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10 Best Things to do in Phuket, ThailandFeatured

phuket

As one of the most popular and touristy destinations in all of Thailand, Phuket, which is located on the southern tip, is characterized by tropical weather, beautiful beaches, top notch shopping options, and outstanding nightlife.

Whether you are a young adult traveling with friends, a parent traveling with family, or a wanderluster traveling with your significant other, there is something to do for everyone of all ages. You could easily spend a month in Phuket, and not see everything this land of paradise has to offer.

Since there are so many adventurous and fun things to do in Phuket, I have compiled this list of the 10 Best Things to do in order to make planning your next Phuket trip a little easier.

Let’s begin!

Best Things to Do

1) Phi Phi Islands

phi phi islands
phi phi

The Phi Phi Islands are the most famous and well known Islands in all of Thailand. Depending on where you stay in Phuket, a ferry ride from Phuket to the Phi Phi Islands will take approximately 2 hours.

Some of the best things to do include:

  • Monkey Beach
  • Maya Bay
  • Mosquito Beach
  • Bamboo Island
  • Snorkel at Hat Yao
  • Kayak at Ko Phi Phi
  • Hike up to Phi Phi Viewpoint

Since the Phi Phi Islands are the largest with lots to see, it’s recommended to book a hotel to see the main attractions. Additionally, if you’re young and enjoy partying, Phi Phi offers some of the best nightlife.

From clubs to sports bars, Phi Phi has it all. Not to mention, there are loads of top notch restaurants on the island.

Tip: There are no tuk tuks or taxis on Phi Phi Island. The methods of transport include walking or taking a longtail boat to get around.

2) Visit Karon Beach and Kata Beach

Karon Beach and Kata Beach are located towards the southern end of Phuket, and are known to be some of the best beaches in Phuket.

Most tourists tend to stay in either Karon Beach or Kata beach because there are a large number of luxurious resorts and hotels within walking distance to the beach.

Karon beach, which is north of Kata Beach, is a much longer beach than Kata beach and has lines of umbrellas and beach chairs. Both beaches have become extremely touristy so it can get crowded, especially during peak season (November-March).

Tip: Bring about 200 baht to reserve your own beach chair and umbrella.

 

3) Visit the Big Buddha

big buddha phuket
big buddha

The Big Buddha is one of Phuket’s most revered and highly regarded landmarks. This majestic Buddha is located on top of the Nakkerd hills and can be seen from Karon beach and Kata Beach, many miles away.

A tuk tuk ride from Karon beach to the Big Buddha takes approximately 45 minutes and costs 1,000 thai baht for a roundtrip.

Once at the top of the hill, there are beautiful views of Phuket and the ocean. The best time to go is during sunset because the views are breathtaking.

The Big Buddha itself was built in 2004 and is made of white marble. Inside, there are scriptures on the wall, donation boxes, and monks chanting prayers. From my experience, 1-2 hours at the Big Buddha should be sufficient to see everything and take lots of pictures.

Tip: Since the Big Buddha is a religious site, please dress appropriately. Females should cover their shoulders and wear pants that are at least knee length. If you feel you are dressed inappropriately, the site centre will let you borrow a sarong for free.

 

4) Enjoy the Ocean Views from a Rooftop Pool

phuket
rooftoppoolthailand
rooftop pool

Many hotels in Phuket offer a rooftop pool at affordable prices. I recommend the Pacific Club Resort, a small boutique hotel located on a hill in Karon Beach.

The resort is located approximately 15 minutes from Karon town, which has many restaurants and shops. Not only can you soak in the gorgeous views, but the rooftop pool will be less crowded and more private.

5) Get a Massage

Massage parlors are prevalent throughout Phuket. With a variety of options at extremely affordable prices, it’s a must to get a massage! After all, you are on vacation to unwind and relax.

6) Check out Bangla Road

bangla road

Located in Patong Beach, Bangla Road is nicknamed the mini Vegas. At night, the road is closed off to vehicles and becomes a large party of dance clubs, go go dancers, pubs, and restaurants.

