By Nina Huang
Northwest Asian Weekly
The Hawaiian Islands are a special place for many visitors who vacation there every year.
Daniel Chun, Director of Sales, Community and Public Relations for Alaska Airlines’ Hawai’i office, attributed the aloha spirit to the reason people keep coming back.
When to travel
Chun said that the Hawai’i trade winds keep things pretty comfortable all year round. On average, the temperature is 75 to 85 degrees. From a cost-perspective, the two shoulder periods — between peak and off-peak seasons — from mid-August to early December, and December through March usually have great airline deals, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
According to the Department of Transportation’s summary report for flights from the first quarter of 2018, the average Alaska Airline fare from the West Coast to the islands was $268.
“It’s most ideal to visit two because each island is so different and they have distinct personalities,” Chun explained.
Chun said that people stay for eight to nine days on average. Folks coming from the East Coast often stay for up to 10 days due to the longer flight. He recommends two to three days per island visit.
Chun said that the nice thing about Alaska Airlines is that they serve the main Hawaiian islands, Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawai’i (colloquially known as the Big Island) with
daily nonstop departures from ten West Coast cities. Also, Alaska has the most nonstop flights to the most destinations between Hawai’i and the West Coast. They have added new routes from San Francisco to Kona earlier this year and Sacramento to Kona is expected to start at the end of the year.
Chun who was born and raised in Oahu has come to appreciate the Big Island more.
“It’s not often where you can drive on open roads and the island of Hawai’i gives you that opportunity. Driving from the west to the east side of the island lets you see some really interesting and beautiful terrain. It’s a different type of natural beauty and there are some parts that make you feel like you’re driving on a different planet,” he said.
People who haven’t been to the Hawaiian Islands will be surprised to experience how different the islands are.
Visitors can have a completely different experience on Maui than on Oahu which is just a short plane ride away.
Chun described Maui as a nice mix of Oahu and Kauai. There are really great natural wonders like Haleakala and the Lavender Farm, but there’s also nightlife and lots of things to do.
Oahu is the capital city of Hawai’i and has about one million residents. It’s more than just Waikiki Beach — there’s world-class dining and shopping, and a lot of culture and art-related events.
Chun said people visit Kauai for its natural beauty as it’s one of the oldest of the main Hawaiian islands.
“It’s a lot more laid back and a lot of people go to Kauai for adventure and hiking,” he said.
Chun advised visitors to be respectful and cognizant of nature on the islands.
“Never turn your back to the ocean and heed the signs, especially on Kauai. Pay attention to the ocean and respect the ocean,” he said.
Chun also mentioned that earlier this year, state lawmakers passed the “sunscreen bill” that would ban skin-care companies from selling and distributing sunscreens on the islands that contain two chemicals deemed damaging to coral reefs. Hawai’i is the first state to pass a bill designed to protect marine ecosystems by banning such sunscreens. The bill would take effect in 2021.
He also has similar guidance for hikers. Visitors should always have enough water, stay on the trails, don’t trespass, don’t climb the waterfalls, and avoid unnecessary hikes.
Koko Head is a nice trail for those visiting Oahu, he said.
The same goes without saying when visiting the volcanoes. “Don’t take the lava rocks home, respect the mana “spirit” of this place and let it be,” he said.
He recommended visitors take the Pono Pledge which is a program by the Big Island Visitors Bureau to encourage tourists to be responsible.
In support of the environment, Chun explained that earlier this year, Alaska Airlines became the first domestic airline to remove plastic stir straws from their flights and airport lounges, an initiative that is important to many ocean communities, like the state of Hawai‘i.
Embodying the Aloha spirit
Chun said that the aloha spirit is literally the law of the land and has been written into Hawai’i’s revised statutes. For Chun, Aloha is the essence of relationships in which each person is important for a collective existence.
“It permeates everything, as a local person, it’s how we treat others, how you’d want to be treated and how we view hospitality. We treat everyone like they’re your guests in your home, that’s what the aloha spirit embodies,” he said.
Chun said that Hawai’i is not just about sun, sand, and surf. If that’s all it was, people could find that in a ton of other destinations in the world, but people keep coming back.
“It’s a special feeling they get when they land on our shores, perhaps it’s the aloha spirit, but there’s an intangible spirit or feeling that they just don’t get anywhere else,” he said.
For those who want to bring something home with them, Chun recommended sweets and goodies from the Honolulu Cookie Company or Big Island Candies.
Chun explained that in the past two decades, due to Hawai’i’s melting pot, chefs have been reflecting that and taking Hawaiian cuisine to a new level.
“The restaurant scene has just exploded and it’s much more than just luaus here,” he added.
Chun’s favorite Hawaiian food is poi (Hawaiian dish made from the fermented root of the taro, which has been baked and pounded to a paste) with kalua pork mixed inside. He likes to order it at Highway Inn in Oahu.
Nina can be reached at email@example.com.
Where to Stay
» Hawai’i – Kohala Coast, Keauhou, or Hilo
» Kauai – Poipu, Kapaa, Princeville, or Hanalei
» Maui – Kihei, Wailea, Kapalua, Lahaina, or Hana for those who want a more secluded experience
» Oahu – Waikiki, Ko Olina, North Shore, or Kailua/Kaneohe/Lanikai
Where to Eat
» Hawai’i – Huggo’s
» Kauai – Hamura’s Saimin
» Maui – Sam Sato’s
» Oahu – The Pig and the Lady
Chun’s Favorite Beaches
» Hawai’i – Hapuna Beach
» Kauai – Anini Beach
» Maui – Kaanapali Beach
» Oahu – Kaimana Beach