6 – Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips

This weekend I tried something new. Many years ago I use to frequent auctions. A kind reader (thanks Louise!) just emailed me the other day to ask if I’d ever been to the auction house in my own town. I hadn’t! 

It was a LONG day. I did get some stuff, but the thing I’m most happy with may surprise you. So as soon as a get a little photoshoot together, I’ll share my day with you.

Until all that excitement transpires, I thought I’d take you on one last tour of Maui, to the colourful town of Paia. This will be the last instalment of our amazing, unforgettable, I can’t believe I was there this summer trip.

Here is why I think you need to visit Paia, along with other Maui tips below.

(thank-you for your suggestion, Dwayne!)

Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Paia is best known for it’s laid back hippy style atmosphere. I promptly got a map, and google maps all set, and off we went!

Gotta admit… part of the way to get to Paia was to hit the Hana HWY. I felt like I was on Route 66! Kinda famous name. Where’s my picture to prove it again?! Next time. I was too busy drying out from the constant ‘mist’ of Iao Valley we had just come from. 

And then we inched our way there. Ohhhh cool! What I didn’t expect was all the colour! It was a little like walking into a Hawaiian shirt. :)

Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net
Look! Palm trees!

I really did say that every time I saw them there. Which was frequent. Which I’m sure annoyed anyone within earshot.

Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net
This town is old Hawaii all the way. No big box mecca shopping in sight. This town was about barefeet, surfboards, dreadlocks, and whatever you like to eat or drink.

Loved every second of it!

Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net
Banana leaf fish! I brought two home. :) Apparently if you put them in the fridge they turn red. I haven’t tried it yet.

Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Palm trees!

Dipped in yellow, so that makes it documentation worthy.

Rustic baskets / Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Rustic baskets / Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

 Crazy wild rustic baskets for sale! Aren’t they gorgeous?


Surfboard fence / Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.netHow I had wished they weren’t doing road improvements in front of this fabulous surf board fence. Made me smile regardless.

For those not in the know, a Hawaiian trademark is red dirt, due to the aged volcanic ash with a high level of iron oxide. 

Google told me so.

Teal church in Paia / Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Paia Flat Bread Company / Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net
The one big reason it was suggested we take in Paia was for Flabread Company. Ohhhh my goodness.

Flat bread resembles a very thin crusted pizza. But the flavor was out of this world. Light on cheese, but massive on flavor. The freshest most delicious pizza like ingredients I’ve ever had the pleasure of indulging on.

They also served up homemade lemonade, and when I ordered coffee, they gave me a carafe of my own holding about 4 nice, strong big mugs of liquid gold. 

The interior was pretty funky too! Lots of surf board decor and boarded up ceilings. Too bad my pics didn’t turn out.

This place made the trip out to Paia very worthwhile and the perfect way to end the day.

Sugarcane fields  / Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Sugarcane fields  / Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

You won’t drive past corn fields in Hawaii, but you will most certainly see lots of sugarcane. Absolutely gorgeous!

Once the sugarcane is ready for harvest, the fields are burned to remove the leaves so the stalks yield more sugar. (thanks again Google!) It’s completely normal to see the odd Armageddon styled black plumbe of smoke when driving around. 

And if you EVER go to Maui, you must, oh yes you MUST do this one next thing.

Ululani's shaved ice  / Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net
Ululani Shave Ice

This is no snow cone nor slushie or any of that gritty stuff. This is shaved ice, similar to eating a snowball. Ask for ice-cream in the middle with some kind of topping, and you’re doing it right.

Ululani's shaved ice  / Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

We went here 3x. Out of our way even. Here’s a topping I tried one time. I think these flavors were red velvet, pineapple and banana… SO good!

 

Massive Maui trees  / Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net
So this trip? We waited a VERY long time to take it in. And after 15 years, some things have changed. 

Maui tips:

Prepare to pay. It’s expensive.

 It was not a cheap destination. Staying at the North Shore is more expensive due to being pretty much right on the ocean. (most places start at around $250ish a night even though we got lucky at Papakea for $150 a night due to off season) But the area was so very lovely. I’d most certainly do it again.

Pay to park.

Parking is at a premium everywhere you go on Maui. And it’s generally in some form of payment. If you go to Lahaina, you drive in these big parking lots, but need a stamp from a nearby store to give you an allotted amount of free parking time. Some malls (like Whaler’s Village) require money down in a store. If you’re really lucky, you can hit a mall that lets you just be there for free for an hour or so with no other strings attached. 