Whether you want to chill at a bar while chatting with friends, listen to a live band, or go full out at a dance club, Bangla Road is the place for night entertainment. This road is packed, especially on Fridays and Saturday, from sundown until sunrise.

7) Get Food and Souvenirs at the Night Market

nightmarket

Almost every town in Phuket has a night market. Simply walk around town and look for lines of white tents selling souvenirs or freshly made food.

In my opinion, night markets offer the best variety of souvenir choices including: bags, tshirts, candy, buddha statues, magnets, handmade jewelry, and hats at affordable prices.

8) Take an Authentic Cooking Class

thaicooking

A Thailand trip is not complete without taking a cooking class. If you like green curry, pad thai, pad see ew, tom yum soup, and all the other Thai dishes, wouldn’t it be great if you learned how to make it? Heck yes!

Here are some of the top rated cooking classes in Phuket:

  • Phuket Thai Cooking Class
  • Kata Thai Cooking Class
  • Phuket Easy Thai Cooking
  • Phuket Thai Cookery School
  • Pum Thai Cooking School

Most classes are a few hours long and will teach you how to make at least 4 different types of Thai dishes. Bon Appetit!




9) Visit Wat Chalong

watchalong

Wat Chalong, which is located in Mueang Phuket District, is the most revered temple in all of Phuket.

Open from 7am-5pm, visitors from all around the world flock over to this temple to see the beautiful architecture and learn more about Buddhism and the temple’s history.

As always, please be respectful to the Buddha and monks by dressing appropriately and removing your shoes before entering the temple.

 

10) Go on a day trip to the Surin Islands or Similan Islands

surin islands

The Surin Islands are located approximately 60 km from Phuket, whereas the Similan Islands are approximately 110 km from Phuket. Since both islands are located several hours away by ferry and 1-2 hours by speedboat, it’s best to leave at the crack of dawn to have sufficient time to explore the islands.

Most visitors come to the Surin and Similan Islands for the excellent snorkeling and scuba diving options, clear waters, lush coral reefs, smaller crowds, and hiking.

 

Final Thoughts

I hope this guide about the 10 Best Things to do in Phuket, Thailand was helpful for you!

Although only 10 attractions/activities were mentioned, there is so much more to do.

At a minimum, 3-4 full days should be enough to see the main attractions. In order to experience all that Phuket has to offer and to immerse yourself in the Thai culture, I recommend staying for a week.

What activities are you most interested in doing in Phuket? Let me know in the comments below and thank you for reading!

 

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Featured
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in Thailand

Krabi Itinerary: 3 Day Itinerary for Krabi, ThailandFeatured

krabi

Krabi is a province located on Thailand’s southern tip, and is characterized by majestic limestone cliffs, sandy beaches, and over 100 islands.

As one of the most popular destinations in all of Asia due to its prime weather, beautiful beaches, and cheap accomodation and food, it’s no wonder everyone is flocking towards Krabi.

I was ecstatic when my boyfriend and I finally booked the hotels and flights for our Thailand adventure in mid November.

Before Krabi, we stayed in Chiang Mai for 3 days, and you can read about all the things to do, see, and eat HERE.

Although we only stayed in Krabi for 3 full days, I highly recommend that you stay for a few extra days to really see all that Krabi has to offer.

With that said, let’s begin the itinerary, where I will show you how to spend 3 days in Krabi, Thailand.

Best Time to Go

krabi thailand

Krabi experiences a tropical climate throughout the year, and has both dry and wet seasons.

May-October are typically the wet months, with a higher chance of rain, followed by monsoon winds.

November-April are considered the dry months, with temperatures reaching the mid-90’s during the day.

We went to Thailand from November 14-26, and it was extremely hot and humid!

In my opinion, November-March are the best times to go; however, it is also considered to be peak season, so you will experience higher hotel and flight prices.

Where to Stay

krabi resort

We stayed at Krabi Resort, which is a traditional villa style resort located in Ao Nang, just a short walk to our very own private beach!

