Tag Archives: Island

Volcano Park, Hawaii – Day 8

Day 8 – 25th January 2016, Monday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my brother, Ethan!


Journey down South to the Volcanoes National Park

Wake up time: 7:00am

Had breakfast of yoghurt and a mandarin orange.

Departed from Hilo Reeds Bay Hotel at 8:30am.

IMG_3610I was still a little hungry.

IMG_3613Stopped at Subway to pack a sandwich.

IMG_3617We arrived at Kilauea Chalet (where we would stay for the night) at 10am. It was still too early to check-in. They offered complimentary coffee at the reception area. We packed 2 cups to-go. It was one of the best and most fragrant Kona coffees that I had throughout my trip!


 

Volcanoes National Park

IMG_3618Since we couldn’t check-in, we decided to head to the Volcanoes National Park. It was just right around the corner from our chalet.

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We stopped at the Kilauea Visitor Center to get some information on what to do/see and also to pick up the park map. They had a suggestion list of what to cover which was super helpful! My mom and I hadn’t planned on what to do at the park.


 

Sulphur Banks (Ha’akulamanu)

IMG_3626We started off with the Sulphur Banks (Ha’akulamanu) walk from the Kilauea Visitor Center.

IMG_3632 It was 0.6km one-way. This trail connected to the Steam Vents (Wahinekapu).

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IMG_3638Active Halema’uma’u Crater (Check out the night glowing version of this below! At the end of this post that is)

From there, it was about 0.8km back to the visitor center. It was around 12pm. We took a short break (we had our packed food/snacks/drinks) before pushing off to Kilauea Iki.


 

Kilauea Iki Crater

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Distance: 6.4 km loop trailIMG_3645

Estimated time: 2-3 hours leisure hikeIMG_3649

Kilauea Iki descends 400ft through the native rain forest into the crater. The hike goes across a hardened lava lake that is currently steaming from the 1959 eruption. IMG_4451We walked around the rim of the Kilauea Iki Crater. It was a beautiful view from the top! We were advised to go for this trail but it was one of the longest (in terms of distance) trail routes in the whole park. We didn’t know if we had the time (we also couldn’t estimate how long it would take) to cover this trail. We only had one day in the park and we had no idea if this was worth our time.IMG_4452

As we were walking along the rim, I saw people walking across the crater! I knew that I HAD TO DO THIS TRAIL! And I am SO GLAD that I did! I didn’t know that the trail included a walk into the crater. It was THE HIGHLIGHT of my trip!

IMG_3650The trail started off with a 0.6 mile jungle hike down to the crater.

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I turned on my Garmin FR 235 just so that I could track my walk on the map. The crater was HUGE!IMG_4270

I did a light jog down to the crater as I didn’t want to waste much time. My mom knew that she would take too much time to do the full trail, so she only hiked down to the crater and then back up.IMG_4268

It was a nice gradual descend down to the crater. When I was down there, I took my time to truly be in the moment and to soak in my surroundings. IMG_4266Words cannot describe how it felt like being down there. You feel SO SMALL. As if I am not small enough! I was just speechless and in AWE.IMG_4267

IMG_4265IMG_3671I was not posing for this! I was simply not ready!

As I was alone, I had to take many self-timed shots and selfies. IMG_3651As the crater was so vast, they stacked hardened pieces of lava (as in the picture) to mark the route. I used them as my tripod. I was being very resourceful. 😉

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IMG_3656Came down through this path.

IMG_3659As the hike was pretty time consuming, there were not many people that attempted it. I was alone for most parts of the hike across the crater which was both peaceful and lonely.

IMG_3735Failed jump shot. The same goes for the rest of the shots!

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IMG_3811Failed shot turned artistic. Not too shabby!

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IMG_3818Steamy.

IMG_3832Chilling on what used to be molten lava!

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IMG_3855I got lost a few times! It was not easy to navigate your way through once you’re down there!

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IMG_3860I took some time to look for the trail head that led back up to the top. The other end was rocky unlike the opposite end which was flat and smooth. As such, I had some difficulty locating the trail.

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Hello from the other side… of the crater!

It was another 0.7 mile jungle hike back up. Again, I jogged my way up! Going up this end was much steeper with more stairs. I would have preferred to go down this way and back up the way I came down.

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Tip: If you ever attempt the Kilauea Iki Crater trail, go down the right side (look out for the 0.7 mile hike marker) instead of the left side (0.6 mile hike).

Total active + photo time: About 1 hr 15 mins (please take into account that I jogged down and up the trails)

I took the same amount of time as my mom which was perfect as she didn’t have to wait for me!


Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku)

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Time: 2:15pm

Distance: 0.6 km loop trail

It was a very short walk through the lush rain forest and through the 500 year old lava tube!

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Check-In: Kilauea Hospitality Group @ Volcano Hale

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The latest check-in time was 5pm. After the Thurston Lava Tube trail, we still had much to see. Since we were still near our chalet, we decided to back track to check in first before continuing the rest of the tour. GOOD CALL! We would not have made it if we had continued.

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Kilauea Hospitality Group has 3 properties. We were at Volcano Hale. It is a little house with 5 rooms, 3 bathrooms, dining area, kitchen area and a living room with a fireplace.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetVery cozy! I would definitely recommend staying here!


Crater Rim Drive and the Chain of Craters Road

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After checking in, we did the drive all the way down to the end of the Chain of Craters Road.

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Distance: 61km round-trip drive

Total driving times (one-way): 45 minutes down winding narrow roads

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThis road descends 3700ft to the coast and it ends where the lava has covered 10 miles of road since 1986. There were many trails/hikes along the way (Pu’u Huluhulu Cinder Cone, Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs, Mauna Ulu Lava Shield, Devastation trail) but we didn’t have time to do them.

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At the end of the road, we went down to see the Holei Sea Arch which was formed by wave erosion.

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IMG_4450Walked down another 800m on the emergency access route.

IMG_3911We had our packed late lunch/tea in our car before driving back up at sunset. It was close to 6pm.


 

Thomas A. Jaggar Museum

Museum operating hours: 10am-8pm daily

Viewing point: 24 hours

The active vent of the Kilauea volcano is located within the Halema’uma’u Crater in the caldera of Kilauea. We were there to watch the glowing fume cloud, a sign that there is hot molten magma churning in the lava lake below.

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Robust plume of volcanic gas.

We were at 4000ft elevation and the temperature dropped to 10 degrees. We went back to our hotel for a hot shower and to put our feet up after a long day of walking and hiking!

Honestly, if you are ever in Hawai’i, the volcanoes are a MUST! I LOVE this place so much! Don’t forget to bring some warm clothing and to look UP at the sky at night. 😉 You WILL BE AMAZED!

Day 9 – Back to Kona town the next morning which would mark the end of our trip! Till next time!

xoxo

Kona, Hawaii – Day 3

Day 3 – 20th January, Wednesday

Ocean Power Rafting + Snorkeling

My day started at 5:45am, such an ungodly hour! I had to set 3 alarms to get my butt outta bed. If I am ever up so early, it is usually for a race (which I usually dread). But today, I was excited. I signed up for the Ocean Power Rafting and Snorkeling excursion.

IMG_2858After packing all the necessary and unnecessary stuff, I went down to the lobby to board the shuttle bus that was scheduled to leave at 7:15am.

IMG_2866The port.

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It was a 45min drive to Honokōhau Bay, where we boarded our rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB) / Zodiac-type rafts made famous by U.S. Navy SEAL teams. There was a bus load of us and we had to be divided up into 3 different groups.

IMG_2868My group had 12 awesome people under Captain Dave.

IMG_2870Briefing – the Dos and Don’ts.

IMG_2871Off we go!

This excursion would cover 14 miles between Honokōhau and Kealakekua Bay. It was a slow drive out from the dock before the Captain went full speed with the rafts. We were travelling at about 30-35 miles/hour. Sports car of the sea?

IMG_2908Safety rope! As long as you have one foot under it, you’re SAFE!

IMG_2883Spinner Dolphins!

 

IMG_2887Our final destination was Kealakekua Bay for snorkeling. But we had many stops along the way whenever we spotted spinner dolphins and pilot whales!

IMG_2919Can you spot the pilot whale?! It went under our raft!

IMG_2922YES, we came UP CLOSE and PERSONAL with them! It was so amazing. They swam towards us gracefully and showed off their flipping/rolling/splashing skills.

Just look at him playing around on his back!

DCIM102GOPRO The sun was high up in the sky and shining in its full glory. But it was a bit chilly. The speedy and nimble raft went against the wind which countered the heat from the sun.

DCIM102GOPROThe wind was so strong, I felt chills running down my spine and goosebumps started popping out. I actually enjoyed the warmth from the sun whenever we stopped to view interesting marine life.

IMG_2932After cruising the waters along Kona coast for about 1 hour, we were at Kealakekua Bay!

DCIM102GOPRO DCIM102GOPROThis bay is actually a National Marine Park and apparently, one of Hawaii’s finest underwater preserves.

