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Kailua - what's it like?

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Kailua - what's it like?

My husband and I will be travellig to Oahu in January 2008 for 3 nights and would like to spend our time somewhere other than the touristy area of Waikiki.

Kailua's really taken our fancy and looks lovely with plenty of accommodation to choose from. We were wondering though (a) is there plenty of public transport to get us around the island from Kailua as we'd like to travel up north and also see the other areas (including Waikiki) and (b) is there plenty of choice in respect of restaurants, bars, etc. for us to go to in the evenings, as we like somewhere which is bustling and busy (but not mad).

Thanks.

Georgia
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1. Re: Kailua - what's it like?

Sorry, but I haven't ever been to Oahu. I noticed that no one had answered you yet , so I'am bumping you up so that someone that has might help you with your question. Good luck.

Honolulu, Hawaii
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2. Re: Kailua - what's it like?

Kailua is a residential community of about 37,000 persons on the windward side of Oahu. It is an incredibly scenic location sandwiched between the black/green mountain cliffs and azure ocean, cooler, lusher and more tropical than the other side of the island, with long white sand beaches.

As would be expected of a town that size, it has lots of places to shop and eat; but for the most part it is strongly oriented towards local residents; not tourists.

Soooo, night life is really limited. Maybe they don't "roll up" the sidewalks entirely at night, but they surely fold them in half. Night life is centered around the bowling alley, Tiare's bar and grill, and a handful of other low-key joints. If you want action in the evenings and night, you have to go into "Town" (Honolulu and Waikiki).

It is about 15 miles or so across the Koolau Mountains from Kailua to Honolulu, and can take from 25 to 40+ minutes on a bus depending upon the route and time of day. The cost is $2 one-way for an adult, and routes 56 and 57 serve Kailua.

For The Bus info see: http://thebus.org/

The bus system is very good, but can get a little slow in the rural areas. It would take about 1.5+ hours to get to the central North Shore beach areas from Kailua on a bus, and you would have to transfer from route 56 to route 55 in Kaneohe.

You can take either route 56 or 57 into Honolulu, and it takes about 40 minutes to get to Ala Moana Center, located at the gateway to Waikiki, where you could either transfer to a Waikiki bus or walk into the resort district.

Just make sure you get on the Honolulu-bound 57 bus, not Waimanalo/Sea Life Park-bound bus, which goes around the southeasterly coastline of the island before heading into Honolulu. A most beautiful drive, definitely worth the time, but it takes about 1.75 hours.

The vast majority of folks who stay in Kailua rent a car...which are awful cheap on Oahu...you can get one for about $20 per day. Otherwise you are going to be confined to Kailua or spend a lot of time on the bus.

As a side note, a large portion of the rental homes in Kailua are "uncertified" (or "illegal"), in that they lack the necessry permits to allow vacation rental. While left alone for years, the County has been slowly cracking down on them of late, resulting in numerous ones being closed....so ask your prospective landlord what his status is, and if it is an uncertified unit how will any potential enforcement effect your depost and stay.

France
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3. Re: Kailua - what's it like?

Hello Dingbat.,

To add a footnote to the excellent advice given above, please be aware of the fact that Kailua beach is very beautiful (very fine white sand, turquoise water, etc.) and very safe (it is a very affluent neighbourhood) BUT very, very windy. Sometimes you just cannot stay on the beach. Kailua also gets a lot of rain and some days the sun shines in Waikiki or Makaha but there is a Scottish drizzle or torrential downpour in Kailua. The temperatures are thus lower and the air is much much cleaner than in Waikiki. We like the sun & the beach and we wouldn't stay in Kailua for anything. It is also somewhat suburban in atmosphere though the Marine base in Kaneohe does improve things a bit.

In any case it is an error to believe there is just one Waikiki. The Fort de Russy area (with the Hilton at the end) is very different from the buzzing beehouse of the Royal Hawaian hotel area, or from Sans Souci beach beyond the zoo which is just lovely, quiet, and clean. In front of the Royal Hawaian or Sheraton, you have to fight simply to breathe because the beach is so crowded but the Fort de Russy beach is very large and comparably undercrowded if I may say so.

Happy days in Paradise !

Kailua, Hawaii
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4. Re: Kailua - what's it like?

Frederick Wentworth wrote:

>>To add a footnote to the excellent advice given above, please be aware of the fact that Kailua beach is very beautiful (very fine white sand, turquoise water, etc.) and very safe (it is a very affluent neighbourhood) BUT very, very windy. Sometimes you just cannot stay on the beach. Kailua also gets a lot of rain and some days the sun shines in Waikiki or Makaha but there is a Scottish drizzle or torrential downpour in Kailua. <<

It's not always "very very" windy Yes, we do get the trades on our side but unless they are more than moderate it shouldn't stop you from heading to the beach.

