In the abandoned village of Houtouwan, China, visitors get a first-hand experience of how nature is taking back what is hers.
This abandoned Chinese village has been abandoned for decades. Image credit: Nuno Luciano
Shengsi Island is a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean, east of Shanghai, where you can find one of the most amazing ghost towns in the world, overgrown by blankets of green vegetation. On this island, which belongs to the chain of 400 islands next to the coastal province of Zhejiang, you can find the abandoned Houtouwan village. Even though it has become an eerie ghost town, Houtouwan is a very popular tourist destination due to a series of mesmerizing photographs of the deserted village that went viral in 2015.
Most buildings in Houtouwan are overgrown with green ivy. Image credit: Nuno Luciano
The small fishing village was once a thriving little seaside town with a population of more than 3000 residents housed in 500 homes. However, due to standards of education, fishing competition with the larger cities, and the difficulties in delivering goods to this remote island, its residents began to struggle and started to move to the mainland in the 1990s in hopes of a better life.
Houtouwan was a thriving fishing town once, but today it stands as a ghost town. Image credit: Nuno Luciano
As the years went by, there were fewer and fewer people living in the village. By 1994 only a few villagers had remained in Houtouwan, and in 2002 it was officially depopulated. After decades of standing abandoned, mother nature has started to take over empty buildings.
The town attracts many tourists on a daily basis. Image credit: Nuno Luciano
The brick houses of the once prosperous village are now covered by blankets of lush green ivy. The whole scenery of Houtouwan attracts many tourists on a daily basis, who plan to seek out the old houses – some of which are still furnished – enfolded by the dense greenery.
The few people who still live there make a living by organizing guided tours. Image credit: Nuno Luciano
According to National Geographic, there are still a few people living in the village today, who make a living by offering daily tours for tourists, and selling water; the only item for sale in the overgrown village.
Local officials implemented a few measures to make the village more safe and profitable. Image credit: Nuno Luciano
Officials of Shengsi Archipelago reacted to the newfound fame of Houtouwan village by implementing a few cautious measures to control and earn a small revenue from the abandoned tourist attraction. They’ve set up a viewing point, that offers a nice overview of the village, for a price of only 3 dollars. Furthermore, visitors have to purchase a daily ticket for 8 dollars, in order to discover the ghost town.
But it’s worth it, isn’t it?