Lighthouses of Taiwan: Penghu Islands

In 1949, the collapse of Nationalist forces in mainland China led to a new governmental separation between Taiwan and the mainland, with the Nationalist government (the Republic of China) on Taiwan and the Communist government (the People's Republic of China) on the mainland. This separation continues to the present day.

This page describes lighthouses of the Penghu (Pescadores) Islands, an archipelago of 90 islands and islets in the Taiwan Strait about 80 km (50 mi) west of Taiwan's southwest coast. The principal town, Makung, is accessible by air from Kaohsiung. The islands are a resort area for Taiwanese but are seldom visited by Westerners.

The Taiwan government also administers the Matsu, Wuciou, and Kinmen (Quemoy) islands in Fujian province across the Taiwan Strait. Lighthouses of these islands are listed on a separate page.

Historically, lighthouses in Taiwan have been operated by the Department of Maritime Affairs within the Directorate General of Customs. Beginning 1 January 2013 they are now managed by the Maritime and Port Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communication, which has announced plans to restore and develop the light stations as tourist attractions.

The Chinese word for a lighthouse is dēngtǎ (灯塔). Jiao or chiao is a cape, dao, tao, yu, or hsu is an island, wan is a bay, and kang or gang is a harbor. Due to competing systems for transliterating Chinese into Latin characters, there are always several possible spellings for the names of places in China. In Taiwan, the Wade-Giles system was in use for many years, but at the beginning of 2009 the Pinyin system used on the mainland became the standard in Taiwan as well. At the present time, many place names in Taiwan are still known mostly under the Wade-Giles spellings.

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
Maritime and Port Bureau - Lighthouses
Interactive map leads to pages for the individual lighthouse. A slow-loading site.
Lighthouses in Taiwan
Hosted by the National Kaohsiung University of Applied Science, this page links to individual pages on all the major lighthouses of Taiwan. Text in Chinese.
Penghu National Scenic Area - Lighthouse Tour
Information on lighthouses of the islands, posted by the national scenic area administration.
Lighthouses in Taiwan
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
Lighthouses in Taiwan
Wikipedia checklist, useful for its Pinyin spellings.
Region 9 NGA Nautical Charts
Chart 94004 covers this area.
Leuchttürme auf Briefmarken
Postage stamp images posted by Klaus Huelse.
Southern Penghu Lighthouses
* Dongjiyu (Tungchi Yu, Chu-tou Hsu) (2)
1938 (station established 1911). Active; focal plane 67 m (220 ft); one long (2 s) white flash every 12 s. 20 m (66 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and double gallery, attached to a 1-story concrete keeper's house. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands, lantern dome black. A photo is above right, NKUAS has a page for the lighthouse, a closeup photo and another photo are available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view of the site. The original lighthouse was a cast iron tower. Located at the northern end of the southeasternmost islet of the Penghu Islands, in Wang'an township about 25 km (15 mi) southeast of Wang'an. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS TAI-031; Admiralty F4640; NGA 13884.
* Chimeiyu (Qimei Yu, Cimei, Chi Mei Yu, Ta Hsu) (2)
1965 (station established 1939). Active; focal plane 41 m (134 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 8 m (26 ft) concrete post mounted atop a 1-story concrete keeper's house. NKUAS has a page for the lighthouse, Shih-Pei Chang has a closeup photo, Yuan Wei has a closeup, Wikimedia has Ying-lung Lu's photo, and Google has a satellite view of the station. Qimei (formerly called Ta Hsu) is the southernmost island of the Penghu Islands; it is accessible by ferry from Makung. Located in Qimei township, on the southern tip of the island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS TAI-006; Admiralty F4642; NGA 13888.

Dongjiyu Light
Dongjiyu Light
Directorate General of Customs photo

Mudouyu Light
Mudouyu Light
Directorate General of Customs photo

Huayu (Hua Hsu)
1939. Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12.5 m (41 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern dome black. NKUAS has a page for the lighthouse, and Google has a very distant satellite view. Huayu is the westernmost island of the Penghu archipelago, in Wang'an township about 27 km (16 mi) southwest of Yuwengdao. Located on the western side of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS TAI-011; Admiralty F4646; NGA 13892.

Central Penghu Lighthouses
Chamuyu (Cha-Mou Hsu, Chamu)
1914 (largely rebuilt in 1949). Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 6 s. 12 m (39 ft) octagonal concrete tower with gallery. Lighthouse painted with black and white vertical stripes. A good 2009 photo is available, NKUAS page for the lighthouse has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was heavily damaged by Allied bombers in World War II. Chamayu, in Huxi township, is about 4 km (2.5 mi) off the southeastern tip of the main island, Penghudao. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS TAI-003; Admiralty F4650; NGA 13880.
Fou Wen (Makung)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 4 s. 12 m (39 ft) round tapered concrete tower centered on a round 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Entire lighthouse is red. A closeup and a view from the sea are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a reef off the entrance to Magong (Makung) City, the county seat of Penghu County, at the southwestern corner of Penghudao. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F4651; NGA 13876.
*** Yuwengdao (Yu Weng Tao, Yuwongdao) (3)
1875 (station established 1778). Active; focal plane 61 m (200 ft); two long white flashes every 30 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern dome black. Fog horn (blast every 30 s). Several 1-story keeper's houses. Shih-Pei Chang's photo is at right, NKUAS has a page for the lighthouse, Andrew Jacobs has a 2008 photo, Wikimedia has a photo by Ying-lung Lu, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. The original light was established in a tower of a pagoda. In 1828 the pagoda was rebuilt, with a higher tower for the light. The present lighthouse was designed by the British engineer David Henderson and installed under contract to the Chinese Imperial government. Fortunately it suffered only minor damage in World War II. Yuwengdao, in Xiyu township, is the westernmost of the main islands of Penghu; it is accessible by bridge from Makung. Located at the southwestern tip of the island, near the village of Waian. Site open, station open to the public, tower status unknown. ARLHS TAI-037; Admiralty F4652; NGA 13872.

Northern Penghu Lighthouse
Mudouyu (Mu Tou Hsu, Mu Tou Yu)
1902. Active; focal plane 49 m (161 ft); white flash every 20 s. 40 m (131 ft) round cast iron tower with double gallery; the original lantern has been removed. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands. The 1-story keeper's house is staffed. A photo is at the top of this page, an excellent closeup photo and a 2008 photo are available, and Bing has a satellite view. This historic tower is Taiwan's tallest lighthouse. Mudouyu is a tiny islet in Baisha township at the extreme northern end of the Penghu chain, about 12 km (7.5 mi) north of Baisha. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Penghu National Scenic Area. ARLHS TAI-017; Admiralty F4658; NGA 13856.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:


Yuwengdao Light, July 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Shih-Pei Chang

Adjoining pages: East: Southeastern Taiwan | West: Matsu and Kinmen

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Posted September 11, 2007. Checked and revised September 18, 2014. Lighthouses: 7. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.