Lighthouses of Cambodia
Cambodia has a rather short coastline on the Gulf of
Thailand between Vietnam and Thailand; Kampong Saom (Sihanoukville)
is the only deepwater port. A French colony from 1863 to 1953, Cambodia
suffered greatly from the warfare in Vietnam (1955-75) plus the misrule of the
Khmer Rouge insurgency (1975-79). However, the country has stabilized and reopened
for Western tourism in recent years.
During the French colonial period, Cambodia had no major salt water ports; it was served by ships sailing the Mekong River through Vietnam. Development of the modern port of Sihanoukville (Kampong Saom) began only in 1955.
Nothing is known about the history of Cambodian lighthouses. The Koh Rung Samloan lighthouse shown at right appears to have been built during the French colonial period, but I do not know its date of construction. Additional information on these lighthouses would be most welcome.
The lighthouses in Cambodia are maintained by the Port Autonome Sihanoukville. In the Khmer language spoken in Cambodia, a lighthouse is called bangkol phleung hvar (literally "fire on a pole"); koh
or kaoh is an island, and kampong phe is a harbor.
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.
- General Sources
- World of Lighthouses - Cambodia
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Koh Rung Samloen Light, Sihanoukville, 2015
photo copyright Martin Kjellberg; used by permission
- Gulf of Thailand Lighthouses
- Koh Rung Samloen (Koah Rung Samloem)
- Early 1900s. Inactive; listed with focal plane 120 m (394 ft);
two white flashes every 10 s. 18 m (59 ft) round concrete tower with gallery, attached to a small 1-story keeper's cottage or equipment building. Lantern removed; it appears that a light is displayed from a short mast. The lighthouse is listed as being painted white with
one red horizontal band, but Oli Bryant's 2010 photo shows that it is now unpainted. Martin Kjellberg's photo is above, a 2011 photo is available, there's also a view from the gallery, and Google has a distant satellite
view of the station. The Jenkins 1904 light list mentions this light as "intended." The island of Rung Samloen lies on the west
side of the entrance to the bay of Kampong Saom. Located on the south
point of the island, about 25 km (15 mi) southwest of Kampong Saom.
Site status unknown. ARLHS CAB-005; Admiralty F3014; NGA 20532.
- Koh Koang Kang (Kaoh Tas, Kaoh Kong Kang)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white light occulting
twice every 9 s. 9 m (30 ft) octagonal cylindrical tower with gallery,
painted white. Wim ON6TZ's photo is at right, Dan Baldini has a view from the sea, and Google has a fuzzy satellite
view. Located at the eastern point of Tas Island, 8 km (5 mi)
west of Kampong Saom. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed.
ARLHS CAB-006; Admiralty F3015; NGA 20536.
- * Kampong Saom (Sihanoukville) South
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); continuous green light.
Light mounted atop a 1-story pier house. A 2013 photo is available, Samorn Tuon has a photo sphere, and Google has a satellite view. The earlier light, a mast on small pierhead building, is seen in a 2009 photo and an earlier photo. Located at the end of the mole used by cruise ships docking
at Kampong Saom (Sihanoukville). Accessible by walking the mole. Site open,
tower closed. Admiralty F3017; NGA 20544.
Tonlé Sap Lighthouse
Note: Tonlé Sap is a large fresh water seasonal lake. During the dry season it is relatively small and shallow, but during the monsoon (June through October) the Mekong River backs up into the lake, greatly increasing its size. Navigation on the lake is limited to small craft.
- Chong Khneas
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane and light characteristic unknown. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. The tower carries instruments, probably including an automatic weather station; it appears that a light is shown from a mast. Bernhard Kraft has a photo, Lightphotos.net has a photo, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located about 3.2 km (2 mi) south of Chong Khneas, a boat launching area at the end of highway 63, about 18 km (11 mi) south of Siem Reap. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed.
Information available on lost lighthouses:
- Phnom Penh. We need information on this lighthouse. It was located at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers opposite downtown Phnom Penh. There is a high-rise hotel on the site today; Google has a satellite view.
Notable faux lighthouses:
- Kampong Cham. This tower stands on the east bank of Mekong opposite Kampong Cham, a district capital 125 km (75 mi) northeast of Phnom Penh. It is called "the old lighthouse" or "the French tower," but it doesn't appear very French nor does it appear to be designed as a lighthouse.
Adjoining pages: East: Southern Vietnam | West: Central Thailand
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Posted August 11, 2007. Checked and revised December 16, 2015.
Lighthouses: 4. Site copyright 2015 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.