Lighthouses of Southeast 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 describes lighthouses on the approaches to Hồ Chí Minh City (Saigon). The city is on the Saigon River (Sông Sài Gòn). Below the city the river expands into a complicated delta; the shipping channel follows the branch known as the Long Tau River (Sông Lòng Tàu). It has a twisting course and navigation is guided by a large number of skeletal range light towers.

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.


Cần Giờ Light, Cần Giờ
Southern Vietnam Maritime Safety photo
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. The Saigon River photos are by Douglas Cameron.
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.

Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu Province Lighthouses

Ba Kiềm
2006. Active; focal plane 87 m (285 ft); three green flashes every 10 s. 12.5 m (41 ft) square tower with lantern and gallery centered on a 2-story building. Lighthouse painted yellow with white trim and blue shutters. Thanh Lam Nguyen has a photo and Google has a satellite view of the station. Located on heights above a cape about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of Vũng Tàu. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3115.
**** Vũng Tàu (Cap St.-Jacques) (3)
1913 (station established 1865). Active; focal plane 193 m (633 ft); two white flashes every 12 s. 18 m (59 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, surrounded by four massive concrete buttresses. A rotating Fresnel lens is in use. Entire lighthouse painted white. Howard Garner's 2008 photo is at right, Wikimedia has a closeup 2012 photo, Chung Lam Ngoc also has a closeup, the tourism agency of Hồ Chí Minh City has a page on the lighthouse, Trabas has a photo, the stamp appears on a postage stamp, Phương Trần Minh has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. This important lighthouse is the landfall light for Hồ Chí Minh City (Saigon). Huelse has historic postcard views of the 1885 lighthouse, a short octagonal masonry tower with a first order lantern and gallery, and of the 1913 lighthouse in its original form. The lighthouse still had that appearance during the Vietnam War. The lighthouse was repainted all white in the spring of 2007 with the results shown in a July photo. The setting of the lighthouse is quite spectacular, with a sweeping view of the South China Sea. Located on Hải Dăng (Lighthouse) Mountain on the point of Mũi Vũng Tàu, about 8 km (5 mi) south of the town of Vũng Tàu. Site open, tower open daily. ARLHS VIE-041; Admiralty F3066; NGA 20416.
* Cao Trang (2)
2007 (station established 1898). Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); three green flashes every 12 s. 8 m (26 ft) hexagonal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with blue trim. Lê Minh Chánh has a photo and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The 1898 tower was square. Located on the shore on the west side of the Vũng Tàu peninsula, about 6 km (4 mi) north of the Vũng Tàu lighthouse. The coastal road passes close by the lighthouse, although there is no parking turnout. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS VIE-035; Admiralty F3070; NGA 20428.
* Ghành Rái (Ganh Rai)
Date unknown (station established 1911). Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); two green flashes every 4 s. 14 m (46 ft) hexagonal cylindrical concrete tower with gallery but no lantern. Lighthouse painted with dark green and white horizontal bands (described as black and white by NGA). Đào Việt Dũng has a photo, another good photo is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This lighthouse guides ships into the harbor of Vũng Tàu city. The coastal road passes close by the lighthouse, although there is no parking turnout. Located at the northwestern point of the Vũng Tàu peninsula. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS VIE-049; Admiralty F3076; NGA 20432.


Vũng Tàu Light, Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu, March 2008
photo copyright Howard Garner; used by permission

Đồng Nai Province and Hồ Chí Minh City Lighthouses

Sông Lòng Tàu Entrance Lighthouses
Cần Giờ (Aval)
1864. Active; focal plane 22.5 m (74 ft); three white flashes every 8 s. 22.5 m (74 ft) round cylindrical cast iron tower with lantern and gallery centered on the roof of an octagonal keeper's house, mounted on pilings. Lighthouse painted white; the roof of the keeper's house is red. An SVMS photo is at the top of this page, Trabas has a good photo, a 2007 photo and a 2008 closeup are available, and Bing has a satellite view. This is an extremely rare example of a 19th century pile lighthouse in Asia. SVMS has restored this historic lighthouse and converted it to solar power. Located in the entrance to the Sông Sài Gòn (Saigon River) channel to Hồ Chí Minh City (Saigon), about 10 km (6 mi) west of Vũng Tàu. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS VIE-010; Admiralty F3082; NGA 20444.
Sông Đồng Đinh (Song Nga)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); flashing light, white, red or green depending on direction. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. This is a leading light for the Lòng Tau River. Located on the west side of the river entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F3083; NGA 20446.
Ba Yen (Rach Cai Gau) Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 14 m (46 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) square skeletal tower painted with red and white horizontal bands and mounted on a platform supported by piles. Trabas has Cameron's photo (also seen at right) and Google has a satellite view. This range guides vessels into the Lòng Tau River. Located off the Saigon delta, east of the river entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F3084; NGA 20448.
Ba Yen (Rach Cai Gau) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. Approx. 24 m (79 ft) square skeletal tower painted with red and white horizontal bands. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located in marshland about 375 m (0.23 mi) northwest of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3084.1; NGA 20452.
Sông Lòng Tau (Beacon 15)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); green flash every 4 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located just off the east bank of the lower Lòng Tau River. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3084.15.

