Waikiki Beach
June 16, 2019
| by
Maria Mancuso

Visiting Oahu: Oahu Visitor FAQs

This Oahu Visitors Blog article provides answers to many popular questions about Visiting Oahu, so here it is; ‘Oahu Visitor FAQs.’

Ok, you have decided to make your dreams come true and you are finally planning a visit to Hawaii…the island of Oahu to be more specific.  But now you have a lot of questions...and we have the answers.

‘What should I pack?’ 
‘What is the best way to get to our hotel from the airport?’
‘Do we need a rental car?’
‘Can I bring a Pineapple home with me?’ (yes, this is a popular question)

…these and more questions are answered below in our Oahu Visitor Blog article, ‘Visiting Oahu: Oahu Visitor FAQs.’

Let’s go!

Q: Where is the Airport on Oahu?
A: The main Oahu Airport is the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport located in Honolulu. The Airport is just 8.5 miles or 15-minute drive to our Waikiki Hotel.

Q: What are the main sections, or areas of Oahu?
A: There are many neighborhoods across Oahu but there are 5 general sections on Oahu, they are:

  • Waikiki/Honolulu
  • Leeward (Ko Olina area)
  • Windward East (Kaneohe/Kailua)
  • North Shore (Haleiwa to Turtle Bay)
  • Waianae (Makaha area)
Sign of Hale'Iwa on Oahu

Q: Do we need a rental car for our visit to Oahu?
A; If your budget allows, we definitely recommend a renting a car for at least a portion of your time on Oahu, simply because you will be able to explore and enjoy so much more of this beautiful island. Places like, North Shore, Ko Olina, Waianae (Makaha area) are accessible via public transportation but you will spend a lot of time on a bus that can be spent experiencing the island.  

When your vacation is over you will want to remember all the things you did, not all the things you missed because you could not visit beautiful neighborhoods, beaches, waterfalls and other attractions.

Q: How is the public transportation on Oahu?
A: Oahu has a great bus transportation system, called, ‘TheBus.’ As of January 1, 2018, TheBus offers 3 types of passes; 1 Day Pass, Monthly Pass and an Annual Pass. The 1 Day Pass is $5.50 and Monthly passes are $70.00. You can purchase these passes at these locations:

  • Kalihi Transit Center Bus Office
  • Foodland Stores
  • 7-Eleven Stores
  • Hawaii Pacific University Book Store
  • Times Supermarkets
  • Satellite City Hall
  • UH Manoa - Campus Center

Q: If we do not rent a car, how can we get around the Honolulu and Waikiki area of Oahu?
A: There are a number of great ways to get around Waikiki and Honolulu, they include:

•  Bus: TheBus is a great option for getting around Waikiki and Honolulu.  You have several options. A one-way fare is $2.50. A 1-Day Pass is $5.50. A Monthly Pass for unlimited rides is $70.00. Children 5 years old and younger are free with paying adult.

•  Taxi: Taking a Taxi is good option for getting around Waikiki/Honolulu and there are plenty of taxi’s around the city.  The fares will vary based on the location, time of day and of course the distance to your destination.

•  Waikiki Trolley: We love this option for getting around Honolulu/Waikiki.  The Trolley is open air and now there is a Double Decker Bus too.   The Trolley has over 40 stops and it travels to many popular Oahu Attractions like Honolulu Zoo, Ala Moana Shopping Mall, Diamond Head, Downtown Honolulu and as far as Pearl Harbor. The Trolley has a 1-Day Pass for $45.00 and there are discounted options for 4-Day and7-Day Passes. 

•  Bike:  What better way to enjoy a day than riding a Bike around Honolulu/Waikiki?  There are many Bike Rental Services in Honolulu/Waikiki, and guests at Ambassador Hotel Waikiki have access to our Bikes free of charge during your stay. Honolulu has a Bike-share system called, Biki. 

The Biki Bikes are located throughout Honolulu. Just download the Biki App, and you can rent a Bike to ride for a one-time trip for $3.50. There is an option for a Monthly Program for only $15.00 for unlimited 30-mintue rides. For $25.00 you can have unlimited 60-minute rides. 

•  Uber:  Uber is a great option for getting around Waikiki/Honolulu.  The upside is that by using the Uber App, you can know the total cost of the fare and time to pick up and drop off.  Uber can be a bit costly if you use it for all your travels but most likely you will not use Uber for every trip.

