FOR many travelers, Honolulu is just a stopover en route to another Hawaiian island, like Maul or Kauai, with a goal of avoiding the overtourised maze that Waikiki has become.

In 2018, nearly six million travelers arrived by air on the island of Oahu, up 16.2 percent in five years. But there is still plenty to do and see in Honolulu, the multicultural Hawaiian capital, while skirting the edge of the crowds :

Museums shed historic light; sheds offer updated takes; and bars concoct new versions of kitschy aloha cocktails.It can be paradise at a high price, but there are ways to experience today's Honolulu beyond the beach and without busting the budget.

Deep background : Some visitors will head straight to the beach, but the Bishop Museum is a better place to understand the physical and cultural evolution of the islands and the sensitivity to who, or what, is considered ''native Hawaiian versus ''local.''

Named for Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a philanthropist and the last descendant of the Kamehameha royal family, the museum offers insight into precontact Hawaii, as well as the forced abdication of its final queen, Lili'uokalani, in the 1890s.

Check out the model of of a heiau, or sacrificial temple; the colourful feathered capes, leis and helmets; and the wall of antique poi pounders. Find the costume alcove where you can try on styles inspired by the Pacific Islands including, yes, a grass skirt.

Chinatown trek : The struggle between the traditional and trendy is evident here, amid signs of gratification and poverty. Wihin Chinatown's gridlike layout, you can spot examples of the low-rise Italianate brick or white stucco and corniced buildings that predate a devastating fire in 1900.

Admire the colourful neon marquee at the refurbished 1922 Hawaii theater. Take in the colors and tuberrose heavy scents and lei stands and note the steamed bun sign of Char Hung Suit, where dumplings are sold early in the day.

Chinatown offers a glimpse of the culture that developed after migrants, originally recruited in the 1850s to work on sugar plantations, left those jobs to open their own businesses.

The honor and serving of the latest travel research on Hawaii, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Susanne Fowler.


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