DCIM102GOPROWe were NOT allowed to go on land or to stand up while snorkeling. Standing up would mean that you MIGHT be standing on corals and that would kill them.

DCIM102GOPROAfter gearing up, I jumped in! The waters were so pristine, visibility was far and wide. A bit scary and breathtaking at the same time.

DCIM102GOPROFuzzy.

DCIM102GOPRODecided to switch to my goggles because I wanted to dive a little deeper.

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The waters were nice and warm. I thought it would have been FREEZING COLD!

DCIM102GOPRO DCIM102GOPROI had a lot of fun paddling around, swimming around the fishes and corals and drinking mouthfuls of salt water!

DCIM102GOPROWhile we went snorkeling, the Captain prepared our snacks of fresh fruit, cookies, crisps and drinks.

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DCIM102GOPRO DCIM102GOPROWe spent an hour or so at Kealakekua Bay before heading back to shore.

IMG_2952On the way back, we stopped at coastal lava caves, ocean geysers and sea grotto. The Captain was also sharing a bit about the history and ancient Hawaiian legends.

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IMG_2964Sandwich and Coffee.

After the excursion, we arrived back at the hotel at about 1:30pm. We were given $30 to spend on lunch! I had a sandwich to-go as I wanted to shower and eat in the comfort of the hotel room.


Kahua Ranch – Dinner

We had little time to rest before we had to dress up to go to Kahua ranch for dinner. The ranch was about 45mins-1hour drive away, so we had to be at the lobby by 4:45pm.

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IMG_30349 inches of rain a year(just outside our hotel) and 45 mins later……

IMG_3042120 inches of rain a year! Hawaii has many MICROclimates!

We caught the first bus to Kahua ranch! We were greeted by Big John who was one of the owners of the place. Before dinner, he shared a bit about the history of the place.

IMG_3040Kahua ranch means the beginning or the foundation as it was one of the few places that was established during World War II.

IMG_3041  IMG_3046It was started by 2 families over 8500 acres of land!

They aim to provide: Value, Productivity and Beauty.

IMG_3047 IMG_3049So picturesque.

IMG_3050They have over 2000 cows! It was interesting to learn about high intensity rapid grazing (Not HIIT :P), how they keep cows in a smaller closure to sustain the land, rotational grazing and skip grazing. You should hear the logistics of how they ship the cows – Cow-tainers, cruise ships and boarding 747s. Crazy!

IMG_3052IMG_3077He was SUPER friendly. Very good with people.

IMG_3062 IMG_3054 IMG_3067Arrrrrr!

He also talked a bit about some of the animals that were brought into Hawaii by accident and how they changed the entire ecosystem.

IMG_3069 IMG_3070The sunset.

IMG_3074 IMG_3089Where we had dinner.

IMG_3090After that, we had a lovely BBQ ranch dinner (with live country music) followed by some cowboy activities – line dancing, hot iron stamping, smores making, horse shoe throwing, a fire place and star gazing.

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Hot iron stamp!

IMG_3092The BEEF was so good!

IMG_3094 IMG_3095The founder of my Mom’s company (DDI), Dr. Bill Byham. We sat at the same table 2 nights in a row. We’ve met before and he is always so nice to my mom. Very interesting man and at his age, he is still VERY sharp! Scary.

IMG_3100The fire place.

The highlight (for me) was STAR gazing! It was pitch black so we could see the glittery sky.

Day 3 was very tiring with back-to-back activities!

Day 4 was a little better……

Wait for it!

xoxo

 

Kona, Hawaii – Day 1 & Day 2

Day 1 – 18th January, Monday

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia –> Narita, Tokyo –> Honolulu, Hawaii –> Kona, Hawaii

Total time (door to door): 24 hours

Total time spent flying: 14 hours

Compared to my other trips to the USA, this was the most bearable one! Despite having ZERO sleep on Sunday night, I was surprisingly okay!

The journey started at 4:15am (when we left for KL Sentral), Monday morning. As the last minute hero, I was up all night packing till 1:30am. On top of that, I had some work to finish before leaving the house which explained why I had no sleep. Also, I was out the WHOLE day.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetGetting ready for the LONG journey!

Took a nap on the train to KLIA. We checked in and headed to Starbucks for coffee! 

Narita, Tokyo

The flight was good and the service was superb. Managed to catch some sleep and watch 1 movie!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWe had breakfast in the plane at around 10am (KL time).

