Located in the east of Shanghai, China is the small island of Shengshan, home to the green village of Houtouwan.
Make no mistake, the vibrant village used to be inhabited by over 2,000 fishermen is still beautiful. However, its enchanting beauty is now mostly because of the eerie vibe that it gives off.
Perched on top of a cliff, this picturesque village was taken over by the lush vegetation on the island. Creeping vines have made way into what used to be the brick homes of its people before it was abandoned in the 1990s.
What Happened To The Village?
Wang Yi, who left the island when he was 5, recalls fond memories in his old home.
"I dream of playing here, and it looked like it did when we played here when I was young," he said, while pointing at what used to be his family's three-story home, which is now filled with vines and has a broken front door.
The 27-year old now goes to the island to gather honeysuckle to make a fragrant tea, which also reminds him of his childhood. His mother, Zhu Mandi, still vividly recalls memories from her colorful village's festivals, a memory which seemed to happen a lifetime ago.
Migration of Chinese residents in coastal towns and other provinces is not uncommon in the country. To search for a better life for them and their family, they've left their homes to take a chance in the country's thriving big cities. Chinese families also left the island in order to access better facilities.
Tourism In Houtouwan
Because of its unique appeal, the misty village by the sea has drawn tourists from the mainland who were curious about its one of a kind case. While vines shroud most of its buildings, magnificent roof tiles still appear over its broken verandas.
To view the creepy village, visitors have to take a boat going to Shengshan and hail a taxi to go up the cemetery overlooking the village. They must then go through steep footpaths that are filled with ivy to see the village up close.
"It feels like this place belonged to nature from the very beginning, and the old invaders finally left, and nature finally made it back," said Huang Dan, a student visiting over the weekend just to photograph the island's houses and other structures.
Shengsi Island officials said that their telephone lines had been taken over by countless calls from tourists asking how to visit the village. The officials are cautious about the effects that the tourist surge might bring to the place.
"Houtouwan of Shengshan hasn't been equipped with the conditions to open to tourists. We urge visitors to preserve its tranquility for now," Chen Bo, a Shengshan Island official said.
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