Updated July 25, 2020.
Steve and I have been to five Hawaiian islands now, and we’ve done the “Hawaiian” things: a luau, scenic flights, sunning on Waikiki, toured coffee farms, lava peeping, etc. But there was one thing we hadn’t really done yet: lei making!
I came across the Molokai Plumeria Farm in my trip research, almost on accident, and I e-mailed them about possibly taking a tour. Nicci wrote back promptly to let me know they do offer tours, usually by appointment, on weekdays at 10:30am. And the tour includes picking your own plumeria to create your own leis! Hooray!
Molokai Plumeria Farm
The plumeria orchard was quite easy to find—there’s really just the one main road across the island! We were driving to our hotel, and I just happened to look over and see this yellow field of flowering trees! They had already harvested many for Lei Day leis (May 1 is Lei Day!), but there were still more than enough blooms to make our leis, and they bloom all year round!
More here: What to Know Before You Visit Molokai
Learning about Plumeria
No, this was not a botony class, it was better! When we arrived, Dick was there to show us around and help us find the best blooms for our leis. First he showed us how to choose the right blooms:
On the Left: the perfect bloom for making a lei to wear today! If the edges are starting to turn brown, that means the bloom is past its prime.
On the Right: the perfect bloom for making leis to send out. They continue to mature and open after they are picked, so by the time they reach their destination, they are fully opened and ready for the spotlight!
Keep reading: Fascinating Facts about Molokai
Plumeria blooms also come in an array of colors. Dick showed us the best trees to choose from and pointed out the trees with pink blooms to make sure we got a good variety if we wanted. The blooms ranged from a pink-and-yellow mix to dark pink!
Read on: Hawaii’s Best Adventures
Exploring the Orchard
And then he turned us loose! He said we would need at least 50 blooms for a full lei, but that we should simply pick until we stop having fun! We had quite a lot more than 50 when we finished, but Dick said they have more than they could possibly pick, so we could keep what we didn’t use in our leis. If we put them in a bowl of water to float, they will stay open and the frangrance will stay for days!
More here: Your Ultimate Molokai Travel Planning Guide
Making a Lei
And then we got to make our leis! Dick had already set up a table and chairs for us under a shady tree and put out the materials for us!
First up: The thread goes on this huge needle with a hook on the end instead of an eye. It seems like that should make things easy… but I had a little trouble keeping my thread on!
Next: Thread them together! I had a yellow-pink-yellow-pink pattern happening, but we got to talking and I got a little off! But the most important part was that we had so much fun, and I would go back and do it all over again. It was such a wonderful experience!
We were very proud of our leis! What a fun thing to do for our anniversary!
Read next: The Ultimate Travel Couple Bucket List
Are you ready to make your own lei? It was such a special anniversary experience for us! Want more? Check out my Pacific Islands Page!
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