Sat, Jun 02, 2007 - Page 14 News List

Taiwan trotting -- Lanyu 台灣走透透:蘭嶼

By Catherine Thomas  /  STAFF WRITER

A breathtaking view in Lanyu. 蘭嶼令人屏息的美景。


A volcanic island rising from the sea off the southeastern coast of Taiwan,

Lanyu has been home to the Tao for 800 years. Read on to find out more about the island, its sights and people.


A closer look 說古論今

Lanyu is formed of eight rain forest covered mountains, the highest of which is 552m. The Tao or Yami refer to the island simply as 'Island of the people' (Ponso No Tao) in their own language. The ROC government renamed the island Lanyu in 1946 after the orchid flower which then grew in profusion on it. During the Japanese colonial period the island was declared off limits to the public due to the unique culture of the Tao people.

Lanyu is an incredibly beautiful island. The waters surrounding it are clear and blue and boast beautiful coral formations and an annual migration of whales. It is possible to both snorkel and dive. There's even a Korean shipwreck covered in soft coral and sea fans off the west coast.

It is possible to travel around Lanyu on foot, though most people choose to hire a scooter or bicycle and hop off to hike trails. An excellent view of the island can be gained from the weather station and lighthouse.

Boat trips to see flying fish and night walks to stargaze and watch the fauna, especially crabs, are popular.

The Tao still retain much of their traditional culture. Traditionally the women are responsible for farming the land and the men for gathering fish. Although government housing has been introduced to much of the island, traditional Tao houses can still be found. These houses are designed to withstand typhoons by being half underground, and a platform provides a cool summer resting space and workshop. It is possible to stay in homestays in traditional houses.

蘭嶼島上八座山脈連亙,雨林密佈,最高峰海拔五百五十二公尺。達悟族 稱蘭嶼為 Ponso No Tao(意指「人之島」),一九四六年政府以島上盛產蝴蝶蘭為由,更名為蘭嶼。日本殖民時期,由於達悟族文化自成一格,曾禁止外人移墾。






WHO KNEW? 你知道嗎?

There are several different ways to get to Lanyu. The island boasts a small airstrip and flights from Taitung take just 25 minutes. Although there are several flights a day, strong winds on Lanyu can sometimes lead to cancellation of flights. There are several ways to travel by sea. Boats sail to Lanyu from Fukang dock in Taitung. It is also possible to take a boat from the Houpihu marina near Kenting. In general, boats take around two hours and it is important to double check schedules as they are often subject to weather conditions. One of the special things about catching a boat is the approach to the island and the chance to see flying fish, which are considered sacred by the Tao people.



1. Since the fish conservation effort started, this once desolate area now has a profusion of maritime life.

Profusion means ...

a. very little.

b. very thankful.

c. an abundance.

d. small.

2. Terry is very modest and mild-mannered. In contrast, his cousin Adam boasts about his own intelligence all the time.

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