Lighthouses of Indonesia: Eastern Sumatra

Indonesia has been independent since 1945, after having been the Dutch East Indies for more than 350 years. It is a huge country, stretching along both sides of the Equator for more than 46 degrees of longitude (roughly 5100 km or 3200 miles). Comprised of some 17,000 islands (more than 6000 inhabited islands), it has hundreds of major aids to navigation. Unfortunately, it's difficult to know how many of these aids can be considered lighthouses. Information about them is scarce, and photos are even scarcer. Official light lists contain dozens of entries for "framework towers" and "white beacons," providing little guidance for the lighthouse fan.

Sumatra (or, as Indonesians prefer, Sumatera) is the world's sixth largest island and the westernmost of the major islands of Indonesia. It is separated from Malaysia to the north by the Malacca Strait, from Borneo to the northeast by the broad Karimata Strait, and from Java to the southeast by the Sunda Strait. Its south coast faces the open Indian Ocean. This page includes lighthouses of the eastern coast including the east coast of North Sumatra province and the province of Riau.

This page is probably not complete. Listed here are towers at locations known to be historic Dutch light stations, plus some additional sites at which there is some evidence for a lighthouse. Added to this is an appeal for more information and photos; if you know about lighthouses in Indonesia, please share that knowledge.

The Indonesian word for a lighthouse is mercusuar. The phrase menara suar, which includes the Arabic word menara, is sometimes used instead. Tanjung and ujung are words for capes, pulau is an island, selat is a strait, and teluk is a harbor.

Aids to navigation in Indonesia are operated and maintained by the Directorate General of Sea Transportation.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volumes F and K of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. (Volume F includes lights north of the Equator and Volume Q includes lights south of the Equator.) U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Lighthouses in Indonesia
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia; most of the photos are historic.
World of Lighthouses - Indonesia
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Online List of Lights - Indonesia - Volume F and Volume Q
Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
GPSNavigationCharts
Nautical charts for the Malacca Strait area.
Tanjung Medang Light
Tanjung Medang Light, Pulau Rupat, April 2006
Panoramio photo by Seiichi Okawa; used by permission

North Sumatra Province East Coast Lighthouses

Note: North Sumatra Province spans the island; lighthouses of its west coast are described on the Northwest Sumatra page.
Deli Serdang Regency (Belawan Area) Lighthouses
Nipah Larangan (Nipahlarangang) (2)
2014(?) (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 40 m (131 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and galley, painted white, rising from an octagonal building. Google has a satellite view. However, the lighthouse is now critically endangered. Maringan Tobing has an August 2017 photo showing the tower with a lean of at least 15° (like the Leaning Tower of Pisa). We don't know if this is caused by storm damage or a poor foundation. Pak Ivan Setiawan's photo of the original lighthouse is at right. Located on a low cape a short distance east of Kuala Besar and about 16 km (10 mi) north of Belawan. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-172; Admiralty F1352; NGA 22400.
Belawan (Deli River) (?)
Date unknown (lightship station established 1890). Inactive at least since 2015. 20 m (66 ft) green tower, presumably on a platform supported by piles. No photo available and the light is not seen in Google's satellite view. This light was dropped from the 2015 NGA List. Located on a shoal about 4 km (2.5 mi) offshore and 10 km (6 mi) north of the entrance to Belawan harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ex-Admiralty F1355; ex-NGA 22408.
Belawan Beacon II (Common Rear)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 14 m (46 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available and the light is not seen in Google's satellite view. This is the rear light for both inbound and outbound ranges. Located about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) off the harbor entrance at Belawan, an important port and terminal for ferries crossing the Strait of Malacca to Penang, Malaysia. Site and tower closed. ARLHS IDO-109; Admiralty F1356; NGA 22416.
Belawan Beacon V (Range Rear)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Hadanata Lim has a photo of the lighthouse in action and Google has a satellite view. This is the rear light of a harbor approach range. Located on a shoal in Belawan harbor. Site and tower closed. ARLHS IDO-109; Admiralty F1362.1; NGA 22428.