The resort has two pools and offers a complimentary breakfast buffet every single day.

Also situated in the center of town, the resort is conveniently located near tons of restaurants and shops.

3 Day Itinerary for Krabi, Thailand

Day 1: Railay Beach and Ao Nang

railay beach

Railay Beach is one of the most iconic beaches in all of Thailand, and is only accessible by boat because of the limestone cliffs surrounding the beach.

If you decide to stay in Ao Nang, head over to the beach and you will find numerous longtail boats close to shore.

The Ao Nang Longtail boat services charges 200 baht per round trip ticket to Railay Beach, and the boatride is approximately 15 minutes each way.

Try to minimize the amount of stuff you bring and wear flip flops and shorts because you have to wade through the water to climb onto the boat. The boat is not very steady and may seem scary at first, but it is the only method of transport to Railay Beach.

The last boat ride is at 6pm, so make sure you don’t stay too late or else you won’t be able to get back to your hotel.

railay beach

Since Railay Beach is a popular destination, try to arrive early to beat the crowd.

The beach is quite large with restaurants, shops, and hotels. Kayaks are also available for rent and are great options for exploring the ocean and seeing the limestone cliffs up close.

Although the water at Railay Beach is not as clear compared to some of the other beaches in Krabi, the water is extremely calm and pleasant to chill in.

We spent half our time bobbing in the water, and the other half tanning on the beach.

Warning: Thailand is known for having jellyfish in the water.

We both got stung in on our legs, and the affected area got bumpy and red at first. There was some pain, but it went away within a day.

If you get stung, try not to fret and get out of the water as soon as possible. Find the nearest restaurant and ask for some vinegar to rub on your sting.

Make sure to seek medical attention, if the pain does not go away.

Ao Nang

Once you arrive back to Ao Nang, I recommend you grab dinner at the local night market.

When we were in Krabi, there was a night market directly across the street from the Krabi Resort.

The night market consisted of approximately 20-30 booths that served a variety of quick bites including fried shrimp tempura, chicken tenders, pad thai, noodle soup, fresh seafood, burgers, and smoothies.

The food there is cheap and won’t break the bank.

After your belly is full, walk down the street and explore Ao Nang town. There are lots of massage parlors that offer a variety of massages at affordable prices and lots of souvenir shops.

Day 2: Phi Phi Islands

monkey beach thailand

Phi Phi Island is the superstar island of all islands in Thailand.

Many movies have been shot there, and it’s no mystery why. As one of the most hyped islands, the beaches and views are beyond beautiful.

When approached by ferry, the island looks like a jungle you see in the movies. I immediately fell in love!

Phi Phi Island is about a 2 hour ferry ride from Krabi and offers a variety of activities to do. Some of the best things to do include:

  • Monkey Beach
  • Maya Bay
  • Deaf Gecko Climbing at Tonsai Bay
  • Bamboo Island
  • Mosquito Island
  • Snorkel at Hat Yao
  • Kayak at Ko Phi Phi
  • Climb up to Phi Phi Viewpoint

 

Phi Phi Island does not have tuk tuks or taxis, so you have to walk around the island or take a longtail boat.

We booked our roundtrip tickets on www.phuketferry.com from Ao Nang to Phi Phi, and it also included a private taxi that picked us up from our hotel and dropped us off at our hotel.

The roundtrip ticket was about $43 for each person.

The ferry left Ao Nang at 930am and left Phi Phi at 330pm. With only 4 hours on Phi Phi, we felt rushed for time but enjoyed every minute.

phi phi islands

Monkey Beach

We took a longtail boat from Tonsai Bay (the place where the ferry drops everyone off) to Monkey Beach.

The boat cost us 1,000 baht for a private round trip ride to stay on the island for 1 hour.

With our professional bargaining skills, we were able to stay on the beach for an extra half hour!

Don’t be afraid to bargain because the Thai people will not hesitate to overcharge you.

Monkey Beach is a beautiful and small land of paradise located about a 10 minute boat ride from Tonsai Bay.

