Lanyu Orchid Island: Taiwan Island Paradise for Your Summer Escape

Orchid Island, also known as Lanyu, is an island paradise where you can get to from Fugang Pier at Taitung. This island paradise is famous for its thick coat of rain forest and coral reefs. The perfect humidity and rainy climate brings life to the island with a variety of animals and plants.

(Credit: Effi)

Completely surrounded by numerous, unpolluted coral reefs and home to green sea turtles as well as 35 tropical plant species unique to the island, Orchid Island is a great destination for nature lovers, beach lovers, who are looking for a friendly, safe environment to explore. Although Orchid Island is just a small island, with the warmth of the Japan current flowing by, it is perfect for water activities.

Here are some must-do activities in this island paradise. A recommendation of hidden beaches on Orchid Island with water activities and other things to do.

Snorkeling In Search For the Wonderland of Coral Reefs and Sea Turtles

(Credit: 潛行者—謝小寶)

Coral reefs are hidden under the warm waves around Orchid Island. Diving into the deep blue ocean in search of bright-colored coral reefs is what snorkeling is all about. While in the sea, you might even receive a warm welcome from the many sea turtles that are around Orchid Island.

Between April and October is the best time to visit, we do suggest to avoid July and August, that is when the island will be filled with visitors on summer vacation. Also, look out for our famous typhoon season when transportation would be a bit of a mess!

You may also be interested in those Taiwan offshore islands:
Lanyu Orchid Island: Taiwan Island Paradise for Your Summer Escape
3 Day Itinerary on Green Island to Make Your Summer Trip Unforgettable
Taiwan Summer Journey:5 Activities to Do on Penghu Islands

Thao Cultural Experience on Orchid Island


The Yami are the indigenous people to Orchid Island, also referred to as the Tao or Dawu depending on what you read. Most commonly on the island they just call themselves Yami. As one of the last remaining tribes, they are very proud and protective over their culture, so make sure to be respectful of their culture.  

Dried flying fish on Orchid Island
(Credit: Effi)

Tao people are famous for their flying fish season during February to June. You can see loads of flying fish hanging outside people’s houses drying under the hot sun, and smell the taste of summer salt water. Be sure to taste some of that crispy goodness! You can also go fishing at night time to catch your own flying fish.

(Credit: tripadvisor)

You might see some Pinban boats by the seaside, these boats are used to catch flying fish during flying fish season, they are usually handcrafted and painted with cultural stories. Be sure to ask before taking a picture, there is a saying that women are not allowed to touch the boats, this might bring bad luck to the men while at sea.

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Also take a look at Dawu people’s underground houses, it is a wise architecture to protect the house and the residents from the threat of typhoon. Make sure to have a tour guide with you to enter inside, you can simply reach them for the guiding service on the nearby street.

(Credit: formosaimage)

List of Things to Do on Orchid Island

1. Hiking to Heaven Lake

This is on the top list of most people’s to-do list while visiting Orchid Island. Heaven Lake is a huge lake on such a small island. We recommend going hiking on sunny days whilst on rainy days the hiking trail will be covered in mud and can be slippery.

For a bonus hiking spot, Little Heaven Lake is also recommended. Although called a “lake”, it is dry throughout the year (unless there’s a typhoon) with green grass and plants around.

2. Have a scooter ride around Orchid Island

(Credit: Effi)

Scooter around the island is an activity for all people. You can do it in the morning or evening when the weather is nice and cool. It only takes two hours to go around the whole island, not too long, but definitely a good ride to see the surroundings on the island and enjoy the gentle breeze with green mountains on one side and the blue ocean on the other.

The first sunrise of Taiwan is right here on Lanyu! People get up early to see the sunrise, always a breathtaking and romantic moment, exciting yet also bring calmness to your mind. Make sure to capture one for your photo collection!

3. Enjoy cold spring and chill at Yeyin Village

Yeyin Village has the largest collection of underground houses on Orchid Island. While at the village, you can also visit a cold spring nearby. Yeyin Cold Spring is one kilometer south of town (15 minutes on foot) and is the best place to cool off on the island. Here a cold spring fills multiple pools by the sea on the coast. It is completely natural and undeveloped.

4. Visit caves and hills on Orchid Island

Mantou Rock of Orchid Island
(Credit: Effi)

There are so many natural wonders in mother nature’s art gallery. They are all scattered around the small island paradise, so a scooter is the best transportation to get around.

Here are more must-visit attractions on Orchid Island:

Lovers Cave

(Credit: Effi)

Nipple Hill

(Credit: Effi)

Ghost cave

(Credit: Effi)

Warship Rock

(Credit: Effi)

Two Lion Rock

(Credit: Effi)

Food is what completes your travel experience

Flying Fish Fried Rice

Flying fish fried rice at 089 簡餐
(Credit: Effi)

Flying fish (AliBangBang in Dawu tribe language) is the most important food for the Dawu people on Orchid Island. Between February and June is flying fish season, and catching flying fish and those related ceremony is the core of traditional culture for Dawu people.

While on the Orchid Island, flying fish is a 100% must try. Other from the famous fish, here are some specials you can try out during your visit, such as flying fish rice ball, flying fish egg crepes.

Rice wine milk tea

Rice wine milk tea at Mermaids and Cats
(Credit: Effi)

You can find this special drink at Mermaids and Cats. The rich smell of rice wine blended with classic milk tea brings out both flavors and the stories of Dawu people.

Hala Fruit Juice

Hala fruit juice at 089 簡餐
(Credit: Effi)

Hala fruit is a type of tropical fruit that is common to see on Orchid Island. You can enjoy this tasty drink freshly prepared from local stands on the street. This hala fruit juice can help cool you down and quickly washed away your discomfort due to the heat.

Hala fruit is a common tropical fruit on Orchid Island

Orchid Island is surely an island paradise you would want to come back again and again. Although just a small island, it is full of places to see and food to try, a travel experience that is filled with adventures yet also having time to just sit by the sea and lay back to enjoy some vacation time.

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