What is the Oldest Lighthouse in Vietnam?

The Ke Ga Lighthouse, also known as the Khe Ga Lighthouse, is the oldest and tallest lighthouse in Vietnam. It is also a famous historical, cultural, and eco-tourism destination in Ham Thuan Nam District, Binh Thuan Province.
August 28, 2023 | 09:36

Ke Ga Lighthouse - The oldest lighthouse in Vietnam

The lighthouse was designed by French architect Chnavat and completed its construction in 1899. The octagonal shape gives it a distinct and delicate architecture. The Vietnam Book of Records Center certifies Ke Ga Lighthouse as the country's highest lighthouse, with a height of 65 meters, approximately 200 steps, and a light range of 22 nautical miles. It is also Southeast Asia's oldest lighthouse, having existed for more than a century. Since its construction, the Ke Ga lighthouse has served as an important navigational assistance in safeguarding the safety of ships sailing through the southern sea area.

This lighthouse's design is notable for not only using conventional stones with four corners but also for carving all of the granite blocks used to construct the lighthouse into squares and flat rectangles. When constructing, simply place in the correct order, angle from bottom to top, and use as little adhesive mortar as possible, but the stone slabs remain tight and durable.

Ke Ga Lighthouse in Binh Thuan Province
Ke Ga Lighthouse in Binh Thuan Province

In particular, there are 183 spiral steel steps rising to the top of the Ke Ga lighthouse, as well as dozens more steps leading to the top of the light, making a wonderful work of art that no photographer can ignore when watching.

According to local marine history, the Ke Ga Cape is considered an exceedingly dangerous site. With its many reefs and rapids, the Binh Thuan-La Gi beach was previously feared by ancient sailors. Many commerce and fishing vessels pass through this area and are wrecked as a result of the unknown coordinates and position. The French colonial authority investigated and erected the Ke Ga lighthouse to suit the transportation demands of French and international commerce ships passing through here during the colonial period. Accordingly, many individuals passed away as a result of construction accidents during the lighthouse's construction. Today, the cemetery, the final resting place of the deceased, is still here.

The Ke Ga lighthouse is not only a navigational construction for safer maritime traffic near Ke Ga Cape but also a work of art. It is a massive and one-of-a-kind artwork amid vast nature. Hundreds of years have passed, and the ancient lighthouse still stands proudly above the sea, being the eye of the sea guiding the way for many sailors to overcome danger, like a flame of faith that exists eternally in the hearts of Vietnamese fishermen.

the captivating allure of Ke Ga Lighthouse
The captivating allure of Ke Ga Lighthouse

The lighthouse has an impressive image when viewed from above, standing out in the center of the vast and romantic sea. Mother Nature has also left hundreds of cliffs with rich hues and unusual shapes stacked on top of each other on the island where the lighthouse was built. The turquoise tone of the sea, the golden hue of the granite slabs, and the cool green color of the island's trees all combine to create an image of pristine, tranquil, and attractive nature.

What to know before you go

This lighthouse has a distinctive feature in that it is separated from the huge sea; to access it, you must take a boat or canoe. As a result, rainy and stormy days are not the best times for travelers to visit here.

The best time for visitors to view the magnificence of the lighthouse and visit this location is from February to July and from September to January of the following year. These are the seasons when the weather is nice, the sea is calm, and tourists can easily visit this spot.

It is preferable to travel to Ke Ga Cape early in the morning. Around 1 p.m., you begin sailing to the lighthouse. After exploring the surrounding region, you can start to hunt for sunset shots at sea around 3 p.m. If you just plan to visit throughout the day, leave the island early because later in the afternoon the temperature drops and the waves grow larger.

The beautiful sunset at the lighthouse
The beautiful sunset at the lighthouse

From the mainland, you must go by canoe, basket boat, or canoe to reach Ke Ga lighthouse. As the number of people visiting the lighthouse grows, so does the shuttle service from the mainland to the lighthouse. Because the sea distance is just approximately 500m, the service charge ranges from VND15,000 (US$0,62) to VND25,000 (US$1,04).

Overnight camping trips at Ke Ga Lighthouse is highly recommended. You must first contact and obtain permission from the island's border guards before camping. Because there are no services on the island, you will need to plan ahead of time for everything from tents to food and drinks. If you camp on the island, you will be able to watch the sunrise over the gorgeous shimmering water.

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