•  Walking: What could be better than walking around this island paradise?  You can see a lot of Waikiki by foot to be sure.  All the local shopping, restaurants, Waikiki Beach and other areas of Waikiki are easily reached by just walking.  

From the Ambassador Hotel, you can set out our door, walk to Kalakaua Avenue, the main beach front street in Waikiki and you can spend a full day exploring the beaches, restaurants, shops and pop-up stands along the way.  

Q: Is there a designated ‘Shopping District’ on Oahu?
A: There is a great shopping options across Oahu, some are tourist focused, other areas serve residents.  For the closest tourist focused shopping there are many shops along Kalakaua Avenue, the main street in Waikiki. Kalakaua Avenue has every type of shop including luxury brands like Gucci, Chanel, and others.  There are also many great shops at the Waikiki Beach Walk, which also includes many great restaurants.  

The International Marketplace is another great shopping destination with many smaller shops as well as nationally known brand shops.  Each of these shopping areas are within walking distance from Ambassador Hotel.  

For more of a ‘mall’ shopping experience you can choose to go to Ala Moana Shopping Center which is a massive shopping mall complete with all the local brands and international brands you may be searching for. You will need to take a Taxi, or the best option is the Waikiki Trolley has a direct route to Ala Moana Shopping Mall.

Q: What type of clothes should we bring?  Does everyone just wear shorts and flip flops all day and night?
A: First, we do not use the term ‘flip flops’ in Hawaii…if you want to fit in with the locals, call them ‘Slippahs’.  Just a friendly locals tip. Now for the rest of your clothes.  You want to be comfortable, so you will most likely be spending a lot of the daytime in your swimsuits and beachwear.  

You will want to have a couple of changes of ‘nice’ beachwear to wear out to lunch and casual dinner. You will need a couple of changes of beachwear that you go to the beach with and swim in the beautiful water as well.  

You will find that you will want to have a great beach bag or tote to carry an extra pair of clothes, water, Reef Safe sunscreen, a snack, and other items.  Your Beach Bag/Tote will be a constant companion during your visit.  The nights on the island can be a bit chilly so it is a good idea to bring a light, casual jacket and pair of long pants.  

If you plan to enjoy dinner at one of the nicer restaurants, it is a good idea to bring a nicer change of clothes.  If you find yourself needing any type of clothing that you may have forgotten back home, you will almost certainly find it here at one of our many shops.

Kualoa Ranch on Oahu
Kualoa Ranch is a fantastic destination for Film Location Tours, Zip Lining, ATV Riding and more – located just 36 minutes from Ambassador Hotel.

Q: How far is it from Ambassador Hotel to these Oahu’s attractions?
A: Ambassador Hotel is very centrally located in the heart of Waikiki. As for the distance to the top attractions on Oahu, see this list:

  • Honolulu International Airport: 8.5 miles/16 minutes
  • Diamondhead Crater: 2.6 miles/9 minutes
  • Pearl Harbor: 11 miles/21 minutes
  • Downtown Honolulu: 3 miles/11 minutes 
  • Hanauma Bay: 10.5 miles/20 minutes
  • Ala Moana Shopping Mall: 1 mile/4 minutes
  • Kualoa Ranch: 22.6 miles/36 minutes
  • Polynesian Cultural Center: 34 miles/54 minutes
  • Haleiwa Town/North Shore: 33 miles/46 minutes
  • Nuuanu Pali Lookout: 9 miles/20 minutes
  • Ko Olina 26 miles: 26 miles/35 minutes
Pineapple growing on Oahu
Can I bring a Pineapple home with me? Yes!

Q: Can I bring a Pineapple home to the Mainland?
A: Yes!   You can buy fresh Pineapples from many stores, or even from the Dole Pineapple Plantation and ship them back home to the mainland.  You can also carry a box of Pineapples on your flight as well check the box of Pineapples like luggage and save the shipping costs.

if you are boarding a flight in the continental United States*, you can bring pineapples through airport security in your carry-on baggage. ... If you are flying to Hawaii, you must declare all fresh fruits and vegetables you bring upon arrival; these may be inspected and prohibited depending on type and origin.

Planning your visit to Oahu can be a bit intimidating, so many questions but we have answers.  Check back for future, updated ‘Oahu Visitor FAQs’ to be published in our Oahu Visitors Blog.

Be sure to visit our Oahu Visitors Guide for more informative articles about all there is to do, see and experience during your next visit to Oahu.

Visit our latest Exclusive Offers for our Oahu Hotel.