Thursday, September 14, 2006

Top Tip Hawaii: Get On the Bus

The City and County of Honolulu, better known as the island of Oahu, is blessed with outstanding public transportation. Oahu Transit Services, or TheBus, carries over 71 Million passengers each year to every area of the island.

Bus routes are concentrated in Honolulu and Waikiki, with a major transfer hub at the Ala Moana Center. Fares are only $2.00 per ride, regardless of distance. If you’re staying in any of these areas, you don’t need a rental car and you can skip the hassle and expense of parking.

For those looking for a little more adventure, head out beyond the city to connect with real Oahu. Try the Circle Isle Route that cuts through the interior of Oahu past pineapple fields and mountains to follow the North Shore around the eastern side of Oahu and back to Honolulu in under four hours. Make a full day trip out of this route and check out some of the attractions along the way:

Dole Pineapple Plantation
See the world’s largest maze and see how pineapples are cultivated.

Haleiwa
Stroll the streets and check out the art galleries in this laid-back surf town.

Waimea Bay and Valley
Check out this perfect crescent of sand immortalized by the Beach Boys and walk in natural splendor at the Waimea Valley Audubon Center.

Turtle Bay Resort
The only major resort hotel on Oahu’s North Shore is a great dining destination with six fantastic restaurants and bars.

Polynesian Cultural Center
Hawaii’s top paid attraction features cultural exhibits from Hawaiian and other Polynesian cultures like Tongan, Samoan, Tahitian, and Maori.

Be sure to pack a windbreaker or light jacket as weather can change unexpectedly in the islands. Once, because I was unprepared, I felt as though I would freeze to death on the Circle Isle bus after a downpour in Haleiwa – as the powerful air conditioning onboard chilled my wet clothes.

Another caveat, this trip is for adventurous travelers who want to see the island like the locals. TheBus isn’t fast, so try to remember that the journey itself is enough of an attraction. You’ll meet great people from the island, visits places that most tourists don’t see and hear the Hawaiian language spoken. Get a current timetable and get on TheBus.

Photo Credit: Kazuhiko Teramoto, skyseeker.net

1 comment:

mistersugar said...

Fantastic photo, and does it ever bring back memories. When I lived there for two years after college, I religiously bought my monthly pass and, whenever possible, took the round island bus to Haleiwa, Kailua, Kaneohe and other places. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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