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Lanyu in th
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A Fun-Filled Summer Holiday Island Hopping off Southeastern Taiwan Text and Photos: Quyen Tran
to its unique history and its surrounding waters. I tried to imagine what life was like for the poor souls sent to the infamous prison on the island during Taiwan’s period of martial law, explored a few caves, and enjoyed a soak in the Jhaorih Hot Spring in the southeast corner of the island. As an avid diver, however, getting into Green Island’s clear waters and around its beautiful corals was the highlight of this entire trip. Though I didn’t catch the renowned hammerhead migration (Green Island is one of a few dive destinations in Asia where you can see this), we saw plenty of sea life, including moray eels and sea snakes, and it was good to see the longfinned batfish, which is making a healthy comeback in the island’s protected waters.
ith its indigenous villages, f ly i ng-f i sh c u lt u r e, a nd mou nt a i nou s l a nd s c a p e, Orchid Island (Lanyu) makes an eclectic destination for cultural and eco-tourism, while Green Island, often touted as Taiwan's diving capital, is a convenient getaway for under water enthusiasts like myself. So recently, when the time came to decide where my next summer holiday would take place, it really wasn't a difficult decision to go island-hopping between these two islands off the coast of southeastern Taiwan.
Approaching Orchid Island by ferry, I was completely taken aback by how green it is – so much so that it is probably more deserving of the title “Green Island” than its smaller counterpart to the north. Its impressive mountains, covered top to bottom in lush vegetation, are home to many, many (and more) goats. Every direction you look, there they are, contentedly munching grass, unperturbed as the tourists visiting the island pass by. I very much enjoyed riding around the island on a motor scooter, visiting the caves, villages, and other attractions, especially chasing sunsets from highvantage points. But, most definitely, the highlight was an invitation to a family meal where we were fed such local delicacies
Exploring an underwater wonderworld
as the island’s ubiquitous flying fish and a peculiar mountain fungus that grows only after rain has fallen. Known as “Lovers’ Tears,” this algae-like fungus is often seen in Taiwan’s indigenous cuisine, though this was the first time I had the good fortune to savor it. It was wonderful to leave the island with newly-formed friendships and having enjoyed an authentic taste of its offerings. Green Island, though smaller than Orchid Island and lacking any indigenous-culture presence, has its own charms, owing mainly
A week on these islands was truly the relaxing yet fun-filled summer holiday I needed. The various attractions kept me on my toes, but the landscapes, local company, and good food always helped me wind down at the end of the day. As you can tell by the photos, it was amazing island fun!
English and Chinese Lanyu (Orchid Island) 蘭嶼 Green Island 綠島 “Lovers’ Tears” 情人的眼淚 Jhaorih Hot Spring 朝日溫泉
Travel in Taiwan