• Andrew C.

Castaway on Orchid Island | 蘭嶼 Lanyu



Being lost through the moody Pacific Ocean, I land on the remote Orchid Island (Lanyu). Around 65km southeast of Taitung, this volcanic island is made up of steep mountains with rocky coastlines and wild goats. Besides the strong Pacific island vibe, the mysterious island feels more like the Jurassic World movie scene.


Under the high winds and challenging sea conditions, I come onshore to the isolated island. I discover quite a few secret spots between the giant rocks and cliffs, such as the Iranmeylek Secret Lagoon and Yeyin Spring along the beach, with plenty of risks, danger, and enjoyment. After coming through the mystical Jikarahem Cave, the waves bring me the purest sound and energy at Lover's Cave.



I follow the rocky landscape, stepping into the jungle, exploring the land once underneath the ocean. After hours of climbing and exploring, I finally meet a friend from the local Tao tribe in front of the iconic Sky Tree. He takes me to a secret opening closer to where his ancestors first arrived on the island, and from there, I start my adventure under the sea level.


The island is known as the paradise for divers. Along with a few diving experts, I start my first diving experience here. The underwater canyons are covered with colorful corals and sea creatures. We continue diving into the stunning Blue Cave, feeling the intensity of the deep blue sea.




Orchid Island is very different than any other place in Taiwan and has the best-preserved indigenous culture anywhere in the country. The indigenous Tao people are of Austronesian descent and speak their own language. They believe everything has its spirit, have many taboos around themselves and the island.


Tao people rely on the sea for survival, as much of their traditions and lifestyle are centered on fishing. I join the captain for a ride around the island on their traditional Tao canoe (tatala). These canoes are made from planks of wood and are painted with red, white, and black. The boat usually has the traditional sun image (red and black circles and sun rays), which warn off evil spirits.



After the ocean's adventure, I am invited to Yeyin Village to tour the local's underground houses. In the old days, they build their homes much lower than the ground level to avoid the strong winds and weather the storms. I get to see the authentic way to smoke and preserve the flying fish and know the traditional heirlooms, costumes, and the warrior's armor. I am beyond impressed by listening and learning Tao people's culture and stories from village to village. It makes me feel so close to their roots with great respect and admiration.


Follow those handsome goats on the island, I come to Ja-langoina Grassland where you could see the Lesser Orchid Island on the horizon. The locals say God first made the Lesser Orchid Island and realized it is too small, making another one as the Orchid Island today. It is fascinating how every corner or object has its own tale from ancient times, and I would love to part of the story and continue my castaway life on this island.



迷失在茫茫的太平洋中,我被沖刷到遙遠的蘭嶼岸邊。蘭嶼位在台東東南約65公里處,這個火山島由兩塊陡峭的山脈組成,充滿了叢林,岩石海岸線和野山羊。除了強烈的太平洋島嶼氛圍,這座神秘的島嶼更像是《侏羅紀世界》的電影場景。


在強烈的海風和充滿挑戰性的海況下,我很幸運的安全登陸上岸,並在巨石和懸崖之間發現了許多秘密景點,例如東清秘境以及野銀冷泉,讓在島上的探險,充滿了驚喜,危機與樂趣。穿梭在伸手不見五指的很深之意(Jikarahem)海蝕洞間,也能感受到這座島嶼數萬年來的岩石組成,接者,在浪漫優雅的情人洞前,聆聽海浪帶給我最純淨的聲音和能量。



我跟隨著海岸礁石,一步步的進入叢林中,探索這塊曾經沉浸在海洋中的土地。經過數小時的探索路程,我終於在這獨特的天空樹前遇到了一位來自當地達悟族的朋友。他沿著舊河床帶領我到一個秘密的出海口,據說是達悟族們的祖先第一次登上蘭嶼的據點。接著,我緩步踏入一來一往的潮汐中,開始了海平面下的探險。


蘭嶼可以說是台灣的潛水天堂之一,我伴隨著幾個潛水專家在這裡開始我第一次的潛水體驗。水下的大峽谷比想像中的還要壯觀,覆蓋著五顏六色的珊瑚與海洋生物。我們接著繼續潛入令人驚嘆的藍洞,感受大海的深邃與奧祕。



