Lanyu Region: Tourism Information

To many Taiwanese people, Lanyu is a distant legend.

The local indigenous people – the Yami people (a.k.a. Tao), follow their traditional knowledge rigorously, and lead a simple life. Compared to other indigenous peoples in Taiwan, the Yami people (Tao) experienced no mass migration, and hence preserve most of their traditional lifestyles. Today, even though the younger generation has chosen to leave the Island for work and choose to live in concrete houses, many traditional seniors still adhere to their traditions and lead a carefree life close to nature.


Perhaps it was the eve of the tourist season when we landed on Lanyu, as there were not many tourists yet. The slower pace of life allowed us to relish the local lifestyle. Upon alighting from the plane, we were received by the warm hospitality of the southern islands. One can’t help but slow down, casting away the hustle and bustle of the city for the time being. Along the circular island road, one can often see the locals sitting casually, chatting and sipping tea, or the seniors sitting at their doorsteps, enjoying the sun and doing nothing. Their carefree attitude towards life is something the city dwellers could not possess. When you simply pass by the shops, you’ll be welcomed by warm greetings, and new friends are made as conversations strike up. Though it was just a few days, the trip was very fruitful. Besides the beautiful sceneries, I also experienced the human touch, which seems to be missing in the present technological era.

There are several schools on the small Lanyu Island.
Yeyou Elementary School is a must-see attraction when you visit Lanyu. The tatala totem on the parade platform and sea-viewing deck, and Yami's (Tao's) pattern and color paintings on the walls of the school perfectly showcase the local culture. The blue sky, white clouds, sports field, green lawn and vast sea give the Island the feel of tropical islands.
The children of the Yami (Tao) study in schools that neighbor the Pacific Ocean, and what you see on their face is only innocence and unsophistication. Occasionally, you can see children playing in the field after school against the backdrop of the vast sky and sea, which would make city dwellers quickly forget the bustling city life.

* Closed on weekdays between 7:30 am -16:30 pm
* Open on weekends and holidays

Steamed Bun Rock is located by the coast extending from Yeyou Village. From far, it looks like a big bun, hence the name. It is a tied island of volcanic terrain. Due to its surrounding vast ocean of rapid current, plenty of fish gather here, creating a rich marine ecosystem, which is a well-known local spot for sea fishing and a landmark of Lanyu.
As the Yeyou Villagers used to conduct cliff burial or sea burial at this spot, it was a forbidden area in the early days. Today, it is the campus of Lanyu Senior High School. The velvet blue ocean brings out the magnificence of the Rock, which never fails to attract passers-by to stop and admire the beauty of nature.

The old lighthouse of Lanyu is located on top of the reef by Kaiyuan Port. When the big lighthouse went into operation, the small lighthouse lost its function and turned into a place for watching the sunset. The lighthouse is a short walk up the stairs by the rock wall. The wooden fence on the side was installed a few years back, replacing the mottled white cement barrier. The walls of the lighthouse were also repainted, but the traces of years are still visible, giving it a nostalgic feeling. Though the lighthouse is no longer in use, it is an ideal spot for overlooking Kaiyuan Port due to the unobstructed view.

Kaiyuan Port is located within Yeyou Village on the western coast of Lanyu. It is the most important sea traffic hub in the Lanyu region, where ships going to Taitung’s Fugang Port and Kenting’s Houbihu Fishing Port are docked. Besides being the main port for supplying necessities for the locals and for tourists to reach Lanyu, its rich marine ecology also makes it a fishing paradise. It has been in operation for more than 5 decades since its establishment in 1965.
Overlooking the north, one can see Red Head Rock, where the big lighthouse currently in use stands. Towards the west, there is the stunning view of the sky meeting the sea, offering the stunning visual feast of a transparent blue sea.

There are two 7-Eleven stores in Lanyu. One located at Yeyou Village, was opened in 2014. The other one located at Dongqing Village was opened in 2017. In consideration of the cost, the items sold in Lanyu store are more expensive than those in the stores of the main island.
The walls of the seating area in the store are painted with the Yami's (Tao's) totems and tatala, creating the living atmosphere of the local indigenous people.

Lanyu Ocean Supermarket supplies all kinds of stuff required by the locals, such as groceries and daily necessities. It is the supermarket that the Lanyu people frequent the most, and the largest shop on the Island. You can stock up on supplies in this supermarket before beginning your trip around the Island.

