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Inside home of the ‘last cave people’ where entire town is hidden in giant 750ft deep chasm and residents refuse to move

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CHINA’s last cave village is isolated from the outside world with locals walking three hours for a shop trip but families refuse to leave.

Zhongdong village in Guizhou province is tucked inside remote mountains with stunning views but no modern amenities.

Zhongdong village, where a group of 18 families live inside an enormous natural cave

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Zhongdong village, where a group of 18 families live inside an enormous natural caveCredit: AFP
The last cave people are descendants of Miao ethnic minority in China

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The last cave people are descendants of Miao ethnic minority in ChinaCredit: AFP
The villagers have settled with their families in the caves for the past 70 years

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The villagers have settled with their families in the caves for the past 70 yearsCredit: Alamy
Villagers have to hike for 3 hours one way to reach the closest shop

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Villagers have to hike for 3 hours one way to reach the closest shopCredit: AFP

The 750ft deep natural cave is home to 18 families or about 100 people.

The only way to access the isolated settlement is by foot through the tiring mountain walk.

For 70 years, the villagers have led the simple lifestyle, cooking their food with wood-fire and building houses out of bamboo.

The residents are mostly descendants of Miao people – an ethnic minority in China – who used the cave as a hideaway during the civil war.

In 1949, the war came to an end but the villagers decided to stay despite the challenges of being cut off from the rest of the world.

Today, they continue living, forming families and raising children in the cave the size of a football stadium.

The locals grow their own crops and look after the kettle that they occasionally trade in the nearby towns.

For any other goods, they are forced to walk for three hours one way to reach the closest shops.

Children also need to make a two-hour journey through the hilly terrain to receive formal education in the nearest school.

Residents have long been promised a paved road but the local government deemed it impossible to build.

How ‘cave people’ still live in dark tunnels once used as WWII shelter – 500 years after built to house homeless workers

The cave is part of a natural park protected by the law and has to remain untouched.

The last cave settlement is also at the risk of extinction with the government pushing the people to move out in a bid to battle poverty.

With little access to the outside world, Zhongdong is one of the poorest villages in China.

The Chinese government has even built concrete housing below the mountain for the villagers but they refused to move, worried about the cost of living.

The locals are stuck in their ways and prefer living inside the woven bamboo walls of their unique houses.

Their unusual residences have no roof as they are protected from rain and wind by the cave.

They rely mainly on growing corn and raising pigs and goats to sell, which gives them enough to get by in the village that requires minimal expenses.

They don’t have to think about the heating bills in the cave, relying on wood-fired hearts for warmth and cooking.

One resident claimed that living in the city is worse because of the weather.

While busy towns are scorching hot in the blazing sun, the cave stays comfortably cool in summer and temperatures remain optimal even in winter.

The village has electricity though which was provided in 2003 after an American hiker discovered the settlement and donated to improve their livelihood.

The electricity powers lights and some appliances like TV and washing machines.

After the hiker stumbled upon the settlement, a brief economic boom period ensued.

Curious tourists would embark on the long, exhausting journey to visit the last cave people but the hype around it soon died down.

Excited about the earning opportunity, some villages opened their own guesthouses to accommodate the travellers – but now they rarely receive visitors.

Although the villagers struggle to make a living, they refuse to abandon their home, hoping that one day they will be connected to the rest of the world.

One resident said: “What we really need now is a road.

“Then it will be much easier for business.

“Otherwise, it will be hard to develop anything.”

Zhongdong village is one of the poorest villages in China isolated from the world

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Zhongdong village is one of the poorest villages in China isolated from the worldCredit: AFP
They use wood-fire to heat their homes and cook

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They use wood-fire to heat their homes and cookCredit: Alamy
The 750ft deep cave is the size of a football stadium

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The 750ft deep cave is the size of a football stadiumCredit: Alamy
Locals grow their own crops and kettle to sell for money and goods

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Locals grow their own crops and kettle to sell for money and goodsCredit: AFP
The houses don't have roofs as they are sheltered by the cave

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The houses don’t have roofs as they are sheltered by the caveCredit: Alamy

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