It has recently become more touristy and crowded; luckily, when we went, it was not too crowded.

The sand is undeniably soft, water is clear, and the views are brilliant.

Within minutes upon arriving at Monkey Beach, I spotted several monkeys. Oh my, were they were adorable.

I brought a basket with our beach towels and camera gear inside.

The monkeys cautiously approached us and sat next next to us with their innocent faces. We naturally took some pictures…

Then, the monkeys came up to our basket and tried to open it, looking for food and other goodies that they could snatch!

Aghast, we shooed the monkeys away but they were persistent and kept coming back. Eventually, we had to leave our basket in the longtail boat so the monkeys would not steal our stuff.

Although the monkeys look cute, they are not scared of humans and will act aggressively if you taunt them.

After putting our stuff in the longtail boat, we finally were able to go in the water and snorkel.

The water is extremely calm and clear so it makes snorkeling a piece of cake; however, due to all the tourists stepping on the corals and wearing toxic sunscreens, all the coral at Monkey beach were dead.

Even though we didn’t see any fish, we had a great time using our snorkeling gear and paddling around.

monkey
monkey

Before taking the ferry back to Ao Nang, we stopped at Lucky 13 Sandwich for lunch.

This is a slightly upscale restaurant that serves delectable sandwiches and burgers. They have several locations throughout Thailand and I would recommend you try this place!

 

Pro Tip: Try not to bring anything to Monkey beach or the monkeys may steal them from you. Book your ferry ahead of time and decide whether or not you want to stay overnight.

 

Day 3: 4 Island Tour (Poda, Tup, Phra Nang, and Chicken)

tup island

The infamous 4 island tour is something most tourists do when they go to Krabi.

This tour is great for seeing multiple islands in one day, especially if you are short on time.

The tour can be done by booking it online ahead of time or renting a private longtail boat.

We booked a private longtail boat for a few hours with an awesome German couple, who happened to stay at the same resort as us. What a coincidence!

Since we had a late lunch, we did not start our tour until 2:30, which meant we only had time to visit 3 islands: Poda, Tup, and Chicken.

The first island was Poda and it took about 25 minutes to get there.

Poda Island was the most crowded out of all 3 islands, but we were able to snorkel and see lots and lots of cute little fish in the water. I kid you not, I saw about 100 fish. It was so amazing!

tup island

After Poda Island, we set off to Tup and Chicken Island, which happened to be connected to each other, and about a 5 minute boat ride from Poda Island.

Getting off the boat was slightly difficult because the floor was covered in small rocks that made it painful to walk on. Luckily, we brought water shoes, which helped minimize the pain.

Both Tup and Chicken Island were pretty empty so it felt as if we had the entire islands to ourselves. We walked all the way from Tup Island to Chicken Island.

These two islands are great for relaxing and seeing the natural and untouched beauty of Thailand. Except for a small and empty shack, you will not find any restaurants or stores on Tup or Chicken Island.

At the end of Chicken Island, there is a large tide pool with starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and other mysterious sea creatures.  

Tip: If you ask your boat driver to go around Chicken Island, you will see a rock formation toward the edge of the island that is shaped like the head of a chicken!

Bring your snorkel gear and water shoes to make the most of your 4 island tour trip!

chicken island thailand

Other Activities to do in Krabi

  • Take a day trip to Koh Lanta – Clear water that is perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling. The downside is that the ferry ride is long.
  • Visit the Hong Islands – A great island but is touristy.
  • Visit a temple in Wat Tham Sua – Located in the caves
  • Take a refreshing dip at Klong Thom Hot Springs
  • Party at Ao Nang Beach – There are lots of bars to choose from
  • Visit the Krabi Elephant Jungle Sanctuary – Never ride elephants because they have delicate spines.

Thoughts

  • Thailand is a beautiful country! Always pick up your trash before you leave.
  • Wear reef safe sunscreen
  • Use a lot of mosquito repellant. Mosquitos love American blood! I got  bit more times than I can remember.
  • Keep your belongings with you at all times
  • Exchange your money at exchange booths. The exchange rate is 1 US Dollar = 32  Thai Baht

 

Krabi is one of my favorite destinations of all time, and I would happily go back.