Ba Yen Range Front Light, Lòng Tau River
photo copyright Douglas Cameron; used by permission

Thiềng Liềng Area Lighthouses
Thiềng Liềng Outbound Range Front (C1)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 18 m (59 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 18 m (59 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. These range lights guide ships approaching a 70° turn in the river. Located just off the east bank of the Lòng Tau River in northern Thiềng Liềng. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3084.25.
Thiềng Liềng Outbound Range Rear (C2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 32 m (105 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located in northern Thiềng Liềng about 300 m (0.2 mi) east of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3084.251.
Thiềng Liềng Inbound Range Front (B1)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 18 m (59 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 18 m (59 ft) square skeletal tower painted white and mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located just off the east bank of the Lòng Tau River in northern Thiềng Liềng, a short distance north of the C1 light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3084.3.
Thiềng Liềng Inbound Range Rear (B2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 32 m (105 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located in northern Thiềng Liềng about 400 m (0.25 mi) east of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3084.301.
Les Quatres Bras North (Beacon 21)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); green light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) round tower painted with green (?) and white horizontal bands. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. At Quatres Bras ("Four Arms") branches of the river join the Lòng Tau on both sides creating a watery crossroads. Located on the north side of the Lòng Tau about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) west northwest of Thiềng Liềng. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3084.4.
Les Quatres Bras South (Beacon 16)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); red light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) round tower painted with red (?) and white horizontal bands. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located on the south side of the Lòng Tau about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) west northwest of Thiềng Liềng. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3084.45.

Tam Thôn Hiệp and An Thới Đông Area Lighthouses
Tam Thôn Hiệp Inbound Range Front (D1)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located on the north side of the Lòng Tau about 6 km (4 mi) west of Quatres Bras. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3084.75.
Tam Thôn Hiệp Inbound Range Rear (D2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 30 m (98 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located about 500 m (0.3 mi) northwest of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3084.751.
An Thới Đông (Outbound Leading Light F)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 35 m (115 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 32 m (105 ft) square skeletal tower painted white with two red horizontal bands. Trabas has Cameron's photo and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. This light guides vessels approaching a sharp bend in the river. Located on the south side of the Lòng Tau about 10 km (6 mi) west of Quatres Bras. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3084.85.
An Thới Đông Inbound Range Front (E1)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower painted white and mounted on a square platform supported by piles. Trabas has Cameron's photo (also seen at right) and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. This light guides vessels approaching a sharp bend in the river. Located on the south side of the Lòng Tau about 200 m (220 yd) northwest of Leading Light F. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3084.9.

Range Front Light E1, Lòng Tau River
photo copyright Douglas Cameron; used by permission
An Thới Đông Inbound Range Rear (E2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 30 m (98 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. No photo available but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. This light guides vessels approaching a sharp bend in the river. Located about 200 m (220 yd) west northwest of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3084.9.
An Thới Đông Outbound Range Front (G1)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 18 m (59 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 18 m (59 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located just off the east bank of the Lòng Tau River about 1 km (0.6 mi) north of the inbound range lights. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3085.1.
An Thới Đông Outbound Range Rear (G2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 25 m (82 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located in northern Thiềng Liềng about 150 m (0.1 mi) east of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3085.101.
An Thới Đông Beacon 32
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); red light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. Lighthouse painted red with one green horizontal band. Trabas has Cameron's photo (also seen at right) and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the Lòng Tau River about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) west of the G range lights. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3085.13.

Pointe de l'Est Area Lighthouses
Pointe de l'Est Inbound Range Front (H1)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Pointe de l'Est is a right-angle turn in the river about 25 km (15 mi) south of Hồ Chí Minh City. Located just off the east bank of the river about 1 km (0.6 mi) south of the bend. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3085.15.
Pointe de l'Est Inbound Range Front (H2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower. No photo available but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located about 250 m (0.15 mi) north of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3085.151.
Pointe de l'Est (Beacon 35)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 35 m (115 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. Trabas has Cameron's distant view and Bing has a satellite view. Located just offshore of the point at Pointe de l'Est. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3085.2.

