Travel Guide to Oahu, Hawaii

Aloha

Welcome to the ultimate guide to visiting Oahu, Hawaii. 

Intended for everyone planning a trip to see the beautiful island, this blog post will serve as your Covid-safe travel guide to booking your flights, stay as well as recommendations for must-eats and activities.


Before We Begin

Please be sure to follow CDC guidelines on protecting yourself and others from Covid during your travels and use your best judgement on traveling during a pandemic.


Flights

Travel Requirements

A mandatory Covid test is required by the State of Hawaii and you must test negative for Covid in order to be exempt from quarantine on the island. Please review Hawaii's Travel Requirements prior to visiting Hawaii and be sure to follow all of the guidelines shared on the State's web site.


Booking

The most convenient way of searching for flights to HNL, which is short for Honolulu International Airport, is using the Google Flights tool. If you're in California like me, a simple search of entering your preferred airport as your departure location and HNL as your destination, Google will populate prices based on the date range you selected. As of early 2021, the following is the price range for traveling from two major cities in California to HNL throughout the year:

LAX (Los Angeles) to HNL: $273 - $421

SFO (San Francisco) to HNL: $251 - $453

Prices do fluctuate depending on which month you are planning to travel to Oahu and it's worth noting that flights are typically 40-50% higher during the holidays in late November and December. 


Stay

In my experience, I find that visiting Hawaii for a minimum of 5 nights is necessary as the flight time can be quite long at about 6 hours each way from California. I recommend booking your departure flight early in the morning before 9am and return flight in the mid afternoon before 3pm to maximize the time you have on the island.


Lodging

What's fascinating about Oahu is that the island has the perfect mix of both nature and city surroundings. If you are spending a minimum of 5 days on the island, I recommend booking two different stays with one in Waikiki Beach and the other on the North Shore. However if you're a city girl like me, booking two separate stays in the Waikiki area to experience different style of lodging is also a great option.


Waikiki

Both gorgeous and lively, Waikiki is the heart of Oahu situated on the southwest region with its famous Waikiki Beach, luxury resorts and unique eats that you may only find in other parts of the world. I had the pleasure to stay at the following two hotels while visiting Waikiki:


Alohilani Resort @alohilaniresort

Shared directly from their Instagram bio, "A CondΓ© Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2020 Recipient; Vote in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2021", Alohilani Resort is the definition of modern elegance when it comes to hotels. What impressed me about this resort is their infinity pool that looks out to Waikiki Beach and relaxing live music that plays throughout the week in their pool lounge. Location is also highly ideal being directly across from the beach and walking distance from shops and local eats.



Queen Kapiolani Hotel @queenkapiolanihotel

Casual, easy-going vibes with a boutique touch, Queen Kapiolani hotel welcomes their guests with colorful decor, panoramic view of Diamond Head and a communal co-working space at their lobby floor. Although Queen Kapiolani is also situated in Waikiki, it is much quieter compared to hotels near the beach and I felt as if I could connect more to the nature of Oahu with views of gorgeous mountains.


Important Note
Both hotels take handling Covid very seriously and emphasize the priority of their guest's well-being. I personally felt very safe during both of my stays and it ultimately made my trip more enjoyable knowing that I could rely on their safety measures. For more info, visit their individual health & safety pages.


Food

Food options are plenty on the island and lucky for visitors, majority of them are open during the pandemic. I made a goal to support and give back to local businesses on the island while practicing social distancing in all of my dining experience. Recommending a few of my favorites in the following categories:


Snacks

Musubi Cafe @musubi_cafe_iyasume πŸ™

Relax by the beach and grab a musubi (or 3) from Musubi Cafe in Waikiki. The restaurant is pick up only as seating is closed for safety reasons.


Try these:
  • Salmon Mayo
  • Tuna Mayo
  • Small Fish Jako Musubis

Leonard's Bakery @leonardsbakeryhawaii  🍬

One of the most well known spots in Oahu, Leonard's Bakery specializes in malasadas or sometimes called "Portuguese Fried Dough" that can be filled in different delicious flavors in the center.

