Lighthouses of Northern Vietnam

After being independent for many centuries Vietnam was colonized by France from the mid 1800s until 1941, when the country was invaded and conquered by Japan. After the end of World War II in 1945 French attempts to re-establish control triggered 30 years of warfare, leading to the reunification of the country in 1975. Fortunately the lighthouses were not usually seen as targets during the Vietnam War and most of them survived the fighting without major damage. A few of the historic French lighthouses have been replaced but most remain in service and are regarded as historic monuments. In general Vietnamese lighthouses have resident keepers.

Vietnam is long and narrow, with a coastline measuring some 3000 km (1875 mi) in length. The northern third of the coast faces the Gulf of Tonkin (Vịnh Bắc Bộ) and the rest faces east and southeast on the open waters of the South China Sea.

Aids to navigation are maintained by two Maritime Safety Companies, Vietnam Northern Maritime Safety (VNMS) maintaining lights in the northern half of the country and Vietnam Southern Maritime Safety (VSMS) maintaining the lights of the southern half. This page includes the lighthouses of the northern third of the country, from the Chinese border through Nam Định province. (Note that this is a smaller area than the pre-1975 territory of North Vietnam.)

The Vietnamese words for a lighthouse are hải đăng or đèn biển ("sea light"). Dao or hòn is an island, mũi is a cape, cửa is a river.

For many years, many of Vietnam's lighthouses were not included on international light lists; most are now listed by the Admiralty.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume F of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Vietnam Northern Marine Safety - Beacon System
An interactive map of lighthouse locations, linking to pages on the individual light stations.
World of Lighthouses - Vietnam
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Online List of Lights - Vietnam
Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.

Ba Lạt Light, Thái Bình Province
Google Plus photo by Vương Đinh

Northeast (Tây Bắc) Lighthouses

Quảng Ninh Province Lighthouses
Vĩnh Thực
1962. Active; focal plane 85 m (279 ft); white flash every 6 s. 18 m (59 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a colonnaded 1-story keeper's house. Entire structure painted white. A photo is right, Dang Linh Nguyen has a 2016 photo, Lam Trinh Khac has a 2017 photo, Giang Pham Hoai has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. Vĩnh Thực is one of Vietnam's largest islands, about 25 km (15 mi) in length, parallel to the coast a few miles south of the Chinese border. There are efforts to develop tourist facilities on the island. Located at the eastern tip of the island. Site status unknown. ARLHS VIE-007; Admiralty F3315; NGA 20216.5.
Đảo Trần (Lo Chuc Dan)
1996. Active; focal plane 201 m (659 ft); four white flashes every 15 s. 18 m (59 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a keeper's house. Entire structure painted white. Huong Nguyen has a 2015 closeup photo, but Google has only a very distant satellite view of the island. This light has been dropped by the Admiralty but is listed by NGA. Đảo Trần is an island about 30 km (20 mi) off the coast of Quảng Ninh province in northernmost Vietnam. The island and its surrounding waters have been proposed as a protected marine reserve. Located on the highest point of the island. Site and tower closed. ARLHS VIE-032; ex-Admiralty F3314.5; NGA 20213.5.
Quan Lạn
Date unknown. Active; characteristics unknown. Approx. 24 m (79 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower with gallery. Lighthouse painted (top to bottom) with green, white, red, and gold horizontal bands. Two photos are available, Nguyễn Đắc Vệ has a view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. Despite its name, this lighthouse is located at the southern tip of Đảo Ba Mùn, marking the narrow passage between that island and Đảo Quan Lạn. There's a good view from ferries between Cẩm Phả and Cô Tô. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown.
* Cô Tô
1961. Active; focal plane 116 m (381 ft); three white flashes, in a 2+1 pattern, every 12 s. 16 m (52 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story concrete keeper's house. Lighthouse painted ochre with gray trim, as shown on an April 2007 closeup. A VNMS photo is at right, another photo is available, Nguyễn Cương has a street view from the gallery, and Google has a satellite view. Cô Tô is a popular resort island about 40 km (25 mi) east of Cẩm Phả. Located on the highest point of the island. Site open; the photo suggests the lighthouse may be open for tours at some times. ARLHS VIE-002; Admiralty F3314.8; NGA 20213.8.
* Bãi Cháy (Hạ Long, Hong Gai)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 17 m (56 ft); red flash every 2 s. Approx. 16 m (52 ft) hexagonal cylindrical concrete tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Paul Tuyen has a 2007 closeup photo, a 2005 photo shows the lighthouse standing next to a ferry landing, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Hưng Phan Duy's street view also shows the suspension bridge that has replaced the ferry. Hạ Long (formerly called Hong Gai) is the capital of Quảng Ninh Province. Located on the west side of the entrance to Ha Long Bay, near the city's tourist hotels. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F3296; NGA 20224.
Soi Đèn (Le Cancrelat)
1964. Active; focal plane 47 m (154 ft); white flash every 5 s. 13.5 m (45 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with a large round watch room structure and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. Wikimapia has a small photo and Google has a satellite view. This light replaced a 5 m (17 ft) tower. Located on a rocky islet about 25 km (15 mi) southeast of Hạ Long (Hong Gai). Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS VIE-031; Admiralty F3306; NGA 20214.

