Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Orchid Island - Taiwan | 兰屿 - 台湾


Orchid Island is a is a 45 km² volcanic island off the southeastern coast of Taiwan Island. Besides its unique culture of Tao, it is also unique in its flora, fauna, and its scenery.


Ready to Go

It was my 13th day in Taiwan. That day, I turned to be a solo traveler officially. I woke up quite early in the morning to catch up the ferry departing at 7.30am. A taxi was booked to pick me up at 5.45am. Lanyu was my next destination.

Taking ferry is the only way to reach Lanyu from Kending, the southern region of Taiwan. The taxi dropped me at Hou Bi Hu Jetty after a 20 minutes journey. I bought only an one way ticket as I was not sure how long I would stay in Lanyu. Taking anti-vomiting tablets is a necessary action, I had two tablets 20 mins before boarding.

*I wanted to book the ferry ticket on the night before. The chalet owner referred me to a local named Mr.Huang. He told me that buying an one way ticket was not possible. He forced me to take 2 ways ticket and get the hostel booked. I refused to do so. Actually, buying an one way ticket is allowed.




Boarding (Good weather, typhoon had just passed)

Ticket (NT1000)
船票 (台币1000)

Alone to Lanyu

On the ferry, I kept looking for individual or small group that could be my travel mates for the next few days (I did not want to be lonely for the next few days), however, those were on board were big group with diving equipments. To avoid vomiting, I took nap after a short chat with a guy sitting next to me. People say the ferry tour causes nausea easily.


They are all going for diving

Reaching Lanyu

It took two hours to reach Lanyu. I was sleeping all the while, so I was completely fine. Anxiety hit me when I was about to reach, as I did not make any room booking. Furthermore, I had no idea on handling a scooter. Scooter is the main transportation on the island, it would be hard for me to travel around the island.

I am always a lucky guy. I was so lucky to see people from guesthouse waiting for their guests at jetty, so, I simply approached to one of them.

The guy that I approached to is from Ya Mei Guesthouse.

I was also told that I was lucky because many had canceled their rooms booking due to typhoon. People usually have their rooms booked first before they visit this island.





Jetty of Lanyu

Waiting for guests (I approached to the guy wearing red t-shirt)
接应在码头接应客人 (我就是去搭讪了那穿红衣的男人)

Scooter Riding

As I did not know how to handle a scooter, Niu (staff of the guesthouse) fetched me the guesthouse using his scooter.Then, he taught me how to ride a scooter. Driving without license in Lanyu is not illegal!

I handled it in a couple of minutes. People say, learning how to ride a scooter is as easy as learning how to ride a bike, if you are able to ride a bike, you are definitely able to ride a scooter.  

After that, I started my journey of driving without license.




I never expected that I could ride a scooter in Taiwan

The Tao (Yami)

The Tao (Yami), are a Taiwanese aboriginal people. Different with other tribes in the mainland of Taiwan, they mainly depend on the sea for livelihood and their only home is at Lanyu. The Tao is considered as the most unique attraction in Lanyu.

I did not take many pictures of them as it's mentioned in most of the blogs that the Tao do not like people to take photos of them without asking for permission. (Actually most people do not like it as well)

达悟族是台湾原住民之一,与台湾岛上其他原住民族群不一样,他们是靠海为生的。而兰屿就是他们的家。达悟族对我来说,是兰屿岛上最大的特点。 我没有拍到他们的照片, 因为听说兰屿人不喜欢随意被陌生人拍照。(当然,我认为大部分的人不喜欢被陌生人随意拍照吧)
Traditional Boat of Tao
Pin Ban boat is the traditional fishing boat of Tao. I would say the boat is the combination of traditional wisdom and culture of Tao.


Traditional Boat of Tao
Due to limited resources on the island, the boat is made of various types of wood. This is to prevent one kind of trees from extinction.Imagine, if only one kind of wood is used to build the boats, soon the species will extinct.The ancestors of Tao already had this awareness since so many years ago and this really impressed me.


Inside This Wooden Kayak
The carving of the boat is very meaningful. It shows the size of a family; a family with more children and family members can crave a much complicated carving.


Xiao Qiang (Son of Guesthouse) Explaining the Craving on Boat.
小强 (民宿老板的儿子)正在解说拼板舟上的雕刻

The human symbol indicates devil. A stick on its head meaning to kill the devil. The round shape represents an eye that looks for harvest or sun that gets good weather.

Craving on the Boat

Of course I did not miss the chance to kayak the boat. I was let to kayak myself after the coach guided me on the basic skills on how to handle the boat. The strength that we need to use comes from our waist, not arm. 


Departing - They are all elder than me =(
出发咯 (她们都是姐姐们)
"I like your move" -- Praised by the Coach =)
“我喜欢你刚才那个动作'' -- 被教练称赞啦,嗬嗬

Flying Fish as Food
Flying fish is considered as holy food for the Tao.The Tao will only hunt flying fish in certain season to ensure the sustainability of flying fish habitat. This somehow shows the wisdom of their ancestors. I did not have chance to see how the flying fish hunt is as the flying fish hunt season was just ended.

