"North and South do not exist" Top 5 Page for this destination Honolulu Local Custom Tip by Hopkid

Honolulu Local Customs: 66 reviews and 121 photos

As Hawaii is made up of a series of islands, the locals have found that it is more descriptive to provide direction not by compass direction but in what direction you're referring into in relation to the ocean or the mountains (which are usually away from the low-lying areas away from the coast. These terms are:

Mauka and Makai

Mauka means away from the coast. I remember this by saying mauka (pronounced MAO-kah) and mountain (MAON-ten) as they sound the same.

Makai means towards the coast or beach.

Example: "The restaurant is on Kalakaua makai" means "The restaurant is on Kalakaua on the side of the street closest to the beach" or "The restaurant is on the beach side of Kalakaua".

Example: "Go two blocks mauka and turn right" means "Go two blocks towards the mountains and turn right"

Get it?

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  • Written Apr 21, 2006
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