DestinationsAsiaHoutouwan: A Journey into China’s Green Ghost Village
Houtouwan: A Journey into China’s Green Ghost Village

Houtouwan: A Journey into China’s Green Ghost Village

Have you ever wondered what would happen if humans left a place and let nature take over? If so, you might be fascinated by Houtouwan. It’s a former fishing village on the eastern coast of China. The village has been abandoned for decades and is now covered by lush green plants.

Houtouwan, which means “back bay” in Chinese, is located on Shengshan Island, one of the 400 islands in the Shengsi Archipelago. The village was established in 1950. It was once home to about 2,000 people who lived off the sea. However, in the 1990s, the villagers started to move out due to declining fish resources and growing competition from nearby Shanghai. By 2002, all the villagers had left and abandoned the village to decay. Over the years, local plants invaded the empty houses and streets, creating a stunning contrast between the man-made structures and the natural scenery.

Houtouwan has become a tourist attraction in recent years. It attracts many visitors who want to see the beauty and mystery of nature reclaiming human civilization. In this article, we will explore the appearance and atmosphere of Houtouwan, the challenges and opportunities of visiting and maintaining the village, and the significance and implications of Houtouwan’s existence and popularity.

Houtouwan’s Beauty and Mystery

Houtouwan is a sight to behold. As you approach the village from the sea or the road, you will be greeted by a sea of green that covers the hillside and the rooftops. The village looks like a living painting, with different shades and textures of green blending with the blue sky and the brown earth. The plants that have taken over the village are mostly vines, ferns, and mosses. Besides that, you can also spot some flowers, fruits, and vegetables growing among them. Some of the plants are native to the island, while others are introduced by birds or humans.

A view of Houtouwan abandoned village in China
A view of Houtouwan abandoned village in China.

As you walk around the village, you will feel like you are in a different world. The silence is broken only by the sound of birds, insects, and wind. The air is fresh and fragrant with the smell of plants. The houses and streets are hidden under layers of vegetation, creating a sense of mystery and curiosity. You will wonder what stories and secrets lie behind the walls and windows. You will imagine how the villagers used to live and work here, and why they left. Also, you will marvel at how nature has transformed this place into its own domain.

Houtouwan is a place that appeals to adventurous explorers and nature lovers. It is a place that offers a rare opportunity to witness nature’s power and beauty in action. It is a place that inspires awe and wonder.

The Challenges and Opportunities of the Abandoned Fishing Village

Being one of the most abandoned islands in the world, Houtouwan is not an easy place to visit or maintain. The village is located on a remote and hard-to-access island, which makes transportation and communication difficult. Furthermore, the village lacks basic infrastructure and amenities, such as electricity, water, sanitation, and health care. The village also poses safety hazards and environmental issues, such as unstable structures, fire risks, pests, and waste disposal. Moreover, the village’s preservation and management are complicated by legal and ethical dilemmas, such as property rights, cultural heritage, and tourism development.

However, Houtouwan also offers some opportunities and benefits for the island and its people. The village has become a tourist attraction in recent years, attracting visitors who are willing to pay for the experience of seeing and exploring the village. The tourism industry has generated income and employment for the island, especially for the few remaining residents who act as guides and vendors. Additionally, the tourism industry has stimulated some investment and improvement in the island’s infrastructure and facilities, such as roads, bridges, hotels, and restaurants. The tourism industry has also raised awareness and appreciation for the village’s history and culture, as well as its natural beauty.

Houtouwan is a place that requires careful planning and management. It is a place that poses many challenges and risks, but also offers some opportunities and rewards. It is a place that demands respect and responsibility from both visitors and locals.

The Significance and Implications of Houtouwan

Houtouwan is a place that has a lot of meaning and impact, both locally and globally. The village is a living example of how humans and nature interact and influence each other. The village shows how humans can shape and change nature through their activities and choices, such as fishing, farming, building, and migrating. It also shows how nature can shape and change humans through its forces and processes, such as weathering, erosion, succession, and adaptation. On top of that, the village illustrates the consequences and trade-offs of human development and environmental conservation.

The 'greenhouses on the abandoned fishing village in China
The ‘greenhouses on the abandoned fishing village in China.

In addition, Houtouwan is a place that raises many questions and challenges for the present and the future. First, the village invites us to reflect on our own relationship with nature and our role in its preservation or destruction. Second, the village challenges us to think about the effects of urbanization and globalization on rural communities and cultures. Third, the village prompts us to consider the value of history and heritage in a fast-changing world. Finally, the village inspires us to envision the future of sustainable development and coexistence with nature.

Indeed, Houtouwan is a place that makes us think and feel. It is a place that teaches us lessons and stories. It is a place that has significance and implications for ourselves and our world.

Tips to Visit China’s Abandoned Fishing Village

Houtouwan is a unique and remarkable place that showcases the power and resilience of nature. It is also a place that raises many questions and challenges about the relationship between humans and nature, the effects of urbanization and globalization, the value of history and culture, and the future of sustainable development.

The houses that are swallowed by mother nature in Houtouwan, one of the creepiest abandoned places in the world
The houses that are swallowed by mother nature in Houtouwan, one of the creepiest abandoned places in the world.