*I was told the story of hunting flying fish . First, they set traps in an area with nets and then with empty hand, they jump into sea to chase after those flying fishes into their traps.Cool right ?


Flying Fish with Rice (It has a long wing-like fins)
飞鱼饭 (很长的"翅膀")
Dried Flying Fish
The One and Only Petrol Station

Located near to the jetty, this is the ONE and ONLY petrol station on the island. So please make sure your motor has sufficient fuel whenever you pass by there. Fuel cost to travel round the island is around 60 TWD.


The One and Only Petrol Station on the Island

Night Observation

As the night fell, led by Xiao Qiang, we traveled across the darkness with motorbikes. What we were doing was having night observation at the seaside nearby. Soon, Xiao Qiang spotted the first guest of the night - a coconut crab...

*Night observation is a popular activity in Lanyu after dawn, tourists are brought to the seaside and forest nearby to observe the lives of fauna and flora in Lanyu during nighttime.


入夜后,我们在小强的带领下,在黑暗中,骑着机车,在附近的海边搜寻。很快的,小强便发现了我们当晚的第一位客人 - 椰子蟹。


"Fa~ai" - in Language of Tao, Meaning "My Home"
法艾 - 达悟语的意思是“我的家'
Coconut Crab, a Protected Species, Defending Himself by Moving Backward 
Don't mess with coconut crab, as it can open a coconut using its claw.(He was holding Xiao Qiang's key)

Introducing the Transformer Crab - Spot the Face of Decepticons on the shell? 
变形金刚蟹 - 有看到狂派的脸吗?
Little Yellow Crab - Does It Look Like Bumble Bee ?
小黄蟹 - 看起来像变形金刚的大黄蜂吗?
Poisonous Sea Snake - First Interaction with Sea Snake
有毒的海蛇 - 与海蛇的第一次接触
Another Species - Not as Beautiful as the First One
另一种海蛇 - 没有第一条漂亮

Lovely Prawn
A Closer Look

There is a Love Shape on Its Back

A Random Fish

The Eye of Sadako

It's Just a Shell

Jiao Xiao - A Tiny Owl, Also A Protected Wildlife, Confined in Lanyu Only
角鸮 - 一种小型猫头鹰,也是受保护动物,是兰屿的特有的品种
Following "Do Do Wu"- the chirping of Jiao Xiao, we found the tiny owl. I was told that a tour only disturb (torching) one Jiao Xiao a night. This is to minimize the harassment to Jiao Xiao.


This Tree Belongs to Xiao Qiang's Family, The Craving Was Left by His Grandfather 

This activity allowed me to understand more about the relationship between the Tao and the nature in Lanyu. A night observation tour costs only 300-400 TWD, ins't it worth ?


To be continued...

Taking Nap at Rest Place
Pavilions on the island serve as a good place to take nap, chit chat, restenjoy sea breeze and drink beer. It's really cool in there!

The Outlook

My Travel Mates, One Taking Nap; Another Looking at Sea
我的旅伴, 一个在午睡;一个在看海

Flowers & Rest Place

Same Pig Not Same Lives

These pigs are unlucky, they are raised as food.
Pigs Raised as Food 

While this pig is a lucky pig. She is a pet.

She Bites

Sleepy Pig & Puppy

Goats are Everywhere

Even they are raised, but they are free to move to everywhere.

On roadside

Add caption

At Cliff

The Foods
Breakfast at a Burger Shop

The Cold Spring

I translated "the cold spring" directly from mandarin - 冷泉. Honestly, I had no idea about what a cold spring is. When I dipped my foot in the water, it's really cold. The water is very clear.

The Cold Spring

The Water is Clear and Cool

Some Signboards

The Green Grassland

This is the place that I love the most in Lanyu. There is huge grassland here , cliff. It's also a common spot for people to see sunset.

The Little Lanyu

The Cliff and The Sea
This is the re

The Old Man Rock

Add caption
This place looks like the training field for a Wu Xia

Leaving by Propeller
Uncle from the homestay told me that I could try my luck in the airport to get replacement tickets. I could leave Lanyu by propeller if I succeeded to get a replacement ticket.

The air ticket only costs 1300 TWD while ship ticket costs 1000 TWD. But, by air, I can reach Taitung in 20 minutes while ship needs to take 4 hours.


The day before I left Lanyu, I went to airport to write my name to the waiting list after 3p.m . I got the number 16. On the day I left , I reached the airport early to wait for my turn. The propeller is small , just like a toy, it can only fit 19 passengers.

This is the place that I love the most in Lanyu. Hotspot for couples to view sunset. A huge grassland, strong breeze, cliff,
Expensive foods
Its location that is far from Taiwan mainland causes the foods on island becoming expansive. One meal need to spend around 200 TWD.
Lost ? Go After Dream?


Round the Island with Scooter


After mastering how to ride a scooter, scooter became my good partner to travel round the island.



Sunrise at Pacific Ocean
I woke up at 5 something to catch the sunrise. My first time watching sunrise from pacific ocean.

Last year,


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