Lanyu and Green Island: a return visit

Youzihu, Green Island

Pekingese Dog and Sleeping Beauty Rocks, Green Island

A violin made completely by hand by an inmate at Green Island’s notorious New Life Correction Center (the first of two penal colonies on the island)

I’ll keep this short.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Lanyu (Orchid Island) and Green Island are  fabulous! Getting to either involves nabbing a notoriously hard-to-get plane ticket (and they’re much harder to obtain for Lanyu than for Green Island) or putting up with an often rough boat ride. But its well, well worth it!

Jade Girl Rock, Lanyu

The Mantou Rock at sunset on a rainy day, Lanyu

Lovers’ Cave, Lanyu

See pages 175-216 for lots more info on Lanyu and Green Island.

I fell in love with both islands on my first visit several years ago, and on return trips I’ve felt just the same. Avoid Green Island if at all possible on a weekend – there are too many people, and plan to visit either island during the shoulder season either side of the summer rush. For more tips and info, you’ll have to wait for my next book, which will be out towards the end of the year. Meanwhile, here are some photos from this trip to both islands (six wonderful days in mid June 2012). It wasn’t all plain sailing, so to speak; my camera got soaked on a hike before leaving for the islands and started playing up more than usual. Also the weather in Lanyu was a bit forbidding at times (which is why the photos came out better in Green Island, when the weather was marvellous). I also got too excited and skidded off my bike near Lovers Cave in Lanyu, scratching my right arm  quite badly and had to get the grit picked out of it in the local only hospital, but nothing can put a damper on these beautiful islands – Lanyu with its amazing aboriginal culture (sit down, and the old tribes people will come to you and talk) and Green Island with its fabulous cliff-rimmed bays and horrifying recent history. Just go!

The north coast cliffs of Lanyu

Lanyu’s beautiful east coast

The Pekinese Dog and Sleeping Beauty, from the Great Wall, Green Island

The General Rock, Green Island

The ‘Gates of Hell,’ (the symbolic entrance to the former penal colony), Elephant’s Trunk Rock and General Rock, Green Island

Confucius Rock, Green Island

From the east, the Alligator Rock on Lanyu’s north coast looks more like a baby duck…

Nanzihu, Green Island

The prehistoric site of Gongguanbi, Green Island

The Mantou Rock, Lanyu

Magnificent Youzihu, Green Island

Another view of Sleeping Beauty and the Pekingese Dog, Green Island

6 thoughts on “Lanyu and Green Island: a return visit

    • They seem to…!
      There is a good reason here though. In Lanyu they do simply because the Tao (Yami) are (were) animists and every rock has a spirit and/a legend associated with it. In Green Island it’s probably because the Chinese love giving rocks names. At least in Green Island they’re well named. The Pekingese Dog Rock looks amazingly lifelike – much more so than in the photos.

  1. Hi Richard,

    I just like to say that my girl friend and I probably arrived at the island a few days after your visit (the local inn owner told me that the ferry resumed a day before I arrived after the typhoon).

    First time on the island, I must say that the landscape is absolutely beautiful, verging on unreal – especially the water with its different colors. We were quite lucky because the clouds looked great after the typhoon and we only experienced one light afternoon shower during our 4-day stay.

    On a side note, we also had a little accident along the ill-maintained road near the southern part of the island (not the cliff area – thank god!). I must say, getting patched up at the local hospital and receiving a tetanus shot there was quite an experience.

    Anyways, wonderful place and looking to go back next year!

    • Glad to hear you had such a great time! So you ended up in the hospital as well – they seem to give out a lot of tetnus shots – they gave me one as well, mainly because I hadn’t had one for quite a few years…. Hope you get back there again – it’s one of the loveliest places Taiwan has to offer, I think, quite unlike anywhere else I know.

  2. Hi Richard – thanks for the info. I’m a Los Angeles musician coming to Taiwan to teach (and judge a competition) for a vocal group festival in August, 2016. I’m an avid hiker and want to go to Green or Orchid Island for 3 days after – to hike, have peace, shop a little, walk the island, snorkel, etc. Having trouble deciding between Green and Orchid! I’m nervous that i won’t get a flight (or flight would be cancelled) on the return trip for Orchid. But, it looks bigger and might have better hiking. Thought I fear might be hard to GET the flight there, and even a good place to say. Do you have any advice??? Thanks very much!!!! Michele

    • Hi Michele, thanks for writing. Ah, you’re judging in the annual choral festival here, I assume.. nice! If you had a bit more time I’d suggest Lanyu all the way, as it’s simply unique and amazing. Unfortunately, as you say the flights are usually booked out the day booking opens (2 months before) and standby, while very doable isn’t secure, obviously. There’s a ferry, but it’s 4 hours each way and notoriously choppy – loads of people get sick.
      For a short stay, Green Island is wonderful too – very scenic, small, a couple of nice short hikes, quite a bit of wildlife, and stunning scenery. Flights may be tricky to get still (try midweek if at all possible – the place is packed on summer weekends), but the boat ride, while just as infamous as the boat onto Lanyu, is much shorter, and quite doable if you have a strong stomach. It’s also much less likely you’ll get stranded for days if the weather changes, although naturally keep an eye on the typhoon situation before you go! Have a great trip. Richard

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