Didn’t we have a great time in San Francisco and Maui?! It was such a great adventure – not quite our first, but still… It took us months to decide on where to go for our honeymoon. I lost count of the number of times we changed our honeymoon destinations – more than 5 times maybe?! It was Luq who suggested Hawaii and I went, “why not?!”
Seeing that both of us are not exactly your favourite beach people, we decided to add a city destination into the mix. Initially, I wanted to go to NYC but Luq’s been there before, hence, we thought San Francisco wouldn’t be such a bad idea – a city and beach escape – just our kind of holiday!
The flight was crazy (any flight beyond Europe is cray for me). Thankfully, we flew with Singapore Air (after my experience with Aeroflot to Cuba, I should better stick to Singapore Air). We arrived in San Francisco past 9 pm and it was pretty chilly – you can imagine how excited we were, seeing how hot Singapore had been of late! We stayed at The Ritz-Carlton (spoiling ourselves a bit much, but heck it, we totally deserved it) for 4 nights. We loved everything about the hotel from the friendly staff to the well-maintained facilities. We were greeted with a tray of strawberries coated in chocolate and a sweet card congratulating us on our wedding! I am a sucker for such things, so this hotel gets all the brownie points from me!
We had no itinerary for our honeymoon – nada! I brought only 1 set of clothes with me (Luq was astonished). He thought I was kidding until he opened my suitcase to reveal an empty one. That called for shopping in city, which was such a big mistake because it wasn’t exactly that cheap – got an overall from Levi’s for US$128, where I could get the exact one from a premium outlet at US$60. But let’s not go there… If I can sum up San Francisco in a few words it would be ‘a city of walking’. We walked up and down the slopes to everywhere (also because our hotel was centrally located). We planned to go for the Alcatraz Night Tour, but it was sold out, so if you want to go, you need to make an advanced booking as they have a quota of visitors each day. One of the crazier things we did (ever) was to queue up for more than 1 hr at “Mama’s”, which sells the best buttermilk pancakes in town. Oh boy, it didn’t disappoint. I am missing every bit of it right now. Normally, Luq would have to finish up my food, but not for this one – got ‘em all down! Anyway, we didn’t do much in the city to be honest – just took a hell lot of videos because Luq wanted to put together a honeymoon video for us. We took the city bus tour to get acquainted with the city on our first day. This is probably the best way to learn about the city and then you can better plan your days ahead. We rented a car on our second last day in SF to drive out to Gilroy Premium Outlet. I heard premium outlets in US are the absolute bomb, but it didn’t match up to my expectations. Oh wells!
Maui, on the other hand, was full of surprises. This place has got the word lepak all over it. Since I’m not really a beach destination person, I was like, “err, might be too chill out for me y’know” – too soon to speak! We stayed at The Fairmont Kea Lani (I’m a total convert now from Airbnb to 5-star hotels!) for 5 nights – yea, talk about ballin’, we were doing it a bit much. We were greeted very warmly at the reception. I would like to think that they’re super friendly, but Luq just burst it for me by saying that we paid shit load of money to stay there, hence, the service. Seriously, engineers.
I’m gonna miss using the I’m-on-my-honeymoon card because that got us an upgrade – a room with a garden view. Luq wanted to pay a little bit extra for an ocean view. By a little bit, the receptionist meant US$300/night – that I shall pass. Our room was huge, I mean H U G E. There was a living area, the bedroom area, and of course, the overly massive bathroom, which I appreciated so much. We slept in on our first day – not too sure what we could be so tired from. We only woke up past 8 pm with growling stomachs. We thought of ordering in, but the food was way too expensive – US$40-50 for pasta… thank you, that too shall pass. I would put it very plainly that Wailea (the area where we stayed at) is like Sentosa – everything in there is expensive and getting out is a beesch. You’d need to drive out for cheaper food and such (cheaper because by my standards, food is quite steep in Maui – on average US$15 per meal). On the first night, we took the shuttle bus to the nearby resto, Monkey Pod for a fish & chips dinner (I was sick of fish by the end of the trip).