Serdang Bedagai Regency Lighthouses
Tanjung Sibungabunga
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 3 s. Described only as a white beacon; probably a skeletal tower. No photo available and the tower has not been found in Google's satellite view. Located near the waterfront in Serdang Bedagai northeast of Medan. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1374.5; NGA 22449.
Nipah Larangan Light
Original Nipah Larangan Light, Belawan, May 2012
photo copyright Pak Ivan Setiawan; permission requested
Gosong-Gosong Bunga (Bunga Banks)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 17 m (56 ft) fiberglass tower, colored black with a red horizontal band and mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available. Located on a shoal on the south side of the main channel in the Strait of Malacca 17 km (10.5 mi) northeast of Tanjung Sibungabunga. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1374; NGA 22450.
Pulau Berhala (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 192 m (630 ft); four white flashes every 19 s. Approx. 23 m (75 ft) 2-stage octagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. A photo (2/3 the way down the page) is available and Bing has a distant satellite view. NGA lists a 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower. Located on a small, isolated high island about 50 km (30 mi) off the coast in the Strait of Malacca. Probably accessible only by helicopter. Admiralty F1375; NGA 22452.

Batubara Regency Lighthouses
Pankalan Dodek (2)
Date unknown (station established 1906). Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. Google has a street view and a fuzzy satellite view. The original lighthouse had a focal plane height of 15 m (49 ft). Located on the Pangkalan River waterfront at Pangkalen Dodek, about 20 km (13 mi) northwest of Tanjungbalai. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1376.5; NGA 22458.
Pulau Pandang (North Brother Island) (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 63 m (207 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 18 m (59 ft) concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Amri Hakim has a distant aerial view, a 2018 view is available, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. NGA lists a 12 m (39 ft) skeletal tower. Located about 15 km (9 mi) northeast of Pulau Salahnama. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1378; NGA 22460.
Pulau Salahnama (South Brother Island)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 121 m (397 ft); white flash every 6 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. Part of Akbar Suhairi's view is at right and Bing has a distant satellite view. This island and its shorter neighbor Pulau Pandang (North Brother) are well-known hazards to navigation along the Sumatran coast. Located on an island in the Strait of Malacca about 20 km (13 mi) off the coast north of Tanjung Balai. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1378.5; NGA 22462.
Tanjung Tiram Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) white concrete tower mounted on a triangular platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The front light is on a similar but shorter tower 320 m (1050 ft) north. Located just offshore on the east side of the entrance to Kuala Batubara. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1378.71; NGA 22463.5.
Tanjung Tambuntulang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); two white flashes every 4 s. 14 m (46 ft) square pyramidal white concrete tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available and the tower is not seen in Bing's distant satellite view. Located about 2 km (1.25 mi) off a promontory about 8 km (5 mi) east of the town of Tanjung Tiram. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1379.2; NGA 22471.

Pulau Salahnama Light, Batubara, October 2014
Google Plus photo by Amri Hakim

Asahan Regency Lighthouses
Sungai Asahan Outer Bar
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); red flash every 4 s. 15 m (49 ft) red beacon mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a fuzzy satellite view. Located off the mouth of the Asahan River, which leads to the port of Tanjungbalai. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1382; NGA 22480.
Tanjung Siapiapi (Siapi-Api)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 3 s. 14 m (46 ft) square pyramidal white skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located just off a low cape east of Tanjungbalai. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1383.8; NGA 22485.

North Labuhan Batu Regency Lighthouse
Tanjung Leidong (Leiding)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); two white flashes every 8 s. 15 m (49 ft) square pyramidal white skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the west side of the entrance to the Leidong estuary in Kuala Leidong. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1390; NGA 22486.

Labuhan Batu Regency Lighthouses
Tanjung Datu
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 5 s. 14 m (49 ft) white hourglass-shaped fiberglass tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the west side of the entrance to the Panai estuary. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1384.2; NGA 22487.
Pulau Kantan
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); green flash every 4 s. 20 m (66 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower painted green and mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located off the northern tip of an island in the Panai estuary. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1385.5; NGA 22489.

