Lighthouses of Southern 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 Southern Vietnam Maritime Safety (SVMS) maintaining the lights of the southern half. This page includes lighthouses of the southernmost part of the country, including the Mekong Delta provinces and Kiên Giang province facing west on the Gulf of Thailand.

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.


Rach Giá Light, Rach Giá, August 2017
Google Plus photo by Quang Tran Nhat
General Sources
Southern Vietnam Maritime Safety - Lighthouses
An interactive map of lighthouse locations, linking to pages on the individual light stations.
Online List of Lights - Vietnam
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. Photos from the Phú Quốc area are by Thomas Philipp.
Lighthouses in Vietnam
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Vietnam
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Leuchttürme in Vietnam
Photos by Andreas Köhler.
Leuchttürme Asiens auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
GPSNauticalCharts
Navigational chart for the Gulf of Thailand.
Tiền Giang Province Lighthouse
Cửa Tiểu (Cua Thieu, Banc Norodom) (2)
Date unknown (recent; station established 1898). Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); four white flashes, in a 3+1 pattern, every 10 s. 22 m (62 ft) round hourglass-shaped tower centered on a hexagonal 2-story keeper's house, all mounted on a hexagonal platform supported by seven robust piles. Lighthouse painted white. An SVMS photo is at right, and Bing has a satellite view. This historic offshore light station guides vessels entering the Cửa Tiểu, the northernmost major branch of the Mekong River. Located about 10 km (6 mi) southeast of the mouth of the river and 40 km (25 mi) southwest of Vũng Tàu. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS VIE-042; Admiralty F3060; NGA 20472.

Trà Vinh Province Lighthouses
Ba Động
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 5 s. 23 m (75 ft) round concrete tower with gallery. Lighthouse painted white. A 2016 closeup photo is available and Google has a satellite view. The date 1998 provided by SVMS is probably the date this lighthouse was restored or reactivated; its design appears to be older. Located on the south side of one of the mouths of the Mekong River near Ba Động. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3058.
Hồ Tàu (Long Khan Point)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); two white flashes every 7 s. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located on the north side of Cửa Định An, the principal mouth of the Mekong River, at the southern point of Trà Vinh. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3056.

Côn Đảo Islands Lighthouses
Note: The Côn Đảo archipelago is in the South China Sea about 120 km (75 mi) southeast of the Mekong Delta and 185 km (115 mi) south of Vũng Tàu. In 1861 the French established an infamous penal colony on the largest island, Côn Sơn, and the prison continued in operation until the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. The islands are now included in a national park and tourism is being developed. For administration the islands are attached to Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu Province.
Hòn Bảy Cạnh (Con Son, Poulo Condore)
1887. Active; focal plane 212 m (696 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 16 m (52 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, centered on a 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white; house roof is red. Long Nguyễn has a closeup photo, Lighthouse Digest has a historic photo contributed by Michel Forand, and Google has a satellite view. Hòn Bảy Cạnh is the second largest of a group of 14 islands, Located on heights above the eastern tip of the island. Site status unknown; photos suggest that the area is accessible by hiking trails but the light station is closed. ARLHS VIE-021; Admiralty F3046; NGA 20476.
Cua Tieu Light
Cửa Tiểu Light, Tiền Giang
Southern Vietnam Maritime Safety photo
* Đá Trắng (Côn Đảo) (2)
2001. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); red flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round hourglass-shaped tower mounted on a square 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Tower painted with red and white horizontal bands, base painted white. Thanh Nam Pham has a photo and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) south of the waterfront of Côn Sơn. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F3049.5; NGA 20486.