Try these:

  • Custard Malasadas puffs
  • Guava Malasadas puffs
  • Seasonal Malasadas puffs (The flavor was Taro when I visited)

Cow Cow's Tea @cowcowstea πŸ§‹ 

A twist from the typical boba shop, Cow Cow offers a variety of yogurt drinks topped with mildly sweet rice in the color purple.

Try this:

  • Purple Rice Yogurt Drink with Taro Flavor


Breakfast/Brunch

Rainbow Drive-in @rainbowdrivein 🌈

Outdoor seating at the Drive-In is open with customers being mindful of keeping at least 6 ft apart from each other. The lunch plates here have a variety of selections and it's the perfect brunch spot to fill you up before a full day of activities around the island.

Try this:

  • Portuguese Sausage with 2 Eggs Plat
  • Mixed Plate (BBQ Beef, Boneless Chicken and Mahi Mahi)

Ono Seafood @ono.seafood πŸ™

My trip in Oahu was not complete without stopping by for local poke. The small market shop called Ono Seafood in Waikiki makes some of the most flavorful ahi poke I've ever tasted.

Try these:

  • Ahi Poke
  • Spicy Ahi Poke

Nico's Pier 38 @nicospier38 🐟

Now moving onto both fried and pan seared fish, Nico's is by the pier with great views into the ocean and sounds of birds chirping nearby. We took advantage of the in door seating at Nico's which made me feel like we're back in our normal settings prior to the pandemic.


Try these:

  • Furikake Pan Seared Salmon
  • Fried Ahi Tuna Belly

Dinner

Pig & The Lady @pigandthelady πŸ₯—

Located in Chinatown, this restaurant was the one we looked forward most to with reservations booked days in advance. 


Try these:

  • Papaya Salad
  • French Onion Dip Bahn Mi
Tamafuji @tamafuji.honolulu πŸ›

A comfort food I'll have over and over again, except this time it's a step above the usual takeout version of tonkatsu. Tamafuji offers a small range of specialty cuts of pork that are fried into perfection.

Try this:

  • Tonkatsu Pork Loin Curry

Hoku @hokusatthekahala 🦞

If you're feeling a little fancier than usual, visit Hoku for their 4-course tasing menu of fine dining and unique flavors. When choosing entree, definitely go for the lobster dish if you're into seafood!



Try theses:

  • Grilled Keyhole Lobster
  • Chocolate Coulant

Activity

What I love about Oahu is the accessibility to hiking trails and gorgeous scenery. I highly recommend scheduling in hikes a few days out of your visit to Oahu. I find myself extra active in hikes that are paired with breathtaking views and climbs that challenge my physical stamina. Sharing three hikes that I would do over and over again:


Diamond Head

A must-hike in Oahu, Diamond Head is a relatively easy hike that took ~20 minutes to reach the very top of the trail. The trail was fairly crowded with tourists but most of everyone that hiked near me were conscious of keeping their distance and wore their masks.



Lankai Pillbox Hike

One of the most windiest hikes I've ever done, Pillbox Hike is a well known spot for visitors with a great view to the ocean and nearby town in Kailua.


Makapu'u Lighthouse

Located in the Makapu'u region of Oahu, this hike feels more secluded having to venture out to drive approximately 30 minutes east of Waikiki. Toughest hike of the three listed here but one of the most rewarding with possible whale sightseeing and serene ocean views that stretch beyond the horizon.


Final Thoughts

Hawaii will always have a special place in my heart. It's the perfect getaway filled with delicious food options, gorgeous sunshine and easy access to nature. While this isn't my first time visiting Hawaii, I think Oahu is by far my favorite island with so much to offer that makes me want to come back for more. 

Interested in travel guides for your future trips? Subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of the page and follow me on Instagram @cece.lam.

Published on 23 January

4 Latest Fashion Trends in LA

Let's face it. For those of us who live in SoCal, we have it pretty good. By good I mean we have the "perfect" weather and experience multiple summers in a year (yup, I declare myself spoiled!). When it comes to styling, our closets are never complicated, given that we only store summer outfits and light jackets! Just kidding. But you get the point. It's hot here and we don't wear too many layers.

