So what got us to this place called Hawaii, here are some tips I’ve gathered if you’re planning one for yourself.
- Get your US Visa ready at least 6 months before the flight date.
- Get a wifi egg. It’s just convenient being able to…
- Use Google maps get around
- Read reviews on restaurants, and their closing times
- Find the right bus at the right stop and it’s timing
- Sharing internet with the rest of the family
- Skype to get a US temporary phone number
- book Uber, Lyft or Turo etc…
- Uber will suck for Malaysians, as the app requires a mobile number for verification, but since they sold their shares to Grab, malaysian numbers are blocked (at least mine is) from getting messages from Uber.
- Lyft charges USD1 just to register. Supposedly credited back upon first use.
- Turo is like AirBnB for cars.
- Malaysian driving licence is valid to be used, but be prepared for crash course on driving on the left lane, learning highway signs, and knowing pedestrians are king!
- When finding for a place to stay, be careful that your AirBnB has aircon in every room. Else there’s no way to get a good night sleep.
- Be prepared to walk… a lot. Waikiki’s traffic can be horrendous. Parking is not cheap. Renting a car can be pricey. Gas can cost USD70 (RM280) per tank!
- Taking the bus is affordable. One way ticket is USD2.50 (RM8), all day ticket costs about USD6 (RM18), seniors get 1/2 price, kids (<6 i think) ride free.
- Make sure your luggage has TSA locks on them. US Customs will check and open without permission. I came home with a note in the bag, two scrapes on my premium water bottle, and 6 print outs on my thermal printer. Oh well.
On hindsight, I’ll be better prepared with:
- Walkie-talkie for everyone. Limited in range, but cheaper than getting wifi egg for everyone.
- Use BigPay instead of credit cards, because I heard BigPay gives good conversion rates.
- Would avoid staying/visiting West & North. Heard they harass tourists. But if die die still wanna go there, do visit Kailua (Windward), Aulani & Koolina.
- Would visit more of East & South. Diamond Head. Kahala, Manoa & Hawaii Kai.
That’s about it for the tips. Now on to the good stuff.
Twice the size, four times the price.David Chong
Food ain’t cheap, but the portions are huge. The grilled salmon costs USD14(RM56). USD14 * 5 adults * 3 meals a day = USD210 (RM840)! This is excluding tips for waiters.
Thankfully we’re smart. Bring your own instant noodles. We brought so much till we are able to leave some for the next occupant.
Eat brunch and save a meal.
Alternate between cooking and eating out to save a buck.
We tried many various foods. Here’s a gallery to make you hungry.
Being a father has it’s rewards. Walking with Hailey in a mall I heard her praying to Jesus for rainbow. It has been her wish for some time. Later that evening we headed to Waikiki beach and out came a double rainbow! Hailey was so thrilled and it really just a blessing to witness these stuff as a father.
Of the two weeks there, we rented cars for more mobility. I had a crash course on driving on the left side of the road, and it’s disorientating at best. Praise the Lord for no incidents or accidents. Hallelujah!
Polynesian Cultural Centre
This is a full-blown Hawaiian cultural experience. It has both shows and activities. The Hawaiian dance moves are wave-like. Men are usually topless. They like to adopt new stuff into their own culture, so you’ll get for instance, cowboy-hawaiian songs along the way.
Hawaii Sea Life Park
Dolphins! That’s the main attraction of the park. You can swim, touch, take photos with dolphins at Hawaii Sea Life Park… for USD200 (RM800) @ person.
Moving on to the free stuff. There’s sealion, turtles, sharks, starfish and birds. Birds were fun. They will dare come close to you as long as you have food.
New Hope Church
We went to church. 3 times. We love Jesus!
In context, first time was for Sunday service. Second was to get to the souvenir shop but it was closed. Third time making sure it was opened before going.
Second Week : Waianae
Moving out of Waikiki, we travelled to Waianae. This time the AirBnB has aircon in every room, but they were noisy and temperature was hard to regulate. I had to sleep with the remote in my hand. Waking nearly every hour to toggle the aircon.
Nevertheless the owner was generous. “Help yourself to anything in the house, including the fridge, free-of-charge.”
“Help yourself” I did! Rewarded myself a bottle of Starbucks Caffe Latte for everyday that I had to drive. There were 12 bottles to start with.
Things were more mellow here compared to Waikiki. The beach were emptier and waves were bigger. With “nothing” to do, there’s more time for family bonding.
Aulani Disney Vacation Club
We googled for Disney and Aulani Vacation Club came up. Parking was free the first 30 minutes. USD12@hour thereafter. So we thought, just hang for 30 minutes only to discover, the hotel will waive the parking fee if you would attend their one hour talk. Naise. After the talk, we’ll get USD100 vouchers per family to be used anywhere in their hotel (buffet, shop, room, etc). Naise!
We settled for the buffet and Hailey was thrilled when Donald duck and a few chipmunks made an appearance. The spread of food was delicious and tasty. It was indeed worth the one hour sales talk.
Chuck E Cheese
This is where YouTube is no longer free.David Chong
Hailey loves to watch on youtube, Ryan’s Toys Review. One of the places she was fascinated when Ryan went to Chuck E Cheese. Big pizza for the adults and free flow drinks, half the floor are arcades for the kids.
This is my first time on US soil. It has been enjoyable, never a dull moment. To end, here’s some random photos which I found interesting.