Houtouwan, China’s ghost village swallowed by nature


(CNN) — Like one thing straight out of a fairytale, the deserted village of Houtouwan on Shengshan Island, a part of the Shengsi Archipelago off the jap coast of China, has lately develop into an Web sensation and an uncommon travel hotspot.

Houtouwan was as soon as a affluent fishing village, with a 1980s inhabitants of greater than 3,000 residents. Nonetheless, due to its distant and hard-to-access location, its residents began to maneuver out within the ’90s.

In 2002, the village was formally depopulated and merged into a close-by village.

After a long time of abandonment, empty homes within the ocean-facing, cliffside village — a few of them nonetheless furnished — have been taken over by a blanket of lush climbing crops.

A ghost village-turned-tourist hotspot

The ghost village looks even more enchanting in misty weather.

The ghost village seems to be much more enchanting in misty climate.


Houtouwan soared to fame amongst Chinese language netizens in 2015 when a collection of mesmerizing images of the abandoned village went viral.

As a substitute of celebrating its new-found reputation, the officers of Shengsi Archipelago had been cautious of the influence introduced by the sudden surge of vacationers.

“Our phone strains are jammed and we’re getting extra vacationers to Houtouwan,” Chen Bo, an official of Shengshan Island, stated in an official statement on the time.

“Houtouwan of Shengshan hasn’t been outfitted with the circumstances to open to vacationers… We urge guests to protect its tranquility for now.”

However now, it is prepared for vacationers. Form of.

Mountain climbing Houtouwan

Hiking around the village will easily take up a few hours.

Mountain climbing across the village will simply take up a couple of hours.


After greater than two years of planning, Houtouwan — regardless of nonetheless being comparatively off-the-grid — has carried out a couple of new strikes to regulate and monetize the growth.

A brand new viewing platform opened final yr, providing an outline of the village from afar (for a ticket worth of $3).

Guests can hike across the hilly village for a payment of $8. Indicators are put up exterior empty homes to warn vacationers in regards to the attainable hazard of getting into the deteriorating constructions.

New bed-and-breakfast lodging have additionally popped up across the island. In 2017, it introduced in more than $100,000 in income.

A well-liked weekend journey from Shanghai

Shengshan Island is famous for its seafood.

Shengshan Island is known for its seafood.


The Shengsi Archipelago, round 40 miles from Shanghai, is the one archipelago formally declared a Nationwide Scenic Space in China.

With greater than 400 islets, the archipelago is a well-liked weekend getaway from Shanghai.

Shengshan is the easternmost island and, along with neighboring Gouqi Island, is known for its seafood.

It boasts one of many greatest fish farms in China.

How one can get there

Summer is the best season to visit the village.

Summer season is the very best season to go to the village.


The very best time to see the village is summer season — when vegetation is in full bloom.

Attending to Houtouwan is not a straight-forward journey. Restricted ferry companies run between mainland China and Gouqi Island (the island is related to Shengshan by a brief bridge).

Normally, just one ferry journey departs each day from Shanghai’s Shenjiawan Pier (at 9:15 a.m.) and Zhoushan Shenjiamen Banshengdong Dock (at 7 a.m.).

The journey takes round three hours and can drop you off at Gouqi Island, the place you will get a neighborhood taxi to Houtouwan.

In a single day guests can reserve their return tickets and taxi journey prematurely by their inns or bed-and-breakfasts.

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