Beacon 32, Lòng Tau River
photo copyright Douglas Cameron; used by permission
Pointe de l'Est Inbound Upper Range Front (Beacon 36)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); white light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 16 m (52 ft) square skeletal tower painted white and mounted on a square platform supported by piles. Trabas has Cameron's photo and Bing has a satellite view. Located just off the west bank of the river opposite the Point de l'Est light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3085.23.
Pointe de l'Est Inbound Upper Range Front (Beacon 36B)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); red light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower. Trabas has Cameron's photo and Google has a satellite view. Located about 250 m (0.15 mi) northwest of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3085.231.

Tam Thôn Hiệp Area Lighthouses
* Tam Thôn Hiệp Inbound Range Front (I1)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 18 m (59 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Trabas has Cameron's photo (also seen at right) and Google has a satellite view. These range lights guide vessels around an S-turn in the river. Located on the west bank of the river in the Tam Thôn Hiệp neighborhood of Hồ Chí Minh City. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F3085.38.
Tam Thôn Hiệp Inbound Range Rear (I2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 35 m (115 ft); red light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Trabas has Cameron's photo and Google has a satellite view. Located about 250 m (0.15 mi) north of the front light. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F3085.381.
Tam Thôn Hiệp Inbound Upper Range Front (J1)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); white light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 18 m (59 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Trabas has Cameron's photo and Google has a satellite view. Located off the east bank of the river opposite Tam Thôn Hiệp. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3085.43.
Tam Thôn Hiệp Inbound Upper Range Rear (J2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 35 m (115 ft); red light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Trabas has Cameron's photo and Google has a satellite view. Located off the east bank of the river about 250 m (0.15 mi) northeast of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3085.45.

Range Front Light I1, Lòng Tau River
photo copyright Douglas Cameron; used by permission
Tam Thôn Hiệp Outbound Range Front (K1)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); white light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 18 m (59 ft) square skeletal tower painted white with a black horizontal band. Trabas has Cameron's fuzzy photo and Google has a satellite view. These range lights guide vessels on an eastbound reach. Located on the east bank of the river north of the Tam Thôn Hiệp neighborhood of Hồ Chí Minh City. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3085.47.
Tam Thôn Hiệp Outbound Range Rear (K2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 29 m (95 ft); red light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 24 m (79 ft) square skeletal tower painted white with a black horizontal band. Trabas has Cameron's fuzzy photo and Google has a satellite view. Located about 250 m (0.15 mi) southeast of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3085.48.

Downtown Hồ Chí Minh City Lights
* Sông Nha Be Inbound Range Rear (M2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 30 m (98 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 24 m (79 ft) square skeletal tower. No photo available but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Nha Be is an alternate name for the section of the Saigon River in downtown Hồ Chí Minh City. Located on a street called Hoàng Quốc Việt near the waterfront in Hồ Chí Minh City. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F3087.21.
Sông Nha Be Inbound Upper Range Rear (N2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 25 m (82 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 24 m (79 ft) square skeletal tower carrying a diamond-shaped daymark. Nguyễn Đức Dũng has a photo and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the point of land at the junction of the Sông Sài Gòn (Saigon River) and the Sông Soài Rạp (Soai Rap River) in Hồ Chí Minh City. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3087.51.
Mũi Den Do
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 21 m (69 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 21 m (69 ft) square skeletal tower painted with green and white horizontal bands. Trabas has Cameron's photo (also seen at right) but the light is inconspicuous in Bing's satellite view. Located at the point of land in a switchback turn of the Sông Sài Gòn just downstream of the Phú Mỹ Bridge. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3087.63.
Sông Sài Gòn Inbound Range Front (P1)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 24 m (89 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 23 m (85 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Trabas has Cameron's photo and Google has an indistinct satellite view. These range lights guide vessels in northbound reach upstream from the Phú Mỹ Bridge. Located on the east bank of the river about 2 km (1.25 mi) north of the bridge. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3087.65.
* Sông Sài Gòn Inbound Range Rear (P2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 32 m (105 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Trabas has Cameron's photo and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located on the Đường số 103-TML, the riverfront street on the east side of the river about 250 m (0.15 mi) north of the front light. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F3085.651.

Mũi Den Do Light, Hồ Chí Minh City
photo copyright Douglas Cameron; used by permission

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

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

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Posted April 24, 2006. Checked and revised January 17, 2019. Lighthouses 39. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.