Lighthouses of Indonesia: Southwestern 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 west coast of the island including the provinces of Bengkulu and West Sumatra.

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.

Note: There are separate pages for the lighthouses of the Riau Islands and of Bangka and Belitung, islands lying off the east coast of Sumatra.

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 Navigation.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volumes F and Q of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Indonesian Lighthouses
Historic postcard views from the collection of Michel Forand.
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.
Ujung Batumandi Light
Ujung Batumandi Light, Padang, October 2008
photo copyright vault350; permission requested

Bengkulu Province Lighthouses

Kaur Regency Lighthouses
Tanjung Linau
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 23 m (75 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, probably with lantern and gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a promontory in southernmost Bengkulu province. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0900; NGA 23098.
Tanjung Bandar
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 3 s. 16 m (52 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, probably with lantern and gallery, painted white. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located on a promontory about 1 km (0.6 mi) south of Bintuhan. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-294; Admiralty Q0898; NGA 23099.

South Bengkulu Regency Lighthouse
Mana (Tanjung Manna)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 23 m (75 ft) skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Google has a street view, but the tower is very difficult to see in Google's satellite view. Located beside a street at the south end of Mana, the capital of the South Bengkulu Regency. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0897; NGA 23100.

Enggano Island Lighthouse
Note: Enggano is a substantial island in the Indian Ocean, measuring roughly 30 km by 15 km (19 mi by 9 mi), about 100 km (60 mi) west of Krui. It has only a small population and is rarely visited. Administratively it is attached to the North Bengkulu Regency.
Pulau Enggano (Malakoni)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. This light is probably mounted on the communications tower seen at the left in Aldi Rahmayadi's photo, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at Malakoni, a small ferry port on the east coast of Enggano. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-197; Admiralty Q0895; NGA 23101.

Bengkulu City Lighthouse
* Pulaubaai West Breakwater (Lentera Hijau)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green flash every 3 s. 9 m (30 ft) round barbell-shaped green tower. Agoni Rahim has a photo, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Pulaubaai is a lagoon converted into a harbor about 15 km (9 mi) south of central Bengkulu. Located on the east breakwater of the dredged entrance to the harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0885; NGA 23102.4.
* Pulaubaai East Breakwater (Lentera Merah)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); red flash every 2 s. 9 m (30 ft) round barbell-shaped red tower. A photo is available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the west breakwater of the dredged entrance to the harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0885.2; NGA 23102.6.
* Pulau Tikus (3?)
Date unknown (station established 1883). Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white light, 5 s on, 5 s off. 30 m (98 ft) tapered square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white, centered on a square 1-story keeper's house. An excellent aerial photo is available, Rochmadi Hendro Cahyono has a photo, a page for the island has several photos, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Forand has a distant postcard view of what is believed to be the second tower. The light station is reported to be staffed. Note: There is another Pulau Tikus lighthouse in West Malaysia. Located on a tiny island about 10 km (6 mi) southwest of Bengkulu; boat transportation to the island can be hired in Bengkulu. Accessible only by boat. Site open, apparently it is possible to climb the tower. ARLHS IDO-254; Admiralty Q0884; NGA 23104.

North Bengkulu Regency Lighthouse
Pulau Mega (Pulau Mego)
Date unknown (clearly recent). Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. The island is the site of a tectonic monitoring station installed in 2008 by Caltech University in a project aimed at measuring tectonic strains in this earthquake-prone area. One of Caltech's photos is at right, but the tower has not been located in Google's satellite view. Located on a small island about 160 km (100 mi) west southwest of Bengkulu. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0883.95; NGA 23101.7.

Mukomuko Regency Lighthouse
* Mukomuko (Muko-Muko)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 23 m (75 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located near the Mukomuko airport, at the northern end of Bengkulu province. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0884.7; NGA 23128.

Pulau Mego Light, 2008
Caltech Tectonics Observatory photo

West Sumatra Province Lighthouses

Mentawai Islands Regency Lighthouses
Note: The Mentawai Islands are a chain of islands lying about 150 km (90 mi) off the coast of West Sumatra province. Lightly populated, the islands are best known to surfers. The lights of these islands are not well known. From south to north, the four major islands are South Pagai, North Pagai, Sipura, and Siberut.
Pulau Simonga (Simongguk)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); white flash every 8 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. Coast guard station with half a dozen buildings. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's indistinct satellite view of the station. Located on a small island off the southeastern end of the Mentawai archipelago. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0883.75; NGA 23116.
Tanjung Bio
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 4 s. 21 m (69 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a platfomr supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located just offshore near the southern tip of Pulau Pagai Selatan (South Pagai), the southernmost of the Mentawai islands. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0883.65; NGA 23115.
Pulau Sibarubaru
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 45 m (148 ft); white light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island off the southwestern tip of South Pagai. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0883.62.
Tanjung Kinapat (Kinapet)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The light guides vessels in the Sipura Strait, the passage between Sipura and Pagai Utara (North Pagai). Located on the southern tip of Pulau Sipura. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0878.5; NGA 23135.7.
* Pulau Sipura
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. A view from the water is at right, but the tower has not been seen in Bing's satellite view of the port. Located on the waterfront of Pulau Sipura, on the east side of Sipura island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0878.1; NGA 23136.
Pulau Ngiau
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 5 s. Skeletal tower, height unknown, painted white. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the island. Located on a small island off the southern end of Pulau Siberut, the largest of the Mentawai Islands. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0877.6; NGA 23153.8.
Tanjung Sigep
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 5 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view of the station. NGA lists the focal plane as 14 m (46 ft); 46 m seems more likely. Located at the northern tip of Pulau Siberut. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0875.7; NGA 23153.

