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Oahu road trip: Valley of the Temples, Waimea Bay and Kaena Point

Posted by on April 24, 2012
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During the glorious three consecutive days off around my birthday, Eaman and I spent one full day on the road, checking out life on the island beyond Honolulu, which also gave us an opportunity to use Eaman’s cool new camera lens. Craig, master of road trips, put together a nice itinerary for us, and our friend, Doug, generously lent us his car for some Friday fun. We had actually considered jetting to Kauai for those three days, but in an effort to save money, we decided that it’ll be more fun to leave Oahu, able to say we really knew the island. (Besides, we’re headed to the Big Island over Memorial Day Weekend for a big camping trip, so at least we’ll have gone to one other island.)

Here, a little map of our eight-hour trip with stars marking the stops:

First stop: the Pali lookout off the Pali Highway.


Second stop: Valley of the Temples in Kaneohe. Nestled in the back of a spacious cemetery is the non-denominational Buddhist temple Byodo-In. It’s breathtaking. We felt so at peace, like we were witnessing something really special — and it got us very, very excited for South East Asia.

Our next stop was a close-up view of Mokolii, better known as Chinaman’s Hat, an island named because it’s in the shape of…you guessed it. The sky was a bit gloomy at this point, but it was a nice deserted spot to munch on our peanut butter sandwiches.

Our next stop wasn’t planned, which is precisely the point of road trips. We whizzed past it and quickly turned back around once we saw clear water. This beach had such a lovely, carefree vibe. I don’t think anyone was even in the water; it just happened to be the backyard for a few (lucky) people. And I just loved that green beach house.

We then headed to Waimea Bay on the North Shore since Eaman still hadn’t seen that area. (I had previously gone while he was in Oklahoma, remember?) But no getting in the water for us; the huge waves break ridiculously close to the shore.


Finally, we made it to Kaena Point. It’s the most northwest edge of the island, and besides seeing rows upon rows of patient fisherman, Craig had told us to park the car and walk the long walk to the very, very tip of the island to see some monk seals and nesting seabirds. Well, since we hit the road a bit later — noon to be exact — than Craig had suggested, we got to Kaena Point only around 6:15 p.m. The sun was setting, my phone and its all-important GPS was dying and that walk was mighty long. We walked and walked, though not all the way out, so no monk seals for us. But Kaena was still my favorite part of the road trip.

Especially since I work, life can be somewhat routine — even in beautiful Hawaii. Kaena Point gave me exactly what I had been craving — and the thing I got a whole lot of in South America — a piece of quiet time in a stunning setting. I mean, look?

So spectacular, it gave me goosebumps.

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9 Responses to Oahu road trip: Valley of the Temples, Waimea Bay and Kaena Point

  1. fareesa

    this looks incredible! What kind of a lens did he get?

    • Archana

      Thanks! It’s a prime 50mm lens. I have a link to it on our FAQs page now!

  2. Kate

    Cool pictures and road trip! I swear I went to that temple in Kaneohe when I was six years old. I remember ringing a bell or gong and it had to have been there unless I’m mixing up my memories with Disney World (I hope not!). Happy Birthday adventure!

    • Archana

      Thanks, Kate! I could see how you could mix the two locations up, but the Valley of the Temples feels a tad more authentic :)

  3. Tanner

    Amazing photos and commentary! I especially love the one with the sign warning about the peacocks! Made me smile. :)

  4. Anjali

    I’m enjoying all of your posts and incredible pictures! I have to ask though, what are you using in your hair to make it so perfectly frizz-free and curly? I’m burdened with thick, untamed, curly hair and can’t figure out what to do with it.

    • Archana

      Haha, thanks Anjali! Well, I happen to have pretty fine loose curls, and they’re really adapting to this sea salt air. I generally use a bit of Tresemme curl creme (the cheapest thing I could find at Wal Mart) and thanks to my hair-touching compulsion, it smooths out fairly quickly. But my hair was certainly not this cooperative in South America. There’s always a time and a place…

  5. Jane

    These photos are AMAZING! That new lens sure is working for you :)

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