7 Tips for Visiting Pearl Harbour, HawaiiMonday, April 03, 2017
Pearl Harbour, a chapter in a history textbook, a tick on my bucket list, and a memorial to the thousands of innocent lives lost.
The history student in me, simply could not leave Oahu without a visit to the site of the one of the deadliest naval attacks in the history of the world. We left for Pearl Harbour at the crack of dawn, watched the sun rise as we walked in and enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day as we roamed about the site.
If you are planning on visiting Pearl Harbour and want your trip to be as memorable as ours, here are a few tips to keep in mind!
- Get there nice and early. As I mentioned, we chose to leave for Pearl Harbour nice and early to give ourselves plenty of time to explore and the chance to watch the sun rise over the memorial site. However, there’s another perk of arriving early! Being an incredibly popular tourist attraction, Pearl Harbour attracts huge crowds on a daily basis. Arriving early can help you avoid the busy crowds and also ensure that if you haven’t already booked a ticket you can bag one of 1,300 free walk-in tickets available for the USS Arizona memorial.
- Go easy on the accessories. I am the sort of person that carries a bag or backpack absolutely everywhere I go but Pearl Harbour is one place you want to travel light. Visitors are only allowed to take in a wallet, camera and water bottle and any bags have to be stored in a locker. Pack light if you want to avoid paying for the lockers or wear something with pockets.
- Planning your trip by bus. If you’ve chosen not to drive while in Oahu like we did, a trip to Pearl Harbour is easily possible by bus. If visiting from Waikiki, catch bus number 42 for $5 round trip otherwise, if you’re coming straight from the airport, catch bus number 20 instead. The best thing to do in Oahu for public transport is to download the app 'The Bus' and you can use it to plan for journeys. Be mindful that the location you're visiting is named 'Arizona Memorial' and not 'Pearl Harbour'.
- Even if you're on a budget, you can still visit for free - The USS Arizona Memorial is the resting place of over a thousand sailors and marines that were killed during the Pearl Harbour attack. this is a must see. The memorial is free to visit but requires ticket i.e a reservation a time online as aforementioned you can go early and try grab the limited tickets of 1,300 daily. The free package includes a 20 minute video which is incredibly thought provoking and is great for those not so familiar with Pearl Harbour, boat ride to the memorial as well as audio tours that are available.
- Visit Battleship Missouri. While there are a number of incredible individual memorials to choose from within Pearl Harbour, we can only speak from experience. If you can fit all the different sections into your itinerary, go ahead. If not, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, also the site of the formal signing of the “Instrument of Surrender” is a good place to spend your time. The USS Missouri has been preserved beautifully and climbing and exploring through this monumental battleship was memorable. A general admission ticket costing $27 will cover your shuttle right to Ford Island where the entrance of the ship is located as well as either a guided tour, a longer audio one or a self-guided one to choose from.
- Assign enough time for the program. The free of cost, USS Arizona Memorial program lasts roughly 75 minutes, including the video, boat ride and back. However, if you're planning to visit another site, definitely assign another 2 hours on top of it. So including travel from Waikiki and back, it can easily take up half of your day.
- Dress appropriately and take a load of sunscreen. Lastly be sure to dress sensibly keeping the location and its purpose in mind and load on the sunscreen as a lot of the day will be spent outdoors!
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