Vinh Thuc Light
Vĩnh Thực Light, Quảng Ninh
Vietnam Northern Marine Safety photo

Co To Light
Cô Tô Light, Quảng Ninh
Vietnam Northern Marine Safety photo

[Hòn Bài]
2000. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); four white flashes, in a 3+1 pattern, every 16 s. 3 m (10 ft) square concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is white. Bing has a satellite view. Located on a rocky islet at the southeastern end of the Cát Bà islands. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3293.5.
Cẩm Phả Second Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); continuous red light. 15 m (49 ft) square tower painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Cẩm Phả is a seaport in southern Quảng Ninh Province. Located off the Cửa Ông harbor in Cẩm Phả. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F3313; NGA 20214.6.
Cẩm Phả Second Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); continuous red light. 18 m (59 ft) square tower painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located 650 m (0.4 mi) north of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F3313.1; NGA 20214.7.
Cẩm Phả First Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); continuous white light. 12 m (39 ft) square tower painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Cẩm Phả is a seaport in southern Quảng Ninh Province. Located about 2 km (1.2 mi) southeast of the Cửa Ông harbor in Cẩm Phả. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F3312; NGA 20214.4.
Cẩm Phả First Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); continuous white light. 16 m (52 ft) square tower painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located 816 m (0.5 mi) northeast of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F3312.1; NGA 20214.5.
Hạ Mai
2005. Active; focal plane 181 m (594 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 11 m (36 ft) lantern mounted on a square concrete block keeper's house, painted yellow. A VNMS photo is at right and Bing has a distant satellite view of the station. Hạ Mai is the southernmost island of Quảng Ninh, about 50 km (30 mi) southeast of Hạ Long (Hong Gai). Located on the southern end of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3306.5; NGA 20215.5.

