Oahu-Mariner’s Ridge-Byodo-in Temple-Puu Maelieli Digging Hill-Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail

Rainbow at Mariner's Bridge

You certainly didn’t come to Hawaii to stay indoors, did you? Beaches aren’t the only famous thing in Hawaii. Take advantage of the great weather and beautiful greenery and go for a hike! No matter where you turn, there are great walks and trails all over Oahu, from the ever-popular Diamond Head to other slightly more obscure ones.

See & Do

  • Hiking – Mariner’s Ridge: A short hike with moderate elevation gains (it’s really not too intense) with breathtaking views of Waimanalo throughout the entire hike. The hike can be done fairly quickly, but we were taking our time, practically in awe around every corner. We were walking alongside a full double rainbow for the majority of the hike, something that we had never experienced before in our east coast hikes. It got a little muddy and slippery near the top due to passing clouds, but the view at the end is worth it. There’s a “No Trespassing” sign at the entrance, but most people (including us) seem to ignore it. We passed about 3-4 other groups when we were going up in the early morning, and passed a lot more on our way down. Rating: 5/5

Hiking - Mariner's Ridge

  • Byodo-in Temple: Deep in the Valley of the Temples lies this recreation of a Japanese Buddhist temple. For a $3/person admission fee, we wandered the grounds, rang the huge bell, and paid homage to the big Buddha by lighting incense. Fish and bird food is only $1 and watching the massive koi gulp up provides some entertainment. Note that if you hold your hand out with food in it, the birds here will walk up your arms and hands to grab it (I’m not showing any bird flu symptoms…yet). Rating: 4/5

Byodo-in Temple

  • Puu Maelieli Digging Hill: The entrance to this hike is right across from the Valley of the Temples, right off Rt. 83. There are a bunch of forks on the trail which we kind of guessed at the right direction (just keep heading up), and the trail was a bit overgrown at parts, but eventually we reached the Pu’u Ma’eli’eli sign at the top. There are some World War II era pillboxes in which soldiers would keep an eye on the coast, although it certainly looked like some homeless guys were living in there now. The view of Kaneohe Bay at the top was extremely rewarding. Rating: 5/5

Sign Puu Maelieli Digging Hill

View from top of Puu Maelieli Digging Hill

  • Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail: We weren’t quite done hiking for the day yet–we headed to Makapu’u Point for an easy hike to finish the day as the sun was setting. This “trail” is very easy, as it’s paved all the way to the lookout at the top. Once we got to the lookout point, we kept going up as it seemed like there was a trail even further, and we managed to get all the way to the top near the bunkers just as soon as it was getting dark. It gets suddenly windy near the top, so hold onto your hats, literally–we almost lost ours. If you go during the middle of the day, make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen since there’s almost no shade. Rating: 5/5

View from top of Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail

Eat & Drink

  • Breakfast @ Holy Crepe: It’s a truck that serves crepes, located in a food truck lot called “‘Lota Trucks”. We were up and out pretty early, around 7am, and this was the first place open that we passed by (that wasn’t a McDonalds) so we decided to drop in. We shared a Sunrise crepe and a nutella crepe–not bad. Around $7 per crepe. Rating: 4/5
  • Pakeles Hawaiian Food: I’m not going to lie, Hawaiian food in general just doesn’t sound too appetizing to my palate. But, when in Rome…we saw a sign advertising “Authentic Hawaiian Food” off the highway across the Valley of the Temples and decided to drop in. It’s next to the DMV where there were a bunch of potential new drivers sitting nervously on a bench outside. We shared the chicken katsu plate lunch (chicken was very tasty, mac was just alright), the pan-seared ahi (pretty good), poi (maybe I just don’t get it, tastes pretty bland to me), and some sort of spinach-y soup with squid in which I can’t recall the name of (didn’t like it). Around $7~8 per lunch set. Rating: 3/5
  • Izakaya Tako-No-Ki: Back to Waikiki for the night, we decided to get some Japanese food–we were craving okonomiyaki, a Japanese pizza/pancake originally from Osaka. We looked up a few places and decided to stop by this place. The default menus on the table were in Japanese and we had to specially request English menus, which seemed like a pretty good sign. The okonomiyaki was a little burned, which I like, but my girlfriend does not so this place gets mixed reviews from us. A big plus is that they serve 1 liter mugs of Japanese beer. Rating: 3/5


  • Waikiki Backpackers Hostel: $44 for a double bed suite. This was one of our few hostel experiences. The room is equipped with the bare necessities such as a TV and bed sheets. Most of the people who are staying here are from abroad and in their 20s. They seem to be hanging around the hostel all day. Perhaps this has to do with the higher cost of living in Honolulu. Our overall experience with this hostel was alright. Rating: 3/5

Visit Date

  • 05/10/2013

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