Guide to 5 Days on Oahu: Day 4

The drive up to Pali lookout is full of unspoken tension. The air is so thick and humid you could almost taste the rain from earlier. Everyone is on guard like as if at any moment something or someone would appear in front of us. “Are we sure about this?” I ask Duke. Duke nods hesitantly and takes a deep breath. I turn my gaze back on the road. I just can’t shake this eerie feeling of what lies ahead of us. The road to Pali lookout is pitch black. There’s a reason for that. There are no other cars on the road at this time of night. The car’s dim headlights provide visibility within a few feet. It seems like the Moon is following us. Playing hide and seek behind the clouds above. The cloudy night adding an air of uneasiness among the three of us.
12 Hours Earlier…
Today is our fourth and last full day on the island. Today’s agenda as promised includes a hike to a waterfall, visiting a couple of beaches, picnic on the beach and a late dinner in downtown Waikiki.
There’s nothing like waking up on the last day of vacation. Everything seems like it’s on borrowed time. So, you try to squeeze everything to fit everything in.
Let’s take our breakfast to go to fuel our bodies for today’s hike. The forecast is promising. Sunny with a slight chance of rain. We’re hiking to Manoa Falls and I would classify it as a moderate hike. You’ll be gaining elevation as you follow the trail. The trail is often slippery and muddy. Don’t wear white shorts. You’ve been warned. The trail itself is very scenic like you’re in the set of Lost. Stop and take photos of the local Flora and Fauna. There’s no rush. Enjoy walking along the bamboo lined trail. However, my only real suggestion is to start the hike early. You have a better chance of finding parking at the base of the trail. The earlier the better. There’s a small fee for parking. Bring cash and always hide your valuables for obvious reasons. Once you reach the end of the trail you will probably encounter other people taking photos of the 150-ft. tall waterfall. Be patient and wait your turn. There’s a small raised platform where people can take photos from. You are not allowed to swim in this one unfortunately.
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Time to head to the beach. Let’s take a drive to Waimanalo Beach and wash the sweat and the mud off our legs. Let’s ride the waves and use our bodies as surfboards. Let’s take this opportunity to burn off all the rich food we had the past few days on the island. Waimanalo is known for its rough waves and scenic backdrop. And when you’re done body surfing and you’ve worked up an appetite, let’s head to the nearby restaurants. We have plenty to choose from. I recommend the following places in no order:
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Keneke’s WaimanaloOno’s Steak and Shrimp ShackHawaiian Island Cafe
Keneke’s WaimanaloOno’s Steak and Shrimp ShackHawaiian Island Cafe
We decide to get a snack at Hawaiian Island Cafe and get a meal to go from Keneke’s Waimanalo. The day is sweltering hot, so shave ice is in order.
Let’s head to Kailua Beach to wind down and have a picnic. The calm waves and trees providing shade make this beach one of my favorites. There are plenty of activities to do here. They have kayaking, paddle boarding, kite surfing, you name it.
Maybe it’s weird maybe it’s not but this beach is also home to the bird man. It’s basically this guy who gets followed by a bunch of pigeons just like the bird lady from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. It’s fascinating.
guide to oahu
It’s getting dark soon. Why don’t we head back to Waikiki? On the way back, we’ll stop by the famous Pali lookout.
Pali Lookout
I turn the music down like I’m operating on cruise control. I don’t know why people have the urge to turn the volume down when they’re driving and looking for something. In that moment we find the turn to Pali Lookout. It must have been what I did, I think to myself. “Turn here!”
We arrive and find the place dark and desolate. “Just park by the curb…. Just in case,” I tell Duke. “Just in case we need to bolt out of here?” he replies back. History tells us that King Kamehameha I conquered Oahu in the Battle of Nu’uanu Pali. They say that it was one of the bloodiest battles in the history of Hawaii. It was right here, where men faced their deaths off of the same cliffs we’re facing now. We learned about this a couple of years ago when we were a part of a tour group. It was also day time when we first arrived here two years ago and our tour guide then pointed out the location of Gilligan’s Island. The fact that we’re here at night adds a sense of taboo. The lookout is a couple hundred yards above the parking lot. The howling winds pushing us back down telling us we’re not supposed to be here. It is very windy up here. The view from up here is breath taking. It definitely looks different from day time. The lights from the houses and buildings below add a sense of disconnect like I’m far detached from civilization. Up here, I could scream my lungs out and no one could hear me. This is a place where you don’t want to linger. Appreciate the view and know its history. “Let’s go home….ahhh!!! *Expletive deleted*!” A vision of Massimo with a flashlight under his chin appears in front of me.
We walk to the car relatively fast. “Oh shoot!” A car approaches and parks behind our car. “We’re done for!” Our hearts skip a beat as we wait for the driver to come out. “Aloha! says the friendly voice of the driver and out comes a couple of kids trying to spook each other. “Whew! That was a close one. Let’s go back and have dinner. I think we’ve had too much excitement for one day.”
Waikiki shopping plaza
Come here for the night life and late night eats. Check out the Japanese food court. Are you craving ramen and tempura? You’ve come to the right place. This feels like an authentic Japanese dining experience if you asked me.
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Duke’s Marketplace
I definitely recommend coming here because you’ll find clothes and souvenirs that you won’t find anywhere else on the island. Try haggling, it never hurts to ask.
Tomorrow we go home. Let’s get some sleep and wake up early to catch the sunrise on the beach.
Check out Day 3 if you haven’t already.

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