It is a land full of adventures, beautiful sights, sunny weather, and delicious food. With over 100 islands in Krabi Province, you’ll never run out of things to do or see.

What places do you want to go to in Krabi? Have you already been to Krabi? If so, what did you like most?

krabi
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elephantjunglesanctuary
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Budget Friendly 3 Day Itinerary for Chiang Mai

elephantjunglesanctuary

General Tips to Know for Chiang Mai

Currency: 1 US dollar = 33 thai baht

Here are some money tips: 

1) Before leaving for Thailand, make sure to call your bank to let them know that you will be traveling so your card does not get declined when you withdraw money.

2) Bring cash with you to Thailand and then exchange it into Thai baht at an exchange booth.

3) ATMs charge a withdrawal fee of approximately $6.50. Some banks will reimburse you for all fees incurred abroad.

4) Credit cards are rarely used. Cash is preferred.

Dress Code: During the summer, Women can wear shorts, tank tops, and dresses. However, when going to temples, women should make sure to dress appropriately by covering their shoulders and wearing pants that are at least knee length. The same applies to men.

Transportation: The old city, which is surrounded by 4 gates, is where most tourists stay. Transportation is extremely easy as you can choose from a taxi, tuk tuk, or songtaew (thai taxi) to get around. It’s even possible to walk around the old city on foot as long as you wear comfortable shoes.

 

Language: Most of the locals living in Thailand speak thai; however, do not fret because most of them speak some sort of basic english. Additionally, a lot of the signs are in both thai and english.

Food: There are tons of restaurants in Chiang Mai. Most of the restaurants serve thai food, but there are also a few that serve American style food. Night markets are also another good option because there are many booths that offer cheap, fresh, and tasty food.

Accommodation: You will find a lot of boutique hotels in Old City. I stayed at Estia Hotel, located in the middle of Old City, which was close to all the main shops and restaurants, as well as the Sunday night market.

 

estiahotel

Essentials to Bring/Buy: Bugspray, sunscreen, pepto-bismol, and probiotics

Water: Drink bottled water and stay away from tap water. Ice is fine because most of the restaurants get their ice from ice factories, which use purified water.

Special Event: If you happen to visit Chiang Mai on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month, it is a must to experience the Loi Krathong festival. The Loi Krathong festival is an annual event in which krathongs (baskets) are placed in the moat surrounding Chiang Mai to show respect to the Buddha. During the same time the kratongs are placed in the water, lanterns are released into the sky. If the Loi Krathong festival is on your bucket list, make sure to book your hotel room early.

Day 1

After checking into your hotel and depending on what time of the day it is, you may want to rest, get food, or start exploring the city.

If you decide to get lunch, go to Keatocha, which serves delicious Hainanese chicken, fried chicken, and chicken satay. The food is cheap and always packed with a lot of people.

Just a few minutes walk from Keatocha is a small temple called Wat Inthakin Sadue Muang located in the center of the old city. Surrounding the temple are adorable baby buddha statues.

The temple will only take 5-10 minutes of your time. After, walk around old city and check out the souvenir shops and food stands. There is no “correct” path that you should take; just go wherever your heart desires.

During your walk, make sure to stop by an exchange booth to exchange your money into thai bahts. The exchange rate is 1 dollar to approximately 31-33 thai bahts.

If time permits, visit Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh.

wat inthakin sadue muang

Day 2

chiangmaielephant
elephant

Book a half day morning tour with the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary (They also offer a half day afternoon tour and a full day tour).

I advise that you book the tour on their website ahead of time to ensure the tickets do not sell out. The tour is extremely popular!

On the day of the tour, a jeep will pick you up at your hotel between 630am-7am. It will also stop at other hotels to pick up more people until the jeep has a total of 10 passengers.