Riau Province Lighthouses

Rokan Hilir Regency: Arwah Islands Lighthouses
Pulau Jemur
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); white flash every 5 s. 24 m (79 ft) skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A photo (halfway down the page) is available, but the island is only a blur in Google's satellite view. Pulau Jemur is the largest of the Arwah island group east of Tanjungbalai in the Strait of Malacca, about 50 km (30 mi) offshore and 75 km (45 mi) from the Malaysian coast. (Malaysia also claims the islands, but the Indonesian Navy maintains the Pulau Batu Mandi station on the easternmost island to establish sovereignty.) The Riau provincial government is interested in developing tourist facilities on Pulau Jemur, but admits that conditions are somewhat primitive at the present time. Accessible only by boat; speedboat transportation is available from Bagansiapiapi. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-201; Admiralty F1386; NGA 22484.
Pulau Batumandi (Batu Mandi)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 43 m (141 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on a 2-story concrete keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white. This station is staffed by the Indonesian Navy. A photo is at right. Located on a rocky reef near the center of the Malacca Strait, about 13 km (8 mi) east of Pulau Jemur. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1388; NGA 22484.5.
Pulau Batu Mandi Light
Pulau Batu Mandi Light
anonymous Creative Commons photo (no longer online)

Bengkalis Regency: Pulau Rupat Area Lighthouses
Note: Rupat is a large island, about 40 km (25 mi) in diameter, separated from the mainland of Sumatra by the narrow Rupat Strait.
Pulau Burung
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red flash every 5 s. 13 m (43 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Bing has a distant satellite view. Located off the west end of Pulau Burung, a small island just off the north coast of Pulau Rupat. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1395.2; NGA 22491.
Tanjung Medang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 52 m (171 ft); white flash every 10 s. 50 m (164 ft) square tapered skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Keeper's houses nearby. Seiichi Okawa's photo is at the top of this page, Melvinas Priananda's photo is at right, and Bing has a good satellite view. Tanjung Medang is an important landmark marking the entrance to the narrow section of the Malacca Strait. Located on a swampy cape at the northern tip of Pulau Rupat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-315; Admiralty F1395; NGA 22492.
Morong
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 25 m (82 ft) square tapered skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located at an estuary entrance on the east side of Pulau Rupat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-171; Admiralty F1395.5; NGA 22496.

Bengkalis Regency: Strait of Malacca Main Channel Lighthouses
Gosong Raleigh (Raleigh Shoal)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 13 m (43 ft) tower, probably mounted on a caisson or concrete pier. Lighthouse painted black with one red horizontal band. No photo available. Located on the south side of the main ship channel of the Malacca Strait, northeast of Pulau Rupat. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1396; NGA 22500.
Gosong Rob Roy (Rob Roy Bank)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 13 m (43 ft) tower, probably mounted on a caisson or concrete pier. Lighthouse painted black with one red horizontal band. No photo available. Located on the south side of the main ship channel of the Malacca Strait, east of Pulau Rupat. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1397; NGA 22508.

Tanjung Medang Light, Pulau Rupat, July 2016
Google Plus photo by Melvinas Priananda
Gosong Clark (Clark Bank)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 3 s. 14 m (46 ft) tower painted white. No photo available. Located on a shoal on the south side of the main channel in the Strait of Malacca, about 25 km (15 mi) north of Pulau Bengkalis. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1398; NGA 22578.

Bengkalis Regency: Rupat Island Lighthouse
* Batu Pandang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 3 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical white skeletal tower. A photo is at right and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the pier at Batu Pandang on the south side of Rupat Island opposite Dumai city. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1401.5; NGA 22511.5.

Dumai City Lighthouses
Note: Dumai is an industrial city and seaport on the south side of Rupat Strait. The city has a population of about 300,000.
Dumai
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white flash every 4 s. 25 m (82 ft) white skeletal tower with three galleries. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The nature of this tower is not known. Note: NGA has an incorrect Admiralty number for this light. Located in an industrial park on the east side of Dumai. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1400.05; NGA 22511.1.
Selat Rupat
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 43 m (141 ft); white light, 2 s on, 3 s off. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available but Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the Dumai Industrial Park, on the south side of the Rupat Strait, which separates Pulau Rupat from the mainland. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1402.6; NGA 22523.1.

Bengkalis Regency: Rupat and Bengkalis Straits Lighthouses
Selat Rupat G (Tanjung Lebang Outbound Range Front)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); quick-flashing white light. 16 m (52 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the area. Located about 5 km (3 mi) northeast of Tanjung Lebang, the south side of the entrance to the Rupat Strait. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1401.9; NGA 22520.

