With so much beauty in the world, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, do you ever get burnout? From Singapore to the Philippines, would you head halfway across the Pacific to visit yet another set of tropical islands? I’ve been to Hawaii, and I have to say it was worth it – although I was lucky to find a cheap holiday to Hawaii. Even in 2013, the culture created by generations of Polynesian and American co-existence is unique, and the dramatic landscapes are unforgettable, almost spiritual.
If you’re after beaches you’re in luck, as that’s something the Hawaiian islands have in abundance. The locals are your classic friendly Americans, and the food is fantastic – famous Kona coffee, ripe pineapple and mango, fresh fish, quality Japanese food, and Asian-American fusion dishes.
However, each island in the archipelago has its own unique identity. If you want luxury and indulgence, head for Honolulu on the island of Oahu for plush resorts. If you’re more of an adventurous type, Hawaii or Kauai have stunning landscapes with less of the tourist tat.
I’ve been to Oahu once, but I prefer the Big Island of Hawaii. It bears this name for a reason: the island is twice as big as all of its neighbours combined. Travelling between glittering resorts and rustic old fishing villages, taking in its sandy beaches, lush jungles and snow-capped peaks, I was struck by the diversity of the place.
If you’re planning to make the most of cheap holidays to Hawaii in 2013 and think the Big Island would be your perfect destination, you might want to follow in my footsteps and take a trip to the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. This is the island’s number one attraction and it boasts a lava lake and smoking craters. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see live lava flowing into the sea.
I also went snorkelling on the Big Island, and befriended a couple of local residents – the sea turtles! This was the perfect way to cool off and the calm water made it easy going; even I was surprised by how vibrant the sea life was, with tropical fish and coral as well as the friendly turtles. The best snorkelling on the island can be found at Kealakekua Bay; I hiked in, but you can also kayak to the bay.
By Chuck Age
After sun down, I headed up the windy roads of Mauna Kea to star gaze. The clear air here is perfect for it, which is why they built one of the world’s most important observatories here – they discourage driving all the way up to the observatory for fears of altitude sickness, but stop halfway up at the visitor center for a free stargazing event every night. This is Hawaii’s most sacred location, and gazing into the heavens atop a living, breathing piece of the Earth’s roiling crust, it is easy to see why.