The past four days in Hawaii was total submersion to a real paradise. I experience the best of Hawaii. The trip was a total exploration and discovery about the beauty of Hawaii, its people, culture, and heritage. And for our last day in Hawaii, we only spend our last hours of stay at Honolulu International Airport as the flight to Manila departs in the morning. This is where I look back to the experiences and memories of the trip full of happiness and wonderful reflection about the real paradise on Earth.
The perfect place to meditate, break and reflect to my travel experiences is the airport's Cultural Gardens. The Cultural Gardens offers travelers a pleasant break from their travel stress via its Chinese, Hawaiian and Japanese gardens that were designed by Richard C. Tongg. The gardens surround the Main Terminal Lobby and the Y Concourse of the airport near the gate concourse. The cultural gardens display the influence of the Hawaiian, Chinese and Japanese heritage upon “island living” in the State of Hawaii. Pathways, bridges and stepping stones connect the three gardens. Waterways flow among these garden ponds and lakes to symbolize the intermingling of the cultures in Hawaii. Sculptures from various artists may also be found in the gardens.
Honolulu International Airport departure drop-off point
|Chinese Garden's centerpiece.|
|Cultural Gardens provide a place in the airport for passengers to relax and have a break from the busy scene of the airport.|
Among the garden, we have only visited the Chinese and Hawaiian gardens which are just near the gate of aircraft. The Chinese Garden has a bright red resting pavilion with a curved roof of yellow glazed tile crafted by Hong Kong masons and artists and assembled in Honolulu. A statue of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, founder of the Republic of China, was donated by the Chinese community to the garden. There is an arched bridge symbolic of the hope of spanning the seas to achieve world peace. Goldfish splash about in the man-made lakes amidst lotus and lily pads. Pine and bamboo trees along with other native Chinese flowering trees are strategically placed among craggy rock formations. In the Hawaiian Gardens, there are quiet lagoons filled with koi fish, gurgling springs and waterfalls cascading down lava walls. In a tropical setting, banana, coconut, hala (pandanus) and kukui (candlenut) trees shade ti plants, exotic ferns, such as the lawai and monstera and eye-catching flowers, white ginger, red torch ginger and bird of paradise. At night, Luau torches illuminate the garden where glass ball floats hang from the huge branches of the monkeypod trees.
Mahalo to Hawaiian experience! Doing a Shaka with Japanese tourists.
Hawaiian Garden - one of the featured gardens of the Cultural Gardens at Honolulu international Airport.
The unique open-air style and island living theme of Honolulu International Airport (above).
While in the Hawaiian gardens, we get acquainted with Japanese tourists who are also taking a break in the gardens. We ask to have souvenir photos with them and of course while doing the famous Hawaiian hand greeting gesture - "Shaka" in the photos!. Shaka means all right, cool, smooth, chill or relax. I find Shaka very much associated with Hawaii and Waikiki. It is because everything is smooth and cool in Hawaii that will make you relax. It is also very unique and cooler than the usual and another popular - "Peace" sign. The cultural gardens were good places to have a break from the busy areas of the airport and to have quiet time to meditate or relax while waiting for time to depart. The water ponds, trees and flowers were relaxing and soothing from a stressful situation. Moreover, it is no wonder that most airline lounges are located near the gardens facade area.
As we roam around Honolulu International Airport facades, what I found unique in the building and to any airport I have been is its "open-air style design" and "island living" theme. First, the airport is open-air design which means it has open areas with no close windowed areas or enclosure. To the gate concourse the open-air style design continues in which passengers can have a marvelous and wide views of the airport outdoor ramp and bay side areas which is perfect for plane spotting. I got a great open view of the PAL plane that we are going to ride back to Manila in open-viewing area. Though the whole facility is air-conditioned equipped, the open areas is a great way to breath and smell fresh Hawaiian paradise air all the time. Next, even the check-in counters are island style! It means each counter is lone and separate apart from each other and not the typical one-lined style check-in counters in most airports. This style of the check-in counters feels a private atmosphere while transacting your baggage and boarding passes at the counter. Lastly, endless murals of Hawaiian culture and heritage can be found around the airport. It is also beef up with numerous duty-free and souvenir shopping areas for passengers and travelers.
A hui hou, Hawaii! (Until we meet again)
Our plane ride going home from the open viewing area of the airport.
All I can say is "Mahalo" (Thank you) to all the wonderful travel experience I had in Hawaii. I experience the best of Hawaii's offer. And I felt I have savored everything that a tourist must-see and do in Hawaii. From natural sights, historical trip, city tours, cultural experience up to cuisine exploration, I sampled what every visitor of the islands must have in Hawaii! I know that there are other things I should have done, eat or visit there but so far I am satisfied and cannot complain on the best things I had in this travel. True to its the advertising words of GoHawaii, the alluring paradise of Hawaii is a timeless charm. The fresh, floral air energizes you. The warm, tranquil waters refreshes you. The breathtaking, natural beauty renews you. There’s no place on earth like Hawaii. It's islands offer distinct experiences that will entice any traveler. Hawaii warmly invite you to explore its islands and discover your ideal travel experience. All of these exact words are what you'll experience and discover in Hawaii - the real paradise on Earth.
I find Hawaii as a "real paradise" on Earth because it has everything that a travelers needs to see in a paradise. Warm tropical weather, palm trees sprouting, white sand beaches, vast ocean to swim, cultural discovery, Hulas, island music, endless activities of sightseeing, shopping and sports... all in one can-do and can see in Hawaii. It is an ultimate travel experience that will charm every visitors to its islands. It is also not enough to discover Oahu alone, the other islands of Hawaii like Maui, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai and Big Island are also equally beautiful, must-visit and enticing for any travelers. This is also why Hawaii is not just good for a one-time visit. Discovering its charms is like an epic saga of adventure in the paradise. Moreover, it is a paradise for beach-lovers, sun-worshipers and holiday-goers. Every natural beauty you see is a timeless charm you won't forget and will always be "Aloha" to a good life. Hawaii is truly an alluring paradise to experience!
As PR101 starts to pushback from the gate and slowly moves to in the taxiway to the reef shore runway, I felt looking back at my travel experience full of happiness. I won't forget all those travel memories. On my window, the shinning reflection from the ocean of the reef runway is glittering endlessly. The plane now turns around, getting ready to ascend the sky, then it started to run. The glittering reflection of sunlight from the ocean water nearby continues to shimmer. The plane now started to fly skyward. A stunning view of Honolulu and Waikiki Beach replaces the shimmering waters in my plane window. I am amazed by the beautiful sight that all I can think of is "A hui hou and mahalo to Hawaiian experience". I won't forget Hawaii. Not only it entices but gets you fall in love with it. No wonder, because the famous Hawaiian word "Aloha" also means "love" and in Hawaii, it will always be Aloha today, tomorrow... always!
Mahalo to Hawaiian Experience is the last part of my Aloha to Hawaii's Paradise series where I share my travel story to Honolulu, Hawaii trip last August 24-29.
Read the other parts of Aloha to Hawaii's Paradise by clicking the links below: