Lighthouses of China: Pearl River, Guǎngdōng

The Chinese province of Guǎngdōng (formerly spelled Kwangtung) is located on the southern coast of the country facing the South China Sea. The coastline is rugged and irregular, with many islands and reefs threatening unwary navigators.

This page lists lighthouses of the Pearl River (Zhū Jiāng), China's third longest river. The river's broad estuary, often called the Pearl River Delta although it is not a true delta, leads to Guǎngzhōu, the provincial capital and a major port. Hong Kong is on the east side of the mouth of the estuary and Macau is on the west side.

Lighthouses in China are maintained by the PRC Maritime Safety Administration. The administration is organized in four regional administrations, with district offices in the major ports. The lights on this page are maintained by the Guǎngzhōu MSA office, which is included in the Guǎngzhōu Region.

The pinyin system for transliterating Chinese into Latin characters is now the international standard, but some locations continue to be known also under the spellings of older transliteration systems. The Chinese word for a lighthouse is dēngtǎ (灯塔). In pinyin jiāo (formerly chiao) is a reef or rock, jiǎo is a cape or headland, dǎo (tao) is an island; (tsu) is a small island, wān is a bay and gǎng (kang) is a harbor. In South China zhōu is an island in a river or estuary.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. CN numbers are the serial numbers used by the Shànghǎi regional office of MSA. Admiralty numbers are from volume P of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Chinese English Pinyin Dictionary
A useful tool for juggling the representations of Chinese names.
Online List of Lights - China
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. Pearl River photos are by Ricky Wong.
Leuchttürme Chinas auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
China AMS Topographic Maps
A fine collection of U.S. Army Map Service maps of China, in English, posted by the University of Texas Library.


Wénwěi Zhōu (Gap Rock) Light, South China Sea
PRC MSA Guǎngdōng Region photo

Shēnzhèn Subprovince Lighthouses

Shēnzhèn is the mainland city adjoining Hong Kong on the east side of the Zhū Jiāng estuary. With a population of at least 12.5 million, it has been granted sub-provincial status.

Shékǒu Harbor Lighthouses
Xīyádǎo (Xiya Island)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 8 m (26 ft) white concrete tower. No photo available but Bing has a distant satellite view. Located on a small island in the Zhū Jiāng estuary off the west coast of Shēnzhèn. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty P3459; NGA 19778.
Shékǒu New Channel Range Front
2008. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 13 m (43 ft) square cylindrical fiberglass tower, white with a red vertical stripe and an red triangle at the top, mounted on a square paltform. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located off the Shékǒu waterfront, across Shēnzhèn Bay from Hong Kong. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CN-4330.1; Admiralty P3457.4; NGA 19762.
* Shékǒu New Channel Range Rear
2008. Active; focal plane 18.5 m (60 ft); red light occulting once every 5 s. 18 m (59 ft) square cylindrical fiberglass tower, white with a red vertical stripe and an inverted red triangle at the top. Maxim Kalinin has a photo, Cosimo Perrone has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located in a yacht harbor on the Shékǒu waterfront, across Shēnzhèn Bay from Hong Kong. Accessible only by boat but quite close to shore. Site open, tower closed. CN-4330.11; Admiralty P3457.41; NGA 19762.1.
Chì Wān Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 39 m (128 ft); red light, 2 s on, 2 s off. Approx. 36 m (118 ft) square skeletal tower. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. The rear light is on a concrete post on a hillside 450 m (0.3 mi) north. Chì Wān is an industrial harbor just northwest of the Hong Kong border. Located on the Chì Wān waterfront. Site and tower closed. CN-4310; Admiralty P3458; NGA 19754.
Chì Wān Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 48 m (157 ft); red light occulting once every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) white concrete "structure," according to NGA. No photo available, but Bing has a distant satellite view. Located on the nose of a steep forested ridge behind the harbor area. Site status unknown. CN-4312; Admiralty P3458.1; NGA 19754.1.
Lightfloat Mǎyǒushí
Date unknown. Active(?); focal plane unknown; white flash every 6 s. A large steel lightfloat, painted red; the light is displayed from a square pyramidal skeletal tower amidships. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. The Admiralty reported that the light had been withdrawn "temporarily" in 2012. Located on the east side of the estuary, about 5 km (3 mi) northwest of Lantau Island, Hong Kong, and a short distance south of the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge-Tunnel project. Accessible only by boat. Site and vessel closed. CN-4361.1; Admiralty P3521.4; NGA 19628.

Zhūhǎi City Lighthouses

Zhuhai is located on the west side of the Zhū Jiāng estuary opposite Hong Kong and surrounding the enclave of Macao. The city is a major port in its own right with a population of about 1.5 million.

Wānshān Islands Lighthouses
The Wānshān Islands are an archipelago stretching across the mouth of the Zhū Jiāng estuary between Macao and Hong Kong. Westerners formerly called them the Ladrones (Thieves) Islands; the proper Chinese name means Bay Mountain Islands.
Wénwěi Zhōu (Gap Rock, Cape Rock, Mosquito Island)
1892 (partially rebuilt in 1986). Reactivated (inactive 1950-1986); focal plane 43 m (141 ft); one long white flash every 6 s. 17 m (56 ft) round stone tower with a domed top and a lantern and gallery above the dome. Lighthouse painted white; the lantern is red. An MSA photo is at the top of this page, Lighthouse Digest has a historic photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse was built by British engineers for China at the urgent request of Hong Kong authorities to serve as a landfall light for the British colony. The lighthouse was heavily damaged in fighting beween Communist and Nationalist forces in 1950; the top of the tower was destroyed. In 1986 the lighthouse was restored, and recently it was painted white and a new fiberglass lantern was installed. Located on a small island, the southernmost of the Wānshān Islands, about 80 km (50 mi) south southwest of Hong Kong. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PRC-082; CN-4285.1; Admiralty P3515; NGA 19590.
Zhúzhōu (Zhú Zhōu, Chu Chou, Bamboo Island ) (2)
Date unknown (2006?). Active; focal plane 185 m (607 ft); white flash every 4 s. 9 m (30 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse covered with white tile, lantern painted red. A photo is at right and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse, a round stone tower, was 5 m (17 ft) tall. The light guides vessels through the Wānshān Islands. Located atop a high island on the west side of the entrance channel. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. CN-4285; Admiralty P3520; NGA 19594.
Xiǎopútái Dǎo (Little Po Toi Island)
1953. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); white flash every 9 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse is white, lantern red. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island, the westernmost of the Wānshān Islands, about 16 km (10 mi) south southeast of Macau. Accessible only by boat. CN-4358; Admiralty P3521.1; NGA 19606.5.
Huángmáo Dǎo (Yellow Reeds Island)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 5 s. 7 m (23 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse is white, lantern red. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located at the easternmost point of Huángmáo Dǎo, marking a passage through the Wānshān Islands. Accessible only by boat. Admiralty P3521.08; NGA 19606.1.
 

Zhúzhōu Light, Wānshān Islands
PRC MSA Guǎngdōng Region photo
Qīngzhōu (Ilha Verde, Green Island)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white light, pattern unknown. Approx. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower covered with white tiles. Trabas has Ricky Wong's photo and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a forested island about 8 km (5 mi) west of the larger island of Guìshān. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty P3521.308.
Sìchìyán Jiāo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 20 m (66 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower painted black with one red horizontal band. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a shoal in the passage between Qīngzhōu and Guìshān. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty P3521.18; NGA 19619.
 
Guìshān (Guìshān Dǎo, Laurel Mountain) (3)
1998 (station established 1953). Active; focal plane 57 m (187 ft); white flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, centered on a round 1-story concrete equipment room. Lighthouse covered with white ceramic tiles. An MSA photo is at right, a distant view is available (third photo on the page), the lighthouse appears on a postage stamp, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The original lighthouse was rebuilt in 1961. Guìshān is an island about 8 km (5 mi) southwest of Lantau Island, Hong Kong. It is the largest of the Wānshān Islands. Located on heights on the west side of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown, possibly open. CN-4283; Admiralty P3521.2; NGA 19618.
* Shìlóng Jiāo (Niútóu Dǎo)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); white flash every 10 s. 10 m (33 ft) round white concrete tower. A bridge connects the top of the tower to an adjoining observation deck. Trabas has Ricky Wong's photo and Google has a satellite view. Located atop a hill on Niútóu Dǎo, a small island connected to the north end of Guìshān Dǎo. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CN-4282; Admiralty P3521.3; NGA 19622.
Lightfloat Guìshān Běi (Guìshān North)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; one short and one long white flash every 6 s. A large steel lightfloat, painted red; the light is displayed from a square pyramidal skeletal tower amidships. Trabas has Ricky Wong's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the northeast side of Guìshān, marking the passage between Guìshān and Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Accessible only by boat. Site and vessel closed. Admiralty P3521.37; NGA 19627.
Guishan Light
Guìshān Light, Zhūhǎi
PRC MSA Guǎngdōng Region photo
Róngshùtóu Dǎo (Róngshù Tóu, Yung Shu Tau, Banyan Tree Island)
1989. Active; focal plane 55 m (180 ft); white flash every 8 s. 7.5 m (25 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery rising from one end of a 2-story building. Lighthouse is white, lantern red. Trabas has Ricky Wong's photo, Andreas Köhler has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island just off the northern tip of Guìshān. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. CN-4281.1; Admiralty P3521.35; NGA 19626.
Xiǎzhīzhōu (?)
Date unknown. Active (?); focal plane 66 m (217 ft); white flash every 3 s. 15 m (49 ft) concrete tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. The lighthouse is at the far right in Johnny Wong's distant view and Google has a satellite view. Located at the west end of a small island about 8 km (5 mi) south of the west end of Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty P3523.53; NGA 19608.

Gāolán Area Lighthouses
Gāolán is an island southwest of downtown Zhuhai on the east side of the mouth of Huángmáo Bay.
Gāolán Gǎng Branch Channel Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane approx. 30 m (98 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located in an industrial area in Gāolán harbor, on the west side of the island. Site and tower closed. Admiralty P3407.7.
Gāolán Gǎng Branch Channel Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane and light characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located on a ridge about 500 m (0.3 mi) northeast of the front light. Site and tower closed. Admiralty P3407.75.

Zhū Jiāng West Bank Lighthouses
Jiǔzhōu Gǎng Breakwater (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane approx. 15 m (49 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical tower painted with green and white horizontal bands. Liú Niú has a street view across the harbor and Google has a satellite view. Google also has a 2014 photo of the original light, a 6 m (20 ft) white stone tower still listed by NGA. Located at the end of the breakwater of a ferry port just north of Macao. Site and tower closed. Admiralty P3449.4; NGA 19718.5.
Tónggǔjiǎo (Tónggǔ Jiǎo, Tangjiawan, Drum Head)
1953. Active; focal plane 55 m (180 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical stone tower with double gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. An MSA photo is at right and Google has a satellite view. Located on a promontory in Zhūhǎi, on the west bank of the estuary about 25 km (15 mi) north of Macau. Site status unknown. CN-4381; Admiralty P3452; NGA 19779.
Qíàodǎo Range Front
2011. Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); continuous red light. 26 m (85 ft) round cylindrical tower, painted white with a red vertical stripe, mounted on a square platform. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the estuary about 1.6 km (1 mi) west of Qíàodǎo, an island north of Tónggǔjiǎo. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. CN-4391.12; Admiralty P3456.1; NGA 19802.
Qíàodǎo Range Rear
2011. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); continuous red light. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) round cylindrical tower, painted white with a red vertical stripe. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located on the east coast of Qíàodǎo. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. CN-4391.14; Admiralty P3456.11; NGA 19803.
Dàwàngjiǎo (Dàwàng Jiǎo, Qíàodǎo)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. Approx. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower. Lighthouse painted white. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located at the northeastern point of Qíàodǎo, about 8 km (5 mi) northeast of Tónggǔjiǎo. Site status unknown. Admiralty P3456; NGA 19804.

Tónggǔjiǎo Light, Zhūhǎi, Guǎngzhōu
PRC Maritime Safety Administration photo

Guǎngzhōu City Lighthouses

Formerly known in the west as Canton, Guǎngzhōu is one of the world's great cities with an urban population of about 12 million. It is located about 130 km (80 mi) from the sea on the Zhū Jiāng estuary.

Zhū Jiāng Estuary Lighthouses
Nánshā Gǎng Service Boat Pier
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); quick-flashing red light. 10 m (33 ft) round concrete tower colored with red and white horizontal bands. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. The Nánshā District is at the north end of the wide section of the estuary; the west side of the harbor is heavily developed with industrial and container piers. Located on a pier of the Nánshā harbor. Site and tower closed. Admiralty P3465.41; NGA 19808.
Nánshā Gǎng South Pier
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); green flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) round concrete tower colored with green and white horizontal bands. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located on a pier of the Nánshā harbor. Site and tower closed. Admiralty P3465.39; NGA 19808.1.
Shānbǎnzhōu (Shānbǎn Zhōu, Shan-pan Chou, Sampanchow, Sampan Island)
1915. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 18 m (59 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower attached to the seaward side of a 2-story keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white. An MSA photo is at right, Zhāng Róngtiān has a view from the river and Google has a satellite view. This historic lighthouse is located on a small island in the upper (northern) end of the estuary, guiding vessels to the entrance of the Zhū Jiāng (Pearl River) leading to Guǎngzhōu. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. CN-4378; Admiralty P3466; NGA 19812.
Jīnsuǒpái (Chain Rock) (1)
1904 (rebuilt or restored in 1986). Inactive since 1997. 28 m (92 ft) concrete post light centered on a 3- or 4-story concrete keeper's house. Entire lighthouse is white. Google's satellite view shows how this historic lighthouse is dwarfed now by one of the main pylons of the Hǔmén (Tiger Gate) Bridge, completed in 1997. It is unlikely that the lighthouse is active, since it has no more navigational value. Located on a reef in the Humen channel of the Zhū Jiāng (formerly called Boca Tigris), the main channel for ships bound to Guǎngdōng. Site status unknown. ARLHS PRC-036.
#Jīnsuǒpái (2)
Date unknown. Demolished between 2009 and 2014. This was a square pyramidal skeletal tower, mounted on a square concrete platform supported by four piles. Formerly located beside the channel under Hǔmén Bridge, near the historic lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site open. CN-4416.
Shanbanzhou Light
Shānbǎnzhōu Light, Zhū Jiāng Estuary, Guǎngzhōu
PRC Maritime Safety Administration photo
Shāzǎilǐ
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); two green flashes every 6 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round white tower on a square concrete pier. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located on the west side of an island about 8 km (5 mi) north of the Hǔmén Bridge. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty P3470.
Nízhōutóu (Nízhōu Tóu, Mud Island Point) South Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); continuous red light. 16 m (52 ft) concrete tower, gray with a black vertical stripe. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. This is an upstream range. Located on the river bank about 600 m (3/8 mi) south of the rear light (next entry). Site status unknown. CN-4426; Admiralty P3473.9; NGA 19820.
Nízhōutóu (Nízhōu Tóu, Mud Island Point) Range Common Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); continuous red light. 25 m (82 ft) concrete tower, gray with black vertical stripes facing the range lines. A photo is at right and Google has a satellite view. This large vessel traffic control (VTC) tower carries the rear lights for both upstream and downstream ranges. Located on the east side of the Shìjiāng, the branch of the river leading to downtown Guǎngzhōu. Site status unknown. CN-4427; Admiralty P3474; NGA 19824.
Nízhōutóu (Nízhōu Tóu, Mud Island Point) North Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); continuous red light. 16 m (52 ft) concrete tower, gray with a black vertical stripe. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. This is the downstream range front light. Located on the river bank about 400 m (1/4 mi) northwest of the rear light (previous entry). Site status unknown. CN-4428; Admiralty P3474.1; NGA 19828.
Lightfloat Liánhuāshān (Lotus Hill)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; one short and one long white flash every 6 s. Approx. 13 m (43 ft) square skeletal tower centered on a steel lightfloat. Entire vessel painted red. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. The Xiamen Elite Technology Co. refurbished the vessel and installed new monitoring equipment in 2011. Anchored over a shoal in mid-river. Accessible only by boat. Site open, vessel closed. CN-4431.15; Admiralty P3475.1.
Liánhuāshān (Lotus Hill) Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); red light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 14 m (46 ft) square white concrete skeletal tower. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the river in the Panyu district. Site status unknown. CN-4439; Admiralty P3476; NGA 19832.
Liánhuāshān (Lotus Hill) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); red light occulting once every 6 s. 23 m (75 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located about 400 m (1/4 mi) northwest of the front light. Site status unknown. CN-4440; Admiralty P3476.1; NGA 19836.

Nízhōutóu Rear Lights and Guǎngzhōu VTC, November 2013
ex-Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Hong Sky

Downtown Guǎngzhōu Lighthouses
Dàháozhōu (Huángpǔ Gǎng) West Side Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical brick tower. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. This range guides vessels leaving downtown Guǎngzhōu. The front light is on a short fiberglass tower in the river. Located on the west side of Dàháo Island. Accessible only by boat. Admiralty P3482.1; NGA 19844.
Dàháozhōu (Huángpǔ Gǎng) Range No. 1 Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 10 m (30 ft) round cylindrical brick tower. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Huángpǔ is the downtown harbor district of Guǎngzhōu. Located on the waterfront, on the north side of the river. Site status unknown. CN-4460; Admiralty P3483; NGA 19848.
Dàháozhōu (Huángpǔ Gǎng) Range No. 1 Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); continuous green light. 13 m (43 ft) round cylindrical brick tower. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located 180 m (600 ft) northwest of the front light. Site status unknown. CN-4461; Admiralty P3483.1; NGA 19852
Dàháozhōu (Huángpǔ Gǎng) Range No. 2 Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 10 m (30 ft) round cylindrical brick tower, painted white with a dark vertical stripe. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. The rear light is described by NGA as a similar brick tower, but Google's satellite view shows that the rear light is now on a tall mast. Located on the waterfront about 400 m (1/4 mi) west of the Range No. 1 Front Light. Site status unknown. CN-4462; Admiralty P3483.2; NGA 19856.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Eastern Guǎngdōng | East: Hong Kong | Enclave: Macau | South: Guǎngdōng South Coast

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key

Posted December 17, 2008. Last checked and revised November 27, 2019. Lighthouses: 37; lightships and lightfloats: 3. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.