If you are interested in visiting or learning more about Houtouwan, here are some tips and resources for you:

  • The best time to visit Houtouwan is summer when the vegetation is at its lushest. However, be prepared for hot and humid weather and bring enough water and sunscreen.
  • To get to Houtouwan from Shanghai, you can take a bus and ferry ride to Shengshan Island or to Gouqi Island, which is connected to Shengshan via a bridge. The journey takes about five or six hours. Alternatively, you can book a tour package that includes transportation and accommodation.
  • To enter Houtouwan, you need to pay an entrance fee of 50 yuan ($8). You can also pay an extra 20 yuan ($3) to access a viewing platform that offers an overview of the village from afar. You can hike around the hilly village on your own or hire a local guide who can show you around and tell you stories about the village’s past.
  • Be respectful and responsible when visiting Houtouwan. Firstly, do not enter or damage empty houses as they can be dangerous and fragile. Secondly, do not litter or disturb the plants or animals. Lastly, do not make loud noises or take flash photos that might annoy or scare away the few remaining residents.

Houtouwan: A Journey into China Abandoned Village

Houtouwan is a unique and captivating place that showcases the power and beauty of nature. In this article, we have explored the history, challenges, opportunities, and significance of this abandoned fishing village that has been reclaimed by plants. We have seen how Houtouwan offers a rare glimpse into a different world, where nature and human culture coexist in harmony and contrast. We have also learned how Houtouwan can inspire us to reflect on our own relationship with nature and our environment.

Houtouwan is a place that will leave you in awe and wonder. It is also a place that will make you think and reflect. Whether you visit it in person or online, we hope you enjoy this amazing journey into nature’s realm.

Hey, I Have Travel Planning Resources Here to Help You Easily Plan Your Trip

Essential Items

Don't forget to bring the Travel Medicines, as well as your necessary Travel Kit.

If Your Next Destination Requires a Visa

IVISA will help you with their speed, simple, and secured services with just a minimal chance of being rejected.

Find Your Flight and Transportation to The Destinations

You can read my travel tips to Find Cheap Flights. You can also use 12Go to book buses, trains, ferries, or any transportation to places.

Book An Accommodation

I mostly use to find a place for my trip. Sometimes I try to Get Free Credits on Airbnb to book homestays.

Driving Yourself Will be More Enjoyable

You can easily compare prices and find great deals on Discover Cars.

Protect Yourself and Your Trip

Travel Insurance is Important, especially after COVID-19, there are more possible health issues and pandemics. Please don't forget to have a shield for yourself and your trips!


houtouwan china abandoned village - the broad life pinterest board

Khoi Nguyen builds The Broad Life with a desire to inspire people go exploring the world and live a more interesting, experience, and adventurous life. This blog shares the stories, pictures, and experiences at destinations where he has traveled to.


  • Stephanie

    Interesting article about Houtouwan – and I enjoyed seeing the ‘after’ photos. Seems like an eerie place to visit, but I feel the same way going to ancient ruins where nature has taken over.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      Houtouwan will surely bring to you a special feeling when visiting. It’s just how special that feeling is.. hihi.

  • Whitney StewarT

    This place looks so interesting! I dont know why, but ive always wanted to Visit a ghost toWn of sOme kind, just to say that i have! Thanks so much fir sharing!

    • Khoi Nguyen

      I’m sure this place is so much interesting to you.

  • Debbie

    This is so cool. I’ve always been captivated with abandoned places and before and after photos. Houtouwan Seems fascinating and interesting to visit.

  • Mandy

    How unique! I love when nature takes over and makes it beautiful in its own way, a way that we could never do.

  • Sonia Seivwright

    Houtouwan is a stunning abandoned village reclaimed by nature. It’s a popular tourist attraction that showcases the beauty and mystery of nature. I’m intrigued to learn more about it.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      You can even visit it to know more about the place and witness what is truly happening there.

  • Ntensibe Edgar

    Whew! It’s a shame that this lovely-looking village was abandoned like that. Just look at all that green and marvelling beauty. I would pay a million dollars to stay here forever, to be honest.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      Wow, perhaps you can firstly spend a trip there to see the village in real.

  • beth

    Wow, this place is stunning. How come I never heard of this before? I will surely add it to my list

    • Khoi Nguyen

      I’m sure your trip to this village will be great. Please share with me your experience when you visiting the village.

  • knycx journeying

    I think there are so many ghost towns and ghost cities in China, looksing forward to seeing the other introduction and photos of those places in the future.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      Sounds interesting! I’m gonna check them out soon.

  • paris

    Hi there, that place looks fabulous.
    I LIVE IN SHANGHAI AND I’ve been dreaming of going there for a while.
    Were you able to find a guide easily there? do they speak English?

    • Khoi Nguyen

      I believe the local tour businesses will be able to set up a tour for you to visit the place if there is no restriction at that time.
      Chinese people aren’t really speaking English so much but as the nature of tourism, some people can talk with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

a man running to the sun on a rope bridge

Sign up for Newsletter

    Discover more from Travel Blog - Blog About Traveling | The Broad Life

    Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

    Continue reading