LOL about the rain. We get trade showers, mostly at night and in the early morning, and often just briefly. During the rainy season we may see more rain. Not this year, though---it's been downright dry here.

Are you sure you don't live in Kailua and are just trying to keep tourists away? ;-D

France
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5. Re: Kailua - what's it like?

No, I wouldn't live in Kailua but we go there regularly (Xmas, Easter, summer) for the view and have to retreat from the beach which--I maintain--is very windy. Perfect for wind-surfing, walking, playing all kinds of games but not for lying on the beach because the powdery sand gets into your eyes. And the feel of the town is definitely upscale suburban. Some of our friends live there and love it.

No hard feelings I hope. Cheers.

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6. Re: Kailua - what's it like?

Thanks for replying to our request, it was very informative. We didn't realise that it was quite windy there, or that it was more likely to get rain (if there was any). So, can you recommend any other part of Oahu which has a warmer climate as we'd like to our spend our last 3 days of our holidays somewhere where we can chill out on the beach and swim in the sea without the risk of being blown away.

We'd still like some sort of nightlife, but as we said earlier, it hasn't got to be mad, just busy with a good atmosphere and still with good bus links to the rest of the island - although renting a car sounds as if it could be a good option.

Look forward to hearing from you .

Cheers

France
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7. Re: Kailua - what's it like?

Hello Dingbat

You are very welcome. If you google these street names you'll find them easily : between Liliuokalani and Montsarrat is--to our minds the best place to be in Waikiki. The pace is not too hectic though traffic is there. For the perfect situation, I can recommend the Hyatt Regency or the Marriot on the beach. I have never stayed there however. Both are on the beach (you have to cross Kalakaua st. though). Both are large and crowded (many Japanese tourists--the very best, they are so courteous and quiet) but close to the action in Waikiki and Queen's Beach (gay friendly) and Sans Souci (the best, mostly families, straight-friendly). The walk to both beaches is just perfect. A very quiet, upscale hotel on the beach (no street) is the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel which has THE perfect situation right on Sans Souci, no traffic, marvellous restaurant on the beach).

The Hilton Hawaian Village is another solution at the other end of Waikiki. It is huge, very crowded, very noisy but the situation right on the beach is nice--and the sandy beach is wide and long, not overcrowded.

Do not miss Duke's Canoe Club on the beach. The best bar in the world. The atmosphere is just perfect.

I must say we are 57 and just love to be on the beach. We do absolutely nothing for 3-4 weeks when we go to Honolulu. More active, athletic, younger people may not agree with my advice.

Please feel free to ask if you need more info.

Yours

South Pacific
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8. Re: Kailua - what's it like?

It has one of the BEST beaches!

Wisconsin
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9. Re: Kailua - what's it like?

Hi! My husband and I just got back from spending 1 week on Oahu...5 nights in Kailua and 2 nights in Waikiki. We were a little surprised that there were not many "tourists" around and it seemed like we were trying to get around in the midst of people traveling to work, etc. It was nice in a way because we were out of the "thick" of the Waikiki/Honolulu traffic, but a different experience as there were mostly residents of the community trying to get on with their day (as I guess would be expected!)...We didn't find many places to just walk around to (as opposed to Waikiki where there were many places to go shopping/look around/try different food) but thought it was a relaxing experience nonetheless. As for the beaches, the beach in Kailua was really really nice and loved it! It was windy all the time, but the water was warm enough to get in and comfortable if in the sun. There are many big trees to have shade, so I mostly wore a sweatshirt when I was under the shade because it seemed much chillier. We thought there were 2 really nice restaurants to go to...one is called Lucy's Grill, which is right in the center of the town. We really liked eating outside on their patio and you need to call for a reservation (we always called in at the last minute and there was always room though!). The other good place we loved was called Haleiwa Joe's, which is closer to the town of Kanoehe. I would definitely try to eat dinner there one night...it is located in a botanical garden and has open air seating...it kind of feels like Jurassic Park or something! Very fun and good food! They do not take reservations so you will most likely have a small wait, but you can look around at the botanical gardens and the time goes quickly. Overall, I really did like our time in Kailua...the bed and breakfast we stayed at was adequate although we were surprised at how "immersed" you were right in the midst of people trying to get to work. Let us know if you have more questions...have fun! :)

Kailua, Hawaii
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10. Re: Kailua - what's it like?

You were "immersed in people trying to get to work" because Kailua is a residential town, not a resort town. Just a regular suburban town for the most part, with a gorgeous beach.