Needless to say, the rules and regulations required checking your time constantly unless you wanted to start paying. IMO? I felt the time restrictions rushed our stay wherever we went. I would have spent more money wherever we went if we had more time. But I guess that’s their way of keeping you moving around to give others a chance.

Try a north shore beach.

All the beaches are in very high demand. If you drive up the North Shore moreso, you find some amazing beaches locals frequent. They exhibit more natural surroundings than the pristine resort types, but they are nearly always deserted. Well worth it to pack up the snorkel gear to try out.

DT Flemming Beach - awesome for boogie boarding

Mokuleia Beach – great for snorkelling, very quiet. You park on the side of the road and walk WAY down, but the stairs there make it totally accessible. This was our favourite beach!

(thanks to friend Jen that gave me those two hot tips!)

Beware… don’t drive past Mokuleia until you google about that road! It’s a very dangerous one lane with a cliff drop off inches from your tires. We didn’t do it but nearly did by accident. The rental car companies don’t verbally warn you, so I will.

Choose a destination with a nice beach walking distance.

When you decide to stay somewhere in Maui, it’s a real bonus if it offers you a desirable beach. You’ll save yourself a lot of driving and $.

Staying at a place with Napili Beach access was a GREAT CHOICE. It was one of the prettiest beaches we saw, and we didn’t have to drive at all. I highly recommend this area.

We didn’t get the same result at Papakea near Kaanapali, so just make sure you ask if your place is beach front or ocean front. There’s a big difference. Your stay will be quieter if you don’t have close beach access, so there’s always that.

Most places (but not all) in Kihei have beach access across the main road.

In a nutshell…

It was a fabulous vacation!  No regrets, just an amazing, wonderful experience.

Next time, I would take The Road to Hana and a helicopter tour. I also have my sights on Kauai for a little more natural remoteness.

Maui sunset near the airport  / Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net
Maui sunset on the North shore  / Why you need to visit Paia, and other Maui tips / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

And that’s a wrap. 

Until next time… :)

See the entire 6 part Maui series in one click HERE

or…

Maui Junk, we’re on our way!

Arriving to vibrant, flower filled Maui – 1

Our amazing stay at Napili Point – 2

A real rainforest experience at Iao Valley – 3

The best way to snorkel and snuba on Moloikini – 4

Sunsets and sand at Papakea Resort – 5

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  1. What great memories you’ve made! I can’t remember if we went to Paia on either of our trips to Maui, and the road to Hana, but will be sure to check it out next time.
    We stayed at the Westin on Kaanapali Beach and we loved it. It was convenient, beautiful, and relaxing. One of our favorite things to do in Maui was visit the old churches. Each was unique, quaint, and charming.

  2. Hi Donna! Thank you for such a wonderful documentation of your vacation, I loved it so and re-read it often as it brings me back to my visits to the islands. I live in Southern California so have been able to visit 8 times so your visit brought back wonderful memories…except for the road to Hana!
    Don’t do it Donna…do the heli ride, (worth the $), but even free, Hana (done twice ug!) can sour good memories. Mahalo!

    • Interesting! Everyone says do it! But… my gut said no last round. I’ve done it with my parents back in the day and remember it was the worst road of my life. But anyone carsick stuck in a backseat would say that… haha

      Thanks for your suggestion!

  3. We’ve been down to Hana twice. Just take your time, stop at the outlooks, pull over if you have a speed demon behind. Hana is exquisite and so relaxingly restful. Rent a little home with a view for a lot less than north shore. Check out VRBO even if it’s not waterfront. A couple of days is perfect. We went to a local festival with local food and dancing. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. We also took our rental all the way around the north shore from Kaanapali to the airport. It was a slow, peaceful, mostly dirt road drive. The cliffs weren’t that scary. The were some great small handcraft boutiques scattered throughout the drive. You can do it girlfriend!

  4. I vow to be a surfing beach bum in my next life, barefoot an all! That town is a beauty. You can really get a feel for the whole scene from your photos. Now if only I could taste that shaved ice;D Great Hawaii travel tips, too. Thanks, Donna!

  5. I loved reading about your Maui trip. I’ve been there and it’s all that and more. However, we went to Hawaii also this summer. We went to Oahu (never again), the Big Island (which we’d been to before, and after this time decided we would probably never go to Hawaii again), and then Kauai. Let me tell you Kauai is a dream come true. We stayed in a condo right on the ocean and went to sleep every night listening to the pounding surf. Everywhere you look it’s beautiful. We will definitely go to Hawaii again, but only to Kauai. Be sure not to miss it on your next trip.