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How to Kayak to Chinaman’s Hat (Moloki’i Island)

Chinaman's Hat Kayak Oahu Island

Chinaman’s Hat Island, also known as Moloki’i island is a small islet off the coast of the windward side of Oahu. Moloki’i translates to “little lizard” and is based on a story from Hawaiian Mythology. One of the top things to do in Oahu is to Kayak to Chinaman’s Hat Island and hike to the top of the island. Follow this guide for where to rent kayaks from, how to kayak to Chinaman’s Hat, what to bring for your trip to Chinaman’s Hat, and what climbing to the top of the Moloki’i Island is like.

Where to Rent Kayaks

Kayak in Oahu Best Things to Do

There are several places to rent kayaks from on the windward side of Oahu, mainly in Kailua and Kaneohe. Make sure to reserve a kayak online in advance especially if you plan to kayak to Chinaman’s Hat during the weekend. I recommend renting your kayak from Windward Watersports in Kailua. The staff here is great and will help show you how to load and unload the kayaks onto your car. The staff will also give you instructions for where to launch from and show you the location on the map. They will provide you with backrests, paddles, and life vests. You can also rent a dry bag from the shop if you don’t have one. Make sure to pay attention to the instructions for loading and unloading the kayaks since you will have to do this on your own on the way back.

If you have a lot of plans for the day and don’t want to spend the time and effort getting the kayaks from the shop, you can reserve from a company that will deliver directly to you at Kualoa Regional Park, where you start kayaking from. Reserve these kayaks through Viator and you’ll be able to pick them up right next to the beach where you launch from.

What to Bring on Your Trip to Chinaman's Hat

Kayak Oahu
  • Waterproof sunscreen
  • Hiking shoes with traction if you plan to hike up Chinaman’s Hat
  • Reusable water bottle: this Stanley water bottle is light to carry and stays cold for up to 12 hours.
  • Dry bag: It is very helpful to have your own dry bag with you for kayaking and other water activities. I always use this 10L dry bag for my kayaking adventures.
  • Snacks to enjoy on the top of the island
  • Iphone / camera to capture this adventure

How to Kayak to Chinaman's Hat

Kayak to China Man's Hat

Kayaking to Chinaman’s Hat is a short 15-20 minute paddle. You will launch from Kualoa Regional Park which has a big parking lot and beach. After carrying the kayaks from the car to the beach you will launch from the beach and make your way to Chinaman’s Hat. The hardest part is carrying your kayak to a safe spot on the rocks when you reach Chinaman’s Hat.

If you are interested in another kayak adventure on Oahu, check out this guide to kayaking to Kaneohe Sandbar. There are many other fun activities to do on Oahu including a sunset boat toursurfing lesson, and UTV Tour at Kualoa Ranch. Consider booking these incredible experiences ahead of your trip before they sell out.

How to Hike Up Chinaman's Hat

View from Chinaman's Hat Oahu
How to Kayak to Chinaman's Hat

The hiking trail up to the top of Chinaman’s Hat is very challenging and requires climbing using your hands and feet. I recommend bringing shoes with traction to change into for this hike so you don’t slip. The climb up can take about 15 minutes or less, depending on your scrambling skills. At the top of Chinaman’s Hat you will be rewarded with incredible 360-degree views of Oahu and the ocean. If you don’t feel comfortable hiking up Chinaman’s Hat you could hike around the circumference of the island instead. 

After you are done exploring Chinaman’s Hat, consider spending the afternoon relaxing at one of these top 10 beaches on Oahu.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links for products and services I recommend. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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