Situated at a junction near the Lanyu Lighthouse, the lake is a crater lake formed by the accumulation of rainwater. It is said that traditionally, it was a forbidden area. Before the Yami people (Tao) enter the area, they would first wipe their bodies with the leaves of Miscanthus to dispel evil spirits. If it rained just before you visited the place, you might get to see the lake brimming with water.
As the road towards the lake is quite insignificant, visitors may miss it rather easily. It is a narrow earth path trodden by travelers. Hence, you are advised to visit the lake with the help of a local guide.
As the lake is situated on the hilltop, it provides an excellent view. After passing along a small trail lined by grasses, a boundless ocean is right in front of you.

Lanyu Lighthouse is located on the top of the cape in the northwestern Yeyou Village. At an elevation of 209 meters, this lighthouse towers above all the other ones in Taiwan. Built in 1982, its operation made defunct the small lighthouse by Kaiyuan Port, which now only serves as an ideal spot for tourists to watch the sunset.
On the ground level, one can see the lighthouse on Red Head Rock from afar, but the distance is not short. The only route to the lighthouse is up along a winding road from the ground level. The view becomes more stunning as it goes higher, and everything comes into full view. Not long afterwards, the tribal village is at the foot of the hill. Whenever you look back along the trail, there is the view of the mountain meeting the ocean, so splendid that hikers simply feel happiness.
At the entrance of the lighthouse, there is a sign saying, “Navigation area, do not enter”. Though visitors are not allowed to get near the lighthouse, the western coast view along the route constitutes a feast to the eyes.

Located on the northwestern Lanyu, Crocodile Rock is a reef formed by volcanic agglomerate. The erosion of the coral reef by sea water and crustal movement created a rock shaped like a crocodile roaring to the sky. Also, with the accumulation of volcanic debris and the effect of sea erosion, rock joints have broken to resemble the rough skin surface of a crocodile, hence the name.

Tank Rock is located near Crocodile Rock, both of which are reefs formed from volcanic agglomerate. It resembles a tank, hence the name. It is said that the tank gun broke off a few years ago, and now the tank is without its gun. The reef is covered with mosses, and with some imagination, it looks like a tank just landing from the sea.

The Five-hole Cave is located on northern Lanyu, to the west of Langdao Village. It consists of five grottoes formed by submarine deposited igneous rocks and debris that were lifted due to the compression of the plates, and continuous erosion by the sea waves. In the early days, the Yami people (Tao) deemed this cave as a forbidden site, and even named it, the “Nest of Evil Spirits”. A sign at the entrance warns women and children not to stay too long. Today, it is a sanctuary for the Catholics, where there are a cross and chairs for believers to pray. The cave’s coolness makes it an ideal place to escape the summer heat.

Beauty Rock is located on the north coast of Langdao Village. About 20 meters tall, this volcanic agglomerate forms a sea-eroded arch. It has a peculiar shape, which is hollow in the center, with a piece of small rock in between. It is also called the Couple Rock and Yinyang Rock.

Located at the seaside between Langdao and Dongqing Villages, Lion Pair Rock is a natural landscape formed by the cooling of volcanic lava. From far, it resembles a pair of lions looking at each other, hence the name. It is also called the “Two Crouching Lions”. The rich imagination of Lanyu people has brought life to the rocks, making them interesting and lifelike. It never fails to attract visitors to stop and take photos.

The Warship Rock is offshore about 300 meters from the northeastern coast of Lanyu. It is the Dongqing Village’s traditional fishing area because of its rich marine resources. It takes only a few minutes to reach this tiny uninhabited island from Dongqing Bay by boat. As the rock is shaped like a warship, the story goes that when the United States and the Japanese were at war during World War II, the US side mistook the rock for a warship and bombarded it before realizing it’s a piece of rock, hence the name.
It’s highly recommended by the locals to watch the sunrise at Warship Rock. When the sun slowly rises from sea, the view is simply magical and breathtaking.

Due to poor accessibility and lack of paved roads in the past, the people of Lanyu dug tunnels, called the Ghost Tunnels, to travel to other tribal villages. It is very dark inside a Ghost Tunnel, and the ceiling gets lower as it gets nearer the exit; visitors should be very careful when passing through.

