Seattle to Kailua-Kona

Two days ago was my last day in Seattle. After the library, I grabbed lunch at A+ Hong Kong restaurant. I ate a delicious plate of braised pork with pickled vegetables. I love braised pork, but I can’t eat too much because of my cholesterol, so this is a treat for me.

Braised pork, my favorite

I decided to not visit the Wing Luke Museum and returned to the library one last time. I googled “how many days should I stay in X as a first time visitor” where X is a country. I came up with a list of days for all the countries I want to visit. The total was 201 days. I think that’s a good time span for traveling in the Asia Pacific.

Left the hostel

Around 3 PM, I rode the light rail from Chinatown to Seattle-Tacoma Airport. The security line was even longer than the one in the Philadelphia airport. Right when I was about to get screened by security a TSA agent allowed an older couple to cut in front me. Their bags were flagged for and my bag was too. I had to wait quite awhile for them to finish. For some reason, my sunglasses was the cause for my bag to be flagged. In the end, it took about an hour and forty-five minutes to get through security. I made the right decision to arrive the airport two hours in advance. They already started boarding when I arrived at the gate. I also had to get my ticket since they didn’t have my seat assignment until the last minute.

My flight was about six hours in the air, but we didn’t leave the tarmac until about an hour after the scheduled flight. This is one of my worst flight experiences. The good thing was I sat in the middle seat of an exit row, which had more leg room.

On the plane to Hawaii!

I talked with the guy next me. His name is Wes and he’s an engineer who will be putting in small drainage systems on the island. Wes told me about his many traveling adventures, both work and personal, and about his 25 acre property outside of Seattle. By the end of our conversation, he offered to give me a ride from the airport to my hostel. I was so grateful for meeting Wes and for his generosity!

The plane landed around 9:30 PM Hawaiian time. That’s 12:30 AM Seattle time. By the time that Wes picked up his baggage, rented a car, and drove me to the My Hawaii Hostel, it was 10:15 PM. We exchanged phone numbers in case we want to get together sometime.

I was charged a fee of $20 at the hostel because I arrived past 10 PM. The cost of the hostel was $50 per night, not including taxes and other fees. The total was about $200 for three nights with the late fee. A bit expensive for a hostel, but a good deal compared to a hotel.

This hostel has more comfortable beds and better blankets than the one in Seattle. I’m staying in a mixed gender dorm room. I ended up sleeping soon after checking in since I was so tired.

Yesterday morning, I woke up around sunrise. I had a cup of coffee then asked a couple of guests for what to do around Kailua-Kona, or Kona for short. There’s a free trolley that runs by the hostel every hour up and down Ali’i Dr. To the north is the downtown area and some beaches and to the south are more beaches. I decided to take the trolley north first to downtown so I can grab some breakfast.

The trolley ride wasn’t too long, maybe 15 minutes. I felt downtown is catered to tourists with restaurants and shops. I’m also a tourist so I went to a restaurant called Fish Hopper Kona that had a great view of Kailua Bay. I had the famous Kona coffee that’s grown only in this region. I wasn’t too hungry so I ordered a bowl of fried rice. It was very subpar. I could have done a better job.

Breakfast by the bay

After breakfast, I walked 1.5 miles north on Kuakini Hwy to Kailua Beach in the hot sun. This beach has a lot of lava rocks and isn’t really meant for sunbathing. I forgot to wear my swim trunks and wore pants when it was 85 degrees out. Consequently, I sought refuge under the pavilions as I walked from one end of the beach to the other end.

Kailua Beach

On my way back to downtown I thought about hitchhiking back since it was so hot. I had read that it’s common to do that in Hawaii, but I haven’t seen anyone doing it. I ended up sticking my thumb out to see if I can get a ride. I ended up feeling too shy to continue hitchhiking so I walked for 30 minutes back to downtown.

Downtown Kailua-Kona

After walking the length of downtown, I didn’t find anything too interesting. I decided to catch the trolley back to the hostel. However, the trolley only runs every hour so I chatted on the phone with my friend Merritt for an hour while waiting for the trolley. When the trolley finally came the driver told me it’s full. There goes my luck!

It was lunch time now and since I’m still in downtown I decided to get some Mexican street tacos for lunch. The 3 for $9 taco special was good for the price.

There was a 37 years old woman named Lizzy from the dating app Bumble who chatted with me. Her profile seemed interesting so we decided to meet up at Magic Sands Beach Park south of the town. I waited at the bus stop that’s closer to the center of downtown so that I’ll have a better chance getting a seat this time. The trolley didn’t arrive on the schedule that’s indicated by Google Maps. When it did arrive I took it to Magic Sands Beach.

When I got there, I realized that I’m the only person there without beach attire. I walked back a mile to the hostel to get changed then walked back to the beach.

Magic Sands Beach Park

Lizzy showed up soon after I arrived. She was a talker and told me about all of her travels. She was also a teacher in China for ten years after college and her Chinese is very good for a Caucasian. It seemed we had a lot in common with regard to our values, but I didn’t sense we connected romantically. We chatted so much under the shade that we couldn’t go into the water later because there was a shark alert and everyone had to get out of the water.

Lizzy and I decided to walk further south to Kahalu’u Beach Park. That beach was also closed so we walked farther down to the KTA supermarket in the shopping mall. Along the way, Lizzy told me about Workaway. It’s a website that I’ve heard about before where travelers can volunteer with a host in exchange for room and board. I thought that’s a perfect way to slow travel in expensive destinations. The more I thought about it the more I want to do it.

At the KTA supermarket, I bought some ready-made poke, kimchee cucumbers, and half of a papaya. Lizzy and I sat on the curb by the bus stop and ate our dinner while waited for the bus to take us back.

A bus driver notified us that there will not be any buses the following day due to the hurricane that’s coming to the island later in the day. I was glad that I got to see everything I wanted to see in one day in Kona.

Lizzy and I took the last trolley at 5:30 PM since they are cutting their schedule short due to the storm. I got back to the hostel and Lizzy and I planned to meet up again.

Me and Lizzy

At the hostel, I chatted with a few more guests. I noticed the people staying here are younger folks, mostly in their twenties. I felt a little out of place. I also found a similar website to Workaway called Worldpackers that do the same thing. I might sign up for Worldpackers since their website looked better.

While I was in the dorm room getting ready to take a quick shower, I met Maria. She just arrived in Kona and rented a car. She also plans to visit Volcanoes National Park, so I asked if I can get a ride and pay her some money. She agreed.

I went to bed around 9 PM and woke up at 5:45 AM today. It did not rain in Kona last night. I’m not sure when I’ll meet Lizzy and what time I’m going to Volcanoes National Park with Maria, but I hope everything will work out. I might look for a volunteer opportunity in Hawaii and cancel my plane ticket to Japan if I find something interesting to do.


  1. I am so happy for you that you took this adventure in Hawaii! You will love Volcanoes National Park! I loved Kona coffee ! Nick snd I went to Hawaii for 13 days on our honeymoon 32 years ago! We were in Oahu, big island of Hawaii and Maui. I loved Maui the best but loved them all. Safe Travels.

    1. That's great, Karen! Sounds like you had a lot of fun! Be well.

  2. Sounds like a great adventure and you're meeting some nice people. I have only ever visited Oahu but Hawaii was a beautiful place. People then seemed very laid back and friendly. Not sure if it's the same.

    1. I find people to be friendly wherever I go. LOL!


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