Cà Mau Province Lighthouses
Note: Cà Mau, the southernmost province of Vietnam, includes the Cà Mau Peninsula (Bán Đảo Cà Mau) terminating in Cape Cà Mau (Mũi Cà Mau).
Bồ Đề
2001. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); four white flashes every 12 s. 16.5 m (54 ft) round cylindrical tower, flared at the top and centered on a 1-story keeper's house. The lighthouse is mounted on a large platform supported by piles. Light tower painted with red and white horizontal bands, house painted yellow. Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse marks a river entrance at Bồ Đề, on the southeast coast of the Cà Mau peninsula. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3053.
** Hòn Khoai (Poulo Obi)
1904. Active; focal plane 300 m (984 ft); white flash every 5 s. 16 m (52 ft) square granite tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story stone keeper's house. A photo is at right and Bing has a distant satellite view of the station. This lighthouse guides ships around the cape of Cà Mau, at the southernmost tip of Vietnam; it is a crucial landmark for vessels entering the Gulf of Thailand. The island of Hòn Khoai is being developed as a tourist attraction, and this historic French lighthouse is one of the advertised attractions. Located atop an isolated high island 16 km (10 mi) south of Mũi Cà Mau. Site open; tower apparently open. ARLHS VIE-025; Admiralty F3042; NGA 20492.
Ông Đốc
2005. Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); three white flashes, in a 2+1 pattern, every 12 s. 17 m (56 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Huong Nguyen has a closeup photo and Google has a satellite view of the station. This lighthouse marks a river entrance at Ông Đốc on the west side of the Cà Mau peninsula. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3041.
Hòn Chuối (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 131 m (430 ft); two white flashes every 7 s. 11 m (36 ft) square light tower with gallery and a small lantern, centered atop a 2-story building. Building painted yellow with white trim. Nguyễn Đức Phú has a closeup photo, Thach Duong Ngoc has a photo, and Google has a distant satellite view of the station. Located on an island in the Gulf of Thailand about 50 km (30 mi) northwest of Mũi Cà Mau. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS VIE-022; Admiralty F3040; NGA 20493.

Hòn Khoai Light, Cà Mau
Southern Vietnam Maritime Safety photo

Kiên Giang Province Lighthouses
Note: Several of these lighthouses are built on islands in the Gulf of Thailand that are claimed by both Vietnam and Cambodia; France did not settle this question of sovereignty during the colonial era. Many of the islands were occupied by Cambodian Khmer Rouge forces following the collapse of the South Vietnam government at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. All were retaken by Vietnamese troops during several years of fighting between the two countries. Phú Quốc is the largest and most important of these disputed islands.
Thổ Chu (Thổ Châu, Poulo Panjang) (2)
2000. Active; focal plane 140 m (459 ft); four white flashes every 15 s. 18 m (56 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to one corner of a 3-story building. The tower is gray, the lantern and the building are painted yellow with white trim, and the lantern dome is gray metallic. A photo is at right, Wikimapia has photos, and Google has a satellite view of the station. NGA formerly listed a 10 m (33 ft) "house" with lantern, presumably an older light. Hòn Thổ Chu (Poulo Panjang) is a remote island in the Gulf of Thailand about 200 km (125 mi) northwest of Mũi Cà Mau and a similar distance southwest of Rạch Giá. The island has a small Vietnamese population and is also claimed by Cambodia. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS VIE-028; Admiralty F3039.5; NGA 20494.5.
Hòn Khô
2000. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); red flash every 5 s. 14 m (46 ft) round hourglass-shaped tower mounted on a square concrete base. The tower is painted with red and black horizontal bands. Wikimapia has a photo, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on an islet off the western tip of Thổ Chu. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3039.7.
Nam Du (Nan Du)
2001. Active; focal plane 295 m (968 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 11.5 m (33 ft) square light tower with gallery and a small lantern on a post, centered on a 2-story keeper's house. The light tower is gray; the house is painted yellow with white trim. Wikimapia has photos, but Google's distant satellite view has no detail on this island. This is one of the highest navigational lights in Asia, but NGA lists an even higher light with a focal plane of 319 m (1047 ft). Located on Đảo Nam Du, an island in the Gulf of Thailand about 100 km (60 mi) southwest of Rạch Giá. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS VIE-027; Admiralty F3039; NGA 20494.
* Rạch Giá (Hoa Biển) (2)
1993 (station established 1930s). Active; focal plane 23.5 m (77 ft); two white flashes every 8 s. 18.5 m (61 ft) triangular concrete skeletal tower with lantern and gallery; a spiral stairway provides access to the lantern. Lighthouse painted gray. Nearby 2-story keeper's house. Quang Tran Nhat's photo is at the top of this page, Phan Truong Phi has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. Presumably the present lighthouse replaced the 16 m (52 ft) white metal tower formerly listed by NGA for this station. Located on the waterfront in Rạch Giá, Vietnam's principal port on the Gulf of Thailand. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS VIE-048; Admiralty F3036; NGA 20500.

