring enough summer clothes. You may still want to put a blazer in your luggage, in case it turns cold when you go out at night. For girls, hats and sunglasses are a must — you never want to get sunburned in the strong sunlight.


Choose your islands

There are six main islands in Hawaii for tourism. They are Kauai, Maui, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii (the big island). Each of the islands has its own beauty. However, if you do not have enough time to visit them all, Oahu and Maui are the two best destinations.



Oahu is famous for its beaches, food and duty-free shops.

Diamond Head is an ancient volcanic crater which has been dormant for around 150,000 years. More than 1 million people visit the crater each year. It used to be a restricted military facility during World War II, which is now a state park open to the public. You may also recognize some locations from the TV series “Lost.”If you are looking for the most beautiful beach in Oahu, look no further than Waikiki Beach. Since it is located in a downtown area, finding hotels near the beach is convenient. Around the area are shops, supermarkets and restaurants. Because of the large Japanese population in Honolulu, you can find many authentic Japanese sushi and ramen places in Oahu.

To taste Hawaii’s signature dish of kalua pig, a luau dinner and show would be the best choice. The Paradise Cove Luau is one of the largest Hawaiian luau shows. You can enjoy Polynesian dance, island games, crafts, sunset ceremony, tropical feasting and of course the unearthing of the traditional underground-roasted pig!



Maui is famous for being one of the most beautiful natural sights in Hawaii.

Speaking of Maui, Hana Highway, or the Road to Hana, is a can’t-miss site. Having more than 600 curves and 60 one-lane bridges, the 45-mile road takes almost seven hours to finish a round trip. However, you will find that the gardens, beaches, rainbows and waterfalls along the road make the drive worth it.

At night, you can drive to Lahaina, where you can find local restaurants, bars, small souvenir shops and art galleries. There are occasionally some shows in the bars. It is the liveliest town in Maui for both food and fun.

Molokini is another must-go location in Maui. It is a crescent-shaped, partially submerged volcanic crater which forms a small islet located in Alalakeiki Channel. It is not only known as a great bay for snorkeling, but also is famous for its extremely beautiful views by helicopter or cruise ship.

Instead of traditional hotels, a villa is a good short-term living option in Maui. You can easily find cheap villas all over the island which are furnished with a full kitchen, washing machines and dryers.


Packing list

• Clothes (shorts, shirts, skirts, flip-flops, swimming suit, sneakers for climbing the mountains)

• Snorkeling equipment (can be bought in local ABC stores)

• Sunglasses, hat, sunscreen cream

• Medicine for allergy

• Electronic device chargers

• GPS (if you are renting a car)

• Towel, beach bag

• Guide books and maps (can be found at the airport)


Shopping list

• Wood-carved gifts

• Macadamia nuts and chocolates

• Kona coffee

• Sari skirt: Can be worn 10 ways!

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