I’ve been lucky enough to visit Hawaii a few times now, but most recently, I decided to check out the island of Molokai for the first time. It really is true that every Hawaiian island is so different and has its own character that sets it apart from the others. Molokai is the fifth largest of the eight major Hawaiian islands and located just off the northwest shore of Maui (a short 7.5 mi away).
Molokai is often referred to as “The Most Hawaiian Island,” and it is definitely different than your typical tourist-filled travel spot. You won’t find major chain hotels, upscale resorts, or even many tour operators on Molokai, yet if you’re looking for that authentic Hawaiian experience, then Molokai is your destination. I went into my Molokai trip a bit unsure of what to expect, but after just my short 2.5-day visit, it’s given me a lifetime of incredible memories. Read on for my top 5 reasons you need to put visiting Molokai at the top of your travel bucket list!
5 Reasons For Visiting Molokai
Start With An Incredible Island Hop
After having traveled for 5 hours previously on my Dallas to Maui flight, I was not expecting to be impressed with another flight out to the island of Molokai. I was tired, hungry, and already starting to feel the jet lag kick in, but let me just say, the flight over to Molokai quickly changed my tune and really set the tone for the rest of my amazing experience: be open to the unexpected and Molokai will reward you.
I flew Mokulele Airlines and the short island-hop was aboard the cutest 9-passenger turboprop airplane that was actually so much fun! Surprisingly it was not noisy at all and the flight over just gave the most incredible aerial views of Molokai
The quick 18-minute flight felt more like an island tour and there are no words to describe the magnificence of the Molokai sea cliffs. It was only later that I realized Molokai has the tallest sea cliffs in the world, towering between 3,600 and 3,900 feet above the ocean!
I do recommend sitting on the left side of the plane to get the most amazing views. I was lucky enough to have a local Molokai lady also on the plane with me, and thank goodness she insisted on switching seats with me before we took off!
Enjoy Secluded Pristine Beaches
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting away from it all than having a beach all to yourself. Molokai has miles of sandy beaches completely unspoiled and absolutely stunning. This incredible stretch of Kamiloloa beach was just steps behind my room at Hotel Molokai and I couldn’t get over the postcard-perfect sunset that greeted me upon arrival!
Go For A Late-Night “Molokai Hot Bread” Run
When I first looked up things to do in Molokai, the first thing that returned was for “Molokai Hot Bread.” What I came to realize is that Molokai hot bread is legendary on the Hawaiian islands and always tops the list of must-do activities while on the island. The famous Molokai hot bread is baked at the local Kanemitsu Bakery on Molokai and it’s best to buy it fresh — meaning when it’s first baked in the evening!
Kanemitsu Bakery has a special back window entry for ordering their late-night bread while it’s hot-off-the-press and finding your way to this spot at night is part what earned this tradition it’s now-famous status. Ask any local and they’ll point you down the semi-dark alleyway and before you know it, you’ll see a turn labeled “HOT BREAD”.
Order from the small window and you’ll be treated with the most delicious loaf of Molokai hot bread topped with your choice of strawberry, blueberry, cinnamon and butter jam stored in plastic paint buckets and slathered on with giant spatulas! One bread is definitely more than enough for 2 people to share and trust me, the late-night carbs are worth it.
Appreciate Nature in the Wild
“Don’t try to change Molokai, let Molokai change you.” Part of the appeal of Molokai is that it resists the temptation to become the next tourist trap. And because you don’t see signs of development everywhere you turn, it becomes easy to really appreciate the natural beauty that is Hawaii. The beautiful greenery, the white sandy beaches, the towering mountains and sea cliffs — Molokai is a place where you can appreciate the land is its most natural state. Hawaiians have a deep understanding of how to live off the land — and so much of it involves preserving and protecting it for years to come!
Understand the Meaning of Aloha
Aloha breaks down to alo — meaning presence, and ha — meaning breath. A traditional Hawaiian greeting starts by sharing ha, or breath, which was also new to me. The breath exchange is done when two individuals press their foreheads and noses together while inhaling at the same time. This sharing of breath is a sign of respect, of allowing another person in close to you, and the essence of aloha.
While I had always thought of “aloha” as translating to hello, what I learned while on Molokai is that it really is so much more. Hawaiian people are deep and in the same way, the meaning of aloha is as well. Aloha is a spirit of love, peace, compassion, and respect. It means extending warmth, caring for one another, and living in harmony with the land and well as the people.
On Molokai, people treat you like family. Almost half of Molokai’s population is of Native Hawaiian ancestry, and here you’ll see the traditions and language thriving. Come to Molokai with an open heart and open mind, and you’ll leave an understanding and new-found appreciation for the local culture. Molokai people really do treat you like family and the slow lifestyle here really lends itself to sharing stories.
Molokai is Hawaii’s hideaway, and the island truly embodies the meaning of “getaway.” Visiting Molokai isn’t the typical Hawaiian resort-style vacation, but it is the perfect escape if you’re looking for to ultimately unplug and reconnect. For me, being on Molokai was a much-needed reminder for me to slow down, detach, and just enjoy. I can’t wait to be back.
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Written on behalf of Maui Visitors Burearu. All opinions are honest and my own. Thank you for supporting this blog and making trips like these possible!