In the mouth of the Yangtze River off the eastern coast of China, a small island holds a secret haven lost to the forces of time and nature—an abandoned fishing village swallowed by dense layers of ivy slowly creeping over every brick and path.
Houtou Wan Village is located on Gouqi Island, which belongs to a group of 394 islands known as the Shengsi Islands in the Zhoushan Archipelago.
It’s one of many examples of small villages in China that have become ghost towns due to urbanization, inaccessibility, depletion of resources, and shifts in industry, among other factors.
Once a thriving settlement merely half a century ago, Houtou Wan Village was gradually deserted when the small bay could no longer meet the needs of the increasing number of fishing boats.
Over the past few decades, nature has reclaimed the land, turning the village into a hauntingly beautiful wonderland devoid of human presence save for wandering tourists and a handful of elderly residents who refuse to leave their birthplace.