Reclaimed by Nature: The abandoned Houtouwan Village, located on a small island off Shanghai*. Houtouwan is a dying fishing village on the northern edge of Shengshan Island, accessible via a bridge from Gouqi island. Houtouwan used to be home to approx. 2,000 people, mostly fishermen. But in the early 1990s, increasing problems with massive water pollution coming from the Shanghai region plus easier access to larger mainland ports made many families leave their homes to live more economical elsewhere. Today the village is only home to a handful of people, yet it’s becoming an increasingly popular attraction for nature photographers. Why?
The following pictures give an impressive answer. Mother Nature has practically envelopped all settlements with a stunningly beautiful Kudzu Vine cover. Left to the mercy of elements, almost three decades on, the houses of Houtouwan (Chinese: 后头湾) are an amazing exhibition of lush green plant life, offering a rich ecosystem for native flora and fauna. Some of these houses are still home to inhabitants, old fishermen who don’t want to leave their place of birth and rather spend their last years in serenity. Get a glimpse of Houtouwan from the air by watching Joe Nafis‘ YouTube video. Shanghai photographer Zhou Jie (aka Jane Qing) also documented this fascinating find very well. Let’s take a look at her photos.
How get to Houtouwan Village
Make it to Shanghai somehow. Go to the Nanpu Bridge Bus Station (南浦桥 公交站). You have two options: (1) bus+ferry ticket to Shengshan Island. (2) bus+ferry ticket to Gouqi island. Houtouwan is actually located on Shengshan, but both islands are connected by a bridge. You can only buy one-way bus+ferry combi ticket (车船联票) to the island. Once arrived you have to buy the ticket back to Shanghai on the day of departure on the island. A ticket was 120RMB in 2017. Our bus from Shanghai left at 07:15am. It took us to the Shenjiawan (沈家湾) Passenger Transport Terminal, where we arrived at 08:30am. The ferry then left at 09:30am. After another 4 hours to arrived at Gouqi Island, with a short stop halfway at another island.
*Houtouwan is located on the northern side of Shengshan Island (one of 400 in the Shengsi Islands archipelago) 40 miles east of Shanghai. Reclaimed by nature abandoned Houtouwan Village in China. By Chili & Tshirp | Hugging horizons since 2004 | Don’t forget to visit our article about Tulou, concealed ancient chinese fortresses.