Orchid Island, also known as the home of the flying fish, and is the second-largest off-island in Taiwan. It was originally called Red-headed Island but later renamed after the famous white butterfly orchid. To Dawu, the island is “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 on their flying fish ceremony, richly decorated canoes, and traditional housing. The Dawu peoples emphasis on fishing and ocean culture has become the unique feature of Orchid Island.
The Flying Fish Festival, consists of many ceremonies 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 which are Yeyou, Yuren, Hongtou, Yeyin, Dongqing, and Langdao. Tourists usually visit the front hill villages including Yeyou, Yuren and Hongtou, which are more convenient. If you’re looking for a deeper connection with the locals, it is suggested to visit Yeyin, Dongqing and Langdao, considered the back hill villages.
Upon a visit to Orchid Islands, visitors can not only go snorkeling but also ride the Dawu canoe at Dongqing Bay. These well-crafted canoes are made of wood and bark on the island. The canoes are important to the aboriginal people and 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. The entire universe it’s interconnected.
Ride around the island, contemplate the dramatic seascapes, and enjoy the delicious flying fish meals. The leisurely paced lifestyle will make you wish you could stay on Orchid Island forever.