Once everyone has been picked up, the ride to the sanctuary, which is approximately 1 hour and a half, will begin. The ride will stop halfway at a market for a 15 minute food and bathroom break. Towards the end of the ride, it gets extremely bumpy because the roads are not paved. 

Once the jeep parks, there will be a short 10 minute walk to one of the elephant camps, which houses 5 elephants.

Enjoy time feeding the elephants lots of bananas, massaging the elephant’s body with mud, and then bathing in the river with them to wash off the mud. Lastly, you will eat a homemade lunch before heading back to the hotel around 1pm.

What to Bring

Before heading out to the elephant tour, I suggest wearing a swimsuit under your clothes, bringing an extra set of clothes, a towel, waterproof case for your phone, and sunscreen.

After the Elephant Tour

After getting back to your hotel, get some rest at the hotel or pamper yourself with a traditional thai massage. Massage parlors are located on almost every street and prices are always more than reasonable.

If you are not tired for the elephant tour, take a tuk tuk to the silver temple. The Wat Sri Suphan temple is located just outside of the Old City and is known for its impressive hand crafted silver decoration.

Due to old buddhist rules, women are not allowed inside of the temple, so they can only walk around.

For dinner, give Dash  a try. Consistently ranked in the top 5 restaurants in Chiang Mai, Dash is beautiful and has a great lively atmosphere. The green curry, fried noodles, and drinks are top notch. The restaurant is extremely popular with tourists so there may be a wait. 

Day 3

Take a 45 minute songtaew ride up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple, one of Thailand’s most venerable temples. Admission into Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is 30 thai baht per person and there is a short walk up some stairs to reach the temple.

The temple itself has a magnificent chedi that is made completely from gold, and includes lots of statues and paintings. Since the temple is located high in the mountains, you will get a great panoramic view of Chiang Mai.

There are also many shops and small restaurants located near the entrance of Doi Suthep temple in case you get hungry or want some souvenirs.

If you are adventurous and up for a challenge, hike to either Sai Yoi waterfall or Mon Tha Than waterfall. The trail takes approximately 2.5 hours so make sure you wear running shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

When you finish seeing all the sights at Doi Suthep National park, there are songtaews lined up at the Doi Suthep entrance. The songtaew will take you back to the Old City gate for only 60 thai baht.

For lunch, head on over to Umakutegoukyura-men Ramen, a small restaurant located in the middle of Old City that offers a wide variety of delicious ramen.

        

ramen

Last but not least, if you happen to be in Chiang Mai on a Sunday, take a stroll at the Sunday night market (aka the most popular night market in Chiang Mai).

The night market runs along the entire length of Ratchadamnoen road and is open from 4pm-midnight.

Why is this night market so popular?

The market consists of hundreds of small booths selling handmade artwork, jewelry, clothing, food, bags, lamps, and more! It is literally a souvenirs galore type of market.

 

Pro tips:

1) The night market gets extremely crowded so keep a close eye on your backpack/purse to not get anything stolen.                                                                                                                                                                                         

2) Bargain with the merchants to try and get a cheaper price.

Chiang Mai is a wonderful city full of history and lots to see.

Although 3 days is not nearly enough time to see everything, it’s more than enough to get an idea and visit the main popular sites. As long as you visit at least 3 of the attractions listed above, you will have a blast.

Where in Chiang Mai are you burning to go?

Let me know in the comments below. Thanks! 🙂

chiangmaielephants
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Featured
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East Oahu – Fun Things to DoFeatured

east oahu

         Venturing out to the east side of the island is a must do while on Oahu. A trip without a visit to the naturally beautiful and less crowded east coast means you don’t get to truly experience all the wonders of what Oahu has to offer. Unlike Waikiki, the east side of the island does not have multi-million dollar sky rises or lines of designer shops and high end restaurants.  It definitely will have a place in my heart for a long time.

         Instead, the east side of the island is a dream come true for those who enjoy the outdoors and the ocean. The beaches are less packed and stunning in ways that words cannot fully describe. Small and authentic restaurants serve fresh pulled luau pork, sweet tropical fruit juices, and poi. The options are endless!

