Lighthouses of Indonesia: Eastern Aceh, 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.

Located at the northwestern end of Sumatra, Aceh was the scene of a lengthy and sometimes violent separatist movement, first against Dutch control and then against Indonesian administration. Following the disastrous tsunami of 26 December 2004 a peace agreement, negotiated with the help of Finnish diplomats, was signed in August 2005. Aceh is governed not as a province of Indonesia but as a "special territory" enjoying a considerable degree of autonomy. The capital is Banda Aceh, and the territory has a population of roughly four million. This page includes lighthouses of the eastern half of the territory, facing the Andaman Sea to the north and the Strait of Malacca to the east. There's another page for Western Aceh.

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 volume F of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. 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
Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
GPSNavigationCharts
Navigation chart information for Aceh.

Pulau Rondo Light, Sabang, July 2008
Creative Commons photo
by Garis Depan Nusantara
(no longer online)
Sabang City (Pulau Weh) Lighthouses
Note: Pulau Weh is the northwesternmost inhabited island of Indonesia. Also known as Sabang, the name of its largest town, the island has a population of about 25,000 and attracts tourists from Indonesia and elsewhere.
Pulau Rondo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 193 m (633 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A photo is above, and Bing has a satellite view of the station. Pulau Rondo is the northwesternmost island of Indonesia, about 25 km (15 mi) northwest of Pulau Weh. The island is uninhabited but is sometimes visited by scuba divers. There is also a small Indonesian military outpost on the island. Accessible only boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-369; Admiralty F1300; NGA 22232.
Pulau Klah (Pulau Weh, Sabang) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1896). Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); white light, 7 s on, 23 s off. 10 m (33 ft) skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Hantu Laut has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view of the station. The original light was announced in the London Gazette of 2 October 1896. The lighthouse is high enough to have escaped damage from the tsunami of 26 December 2004, but it might have been damaged by the earthquake. Located on a small island in the entrance to the harbor of Sabang, about 40 km (25 mi) north of Banda Aceh. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-208; Admiralty F1310; NGA 22244.
Ujung Lhome (Teluk Sabang, Sabang Harbor, Ujung Lho Me, Ujung Asam, Massam Point) (4)
2015(?) (station established 1905). Active; focal plane about 24 m (79 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 20 m (66 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A closeup photo and another photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Klaus Huelse has a historic postcard view of the original lighthouse, a skeletal tower. It was replaced by a concrete tower, which must have been destroyed by the tsunami, and then by another skeletal tower. Construction of the present tower began in March 2015. Located on the north side of the entrance to Sabang harbor. Site apparently open, tower closed. ARLHS IDO-340; Admiralty F1312; NGA 22240.
Sabang Signal Station
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown but at least 60 m (197 ft); continuous red light. Light mounted on a mast atop one of the station buildings. No photo available but Google has a satellite view of the station. Located atop Sabang Hill overlooking the harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1313; NGA 22252.
Le Meule (Ujung Tapagaya, Ujung Baratlaut) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1905). Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); white flash every 5 s. 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. A 2010 photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the northern point of Pulau Weh. Site apparently open, and Sandy Luthfi has a photo of visitors atop the tower. ARLHS IDO-153; Admiralty F1308; NGA 22260.
Ujung Seuke
Date unknown (1980s?). Active; focal plane 85 m (279 ft); white flash every 2.5 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery painted white. No photo available but Google has a satellite view of the station. Located on the southeastern tip of Pulau Weh about 10 km (6 mi) southeast of Sabang. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1314; NGA 22258.
* Balohan (Pelabuhan Sabang)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); yellow flash every 3 s. 9 m (30 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery painted white. Fajri Ayi has a photo and Google has a satellite view. Balohan is the terminal for ferries arriving at Pulau Weh from Banda Aceh. Located at the ferry terminal, on the south coast of the island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1313.5; NGA 22256.
Ujung Teupinpineung
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); yellow flash every 5 s. 8 m (26 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery painted white. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located at Pasi Jaboi, near the southern tip of Pulau Weh. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1313.8.