One thing I love about LA is the reputation for casual streetwear. Speaking from a millennial's perspective, making everyday fashion less basic and more creative is a skill necessary to fashionistas here. Whether it's finding a new print we crave or bringing back an older style, these are some of the latest fashion trends I discovered in LA.

Trend #1: Palm-print fashion

(ie. workout sets, yoga leggings, bikinis, swimwear)

Casual Streetwear: Latest Fashion Trends in LA

Shop the post:


Trend #2: Branded streetwear from head to toe

(ie. street style with visible branding across all merchandise)

Casual Streetwear: Latest Fashion Trends in LA
Casual Streetwear: Latest Fashion Trends in LA

Shop the post:


Trend #3: Snap-button culottes from the early 2000s

(ie. pants with contrast side panels, casual loose-fit bottoms)

Casual Streetwear: Latest Fashion Trends in LA

Shop the post:




Look #4: Accessorizing with clear frames

(ie. retro-round glasses, oversized glasses, clear lens)

Casual Streetwear: Latest Fashion Trends in LA
Casual Streetwear: Latest Fashion Trends in LA

Shop the post:


Photography (Trend #1, #2, #4): Michelle Lock
Related: 4 Trendy Summer Outfit IdeasLook Smarter, Instantly

Published on 08 October

Swatch: Skinciel Watch 2017


Embrace #YourMovement

Swatch recently debuted a new watch line called SKIN. It features sleek and smooth watches in a variety of colors. Known for its innovative design from Switzerland, Swatch brought a new wave of style with these simple yet beautiful everyday pieces.

Lightweight and comfortable around your wrist, the Skinciel watch is created with a slim silicone band and a high-quality plastic case. Compared to their classic models, the SKIN watches are especially smooth and ultra-thin - ones that truly feel like second skin!


As soon as I put my Skinciel on, I forget about it. It never irritates my wrist and always remains comfortable all day long. You could work out, run errands and sleep while wearing it throughout the day. The simplicity of the design makes it easier to style with any outfit. Especially with the Skinciel's soft blue tone, it is the perfect color for the summer. Additionally, SKIN watches can be unisex with colors and features that stand out to everyone. 


More details of the Skinciel:

Exhibiting a low-profile ultra-thin Swatch case construction, the silver-colored sun-brushed dial features a light blue and white print index. Its 36.8mm double-injection case is split along a curving line composed of a shiny light blue front and shiny white plastic back. The look comes together with a matte light blue silicone strap, white silicone loop and shiny light blue plastic buckle.

Published on 28 August

Look Smarter, Instantly

Growing up with horrible, I mean, horrible eye sight, I dreaded wearing glasses. They're uncomfortable and I spend half my day pushing them up from my nose bridge. Plus, getting made fun of at school for being "four-eyes" puts the cherry on top. But ugh, seriously? The day my mom got me contacts, I (almost) never wore glasses in public again.

Fast forward to 2017, glasses became a fashion trend and they are more than a necessity for your eyes. Embracing all the fun shapes and sizes created for eyewear, I enjoy fashionable glasses way more and love adding it as a final touch to my look. AND - one way to look smarter? Wear glasses!😎 Bringing me to the main focus of today's post.... introducing 2 favorite pairs that make you look smarter, instantly:

Photos by Michelle Lock
The Scientist Look
Oversized frames that not only make your face smaller but your eyes bigger - now that's magic right there. You could literally pull off any look with these. They're sassy, bossy and definitely smart-assy. I'd do anything to replace these with my actual frames. Step up these oversized babies with a sleeveless top and a pair of dark-wash denim for a sophisticated vibe. Shop: http://rstyle.me/~a496r


The Retro Look
MVMT, a fast-growing lifestyle brand, released a collection featuring stylish glasses that went along with their watches. Thanks to MVMT, I got myself a pair of the Icon Clear glasses and the Sunset watch.

Love vintage vibes and I absolutely adore the retro round shape of Icon Clear. The slim frame makes the glasses look extra sleek. The Sunset watch is created with a rose-gold strap and an iridescent crystal case. These retro frames were styled with a maxi dress and an asymmetrical blouse. Dress up or down with these glasses and you still look super smart wherever you go! Shop: http://rstyle.me/~a49aL

Published on 22 August

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