Waikiki Travel Tips: 14 Things to Know Before You Go

– 14 things you need to know before you come to Waikiki in Hawaii. I’m Chris, this is Yellow Productions. I do travel guides that are fun, informative, and entertaining. This is part of my series on Hawaii and in this video I’ll be telling you 14 things you need to know before you come to Waikiki. Number one, we’ll start with what is the meaning of Waikiki, that’s important to know. Waikiki translates roughly to spouting water and as you walk around Waikiki you’ll see lots of fountains and streams as an homage to the name spouting water.

I think the other thing to know about Waikiki that’s related to this is it is kind of like the Las Vegas strip, just subtract the casinos and add the beach. Okay, number two, Waikiki is small. It is two miles of sandy beach on the ocean but it’s only three to four blocks inland.

So it’s a really small place. The next thing to know related to it being small, there’s really only two main streets that run down Waikiki. There’s the main street that runs along the ocean, it’s a one way street most of the way. And then there’s Kuhio which is an inland street, it’s a two way street.

Thing to know number three, Waikiki is crowded. Waikiki is where most of the tourists in Hawaii come. The Hawaiian government estimates that 72,000 tourists every day are in Waikiki. And the money that is generated and spent in Waikiki accounts for 42% of all of Hawaii’s tourism revenue, about two billion dollars. So if you’re thinking of having the beach all to yourself on an island paradise, that is not Waikiki.

You will be sharing that beach with 72,000 of your closest friends. It’s fun and exciting but not tranquil and lonesome. Number four thing to know, Waikiki is not Japan. Okay, that’s an odd statement but if you walk around Waikiki you’ll notice there are a lot of Japanese tourists. I’m staying at the Sheraton Waikiki, I think 90% of the people that stay there are Japanese.

Lots of things are written in Japanese, many stores will accept Japanese yen, there’s tons of Japanese restaurants. There’s trolleys that’ll take you around that only cater to Japanese but it is the United States of America, not the United State of Japan. Number five thing to know, hotels.

Waikiki is home to most of the hotels on Oahu. The Surfrider hotel is the original hotel in Waikiki. It was built in 1901, so check that out. It’s got a bit of history. If you want to save a little bit of money check some of the inland hotels, the ones that aren’t right on the beach because you’re a pretty close walk wherever you’re staying.

Okay sixth thing to know about Waikiki, we’ll talk about transportation. My first suggestion to you is walk. Parking in Waikiki is pretty lousy. You’ll be paying a fortune to park. The hotels all have parking if you’re staying here but if you’re driving in from someplace park your care once and then walk around. Some of your other transportation options within Waikiki, there’s a number of companies that run these trolleys through Waikiki.

The most popular ones, the Waikiki Trolley, I’m pausing for this plane to go over. (plane flying overhead) Waikiki Trolley operates the Pink Line. It basically runs a loop through Waikiki taking you up to Ala Moana Center. It cost two bucks to ride or if you have a JCB credit card you can ride it for free.

You’d never know that because it caters to Japanese and JCB is a Japanese credit card. Guess what, someone who comes to Waikiki on a fairly frequent basis, I have a JCB card just so I can take the Waikiki Trolley for free. The other thing about transportation, there’s also the bus.

The bus is the Hawaiian Bus Company. You can take that in and out of Waikiki, they are pretty clean, fast, and efficient so not too bad. Okay number seven thing to know is about shopping. Waikiki is shopping central.

There are shops for just about everything in Waikiki. There’s the Royal Hawaiian Center which is a big shopping mall in the middle of Waikiki. There’s also the International Market Place which is a new shopping mall that opened up. And in the middle of Waikiki there’s also a DFS, a duty free store. Everybody can shop there, not just people that are going to another country so that’s something to know. And yes, a lot of the stores will actually yen because there’s so many Japanese tourists but in fact this is not Japan.

Okay number eight, let’s talk about coupons. If you’re coming to Waikiki it’s important to know about all of the coupons. As you walk around there’s gonna be a lot of these things that you can pick up brochures on the street. You can find them at the airport, make sure you check those out and pick up the coupons ’cause you’ll find discounts on a lot of things you want. Also pick up the English language ones and the Japanese language ones too. One of my favorite places to eat in Waikiki is Teddy’s Bigger Burgers.