Thổ Chu Light, Gulf of Thailand
Southern Vietnam Maritime Safety photo
Hòn Chông (Mũi Ông Thầy) (2)
2005. Active; focal plane 36.5 m (102 ft); four white flashes, in a 3+1 pattern, every 16 s. 15.5 m (51 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with gallery, painted white. A closeup photo (second photo on the page) and a second photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Despite its name the lighthouse is located not on an island but on the promontory of Mũi Ông Thầy about 15 km (9 mi) south of Bà Hòn. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3033.
Hà Tiên Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 16 m (52 ft); three white flashes, in a 2+1 pattern, every 10 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower pianted black with a red horizontal band. Nhân Cao has a street view but the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located on the waterfront of Hà Tiên, a small port near the Cambodian border. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3032.1; NGA 20508.
Núi Nai (Mui Nai, Hà Tiên) (3)
2000 (station established 1896). Active; focal plane 112 m (367 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 16 m (52 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 2-story keeper's house. The light tower is gray; the house is painted yellow with white trim. A photo is at right, Anh Thư Trần has a 2018 closeup, Wikimapia has photos, and Google has a satellite view. The original light was on an 8 m (26 ft) stone tower at a focal plane of 62 m (203 ft), and a subsequent tower was described as a "white masonry tower on dwelling." Located on a prominent cape about 8 km (5 mi) southwest of Hà Tiên and 10 km (6 mi) south of the Cambodian border. Site status unknown. ARLHS VIE-036; Admiralty F3030; NGA 20512.
Hòn Dăm
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 21 m (69 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) white hexagonal cylindrical tower topped by a short mast carrying a white triangular daymark. Konstantin Prasalov has 2018 view from the sea, Natalya Noskova also has a view from the sea, Trabas has Philipp's more distant view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a small island just off the southern tip of Phú Quốc. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3026.
 
An Thới (2)
2000. Active; focal plane 80 m (262 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 14 m (46 ft) round hourglass-shaped tower centered atop a 2-story keeper's house. Tower painted with red and white horizontal bands; the house is painted yellow with white trim. Wikimapia has photos, Trabas has Philipp's distant view, and Google has a satellite view of the station. This lighthouse is on Phú Quốc, a 50 km (30 mi) long island that is part of Vietnam but lies off the south coast of Cambodia. Known for its fine beaches, Phú Quốc is being developed as a resort. The original light was on a 5 m (16 ft) tower. Located at the southern tip of the island, a short distance from the town of An Thới. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3025; NGA 20518.

Núi Nai (Hà Tiên) Light, Kiên Giang
Southern Vietnam Maritime Safety photo
An Thới (1)
Date unknown. Inactive. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) round concrete tower. Phuong Doan has a 2018 photo. Located near the modern lighthouse. Site open, tower closed.
* Dương Đông (2)
1993 (station established 1930s?). Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); three white flashes every 9 s. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) round tower with gallery and a small lantern. Lighthouse painted with light blue and white horizontal bands. Trabas has Philipp's photo, the photos on a travel site show the blue bands, and Google has a satellite view. A 2006 photo shows the lighthouse painted with green and white bands. Note: there is a photo and a closeup of a smaller tower just offshore; this light has been removed. The lighthouse is located on a rock outcrop near the base of the south breakwater at the small harbor of Dương Đông, on the west coast of Phú Quốc. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS VIE-044; Admiralty F3022; NGA 20516.
 

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Southeastern Vietnam | East: Spratly Islands | West: Cambodia

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Posted April 24, 2006. Checked and revised January 24, 2019. Lighthouses 20. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.