而蘭嶼與台灣其他地區極不相同,擁有保存最完整的原住民文化。這裡的達悟族用自己的語言溝通,並相信一切事物都有靈魂,在島上與生活上都存在許多禁忌與神話。族人依靠海洋生存,許多的傳統和生活方式都以捕魚為重心。船長帶領我一同乘坐他們傳統的拼板舟(tatala)出海,在島的周圍乘風破浪。這些拼板舟由麵包樹或是懶人樹的木板製成,並塗有紅色,白色和黑色的圖騰。船上最重要的就是傳統的太陽圖像,可以驅凶避邪。


在海洋的探險之後,我被邀請到野銀村參觀島上傳統的地下屋。在過去,他們建造的房屋要比地面低很多,屋頂盡量不超過地面,避免颱風以及強烈季風的侵襲。在主屋裡,我見識到主人們煙燻飛魚的方式,並且很難得地一窺家中的傳家寶,傳統服裝和戰士盔甲。我不放過每次聆聽和學習達悟族文化的機會,從一個村莊聽到另一個村莊,許多故事都讓我留下了深刻的印象,也讓我更貼近他們的文化與生活,並充滿了尊重和欽佩。



最後,我跟隨島上那些勇敢的山羊,來到無邊無際的青青草原,在那裡可以看到地平線上的小蘭嶼。當地人說,神首先創造出小蘭嶼,但意識到它太小了,於是又創造了今天的蘭嶼。而蘭嶼最特別以及迷人之處,就是每個角落與事物都帶有遠古時代流傳的故事與神話。我也很希望自己有一天能夠成為這些故事的一部分,繼續在這島上度過與世隔絕的生活。


Place to Stay



IGANG文旅

Address: 952, Taitung County, Lanyu Township, 朗島村17-4號

Phone: +886 921 449 777

Website



藍海屋潛水渡假村 Blue Ocean House Dive Resort

Address: 952, Taitung County, Lanyu Township, 紅頭村1-8號

Phone: +886 988 331 116

Email: boh06082000@gmail.com

Website



Place to Eat



Do VanWa(在海邊)

Mexican & Local Fusion Cuisine

Address: Lanyu Township, 朗島村 玉女岩旁

Phone: +886 905 655 280

Website



有一間燒烤-東清店 BBQ Dong Chin

Address: 952, Taitung County, Lanyu Township, 東清村7鄰163之5號

Phone: 0972 887 424

Website



Mermaid and cats 人魚和貓

Brunch and local dishes

Address: 952, Taitung County, Lanyu Township, 東清村23-3號

Phone: +886 8 973 2943

Website



The Epicurean Caf'e 無餓不坐風味餐坊

Local Tao Cuisine and international dishes.

Address: 952, Taitung County, Lanyu Township, 漁人77號

Phone: +886 8 973 1623

Website



Wen Wen Taro Ice Shop 雯雯芋頭冰

Local Taro ice and desserts.

Address: 952, Taitung County, Lanyu Township

Phone: +886 912 075 399

Website


Things to Do



Diving/ Free Diving

Tec Only Lanyu Diving Center

Address: 952, Taitung County, Lanyu Township, 朗島村3-1號2樓

Phone: +886 8 973 2151

Website



Tatala Tao Canoe Experience

東清村 東清灣 Dong Chin Village

Not available during Fishing Season and Winter.



Tao Underground House Tour 地下屋

野銀村, Guided Tours available in Yeyin Village, Reservation Only



Datianchi 大天池

A crater lake from the old volcano. You would need local guides to take you there, the route is very challenging and can be dangerous.



Places to See



We have selected and saved our picks on the island. Please note that many of the secret spots are not accessible via cars or motorcycle, you would need to climb or get to those places by foot. We strongly recommend to consult with your local guides or hosts for your visits. And some spots could be dangerous and risky under bad weather conditions. It is an island full of places for adventures but also risks and danger.


Check out our favorite spots on Orchid Island:

https://maps.app.goo.gl/azauPaAp7ACYjGAp8




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