Sunset at Pulau Sipura Light, Sipura, January 2005
photo copyright bobbymbot; permission requested

South Pesisir Regency Lighthouses
Pulau Katangkatang (3)
2008 (station established 1898). Active; focal plane about 41 m (135 ft); three white flashes every 22 s. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and Bing has only a distant satellite view of the islet. The original lighthouse was a skeletal tower with a focal plane height of 20 m (66 ft). A second skeletal tower was built in 1923. NGA continues to describe the 1923 tower. Located on a small island about 25 km (15 mi) off the coast and about 150 km (90 mi) south of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-202; Admiralty Q0884.2; NGA 23140.
Pulau Karaba Kecil
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. Several 1-story buildings. Ardian Praduba has a view from the sea, Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a tiny island about 20 km (13 mi) offshore and 80 km (50 mi) south of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0875; NGA 23154.
Baturimau Point (Painan Bay)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted white and mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located just off shore at the south side of the entrance to Painan, a small port about 50 km (30 mi) south of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0874.8.
Pulau Cingkuk Besar
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 50 m (164 ft); white light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Dani Pratikno has a distant street view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on an island on the north side of the entrance to Painan Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0874.5.
Pulau Nyamuk (Nuamuk)
Date unknown (station established 1913). Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 31 m (102 ft) cast iron skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This may be the original lighthouse. Located on a small island about 8 km (5 mi) off the coast and about 50 km (30 mi) south of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-229; Admiralty Q0874; NGA 23156.

Padang City Lighthouses
Note: With a population of about one million, Padang is the largest city on the Indian Ocean coast of Sumatra. The Dutch established a base here in 1680. The area suffered a devastating earthquake on 30 September 2009.
Pulau Brintanggar (Bintanggor)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 116 m (381 ft); white flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on an island about 25 km (15 mi) southeast of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-194; Admiralty Q0873; NGA 23158.
Passar Batung
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 3 s. 14 m (46 ft) square white concrete tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located off the small port of Batung, about 20 km (13 mi) south of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0852; NGA 23162.4.
Teluk Bungus
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 3 s. 17 m (56 ft) round white fiberglass tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Teluk Bungus is a sheltered bay in the lee of Ujung Batumandi, southeast of Padang. Located on the seaward side of a large reef in Teluk Bungus. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0850.5; NGA 23161.
Karang Sandung
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); two quick white flashes every 5 s. 18 m (59 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower also carries black and red daymarks. Suhendri Hasan's 2013 photo is at right, Luthfi Amara has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a shoal in the sheltered bay about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) southeast of the Batumandi lighthouse (next entry). Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0851; NGA 23162.
*** Ujung Batumandi (Ujung Sungei Bramei, Padang) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1891). Active; focal plane 161 m (528 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 14 m (46 ft) white round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story keeper's house. A photo is at the top of this page, Syamsul Putra has a 2012 photo, a 2011 closeup is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The original lighthouse was a skeletal tower with lantern. This is one of the most accessible lighthouses of the Sumatran mainland. Located just off the coastal highway on a sharp promontory about 10 km (6 mi) south of Padang. Site open, tower open but the schedule is not known. ARLHS IDO-086; Admiralty Q0864; NGA 23164.
[Pulau Pisang (3)]
Date unknown (station established 1880). Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); green flashing light. 10 m (33 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No current photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The second light was a substantial stone tower built sometime after 1895. Possibly this lighthouse was lost in an earthquake. Located on the southern tip of a small island about 2 km (1.25 mi) off the coast at Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-242; Admiralty Q0861; NGA 23184.
Pulau Toran
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 4 s. 15 m (49 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. A distant view is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a small island about 25 km (15 mi) west of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-255; Admiralty Q0858; NGA 23165.
Karang Sandung Light
Karang Sandung Light, Padang, May 2013
photo copyright Suhendri Hasan; used by permission

Pariaman City Lighthouse
Pulau Karsik
Date unknown (station established 1917). Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); four white flashes every 15 s. 31 m (102 ft) cast iron skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a small island about 4 km (2.5 mi) off the coast near Pariaman and about 80 km (50 mi) north of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-205; Admiralty Q0850; NGA 23196.

Agam Regency Lighthouse
Pulau Ujung
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 5 s. 14 (46 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island about 4 km (2.5 mi) off the coast at Tiku, about 40 km (25 mi) northwest of Pariaman. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-257; Admiralty Q0846; NGA 23200.

North Pasaman Regency Lighthouse
Pulau Pangkal
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 57 m (187 ft); white light, 2 s on, 3 s off. 8 (26 ft) round tower with gallery. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a small island about 15 km (9 mi) southwest of Airbangis.. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1236; NGA 23212.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Northwestern Sumatra | South: Southeastern Sumatra

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Posted April 13, 2006. Checked and revised January 4, 2018. Lighthouses: 30. Site copyright 2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.