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THINGS TO DO IN HAWAII: TRAVEL IDEAS

King's Village, a collector's paradise.

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All photos by Phillip Roberts. Above: Small waterfall in Nu‘uanu at Queen Lili‘uokalani Garden

There are so many affordable things to do in Hawaii. I love Waikiki. To me, this is the greatest place on the planet. Three-hundred-sixty-five days a year, there is an amazing influx of visitors. But aside from the beaches and the vibrant experiences, there are plenty of places to explore within the concrete jungle maulka (toward the mountains) of the beach.

King's Village Shopping Center

Kings Village, Waikiki

In the middle of Waikiki is King’s Village Shopping Center, located at 131 Kaiulani Street. Built in the same 7/8 scale as Disneyland, its cobblestone paths are home to over 45 shopping and dining venues. The Rock Island Café serves great pizza and has a full malt shop. There are myriad collectibles for sale ranging from Elvis Presley memorabilia to island-vintage kitsch.

Kings Guard, Hawaii

The King’s guard drills take place at 6:15 p.m. daily with the precision and pageantry of old time Hawaii during the Changing of the King’s Guard. The guard's uniforms are period-correct to King David Kalakaua’s palace guard in 1875. All over the sprawling property are plaques with biographical information about the islands' former rulers.

Don Ho Star, Hawaii

At King's Village is Hawai‘i’s “Walk of Fame,” features stars of the islands' most famous personalities such as Hilo Hattie, Duke Kahanamoku and Alfred Apaka. It’s in this center courtyard where the King’s guard performs the military rifle drill. The kids love it. The Guard’s Museum is currently displaying a wide array of Hawaiian collectibles in a one-room, free-entry display space. There is stuff there, I covet.

Guard's Museum, Hawaii

The display features tons of vintage and rare tiki mugs, Primo Beer promotional breweriana, and okolehau decanters from the defunct Hawaiian Distillers Company. A mass of wooden carvings, matchbooks, mai-tai buckets, menus and many more curios are shown to thrill the senses.

Hawaii Kai and Water Sports

Scuba diver, Hawaii

One of my pals Captain Greg called and said, “We are going out on the boat. Want to come out?” It turned out to be a great day. During the three-hour tour, I saw many colorful fish, swam near a huge sea turtle and took great shots of Hawaii Kai and the turquoise waters of the bay.

Paddleboarder, Hawaii

Thanks again to Captain Greg and the staff at Island Scuba Hawaii. It was a superb afternoon in the sun and cool healing waters of Hawaii.

Some November events in Hawai‘i I recommend.

November 12 - 24 — The holding period for the 2009 Reef Hawaiian Pro Surfing Contest at Alii Beach Park on the North Shore. This contest really starts the Winter Big surf season and is part of the Van’s Triple Crown of Surfing contest. See the best surfers in the world challenge epic surf. I’m told the swells this year look promising, so expect this contest to be a go in the first couple of days. FREE.

November 13 - 15 — International Waikiki Hula Conference at the Hawaii Convention Center. Space is limited so register now. But expect there to be loads of great music and dance all over Waikiki this weekend. $.

November 16 — King Kalakaua birthday celebration. Many events are scheduled including a parade and a lei draping ceremony. Check the Web site.

November 21 - 22 — Ukulele exhibition and festival at the Princess Kaiulani hotel presented by the Ukulele guild of Hawaii. FREE.

November 25 — Holding period starts for the O’Neil World Cup of Surfing (Also part of the Van’s Triple Crown) begins. FREE.

Johnny Helm, Tiki's Grill and Bar

Until next month, Aloha!

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