For those of us who commute in climate-controlled cars through manicured streets to keyless-entry office buildings, it’s easy to get caught up in the triumphs of man over nature.
Then someone like Shanghai-based filmmaker and photographer Joe Nafis comes along and gives us a dose of humility.
Source: a drone video he took of an abandoned village that nature has reclaimed as its own … in just 20 years.
The town in question is China’s Houtouwan on Shenshan Island, one of 400 in the Shengsi archipelago 40 miles east of Shanghai just outside Hangzhou Bay. According to a Lonely Planet interview with Nafis, the residents of the former fishing village began leaving in the 1990s because of competition and general changes in the industry.
“The overgrowth was definitely more than I had imagined for only being abandoned for 20 years,” Nafis said to Lonely Planet. “It was strange to say the least. It looked like five or so people still lived in the village. Other locals seemed to open a couple of shops at the weekend for tourists. We were there on a Monday and it was completely empty; we were the only people walking around, and it was super quiet.”
The Jumanji-esque landscape is certainly a sight to behold: foliage climbs the sides of every building and has completely overtaken others.
And like Nafis, tourists to Shanghai can make their way to the town relatively easily ... as long you have someone who speaks Chinese in your party. This is very much not an Americanized tourist attraction. According to travelers on TripAdvisor, the trip involves a bus from Shanghai to a ferry which will take you out to the main island of Shengsi, then onto Gouqi Island where you can take a taxi over a bridge to Shenshan and to the abandoned Houtouwan.
Remember to pack your drone.