Hạ Mai Light, Quảng Ninh
Vietnam Northern Marine Safety photo

Red River Delta (Đồng Bằng Sông Hồng) Lighthouses

Hải Phòng Province Lighthouses
For reasons unknown, NGA dropped its listings of most Hải Phòng harbor lights in 2014.
Long Châu (Xuy Nong Chao, Grande Norway Island)
1894. Active; focal plane 110 m (361 ft); white flash every 4 s. 30 m (98 ft) round stone tower rising from the center of a square 2-story masonry keeper's house. The tower is unpainted gray stone; lantern painted white with a dark metallic dome. The VNMS photo is at right, additional photos are available, and Bing has a satellite view of the station. The traditional landfall light for Hải Phòng, this is a staffed station. Located on the highest point of Xuy Nong (or Long) Châu, the largest of the Long Châu Islands, about 60 km (37.5 mi) southeast of Hải Phòng. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS VIE-020; Admiralty F3232; NGA 20216.
Cửa Nam Triệu Bar Range Rear
Date unknown. Apparently inactive. 27 m (89 ft) square concrete equipment building mounted on a square concrete platform supported by robust piles. Building painted white with green trim. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. This was an approach range for Hải Phòng. The front light is on a similar but smaller structure 2.5 km (1.5 mi) southeast. Located about 6 km (3.5 mi) southeast of the entrance to the Nam Triệu River and Hải Phòng harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ex-Admiralty F3268.1; ex-NGA 20252.
Den Aval
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; light characteristic unknown. No photo available but Bing's satellite view shows a tall tower with black and white horizontal bands. Located about 4 km (2.5 mi) southeast of the Đảo Cống harbor entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F3247.5.
Bai Cat
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; three white flashes every 10 s. No photo available but Bing's satellite view shows a tall pyramidal skeletal tower. Located about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) northwest of the Den Aval lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F3247.7.
Đảo Cống Range Front (Hải Phòng Approach A)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 4 s. Skeletal tower on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. The range guides arriving vessels on the south-to-north aproach to the harbor. Located northwest of Đảo Phù Long, a marshy island east of the harbor, and south of Đảo Cống, another marshy island to the north. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F3240.
Long Chau Light
Long Châu Light, Hải Phòng
Vietnam Northern Marine Safety photo
Đảo Cống Range Rear (Hải Phòng Approach B)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane and light characteristic unknown. Skeletal tower on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located off the southwest point of Đảo Cống, about 1200 m (3/4 mi) north northwest of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F3240.1.
Phù Long Range Front (Hải Phòng Approach C)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane and light characteristic unknown. Skeletal tower on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. The range guides departing vessels on an west-to-east cut in the entrance to the harbor. Located off the west point of Đảo Phù Long, a marshy island east of the harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F3242.
Phù Long Range Rear (Hải Phòng Approach D)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane and light characteristic unknown. Skeletal tower on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located about 1200 m (3/4 mi) east of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F3242.1.
Cửa Nam Triệu Range Front (Hải Phòng Approach E)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane and light characteristic unknown. Skeletal tower on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels on an east-to-west cut in the entrance to the harbor. Located about 600 m (3/8 mi) north of the Đảo Cát Hải bridge. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F3250.
Cửa Nam Triệu Range Rear (Hải Phòng Approach F)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane and light characteristic unknown. Skeletal tower on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located about 1200 m (3/4 mi) west of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F3250.1.
Van Châu (Song Bach Dang)
1900. Apparently inactive. Skeletal tower atop a small house, mounted on piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located on the Nam Triệu River at the mouth of the Bach Dang River in Hải Phòng. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS VIE-040; ex-Admiralty F3280.4; ex-NGA 20264.5.
Đình Vũ East Entrance North Side (3?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); white or red light, depending on direction, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off. Recently described as a 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical tower with a pyramidal base, but Google's satellite view appears to show a round tower with lantern and gallery. NGA formerly listed a "red column on piles." Located on the north side of the entrance to the Đình Vũ branch of the Red River, which leads to the inner harbor of Hải Phòng. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3268 (ex-F3279); NGA 20265.
Đình Vũ East Entrance South Side (2) (?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); continuous red light. 12 m (39 ft) round barbell shaped tower. Entire lighthouse is red. This light has probably been removed, as Google's satellite view shows construction of a new bridge across the river at this location. NGA formerly listed a "tripod" with black and white bands. Located on the south side of the entrance to the Đình Vũ branch of the Red River, which leads to the inner harbor of Hải Phòng. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3267 (ex-F3279.2); NGA 20265.1.
Đình Vũ West Entrance North Side (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 3 s. 14 m (46 ft) white tower on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. NGA formerly listed a red skeletal tower. Located on the north side of the entrance to the west branch of the river, upstream from the east entrance lights. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3269 (ex-F3280); NGA 20265.5.
** Hòn Dấu (Hải Phòng) (2)
1894 (station established 1876). Active; focal plane 63.5 m (208 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 23 m (75 ft) octagonal masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story masonry keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white with blue trim; the blue on the angles of the tower has the effect of narrow blue vertical striping. Lantern dome is gray metallic. A VNMS photo is at right, Do Son Duong has a 2007 closeup photo, a second closeup is available, Lighthouse Digest has a historic photo contributed by Michel Forand, Tuan Anh has a street view from the gallery, and Google has a satellite view of the station. The original 1st order Fresnel lens has been removed from the lantern and is apparently on display under the portico. Located on a small island on the south side of the entrance to Hải Phòng, about 40 km (25 mi) southeast of the city; transportation should be available from resorts on the island. Site open, tower appears to be open. ARLHS VIE-024; Admiralty F3236; NGA 20268.
Đảo Bạch Long Vĩ (Nightingale Island)
1995. Active; focal plane 80 m (262 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 23 m (75 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and gallery, centered on an octagonal 2-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted gray with white trim, keeper's house yellow with white trim. A VNMS photo is at right, a 2017 photo is available, and Huong Nguyen has more distant view, but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view. Bạch Long Vĩ is an isolated island in the middle of the Gulf of Tonkin, halfway between Vietnam and the Chinese island of Hainan. In 1887 China was obliged to cede control of the island (then uninhabited) to France. The island was occupied by Japanese forces during World War II and then by Nationalist Chinese forces after the war. The Nationalist troops were overcome by forces of the People's Republic in 1955, but in 1957 the Chinese government agreed to return the island to Vietnam. Late in 2000 Vietnam and China signed a treaty establishing the maritime boundary between the two countries, and this agreement confirms Vietnamese ownership of Bạch Long Vĩ. Located on the highest point of the island. Site and tower closed. ARLHS VIE-016; Admiralty F3230; NGA 20273.