Batu Pandang Light, Pulau Rupat, November 2016
Google Plus photo by erwans st
Selat Rupat F (Tanjung Lebang Range Common Rear)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 17 m (56 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the area. Located 1425 m (0.89 mi) east of the Outbound Range Front Light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1402; NGA 22512.
Selat Rupat E (Tanjung Lebang Inbound Range Front)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); quick-flashing white light. 16 m (52 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the area. Located 300 m (0.2 mi) southeast of the Common Rear Light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1402.1; NGA 22516.
Selat Rupat A
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 13 m (43 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the area. Located on a shoal about 5 km (3 mi) offshore marking the eastern approach to the Rupat Strait and Dumai. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1402.5; NGA 22523.
Selat Rupat D
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off. 14 m (46 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the area. For vessels leaving the Bengkalis Strait, this light marks the point of division between the channels leading to the Rupat Strait and to the open Malacca Strait. Located on a shoal about 10 km (6 mi) north northwest of Tanjung Bakau. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1403; NGA 22524.
Tanjung Bakau C (Range Rear)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 28 m (92 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available but Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. This is an outbound range for vessels leaving Bengkalis; it shares a front light tower with the Range Rear B light (next entry). Located on the south side of the strait leading to Bengkalis. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-293; Admiralty F1404.1; NGA 22536.
Tanjung Bakau B (Range Rear)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 28 m (92 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. This is an inbound range for vessels approaching Bengkalis; it shares a front light tower with the Range Rear C light (previous entry). Located on the south side of the strait leading to Bengkalis. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-292; Admiralty F1403.9; NGA 22532.
Tanjung Bakau A (Common Front)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); quick-flashing white light. 15 m (49 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located just offshore, 1 km (0.6 mi) east of Light C and 760 m (0.5 mi) north of Light B. Accessible only by boat but there must be a good view from the nearby Tenggayun Beach. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1404; NGA 22528.

Bengkalis Regency and City: Pulau Bengkalis Lighthouses
* Bengkalis
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); white flash every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) tower; the light is apparently on a square skeletal communications tower seen in Google's street view and the photo at right. Bing has a satellite view. Bengkalis is a small city on the south side of the island of Bengkalis, just off the mainland of Sumatra. Located just off the waterfront of Bengkalis. Site status unknown but the tower is easy to see from nearby streets. Admiralty F1407; NGA 22544.
Tanjung Jati
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); white light, 2 s on, 6 s off. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available and the light is barely visible in Google's satellite view of the area. Located on the east side of the entrance to the Bengkalis Strait. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1406; NGA 22542.
Tanjung Parit
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); white flash every 5 s. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available and Google has only a distant satellite view of the area. Located on a swampy cape at the northeastern corner of Bengkalis Island. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-320; Admiralty F1413.5; NGA 22580.
Tanjung Sekodi
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); white flash every 7.5 s. Approx. 28 m (92 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available but Google has a distant satellite view. Located on a swampy cape at the southeastern corner of Bengkalis Island. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1413.7; NGA 22580.7.

Bengkalis Light, Pulau Bengkalis, December 2009
Flickr photo by rilham2new the 6th for City of Bengkalis

Kepulauan Meranti (Meranti Islands) Regency Lighthouse
Tanjung Menggung
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); white flash every 5 s. 16 m (52 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the area. Located off the southern tip of Pulau Rangsang. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1417; NGA 22590.

Indragiri Hilir Regency (Northern Berhala Strait) Lighthouses
Note: The Berhala Strait separates Sumatra from the southern Riau Islands, southwest of Singapore. The strait is generally 25-40 km (15-25 mi) wide.
Tanjung Datuk (Tanjung Dato)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 5 s. 25 m (82 ft) "white beacon" on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a fuzzy satellite view. Located just off a swampy point on the west side of the Berhala Strait. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-300; Admiralty F1429; NGA 22616.
Tanjung Bakau
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) "white beacon." No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located off a swampy point about 30 km (19 mi) south of Tanjung Datuk. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0981; NGA 22720.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Eastern Aceh | Northeast: West Malaysia South Coast | East: Riau Islands | South: Southeastern Sumatra

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key

Posted April 13, 2006. Checked and revised November 2, 2018. Lighthouses: 43. Site copyright 2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.