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Like Green Island, Orchid Island (Lanyu) was built up from the bottom of the sea by the accumulation of lava from volcanic eruptions. The island has a subtropical climate being humid, and rainy, and it is covered by thick rain forests filled with a great variety of plant and animal species. Coral abounds in the seas surrounding the island, the Japan Current BLACK CURRENT??? passes by, and pods of migrating whales transit as well. This is a paradise for fishing and skin-diving activities.
Erosion by wind and waves through the eons has sculpted the coral shoreline of Orchid Island (Lanyu) into a myriad of strange and interesting shapes, many of which have been given names according to their distinctive shapes: Alligator Rock, Tank Rock, Maiden Rock, Hen Rock, Frog Rock, Twin Lions Rock, Helmet Rock, Elephant's Trunk Rock, and Dragon's Head Rock. Other famous shoreline formations include Five-Hole Caves, Redhead Rock, and Lovers' Cave. In addition to its natural scenery, Orchid Island (Lanyu) is home to the rich and unique culture of the Tau (now sometimes renamed Tao) aborigine. To this day, these tribes people maintain their traditional culture and lifestyle, including the T-strings worn by the men for convenience when they go out in their boats to fish, the colorfully decorated canoes that are made of planks without using nails or modern tools, and the semi-subterranean stone houses that the Tau live in to avoid the heat of summer, the chill of winter, and the destruction brought by frequent typhoons. The flying fish festival with which the island's people greet the arrival of the first flying fish each year (flying fish are a staple in their diet), and the elaborate ceremonies that accompany the launching of a new canoe, offer rare opportunities for outsiders to take a glimpse inside this fascinating primitive culture.
The traditional accommodations of the Tau are well preserved in the village of Langdao. You can see all the semi-subterranean houses you want here, but please take care to respect the local culture (be especially careful when taking photographs) and not violate any taboos.
During evenings on Orchid Island (Lanyu), you can enjoy the tranquil night scenes, view the star-filled heavens, and chase crabs. You can also go to sea in a Tau canoe; and if you're lucky and the season is right, you might see flying fish go soaring by on silver wings.