Lovers Cave is a natural grotto located in Dongqing Bay. Due to years of erosion by sea water, an arch was formed. As Lovers Cave is surrounded by steep rocks, the waves from the blue sea water below beat against the rocks to create magnificent splashes. It is said that as the Cave was rarely visited in the early days, it became an ideal rendezvous for many couples, hence the name.

Located on eastern Lanyu, Yeying Village is the most traditional tribe in Lanyu. The major attraction of this village is the semi-underground house. As the houses are private properties, you can visit them only when accompanied by a local guide.
In the early days, in order to adapt to the abundant rain and frequent typhoons, the locals came up with this unique architecture. A house consists of three areas, the main house (vahay), the workshop (makarang) and the balcony (tagakal). There are three levels in the main house, each with special purpose and meaning. The entrance leads to the first level, whose main function is to entertain guests. The second level is for sleeping and hanging game. Every household would hang the goat horns and mandibles that they hunted on the ceiling. From the bone color, one can tell the age of the game; the darker they are, the earlier they were hunted. The third level is for storing goods and smoking flying fish.
The main house is narrow and its ceiling low, where one could hardly walk inside. Basically, the Yami people (Tao) largely lead their lives in a bent position. Though most of the young people have chosen concrete houses over underground ones, many seniors still prefer to stay in their homeland and preserve their traditional lifestyle, refusing to be separated from the place they have lived their entire life.

The Weather Station is Lanyu’s highest building as it is located on the mountain top of the cross-island road. From here, you can enjoy the panorama of the Island, including Badai Bay, Dongqing Bay, Yeying Village, etc., making it the best lookout point. The Weather Station was built during the Japanese colonial period, and was bombarded by the allied forces during World War II. It was almost in ruins when taken over in 1946, with bullet holes clearly seen on the walls. After renovation, the main structure was transformed into the present white building.

Tucked away in a tranquil intertidal zone, Yeying Cold Spring is one of the must-visit spots in Dongqing. Spring water slowly flows out, and converges with the sea water, forming a special sight. Its water is clear and transparent, making it a perfect place for water sports.
Among the reef terrains of Lanyu, there is a piece of land with rare fine white sand. Intertwined with green hills and blue ocean, this natural wonder often makes visitors lose track of time.

Helmet Rock (a.k.a. Hat Rock) is located on the coastal highway of southeastern Lanyu. It resembles a soldier’s helmet with distinct brim, and the green moss covering the rock is said to look like camouflage pattern, hence the name.

The Sleeping Lion Rock is a rock standing on a piece of grassland between the Helmet Rock and Elephant Trunk Rock. It resembles a sleeping lion, hence the name.

Elephant Trunk Rock is a lava neck located in southeastern Lanyu. It was formed when the columnar basaltic lava cooled and contracted, forming orderly arranged joints, resembling an elephant stretching its trunk into the sea to suck up water.

Dragon Head Rock is located in southeastern Lanyu. From far, it resembles a dragon emerging from the sea, portraying a stunning scene against the backdrop of the beautiful sky. The protrusion of large coral reef and years of erosion by the sea water created the sharp and irregular shape that we see today. As you travel around the Island, stop and enjoy this craftsmanship of nature.

A small volcanic island located rather close to the southeast of Lanyu, Little Lanyu can be seen from the main island. It was a traditional fishing site for the people of Lanyu in the early days. Due to swift waters with plenty of undercurrents in the neighboring region, fishing at Little Lanyu is a tough and sacred task. During the traditional flying fish season, Little Lanyu Island is off limits, which is a tradition that the locals have strictly adhered to.
In the past, the military made use of Little Lanyu as a missile testing range without the consent of Lanyu residents. Hence, there are still many unexploded bombs and shells on the Island today.

The Green Grassland is a coral reef platform, where the locals used to grow their crops in the early days. However, as the younger generation chose to leave their homeland and work elsewhere, the place is no longer cultivated.
Different seasons present different views. In the spring and summer, the grassland is lively, verdant and dotted with the blooming lilies and leopard plants; and in the autumn and winter, the grasses turn yellow due to the constantly blowing northeast monsoon.