         Now, lets start with how to get to East Oahu from Waikiki.

 

Getting to East oahu

Taken from the car on the highway to East Oahu

         If you are staying in Waikiki, it is generally a good idea to either take an Uber/Lyft or rent a car for 1-2 days to get to the east side of the island. There are a multitude of car rental stations that you can choose from with discounted pricing and flexible options to meet your needs.

         The drive from Waikiki to the east Oahu takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on whether or not you decide to make stops along the way. Although the drive is somewhat long in length, the beautiful sights throughout the ride are 100% worth the drive. The two main highways, H3 and 61, are the two choices to get you from Waikiki to east Oahu. The highways are surrounded by magnificent, towering mountain ranges and millions and millions of trees.

         No matter if I looked left, right, straight, or behind, I was greeted by green vegetation everywhere! I really felt as if I was in a jungle…something I never get to experience in Los Angeles.

 

things to do

1. Go on a tour at kualoa ranch

east oahu
View from the jungle jeep tour
jurassic park
Ah, I'm about to Enter Jurassic World. Dinosaurs don't exist, right?

         Have you ever watched Jurassic World or Jurassic Park? If so, then you will definitely want to spend some time at Kualoa Ranch. Why? Because, put simply, Kualoa Ranch is the place where they filmed the movies. It is an undeniably gorgeous working ranch with horses, cows, chickens, cats, and more. Kualoa Ranch offers various tours including: UTV raptor tours, jungle jeep expeditions, zipline tours, ATV tours, horseback riding tours, and movie walkthrough tours. With reasonable pricing ranging from $30 to $100+, these popular tours sell out fast and it is highly recommended to book them at least 2 weeks – 1 month in advance.

         My family and I did the jungle jeep tour and we had such a blast! The jungle jeep tour lasted about 1.5 hours total and was $45.95 for each adult ticket. The tour guide gave us detailed information about the Hawaiian culture, talked about the different films shot at Kualoa ranch, and even gave everyone a freshly plucked strawberry guava to sample. Man, the strawberry guava was sour! BUT also delicious… I guess it was comparable to a sour patch gummy.

         Not only did we absorb interesting cultural information, but we also got fabulous views and pictures of Kualoa ranch, Chinaman’s hat, and of Kualoa beach throughout the tour. There was not a second where I was bored, especially because of the bumpy ride that felt almost like a roller coaster. The jungle jeep tour was worth it, and I would definitely do it again in a heartbeat.

 

2. Visit kualoa park and kayak to chinaman's hat

dolcegal

         Kualoa Regional Park is literally a one minute drive from Kualoa Ranch. I got stunning views of the park, ocean, and Chinaman’s hat while at Kualoa Ranch. Kualoa Regional park is an actual park right next to the beach. There are several benches to sit and eat lunch or BBQ your own food. My family and I went to an authentic Hawaiian cafe beforehand and got to-go orders of Kalua Pig and Poi. It was relaxing eating our lunch at the park with the waves crashing onto the shore and the gentle wind blowing around.

         Chinaman’s Hat, also known as Mokoli’i Island, has been termed that nickname because the island itself resembles the hat of a Chinaman. It is located about ⅓ of a mile offshore of Kualoa point. If you crave adventure, feel free to rent a kayak from Hawaii Beach Time. Hawaii Beach Time offers free delivery to any beach on the island, like Kualoa Regional beach. Choose from kayaks and paddle boards to beach chairs and umbrellas. Although I did not kayak to Chinaman’s hat, I did my research beforehand and I would have used Hawaii Beach Time.

         From various reviews on Yelp and Tripadvisor, kayaking to the island takes approximately 20 minutes. Some reviewers noted that during low tide, it is even possible to wade, or walk, over to the island. Just make sure to check the tide levels beforehand, or it will be a somewhat difficult swim and back. Also, bring water shoes so you don’t cut your feet on anything sharp on the seafloor. Safety first!

