Exploring Hawaii, the Bleisure Traveler Way

An architectural time capsule with several mid-century gems, a frenzied culinary scene, a captivating blend of rugged-yet-verdant hills and aquamarine waters of the Pacific—Honolulu harbors much more than a holiday hotspot moniker.

Published in the Latest Issue | DECEMBER 31, 2019

If you’re from the USA, it’s hard to see a beach and not assume you’re on vacation. And Honolulu has long been the portal where people and money pass through quickly. But this clubhouse of the Pacific is ever-evolving; and it wants you to stay. It wants you to stay for days (or at least a day). And there are plenty of reasons why you should be listening. As we gear up for Pacific Telecommunications Council’s PTC’20: Vision 2020 and Beyond, slated from 19-22 January, 2020 in the Aloha capital, as the media partner for the Annual Conference, InterGlobix charts out a 24-hour bleisure plan for your visit. While this city—perched in the southeast side of the O’ahu island—is always bustling, there are also patches of peace and isolation. Then there’s the temperament, the feeling that no one is ever too hasty to take your food order, navigate you or explain the history of the Pearl Harbor.

6.00am If vertigo-challenging attractions get the better of you, then you’ll love the natural viewing platform Diamond Head. The crater of a long-extinct volcano, it rises 761 feet above Waikiki Beach and provides birds-eye views of the city, shoreline and countryside. If there were an ideal time to click a picture, sunrise would be it. But be prepped as its upward trek, which takes about 1.5-2 hours, is a strenuous one.

9.00am If you’re in Hawaii, surfing should be on your must-experience list. And O’ahu’s surf is very democratic. In winter, big wave surfing is thrilling for everyone to watch, but only for the pros to experience. Albeit the friendlier waters of the Waikiki Beach is the perfect place for first-timers to catch a wave. The shore is dotted with several schools to get a lesson too. The venue for PTC’s conference, Hilton Hawaiian Village® Waikiki Beach Resort, sits comfortably alongside this beach. Those not bullish on surfing can indulge in the myriad of other water activities, spanning from snorkelling to kayaking, wake boarding and many more.

12.00pm Lunch at one of the many restaurants here that are not just cooking island food, but reinventing it. Try a seafood tower at Nico’s Pier 38 or at Stripsteak. Prima’s Italian-Amercian fare and Vintage Cave’s Italian cuisine, on the other hand, deserve all the hype they have garnered. Chinatown is a great place to savor authentic dumplings, saimin (a native noodle soup), ma tai soo (water-chestnut cake) and manapua (pork buns). Char Hung Sut and Little Belly are great options to tickle those tastebuds. For that sweet finish, look no further than Liliha Bakery. Since its opening in 1950, it has been whipping up scrumptious parcels of joy, including coco puffs, butter rolls and pancakes. InterGlobix Tip: Tour the private spaces of working artists in Chinatown Artist Lofts on the first Friday of every month. Also, swing by the 80-year-old Lai Fong Department Store to find Hawaiiana antiques.

2.30pm If you have time to visit just one attraction, pay homage to the heroes and victims of Pearl Harbor by visiting the USS Arizona Memorial. Built in 1962, it marks the resting place of 1,177 sailors and Marines killed during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Located on the southern end of the island, it can only be accessed by boat from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. You can also go shopping at the Ala Moana Centre—one of the largest malls in Hawaii, with its 260 stores weighted towards fashion and accessories. Several high-end brands are also laced on Luxury Row near Kalakaua Avenue. Owens & Co houses Hawaiian designers and expertly curated finds from Africa and Asia, including miscellaneous items like local-made skincare and more. InterGlobix Tip: After basking in outdoors, head to the historic Matsumoto Shave Ice, one of the top spots for a proper Hawaiian shave ice shop established in 1951.