Houtouwan is an abandoned fishing village on the northern side of Shengshan Island, one of the Shengsi Islands, a chain of 400 islands located just 40 miles east of Shanghai, China. The ghost town was once home to more than 2,000 fishermen among other residents but was abandoned in the early 1990s. Houtouwan is only home to a handful of people, yet is a popular tourist attraction. Reasons for the near total abandonment of the village include problems with education and food delivery
Since its abandonment, greenery has overtaken what was once a bustling village. Every day hundreds of tourists visit Houtouwan, making their way on narrow footpaths past crumbling houses overtaken by vegetation. Reuters photographer Damir Sagolj recently paid a visit to Houtouwan, returning with images below. The house of the Houtouwan village is now enveloped with thick layers of ivy that have made their way by climbing the walls and breaking through the doors and windows.
According to Lonely Planet; “It was strange, to say the least. It looked like five or so people still lived in the village. Other locals seemed to open a couple of shops at the weekend for tourists. We were there on a Monday and it was completely empty; we were the only people walking around, and it was super quiet.
Though the ghost town is still inhabited by only a handful of people, most of the parts have become permanently inaccessible, giving it a mystic charm that reminds one of a fairytale place
Visited by tourists from all parts of the world, the Houtouwan village is located on Shengshan Island, which is a part of the group of 394 islands known as the Shengsi Islands in the Zhoushan Archipelago at the mouth of the Yangtze River.
Tourists photograph the abandoned fishing village of Houtouwan as its former residents, now visiting, have lunch on July 25, 2015. Xu Yueding and his wife Tang Yaxue, who left the village over 20 years ago, come back every day to their former house to welcome visiting tourists and sell them bottles of water, the only thing available to buy in the village
Sun Ayue, one of the very few remaining residents of Houtouwan, is seen from inside the room where he lives on July 25, 2015. Sun, a 59-year-old former fisherman who doesn’t often leave the village except for an occasional game of Mahjong in the town across the hill, lives alone in a house with no running water or electricity.