 

3. visit the legendary sandbar

sandbar
Me sitting on the seafloor - I will never forget this moment
kaneohe bay
That "dark stuff" is coral

         On my last day of the trip, my parents and I took an Uber to He’eia State park. I previously made a reservation for a 4 hour self guided kayak tour on www.holokaiadventures.com in order to kayak to the legendary Sandbar. Upon our arrival at He’eia state park, we checked in at the front desk, signed a waiver, and took a short trek to the kayak dock. The helpful employee at the kayak dock gave us a waterproof map, life vests, and quick instructions on how to kayak (and how to get ourselves back in the kayak in case we flipped over…AHH).

         The kayak adventure took a terrifying, yet thrilling 45 minutes from shore to the Sandbar. For inexperienced Kayakers like myself and my mom, I sure had lots of confidence. Originally, I thought to myself…how hard can it be to kayak in the ocean? I’ve kayaked several times in lakes, this should be no different. Er, no. Big no.

         The first 5-10 minutes were quite pleasant. We laughed, smiled, and took a bunch of selfies. Everything was great. Then, came the ginormous patches of coral in the water. They were so large that our kayak touched the coral reefs numerous times, even accidentally breaking off small bits of the coral. After maneuvering our way farther into the ocean, the water began to get darker and the waves stronger. We furiously paddled our way through the “rough waters” and throughout that time, my heart was beating so fast because we were literally the only kayak, and humans, in the water. We were totally scared out of our minds and just wanted to get to land as fast as possible.

         30 minutes later, soaked with ocean water and drenched in sweat, we finally made it to the sandbar!

         Oh my god, it was so amazing. Words cannot describe the beauty of this wondrous place. The sandbar, which is the largest saltwater sandbar in the world, is basically a white beach in the middle of the vast ocean. After anchoring our kayak in the sandbar, we hopped off into the water. It was around 9 am and low tide so the water went as high as our ankles. It was an amazing experience being able to stand in the middle of the ocean and get stunning views of the the lush mountain ranges, Mokoli’i island, and Coconut island. There were only a few other boats so it felt as if we had the same sandbar/ocean to ourselves! A group of people eve brought their own beach chairs and umbrellas, relaxing while drinking a beer. What a dream come true. 

         If you decide to venture out to the sandbar, make sure to look at the tide levels beforehand. The Sandbar can only really be experienced when the tide is low, or else the water levels will be too high for you to stand in. Going in the early morning is preferable than in the afternoon because the tide will be much lower. Although kayaking to the sandbar was terrifying, I did not regret it one bit. If you ask me whether I want to go to the Sandbar, I will say YES! But via kayak? Hmm, I may prefer going by boat next time haha. Not only did we get an awesome arm workout from kayaking, but we had plenty of time to soak in the views of the sandbar and take lots of memorable photos and videos.

 

Victorious Shot after Kayaking in the Ocean. Yay me!

These were the only places I personally visited in East Oahu. Each and every place was stunning in its own way and I highly recommend visiting all three places if time permits.

Other places to visit in east oahu

4) Lanikai Beach: A beautiful and popular beach spot destination. Great for snorkeling!

5) Lanikai Pillbox Hike: Depending on how far you go, this hike offers spectacular views of the ocean, especially during sunrise and sunset. It can get crowded at times…so the earlier, the better!

6) Waimanalo Bay: Another beautiful beach area that is typically less crowded.

7) Makapu’u Point: Also along the coast and it even has an awesome tide pool. Great for the kids!

kaneohe bay

       East Oahu should be experienced at least once in your life. A good 2-3 days should suffice to see everything; however, if time allows, spend as much time there and just relax…I mean, that is what a vacation is for. Right?

        I hope this post was helpful and gives you a better idea of what fun things you can do on your next trip to East Oahu. As always, I would love to hear you feedback. Feel free to leave a comment below or email me. 

         If you haven’t already, check out my first blog on the Best Things Do In Honolulu – A Travel Guide  

Thank you so much for reading!!!

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