If there was a ranking system on your skills of traveling to Orchid Island, what level would you be? Aside from experiencing a wealth of water-based activities on Orchid Island, delving into the unique culture of the island can enhance the depth of your travel experience. Orchid Island comprises six major tribal villages: Yeyou, Langdao, Dongqing, Yeyin, Hongtou, and Yuren. Although they all belong to the Tao ethnic group, each tribal village has its own distinct cultural characteristics and different atmospheres, waiting for you to discover and explore.

This passage will introduce you to the historical cultures of the six major tribal villages and the unique activities you can experience on Orchid Island. We suggest making reservations in advance through online platforms or via your accommodation. If you have some time to spare, you can opt for the island-wide tour, which allows you to explore all six major tribal villages and the entire island in one go. However, if you’re constrained by time, you can select one tribal tour to delve deeply into a specific tribal village.

圖片來源:ig @molly888666
圖片來源:ig @xiang 317
圖片來源:ig @yeddafirst

The History and Culture of the Six Tribal Villages on Orchid Island

1. Yeyou Tribal Village
The Yeyou tribal village enjoys an advantageous geographical location. The name of the tribal village carries an additional layer of meaning, signifying a place abundant with food. The waters in front of the tribal village serve as the primary fishing grounds. This area is not only the administrative center of Orchid Island but also the main port used for the importation and exportation of various goods. As a result, it has been a prosperous area from ancient times to the present day and is furthermore the primary hub of distribution on the island.

2. Langdao Tribal village
Langdao tribal village is the largest tribal village on the island, recognized by the islanders as the place where the native language is best preserved. Legend has it that residents intermarried with Dutch sailors who washed ashore, which is why some members of the tribal village are taller compared to people from other tribal villages. The residential area in Langdao Tribal village is flat and divided into lower and upper sections, showcasing distinct architectural styles and generational social patterns.

3. Dongqing Tribal village
The first place in Taiwan to be illuminated by the break of dawn is none other than Dongqing tribal village. Here, you can also experience riding on a traditional Yami Kayak. In the language of the Dongqing tribal village, Iranmeylek means "Daughter of the Celestial Deity". According to legend, the celestial deity once betrothed his daughter to a man from Dongqing Village. However, the original dwelling place of Dongqing tribal village was not here. Due to an increase in population, they relocated several times before finally arriving at this current location.

4. Yeying Tribal village
The Yeyin tribal village is currently the only place on the island where traditional underground houses are preserved in their most intact form. Here, one can experience the Tao tribal village's traditional architectural artistry. Additionally, the tribal village also holds a sad yet beautiful tale. In ancient times, a man from Batanes Island in the Philippines, drifted to Orchid Island while fishing at sea. He married a widow from Orchid Island who already had children. Through various trials and tribulations, he eventually established the present-day Yeyin tribal village in the wilderness.

5. Hongtou Tribal village
Located at the southern tip of Orchid Island, Hongtou tribal village is the only place on the island where you can find a post office. Badai Bay, which is located within Hongtou tribal village, is the birthplace of the flying fish culture. Every year, Hongtou tribal village holds the first flying fish festival on the island. According to legend, the local deity placed two grandsons inside a stone and bamboo before sending them down to the mortal world. From these, two boys emerged, later giving birth to descendants who settled and thrived in Hongtou.

6. Yuren Tribal village
Located in the south of Orchid Island, Yuren tribal village lies between Hongtou and Yeyou tribal villages. In the Tao language, the Yuren tribal village is called "I ra tie," which means a vast plain. In the past, this area was affected by floods, causing residents to move elsewhere. Because of this, people from other villages referred to it as "Irasapen," which means a place submerged by floods. After the residents relocated, an airport was constructed in the Yuren tribal village. This has made Yuren an important gateway for arrivals and departures from the island.

Featured Orchid Island Experience Activities

You'll get to wander through the village's rural pathways on foot when attending the tribal tour activities led by local tribal villagers. They'll introduce you to the tribal village's architecture, cultural history, and more. You'll get to savor Tao-style meals, tasting sweet potatoes, seafood, flying fish, and cured meat. You can also have a try at wearing traditional Orchid Island clothing with the help of professionals. The underground house experience is one of the must-try activities for a deeper journey on Orchid Island.

There is also a wide range of activities like pottery crafts, hair dancing courses, intertidal zone tours, and nighttime ecological observations. There is something for everyone to enjoy, providing a closer look at the food, clothing, shelter, transportation, education, entertainment, and lifestyle of the six major tribal villages. Taking part in these rich experience programs will undoubtedly make your Orchid Island trip even more memorable!