Lighthouses in Vietnam
As Vietnam has a long coast running along the entire length of the country, it comes as no surprise that it’s home to many lighthouses. Solemn and dignified, they stand guard over stony cliffs and secluded islands, guiding ships safely home and acting as sights for the sore eyes of adventurous travelers on their journeys.
So if a view of the ocean with a tall tower sounds like your ideal photo backdrop, here are 8 lighthouses in Vietnam to check out on your next vacation.
1. Cô Tô Lighthouse in Quảng Ninh – with one of the most beautiful views in Vietnam
Image credit: @___nhung_
The northern Vietnamese province of Quảng Ninh is mostly known for the magnificent Hạ Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But another popular travel destination of the province is Cô Tô Island, only accessible via boat from the Cái Rồng Port located 50KM from Hạ Long City.
Image credit: @hoanglannie
And if you do visit the island on a vacation, the Cô Tô Lighthouse is one of the must-visit landmarks in the area. Built in the 19th century, it offers what many people consider to be the most beautiful view a lighthouse in Vietnam can offer.
At the top of its 72-step staircase, you can take in a clear view of the charming island: a vast greenness of trees dotted by humble houses, with the ocean and the mainland farther beyond.
Image credit: @bonn_n_
As mentioned, you can easily catch a boat to Cô Tô Island from the Cái Rồng Port located 50KM from Hạ Long City. There are multiple boats traveling between the two locations throughout the day, so you can be flexible with your departure timing. Expect to pay VND200,000-VND250,000 (~USD8.67-USD10.84) per person for a one-way trip, which takes about 90 minutes.
GPS coordinates: 20°59’56.4″N 107°45’26.5″E
2. Thuận Phước Lighthouse in Đà Nẵng – a convenient location to catch the sunset
Image credit: @debby.huynh
Only 5KM from the center of Đà Nẵng, the Thuận Phước Lighthouse is a known photo spot of the city thanks to its accessibility. While the building itself isn’t too imposing of a structure, its convenient location at the place where the Hàn River flows out to the sea allows for a clear view of both the city and the open water.
Image credit: Chang Chang
Come here at dusk to catch a shot of the sun setting over the Thuận Phước Bridge in the distance.
Image credit: Nguyễn Thế Vinh
GPS coordinates: 16°05’33.3″N 108°13’26.5″E
3. Tiên Sa Lighthouse in Đà Nẵng – mountaintop lighthouse
Image credit: @pham.meii
If you want a lighthouse with a more elevated view than the Thuận Phước Lighthouse during your time in Đà Nẵng, the Tiên Sa Lighthouse is worth a visit, provided you’re up for a little bit more of a challenge. Located near the top of the Sơn Trà Mountain right next to the city, the lighthouse is a beautiful yellow-and-white structure standing tall above the tree line, offering a stunning view down to the ocean.
Image credit: @hoadinh4161
To get to the lighthouse, you’ll be driving up the mountain for 13KM. Still, the road is well-built and not too steep, so even beginner drivers can make the trip safely if they are careful. Be sure to go on a manual motorbike, as automatic scooters are not allowed higher up on the mountain.
Image credit: @998.tuha
Another thing to note is that the area is home to the endangered pig-tailed macaques, who have developed a habit of flocking to the road to ask for treats from visitors, so keep an eye out for them to avoid accidents. Also, the authorities have warned against feeding these monkeys to protect the ecosystem.
GPS coordinates: 16°08’22.1″N 108°19’18.9″E
4. Kê Gà Lighthouse in Bình Thuận – the tallest lighthouse in Southeast Asia
Image credit: @long_pngoc
Built in 1899 and standing 35M tall, the Kê Gà Lighthouse at the coast of Bình Thuận Province is the tallest lighthouse in Southeast Asia.
Image credit: @trieutrungdung2512
The lighthouse remains mostly unknown to casual tourists, but thanks to its commanding hexagonal shape with stark gray walls that ooze an archaic vibe, it has long been frequented by adventurous travelers who love to explore the area on a motorbike.
Image credit: @diha6499
If you travel from Saigon, it takes 200KM to get to the lighthouse, so be ready to spend 4-5 hours on the road. Still, toward the end of the journey, you’ll be treated to charming views of pristine white-sand beaches and vast dragon fruit gardens.
Image credit: @paulleung
As the lighthouse stands on a small island 500M offshore, you’ll need to hire ferry services from local fishermen, whom you can easily find on the beach, to take you there. The fee is only about VND20,000 (~USD0.87).
GPS coordinates: 10°41’43.1″N 107°59’29.7″E
5. Đại Lãnh Lighthouse in Phú Yên – the spot that welcomes the first rays of sunlight in Vietnam
Image credit: @banhbaodalat
Many visitors come to Phú Yên to take pictures with its charming beaches and captivating grass-covered hills that once served as the stage of the famous Vietnamese movie Yellow Flowers On The Green Grass, but when you’re here, do not miss out on the Đại Lãnh Lighthouse, 35KM from the province’s Tuy Hòa City.
Image credit: @sinthichcomsuon
Spanning 320 square meters, the lighthouse occupies a spot that’s believed to be the very first location shone upon by the sun every morning in Vietnam. As a result, if you can set your alarm clock a bit early to get here at dawn, you’ll be rewarded with a gorgeous view of the sun rising from the ocean.
Image credit: @7twenty6
We recommend wearing comfortable shoes, as you’ll have to climb up a rather long stone staircase up a hill to reach where the lighthouse stands, and from there it’s another 100-step staircase to get to its top floor.
GPS coordinates: 12°53’46.9″N 109°27’24.3″E
6. Gành Đèn Lighthouse in Phú Yên – next to a beautiful rock formation
Image credit: @kino.doan
Another lighthouse that you can pay a visit to during your time in Phú Yên is Gành Đèn Lighthouse, 35KM away from Tuy Hòa City in the opposite direction of Đại Lãnh Lighthouse. Of course, it offers a clear vista of the sea as you’d expect from a lighthouse, though Gành Đèn is also famous for a nearby attraction: Gành Đá Đĩa, or “the reef of the stone plates”.
Image credit: @lglinh
The reef is a natural beehive-like structure assembled from clusters of hexagonal rocks – the results of volcanic eruptions that solidified and cracked over the years. Thanks to its unique shape, Gành Đá Đĩa is a popular check-in spot of the area.
Image credit: @hanh406
GPS coordinates: 13°21’50.1″N 109°17’37.9″E
7. Mũi Dinh Lighthouse in Phước Dinh – a challenging yet rewarding journey through a mini-desert
Image credit: duc pham
While several lighthouses in this list are located in convenient spots that you can drive straight to, the road to Mũi Dinh Lighthouse is a true adventure that’ll leave you with many fond memories, especially if you embark on it with friends.
Image credit: @hanhpham127
For the last 1KM of the journey, you’ll have to leave your bike – you can find locals offering parking services for a small fee – and walk through a massive field of sand dunes that’s dubbed Vietnam’s own mini-desert. Alternatively, if you don’t like walking, you can hire a 4-seat utility task vehicle for VND300,000 (~USD13.06) to travel on the sand.
Image credit: @hnbt.96
The sand dunes make for great camping spots
As the area remains relatively untouched by tourism activities, it still retains a pristine beauty that’s enthralled countless travelers. You can find here many spots that look out to the sea, making for ideal camping places. It is not uncommon for groups of visitors to set up camps and stay overnight in the sand field, then set off for Mũi Dinh Lighthouse the next morning.
Views from the lighthouse
Image credit: @kin_autt
The final part of the itinerary involves a pretty intense climb up a steep 2KM slope to get to the lighthouse. We recommend bringing water to refresh yourself along the way, as well as sunproof gear if you visit on a hot day.
That said, the challenging climb only makes the stunning view and cool sea breeze you’ll find at the top all the more rewarding.
GPS coordinates: 11°21’38.5″N 109°00’50.1″E
8. Vũng Tàu Lighthouse – clear view of Vũng Tàu City
Image credit: @chloe15.3
Being only two hours’ drive from HCMC, the southern coastal city of Vũng Tàu is Saigonese residents’ favorite vacation spot whenever they want to catch a sea breeze, and seldom do people come here without hitting up the city’s lighthouse to snap a few pictures.
Standing 18M tall on top of a mountain southwest of Vũng Tàu City, the lighthouse is a round tower with walls painted white, making it resemble a chess piece. Despite being over a century old, it is still well-maintained and operational.
Image credit: @iamthuy0106
But of course, what most visitors come here for is the view. From the lighthouse, you can look down to pretty much the entirety of Vũng Tàu City from an elevated viewpoint, and beyond, the ocean stretches as far as the eye can see, merging with the sky at the horizon.
GPS coordinates: 10°20’02.7″N 107°04’38.7″E
Lighthouses in Vietnam with views of the ocean
Tall, imposing, and often with gorgeous views, lighthouses always make for eye-catching landmarks worth visiting.
So if your next vacation in Vietnam is to one of the above-mentioned cities or provinces, be sure to drop by these 8 lighthouses to add some jaw-dropping shots to your photo gallery.
For more things to do and photo spots in Vietnam, check out:
- 8 abandoned but beautiful places in Vietnam
- 10 photo spots in Hanoi
- 10 pagodas in Vietnam
- 8 cathedrals in Vietnam
- 11 waterfalls in Vietnam
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