Green Island

Green Island is a township of Taitung and about 50 minutes away from the east coast of Taiwan by boat. It is home to not only its well-known saltwater hot spring but also stunning coral reefs and tropical fish. Green Island is a popular spot for scuba diving and snorkeling.

When stepping off the boat at Nanliao Harbor, visitors will receive a warm local welcome. After checking in at their B&B, visitors can take a ride around the island. Green Island is about 15 square kilometers; the most developed areas are in Nanliao, Gongguan, and Chungliao, whereas the rest of the island remains undeveloped.

If it is your first visit to the island, snorkeling is the primary must–try activity on Green Island. There are several designated areas including Shihlang and Caikou where fishing has been prohibited. Therefore, you can expect to be surrounded by an array of beautiful creatures while snorkeling in the protected waters.

Green Island has developed a superb wildlife conservation plan to protect and restore Formosan sika deer and Taiwanese muntjacs. These creatures can often be seen near the road. Part of the plan has served to prohibit lights along East Coast Road to minimize harm to nocturnal animals.

In addition to the stunning natural environment, there are historical sites on Green Island as well. The Green Island Human Rights Culture Park was built as a memorial to commemorate the victims of the White Terror; during this period, the island’s economic development was also affected. The local people are warm, honest, content with life, and foster close relationships with each other. Speaking with the locals on Green Island is a great way to broaden your perspective.

Orchid Island

Orchid Island, also known as the home of the flying fish, is the second-largest off coast island in Taiwan. It was originally called “Red-Headed Island” but later renamed after the famous white butterfly orchid. To the native Dawu tribe, the island is called “Pongso no Tao,” meaning “island of the people” in their language. The Dawu are the only indigenous people native to Orchid Island; they depend on the sea for their livelihood. The Dawu people’s intense connection to the sea is reflected in their flying fish ceremony, richly decorated canoes, and traditional housing. The Dawu people’s emphasis on fishing and ocean culture has become the most unique feature of Orchid Island.

The Flying Fish Festival consists of many ceremonies, thus making it the best time to visit Orchid Island. Watching these holy rituals provides travelers an unique opportunity to experience aboriginal culture.

Orchid Island consists of six villages: Yeyou, Yuren, Hongtou, Yeyin, Dongqing, and Langdao. Because they are generally easier to access, tourists usually visit the front hill villages, which include Yeyou, Yuren and Hongtou. If you’re looking for a deeper connection with the locals, we suggest visiting Yeyin, Dongqing, and Langdao, which are considered the back hill villages.

Upon a visit to Orchid Islands, visitors can go snorkeling and ride the Dawu canoe in Dongqing Bay. These well-crafted canoes are made of wood and bark on the island. The canoes are important to the aboriginal people, especially by helping to maintain a deep connection between generations. As a result, many ceremonies are related to the canoes. In Dawu legends and myths, all things in the world have a spirit or soul, including wind, lightening, rocks, animals, and plants. According to local belief, the entire universe is interconnected.

Ride around the island, get lost in thought in the dramatic seascapes, and enjoy meals of the delicious local flying fish. The island’s leisurely pace of life will make you wish you could stay on Orchid Island forever.