Even if you hate traveling and have never gone anywhere in the world, you still know about Hawaii. You might not know the four main islands are called Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island, and you might not know that these islands were formed by underwater volcanoes that erupted thousands of years ago, but you know Hawaii. I visited this famed location last summer and spent my time on the beautiful island of Oahu. These islands are definitely one of the most decorated vacation destinations on the planet, and with the help of some lovely Hawaiian pictures, today we are going to explore why this is.
The most obvious reason for Hawaii's popularity is it's natural beauty. While there are many places in the world that possess sunny skies and blue beaches, Hawaii surpasses them with the variety of their beauty. Not only can you find stunningly blue beaches, but there are some actually mystifying tourist locations, like the Nu'anu Pali Lookout (above). It may look like a still, green panoramic scene from between two mountains, but in reality, this Lookout, just off of the highway, is so windy it'll whisk you off your feet and send you flying. It was genuinely scary trying to take pictures there because I feared I would drop the camera because of the wind. The Pali Lookout is one of the prime examples of how unique Hawaii is; no place on the planet is so windy that it'll just blow all your worries away, except for this Hawaii location. It's even the site what is arguably Hawaii's most significant battle. I still wonder why the winds blow so fiercely here, but the clearest answer I've been able to find is that the trade winds create a sort of wind tunnel between the mountains that's extremely strong. It's pretty amazing.
Along with extraordinary views, Hawaii has a rich history that you can see even in this day and age. For one, they have the Iolani Palace (above to the left), which was the residence of King Kamehameha III. The palace sits on land lush with palm trees and Hawaii's unique banyan trees. Inside, you get to see the royal dresses of the Queen, complete with frills, sashes and a long train at the back. A particularly fascinating sight was the king's bathroom, which was very different from those today with a plain interior and a small bath and sink. If you enjoy historical sites, the Iolani Palace would be a great location for you to visit, but it can be boring if you're not that into history.
However, a historical site that I think anyone would enjoy visiting is Doris Duke's Shangri-La. The story behind this building is nothing less than captivating, and even you don't care about the story, the place itself is so interesting you'll be captivated anyway. The mansion was built by a woman, Doris Duke, who had inherited a lot of money from her father. She loved Hawaii and its beauty, and also loved Islamic and Middle Eastern art and culture. To put the two together, she collected pieces of Islamic art and then hired architects and designers to help her assemble her dream Hawaiian property, completely inspired by North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Parts of the Shangri-La, built in 1937, even resemble the Taj Mahal. It is enchanting and truly remarkable home. Doris Duke was a very adventurous woman, and seemed to have had an amazing time on the island of Oahu, even making friends with the locals of the area. Being at the Shangri-La really makes you feel like you were apart of that time and those people.
The last thing about Hawaii that makes it so interesting is it's culture. Hawaii is heavily influenced by Japanese culture (as seen above) while still being very American and English. But part of their culture can't easily be chalked up to Japanese or American customs. There are some things that are just completely Hawaiian, even if Hawaii is just a small archipelago. Their alphabet and language consists only of the letters A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, P, N, and W. I find it so interesting how there can be a complete language with only 12 letters. Then, while I was there, some locals performed a traditional hula dance with the flowery lays and grass skirts while someone played sweet ukulele music. It felt like no other place except Hawaii. There isn't any other area in the world that is known for hula dancing and ukulele music; these things are uniquely Hawaiian. It's a great experience to take part in.
Hawaii is a great place, especially the island of Oahu. Not everything there is perfect; the food, for one, isn't awesome unless it's seafood, but Hawaii makes up for it with it's beautiful scenery, unique attractions, and inviting locals. If you ever get the chance, you should go. Some doubt it's beauty and think it's overrated, but in my opinion, it's worth it.
Thanks for reading!!