The Ghost Village of Ma Wan (December 2019) - Feldore McHugh


The Ghost Village of Ma Wan


Before going to Hong Kong for Christmas I Googled “abandoned places Hong Kong” and came up with some really interesting-sounding places. One was Ma Wan, an entire abandoned village on an island not far from the main Hong Kong island. This was once a thriving fishing village of several thousand people but about 20 or 30 years ago the villagers were relocated (in some cases evicted) to make way for a property development that actually never fully happened.

Today  the village is still there but almost completely abandoned - it’s a very spooky place, with houses and streets, but no residents, and I was lucky enough to visit it.


Ma Wan is on Park Island, only a 20 minute ferry ride from Central Hong Kong.

From a distance it looks like a normal fishing village. Maybe a little quiet...

But the whole place is abandoned. It has an eerie, post-apocalyptic feeling.

The empty streets are incredibly spooky.

The occasional person could be seen - nearby there was some sign of life and children playing. I think a few houses are still occupied, possibly illegally.

Many of the houses - but not all - were fenced off and inaccessible.

Graffiti scrawled across the interior of one house.

Lucky Star House isn’t looking so lucky these days.

This abandoned child’s bicycle was very poignant.

In the central square in the village. At one point several thousand people lived here.

An aesthetically-pleasing old bike propped against a wall.

Dinner is served....somewhere. I got the impression that someone had been squatting here.

There was a bunk bed and other furniture in this room. I had to move around incredibly carefully, as it all felt a little dangerous, especially with the possibility of snakes and rats around.

I was amazed to find this calendar still on the wall inside one house. It dates from 1996 - the year before Hong Kong was handed back to China.

Some of the houses are still quite sturdy. As far as I could tell.

From the upper floors you can see some of the extent of the village. In the distance is a new development of apartments.

More abandoned bicycles. They do make for good photographs.

An abandoned trolley on the street. You tend to see these everywhere in Hong Kong, usually associated with a frenzy of activity, so it was particularly sad to see, in a place with no people and no activity.

One of the houses is said by locals to be haunted. I wondered was it this one. 

It looks like this may have been a school or nursery.

Clearly a shop or cafe at some point. No ice cream today.

Stairways to Heaven. Or Hell?

 Maybe this is the haunted house.

I didn’t try turning it on.

Another poignant sight - an abandoned children’s playground. “Play with me” is written on the slide.

The village temple is still maintained. The villagers may be mostly gone but the ancestors are still here...somewhere..

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