Like a piece of sculpture created by nature's elements, the rock looks like an old man, more evident when viewed from the sea. The top of the old man’s head is the habitat of a rare plant, Lanyu podocarpus. As the place is not readily accessible, the vegetation has suffered no damage and has been completely preserved.
To see the Old Man Rock, you have to pass through the grassland as it is not visible on the circular island road.

In Yami (Tao) language, Yeyou means inexhaustible food. This is where Lanyu’s only senior high school and only gas station are situated. The main traffic hub, Kaiyuan Port, is also located here. Compared to other villages, this is the most convenient place to live.

In the native language, Yuren Village is called, “Iratay”, which means “flatness and spaciousness”. In the shape of a long strip, this village is the smallest among the six villages. The waters in front of the village are an important fishing site for the locals. This is also where ceremonies are held. As Lanyu’s only airport is located in Yuren Village, you can often see a plane flying overhead.

Red Head Village is called “I-Morod” in the native language, meaning “aggregation”. Facing the sea with the hill behind, the village covers the hill and the plain, spanning the largest altitudinal difference among all villages. In the village, there is the only health center and only post office on the Island. Lanyu’s traditional annual Rayon (flying fish season) begins here. Badai Bay and Little Lanyu are the main fishing sites of the village, and its sand beach is an important place for holding ceremonies.

Dongqing Village is located in northeastern Lanyu, the first site on the Island where the sun rises, hence the best place for watching the sunrise. There is a huge totem pole in the village, which is the work of the artists on a piece of driftwood brought by the locals from the sea. It has become a very famous landmark of Lanyu.
During the nights of the tourist season, the locals will set up stalls in Dongqing night market, selling handicrafts, snacks, homemade sweet potato dessert, etc. It is the only “night market” on the Island, and attracts many people.

Langdao Village is located in northern Lanyu. In Yami (Tao) language, it is called “I-Raraley”, meaning “courteous”. It is situated between Yeyou and Dongqing Villages. In the early days, the villagers had to go through Langdao Village when traveling to the other village, and would be greeted by Langdao residents, hence earning the name, “Courteous Village”. It has the most natural attractions, with many interesting terrains and rocks distributed along the coast, making it the best place to admire the works of nature.

Big Heavenly Lake is located on a hill southeast of Lanyu. It is a crater filled with rainwater, forming a unique mountain lake. Legend has it that the lake is the resting place of the ancestral spirits of the Yami people (Tao) in the early days. According to Yami people (Tao), “DuWa Wa” means “Sea in the Mountains” or the “Place of the spirits”.
The place is covered by tropical vegetation; dead trees standing in the lake create a mysterious atmosphere like one in the movie. It’s one of the places in Lanyu you should not miss.
*When visiting Big Heavenly Lake, you are advised to be accompanied by a local guide.

Dongqing Bay is located in eastern Lanyu, where people greet the first rays of the dawn. Around March, the residents will start the preparation for the grand Flying Fish Festival. Several canoes painted in red and white dock by the shore against the blue bay, forming an exclusive scene of Lanyu’s Dongqing Bay.

The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site, located in the Longmen area in the southeast end of Lanyu Island, faces the sea in one direction and is surrounded by mountains in the other three directions; the area is surrounded by natural barriers and has no residents within 5 kilometers. There are 23 storage trenches used for storing low-level nuclear waste from the whole country.
The storage site adopts a multi-barrier design: the waste is first solidified inside a cement block (the first barrier), put into a steel barrel (the second barrier), delivered to the storage site and stored inside the concrete trenches (the third barrier), which is equipped with a leachate collection system (the fourth barrier) to collect the leachate and treat it with evaporators until the radioactivity is lower than the minimum detectable level of the instrument, which is then recycled for re-use on-site (the fifth barrier).

Located in southwestern Lanyu, Badai Bay has the longest beach on the west side, about 1500 meters in length. As it is situated on the west, it is an ideal place to watch the sunset. To its left is the Pacific Ocean with its abundant marine resources, making it the primary income source for residents in the west. Its magnificent underwater world also makes it the best place to dive in summer.

Lanyu Flying Fish Cultural Museum mainly collects traditional costumes, handicrafts, utensils, etc., of the Yami people (Tao), to let tourists better understand the Yami (Tao) tradition and culture. The museum also sells handicrafts, souvenirs and accessories of local characteristics. For those who wish to collect souvenirs unique to Lanyu, this is the place you cannot miss.

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