We decided to rent a car for the entire time in Maui and that was the best decision ever. It’s quite pricey getting around in a cab (it costed US$60 from airport to our hotel!) We wanted to rent a convertible – a re-enactment of Teenage Dream by Katy Perry, but, nah the weather was scorching hot for us to get our hair blowin’ in the wind. Half the time (hold up, all the time) we were in the car, Luq blasted the air-con. So I could imagine how pointless it would be for us to be driving in a convertible. My husband is a putera lilin (translation: almost-prince who cannot stand the heat)… so jyeah.
We had quite a line up in Maui, which we were pretty flexible about. All we wanted to do was the heli tour. The rest was pretty much impromptu. We drove around the island (favourite towns: Lahaina and Paia) in our big ass car. I kid you not, it’s most definitely the President’s car we were in. I loved the winding roads and the drive was absolutely magical, with the blue-green glistening water surrounding us. We were also tuning in to the local radio station (forgot what it was) which was surprisingly updated. I think my husband got acquainted with my flat/off-pitch singing – he’s totally cool about it now. At one point, he told me I could sing. That’s definitely love guys.
Our favourite towns have got to be Lahaina and Paia where we had one of the better lunches on the trip – some lobster roll goodness we had at Down the Hatch. It was so good Luq didn’t need to finish my food for me. While in Paia, we had the best banana toffee crepe at Cafe des Amis.
We pushed our beach day earlier because our heli tour was postponed due to unfavourable weather conditions. I shared this on Instagram that we had to buy our beach stuffs at K Mart because getting back to the hotel would take too much time. Personally, I’m not really into the whole beach scene – so is my husband (soulmates!) But, how could you not chill at the beach when in Hawaii. We tried… 1 hour was tops! The currents were strong; I got a bit scared that I would be pulled into the middle of the ocean so I stayed close to the shore. There was a little girl about age 4 totally judging me. Luq almost lost his Go Pro, but, thank god we didn’t! He was taking the waves crashing shot for his video, but totally underestimated the current and the ocean took the Go Pro with it. Before it went deeper into the water, I grabbed it. I got him the small camera as a gift so I felt this utter sense of relief after retrieving it. You had no idea.
The heli tour was beyond awesome despite the fact that I was this close to puking half hour into it. The take-off was exhilarating. Luq was like a fat kid at Christmas while I was maintaining my excitement. Our tour took us to see the waterfalls and the coastlines. Because it rained the day before, the waterfalls were amazing. We went very close to the waterfalls and got some good video shots. At one point, the pilot took a plunge and the weightless feeling gripped me. Gosh, I thought we were going down – I just got married guys. Luq was telling me that the whole scene reminded him of Jurassic Park. I thought it was a little weird until I shared some snippets of the video with the family and most of them said the same thing. I guess it’s just me then. Half way through, I kept still because I didn’t feel good. My mouth was dry and my head was giddy. I was so tempted to just puke in the brown bag, but decided against it because looking cool is everything to me. The whole experience was surreal although it cost us close to US$600, it was definitely worth it.
One of the other days where we didn’t plan for anything turned out to be a long drive to Hana. Initially, we didn’t want to do it because of the reviews we read on TripAdvisor – long drive (6-8 hours), winding and steep road. Luq wasn’t really keen on it until we saw a t-shirt saying “We survived the road to Hana”. We were both like, “Wait there’s a t-shirt? We need this.” And that’s how we ended up in a long drive to Hana in the big ass car on a narrow road.
The other challenging drive we took was up the Haleakala Crater in the wee hours of the morning to catch the supposedly best sunrise in Maui – and I second that! Imagine a road with only bits of orange lights (if you’re lucky… if not, you just have the headlights from your car) to guide you up the winding mountain! I know it was Luq who was driving, but my eyes were peeled on the road too and feeling super anxious. We set off at 2 am hoping to reach there before 5 am. The sunrise was at 6 am and we wanted to be early to catch the night transiting into day – it was a magnificent sight. It was freezing and we only had our heat techs on (bless Uniqlo for this invention) and light jackets. The reviews on TripAdvisor said to bring along some blankets. Luq thought it was such a child’s play, but regretted immediately when we were up there. After that super early morning, we drove down to Kula Lodge for a breakfast with a view. It was definitely the best day on our entire trip!
Gah, I miss everything about it. Everything. The flight was nuts, but I had the best travel companion that I could ever ask for.