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As this epic summer continues on I had another chance to visit an iconic spot on Oahu named Mokoli’i, known by many as Chinamans Hat.
This islet located just off the coast of Kualoa Beach Park and across the street from Kualoa Ranch is almost as famous as Lē’ahi, Diamond Head. My video review is below and if this isn’t enough then see my full list of things to do on Oahu to keep you busy for days.
Location of Chinamans Hat (Mokoli’i)
Located just off the coast of Oahu at Kualoa Beach Park you can access this islet via paddleboard or kayak. There is ample parking within the park on most days and you will see Chinamans Hat upon entering. Right across the street is the popular Kualoa Ranch which has ATV rides, horseback riding, and the popular Jurassic Park experiences.
How To Get To Chinamans Hat (Mokoli’i)
Once at Kualoa Beach Park, you will easily see the islet just off the coast, head towards the lifeguard tower that is nearest to the islet.
Many people will walk the crossing during low tide, regretfully I have done the same. I recommend you head over on a paddleboard or kayak to avoid extensive reef damage. Gliding over the top of the reef on your way out is significantly better for the environment, reef, and your personal safety.
Here is a 5-star rated, self-guided kayak tour that you can book. They will deliver the kayak, life jacket, and other gear directly to the beach park for you.
It’s about a 10-20 minute paddle over to the island and from there you can explore Chinamans Hat.
What To Expect At Chinamans Hat (Mokoli’i)
The landing area is large enough to fit about 15-20 kayaks so don’t be afraid to squeeze in when you reach the islet. The water can be rough so if you are not sure, don’t go. Check with the lifeguard before crossing.
The lower perimeter of the island along the left side, when landing, offers the most unique view while to the right is mostly overgrown. If you are looking to go to the summit it will require a bit of rope climbing and is not for the faint of heart. If you are not comfortable rock climbing, don’t do it.
There are some trees when you land and the grass along the paths is quite tall. Wear sunscreen and a hat as you will be exposed most of the time to direct sunlight.
Unique Features Of Chinamans Hat (Mokoli’i)
The two most unique areas of Chinamans Hat are the summit and the hidden beach facing the ocean.
To reach the summit you will see a well-worn trail heading straight up upon landing. Follow that up and to the right a bit. You will then be faced with some rock-ledge areas that will get you to the next level. If you are not comfortable here do not attempt it, it gets much more intense.
You will then be faced with a rock face that has a rope to assist you to the top. Remember, this is not a maintained trail so check and double-check everything. Once at the top of Chinamans Hat you will have some amazing views of the mountains, Kaneohe Bay, Kualoa, and the ocean surrounding the islet.
The hidden beach is to the left after you land, follow the path over the black rocks and keep going left. You will see a small, sandy beach between the rock formations, it’s absolutely gorgeous.
Recommended Items To Bring
A truly unique experience on Oahu that not many people take the time to do. Even if you stay on the lower level the natural beauty of this place will amaze you. If you have very young kids they will also love the calm waters of Kualoa Beach Park.