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThe layover was about 3 hours. We decided to have our late lunch at around 4-5pm (KL time). I was FAMISHED! I was glad that this meal didn’t disappoint! It was the ONLY place that had decent food. Very fresh but also very expensive.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWho wants to guess the cost of this meal?

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSo FRESH!

Honolulu, Hawaii

The flight was delayed for about 1 hour, not sure why. The ride was also not as pleasant and it was quite turbulent. But it was all good, quite exciting actually. Managed a little more sleep on this flight. I had so many mini naps in between that I dragged one movie for the entire duration of the journey. Haaaaaa! Didn’t even manage to watch the ending when the plane landed!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAfter going through customs/transit etc, we had breakfast at an All-American diner. Although it was not eating time back home (12am KL time), I was feeling hungry! Okay lah, when am I not hungry? 😛

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThe face of the exhausted.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAnd then had coffee at Starbucks while waiting to board the plane to Kona on BIG Island!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Using my new passport wallet from my special friend. 😉 LOVE it!

Kona, Hawaii

The airport was barely an airport! More like an al-fresco style waiting area. IMG_2359See that “B” sign? That’s the baggage claim area!

When we arrived, our taxi was waiting for us (DDI, my mom’s company). Jim, our driver, drove us straight to Mauna Lani Bay Resort.

IMG_2363Thankfully, our room was ready. It was about 10am and check-in is usually at 3pm. So, we were very fortunate!

IMG_2372A guy at the airport jokingly asked if I was sponsored by Puma. Haaaaa! Was it THAT obvious? 😉 Technically, not anymore.

 

 

 

IMG_2366Panoramic view from our room!

IMG_2381From our balcony.

If you ever visit Kona, Hawaii, here’s some info:

Mauna Lani Bay Resort at Mauna Lani

Deluxe Ocean View room (our room) at $549/night. Other rooms starting from $399.

25-30 mins drive away from Kona International Airport

I couldn’t wait to put my head under nice warm running water. After a hot bath, I was feeling so smashed and so relaxed at the same time. Had a good 1 hour nap before heading out for lunch.

IMG_2385The entrance.

IMG_2387Mauna Lani Bay Resort.

We took a walk to The Shops, a commercial area with food and some shopping. It was about 1 km from our hotel.

IMG_2395The Shops.

 After looking through the food list, I convinced my mom to have lunch at “Under the Bodhi Tree”. You guess it! It is a healthy, vegan and raw food place. My mom nearly flipped when she learned that there was no MEAT!

IMG_2397We had fungus hummungus (Quinoa with loads of mushrooms) and a veggie burger to share.

After lunch, we went to the grocery store (which was VERY well stocked) to get some stuff. As we were stuffed from lunch, we decided to walk back to the hotel (free shuttle service available all day around Mauna Lani).

IMG_2402Free bike rentals!

IMG_2403Took one out for a quick spin.

IMG_2415We took a short walk on the beach before returning to our rooms.

IMG_2421ALOHA!

IMG_2412The chill life.

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IMG_2431 IMG_2432 IMG_2433For dinner, we took the shuttle to The Shops (again!). We didn’t want to venture out from Mauna Lani. The next town was quite a distance away.  We settled for Tommy Bahamas. Fresh seafood and produce, everything was made from scratch!

Thanks to NO SLEEP SUNDAY, I was able to sleep like a pig the minute my head hit the pillow.


 Day 2 – 19th January, Tuesday

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My mom and I lazed around in bed till about 9:30am.

IMG_2438The day started with buffet breakfast at the hotel.

IMG_2440OOZING yolk! I love doing that – poking it and watching it flow!

IMG_2444Made my own bagel and lox. 😀

IMG_2449Loading up on CARBS!

IMG_2450I have a soft spot for cream cheese. Just had to have it with everything! This was all eaten in one seating. 😀 Safe to say that I started the day right – with a HUGE breakfast.

*Beach Shots*

IMG_2483Time seemed to fly by! We spent the whole day exploring the beach around our hotel and just chilling out under the sun! I also got to try SUP! SO FUN!

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IMG_2497My mom is kinda goofy.

IMG_2498Too. Funny.

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IMG_2513  Jump shot!

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IMG_2708Chilling under the cabana. This post was actually written here!

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IMG_2831It was my mom’s Awards Day dinner that night so we had to be ready for cocktails at 5:30pm. I managed to put in a sunny run just before that! It was scorching hot with the wind in your face. It was all good.

IMG_2832Garden dinner by the beach.

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That’s it for Day 1 and Day 2 of the Hawaii trip!

Stay tuned for Day 3Ocean Power Rafting and Snorkeling!