WELCOME TO HAWAII
As soon as you get off your plane to Hawaii, the pace of life starts to slow down. The air is humid, the palms move in the warm breeze, and vibrant flowers are all around.
It could be faster even in Honolulu, the capital city with more than 850,000 residents on the central island of Oahu. The people in business wearing Hawaiian-inspired shoes and shirts suddenly become commonplace. Hawaii appears to be as much an expression of a person as it’s a location. Its laid-back culture is a mix of surfer style and the Hawaiian “hang-loose” way of thinking and practices from various traditions.
None of the ethnic groups is dominant in the islands. People from all over the world are making this the Hawaiian Islands’ home. This diversified group of people has resulted in a unique Hawaiian tradition unique to the islands.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF HAWAII
The first Hawaiians established the islands more than 1500 years ago, each island being a distinct kingdom.
DREAMING OF THE MALDIVES
Dreaming of the Maldives Play Video
The first white American missionaries first arrived in 1820. Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese immigrants arrived soon afterward. King Kamehameha, the most loved Hawaii monarch, united Hawaiian islands around 1810.
The royal family was in power until 1893, when a group of Americans was able to imprison Queen Liliuokalani while the monarchy was dissolved. Hawaii was declared an American territory in 1898 and the 50th state in 1959.
The precious Hawaiian heritage is present on the island. Dance, traditions, art, and music have been handed through generations.
The Aloha Festival Court at the Royal Hawaiian in Oahu. Photo by Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) /Tor Johnson
THE HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE
It’s no secret that the Hawaiian language is returning in popularity, and you’ll hear the sounds of its harmonies all over town.
With just 12 letters, including five vowels, the sentences are lengthy and pleasant to hear. If you want to learn more about the culture, sit during a Sunday ceremony at Kawaiahao Church.
The church is at Punchbowl Street, half blocks from the renowned King Kamehameha statue. The church was constructed in 1820 using close to 14000 coral blocks. Hawaiian words are an integral part of everyday life in the islands. Numerous streets and attractions are named l-o-n-g Hawaiian names.
TRAVELING IN HONOLULU
Like many big towns, Honolulu has traffic and crowds. However, no one is heard to honk (it’s seen as rude), and the traffic doesn’t go at that speed. If you’re not interested in driving, you don’t have to.
The bus system is secure, affordable, and simple to use. It’s one of the most effective ways to explore Honolulu and get to know the locals.
I’ve learned a lot about Hawaii, from riding on the bus with employees of the Dole Cannery, surfers on their way to the beach, and people of the mainland who reside on Oahu, their home. Oahu home.
The view over Waikiki in Waikiki and Honolulu from the top of Leahi. Photo by Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN HONOLULU
The city is divided into distinct neighborhoods, each with a distinctive flavor. Downtown Honolulu can be described as the central business district, which includes an array of buildings, including the Hawaii State Library and Honolulu Hale (city hall).
Check out the gorgeous Iolani Palace, the royal residence of King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani, one of the final monarchs from Hawaii.
Another historic area is Chinatown, the oldest in America and home to a myriad of tiny Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurants. One of the most popular local restaurants is Wo Fat Restaurant, established in 1882.