They offer coupons only in the Japanese versions of the magazine, so make sure you pick up both languages of those coupons. There’s also a Visitor Information Center located down on the Diamond Head side of Waikiki. So if you didn’t pick them up at the airport or couldn’t find them, you can check out the Waikiki Visitor Information Center.

Okay, the ninth thing to know before you come to Waikiki, is about the language. So in Hawaii, it’s the only state in the US that has two official languages, English and Hawaiian. But if you’re coming to Waikiki you would think it’s three because Japanese is spoken and written just about everywhere. Signs are in Japanese, signs on the trolley are in Japanese.

You’ll find Japanese in a lot of places. But you might here a couple of Hawaiian words, the ones you’ll here a lot is aloha. And you know sometimes the bathrooms will be written in Hawaiian, kane or wahine for men or women. You’ll typically see men or women but you’ll see those words underneath as well.

Okay, the 10th thing to know before you come to Waikiki is about the weather. Weather in Waikiki is usually pretty good. It doesn’t get too much rain, usually pretty warm. Typically the high is around 80 degrees and sunny. The better days are actually when it’s a little windier ’cause then you get the breeze.

So I you hear it’s gonna be a windy day that’s probably a good thing ’cause it’ll cool you down. But it’s humid, so be prepared to sweat a little bit. When you come to the beach you’re probably gonna want an umbrella, you’re gonna want some cover. You might actually want to avoid midday as a time to go to the beach ’cause it’s so hot.

And try the late morning or early afternoon or even late afternoon as a compromise. Okay, the 11th thing to know before you come to Waikiki is ABC stores. If you don’t know about the ABC stores, well you should. The ABC store is like a convenient store. There are tons of locations in Waikiki.

I haven’t counted them all, but I’d say there’s at least 50 locations. They are on almost every block, sometimes they are across the street from each other. And the ABC store sells everything you would need as a tourist coming to Waikiki.

They sell food, they sell snacks, they sell clothes, they sell beach gear, definitely check out the ABC stores. You can get breakfast there for cheap. And it’s a great store. So don’t leave Waikiki without visiting at least one ABC store. The 12th thing you should know is about the booking stands in Waikiki.

As you walk along the main streets, you’ll find lots of these stands that will advertise tours, buses, activities, for cheap, cheap prices, 50% off. Don’t bother, ’cause chances off they’re not 50% off and you can often get a better deal if you just book direct. And you don’t want to get swindled into a time share presentation ’cause that’s what they offer you in a lot of those booking stands as well.

So just book those things to your hotel, book ’em direct, you can find plenty of activities on your own. Okay, the 13th thing to know is about free entertainment. Waikiki has lots of free entertainment.

At the Royal Hawaiian Center you can take ukulele lessons, you can take hula classes. You’ll find a lot of the restaurants and bars will have evening entertainment, they’ll have music. At the Hula Mound on Waikiki’s main street right in front of the beach, kind of in front of the Hyatt hotel, they have evening hula performances.

So you walk around, check out that free entertainment. You’ll often find street performers doing interesting dances and things like that too. The last one I want to mention is every Friday at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, which is where I’m shooting this video, they have free fireworks every Friday. So do check out the Friday fireworks at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

They have an evening show that you can book and go to at the same time as well. Okay and the last thing to know about coming to Waikiki is about food. I think the food here is pretty delicious. My biggest tip on this is gonna be to check out my other video which is the best cheap eats in Waikiki, but a couple things I’ll tell you here to wet your appetite for that is some of the things you’ll often find that are typical in Hawaii or Waikiki are plate lunches.

Plate lunches you get a plate, you get two scoops of rice, you get macaroni salad, and you get some meat. It’s actually kind of hard to find traditional plate lunches in Waikiki, there’s the Rainbow Drive In, which is the closest but check out my video on that to see more information at food in Waikiki. All right well that concludes this video.

I hope you enjoyed it. If you found it useful or gotten some useful information out of it, I’d appreciate you hit the thumbs up or the like button below. You can subscribe to see new videos of mine every Sunday or you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. Or you might enjoy watching some of these other videos on Hawaii or my latest video as well.

All right have a good one and aloha.