In a nutshell: Very photogenic spot to get photographed doing something life threatening. Ching’s pond is probably a skip for most.
Minuses: Doesn’t offer much more than a daredevil’s photo-op and drinking beer with folks that are not your buddies.
Sound-bite: “Oh yeah, you’ll be fine!”
Ching’s pond. What to say about Ching’s pond? Bluntly – while Ching’s is nice, it isn’t spectacular – and unless you live here, you probably don’t have time for the less than spectacular – especially if you’re doing the Road to Hana in a day.
Mysteriously, Maui Revealed has called it “marvelous”, but they devote very few words to describing anything specific – I’m guessing their accompanying photo (which I must admit, begs to be published) is what got the marvelous rating. Well, I think I got some nice photos, too – but even if photos of a stranger jumping into the water are on the “must-do” list for your Road to Hana trip, you’re going to have lots of opportunities just about anywhere you have waterfalls.
These pools are nice. They are drive-up accessible – and definitely lend to a nice composition for a photograph (with the old bridge in the background and all) – but as far as swimming holes go, they’re pretty much average; the kind of pools you could find on your own, without a guidebook. There are much more idyllic and dramatic pools with much better waterfalls to choose from. Add that this place suffers from other issues that you would probably just rather not deal with on vacation (below), and I’m going to say this is a “skip” for most visitors.
Well, if you’re still reading, there are some other issues with Ching’s. First thing is, (and especially pau Hana (after work) and on weekends and holidays) if you’re not a local (and don’t fool yourself, you can’t pass), you may be made to not feel very welcome here. It isn’t unusual to have a jacked-up monster truck sitting on the bridge, intentionally constricting the rental-car traffic flow, and accompanied by a group of young local folks drinking, smoking a spliff, and blaring loud reggae music. Now, for some, that may sound like a worthy party to attend – but, thing is, you’re not invited.
let me temper this with the fact that, so long as you are respectful, it certainly isn’t the kind of place that is unsafe or to avoid just because of some attitude – it is more just an attitude that you’ll get being an outsider in a place that has been unofficially claimed as a local hangout. The way some of these folks see it, they don’t want thousands of tourists driving through their back yard, with no where for them to go to get away. This is one place they go to get away.
Then there is the constant procession of cars driving over you, with cars honking for others to pass (or get out of the way) on the one-lane bridge. I guess I’m spoiled – the place is just far from perfect, and perfection is so abundant and easily attainable on the Road to Hana, why settle for less?
Oh, and did I forget to mention if you are jumping, there is a shallow ridge that runs right across the potential landing zone? Check it out from the water and make sure you have good aim first.
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