Hon Dau Light
Hòn Dấu Light, Hải Phòng
Vietnam Northern Marine Safety photo

Bach Long Vi Light
Đảo Bạch Long Vĩ Light, Gulf of Tonkin
Vietnam Northern Marine Safety photo


Thái Bình Province Lighthouses
* Diêm Điền
1997. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); white flash every 5 s. 23 m (75 ft) round concrete tower with 8 buttresses, lantern, and gallery. Lighthouse painted gray, buttresses white. Lương Cao Dũng has a view of the lighthouse, Minh Thanh Do has an aerial view, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Diêm Điền is a fishing port on the Gulf of Tonkin about 40 km (25 mi) south of Hải Phòng. Located on the Diêm Điền waterfront. Site probably open, tower closed. Admiralty F3235; NGA 20270.
Cửa Ba Lạt
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 4 s. No description available but the range of the light is listed as 12 nautical miles (22 km, 14 mi), implying a substantial tower. No photo available and the light is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) offshore and 10 km (6 mi) north of the Ba Lạt lighthouse (next entry). Admiralty F3234; NGA 20272.
* Ba Lạt
1962. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); four white flashes, in a 3+1 pattern, every 20 s. 34 m (112 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the center of a 1-story keeper's house. The tower is painted gray; lantern and gallery painted white, keeper's house yellow. Vương Đinh's photo is at the top of this page, Huong Nguyen has a 2009 photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view of the station. Located on an island off the mouth of the Ba Lạt River, the principal branch of the Red River, about 55 km (35 mi) south of the Hòn Dấu Light. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS VIE-009; Admiralty F3233; NGA 20272.5.

Diêm Điền Light, Thái Bình Province
Vietnam Northern Marine Safety photo

Nam Định Province Lighthouses
Quất Lâm (2)
Date unknown (station established 1966). Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); white flash every 4 s. 22 m (72 ft) hexagonal cylindrical with lantern and gallery, painted with red and buff horizontal bands, rising from or adjacent to a 1-story station building. Lantern roof is gray metallic. A VNMS photo is at right, Loi Phong Hinh has a 2018 photo, a closeup of the lantern is available, and Google has a satellite view of the station. The former lighthouse was a square steel skeletal tower with gallery, painted gray. Quất Lâm is a fishing port about 30 km (19 mi) southeast of Nam Định city. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3229; NGA 20272.8.s
* Lạch Giang (2)
Date unknown (station established 2001). Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); three white flashes, in a 2+1 pattern, every 10 s. 17 m (56 ft) tapered round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted except for a red vertical stripe. Hoang Tran Vu has a 2017 photo, Minh Lee also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view of the station. Located on the waterfront of Lạch Giang, a small port about 35 km (22 mi) south southeast of Nam Định city. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F3228; NGA 20272.9.

Notable faux lighthouses:

  • Hòn Dấu Resort, Hải Phòng Province, has a prominent faux lighthouse; it is active but not known to be an aid to navigation. Google has a satellite view.
Quat Lam Light
Quất Lâm Light, Nam Định
Vietnam Northern Marine Safety photo

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Guangxi | East: Hainan | South: Central Vietnam

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Posted April 24, 2006. Checked and revised January 4, 2019. Lighthouses: 32. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.