Le Meule Light, Sabang, March 2010
Aceh Department of Marine and Fisheries photo

Eastern Aceh Besar (North Aceh) Regency Lighthouses
Pulau Buru (Buro) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1889). Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 3 s. 15 m (49 ft) barbell-shaped white fiberglass tower, centered on a square base. Michael Thirnbeck has an aerial photo, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse escaped serious damage by the 2004 tsunami because it is built on an isolated island too small (only 50 m (160 ft) in diameter) to trigger the great waves to rise up to destructive size. The original lighthouse was a hexagonal skeletal tower with lantern. Located about 15 km (9 mi) north of Banda Aceh and a similar distance south of Pulau Weh. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1315; NGA 22268.
Teluk Krueng Raya (Krueng Raja) (1)
Date unknown. Inactive. 15 m (49 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted white. Phermana Rendy has a 2016 photo showing the new (taller) tower next to the original tower, and Google has a satellite view of the two towers. Located on the waterfront of Krueng Raya, an industrial harbor about 25 km (15 mi) east of Banda Aceh. Site status unknown.
Teluk Krueng Raya (Krueng Raja) (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 3 s. Approx. 28 m (92 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted white. Phermana Rendy has a 2016 photo showing the new, taller tower next to the original tower. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1317; NGA 22272.
Krueng Raya (Krueng Raja, Ujung Batukapal)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); white light, 2 s on, 6 s off. 12.5 m (41 ft) barbell-shaped white fiberglass tower. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a promontory sheltering the east side of Krueng Raya bay. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1316; NGA 22276.

Pidie Regency Lighthouses
Ujung Pidie
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Four blue-roofed keeper's houses. No photo of the tower is available, but Google has a satellite view of the station and there's a photo showing two of the station buildings. This lighthouse marks a prominent cape about 80 km (50 mi) east of Banda Aceh and 16 km (10 mi) northwest of Sigli. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-344; Admiralty F1319; NGA 22286.
Sigli Approach
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) white fiberglass tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located just off the beach at Sigli. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1320.2; NGA 22292.

Lhokseumawe City Lighthouses
Note: Lhokseumawe is a seaport city of about 180,000 residents; it includes most of Aceh's port facilities.
Kreung Geukueh West Breakwater (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); green light, 2 s on, 8 s off. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower painted green. Daniel Nakaturi has a distant street view, and Google has a satellite view. Kreung Geukueh a general port of entry for Aceh. NGA lists a skeletal tower. Kreung Geukueh a general port of entry for Aceh. Located at the end of the west outer breakwater of Kreung Geukueh. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1321.3; NGA 22300.
* Kreung Geukueh West Inner Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 10 m (33 ft); green flash every 3 s. 8 m (26 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower on a square base, painted green. Ibnu Fatani's photo is at right, Daniel Nakaturi has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the short inner west breakwater of Kreung Geukueh. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1321.5; NGA 22305.
Kreung Geukueh East Inner Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 10 m (33 ft); red flash every 3 s. 8 m (26 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower on a square base, painted red. The light is in the left background of Ibnu Fatani's photo, Daniel Nakaturi has a distant street view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the short inner east breakwater of Kreung Geukueh. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1321.4.
Kreung Geukueh East Breakwater (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); red light, 2 s on, 8 s off. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower painted red. A photo is available, Daniel Nakaturi has a distant street view, and Google has a satellite view. NGA lists a skeletal tower. Located at the end of the east outer breakwater of Kreung Geukueh. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1321.2; NGA 22304.
* Blang Lancang West Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 36 m (118 ft) square pyramidal tower with gallery, painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Blang Lancang is an artificial harbor for liquid natural gas shipments, built on the west side of Lhokseumawe. The function of this range is not clear. Located on the west side of the harbor. Site status unknown, but the tower would be easy to see from nearby roads. Admiralty F1323.5; NGA 112-22351.
* Blang Lancang West Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); white, red or green light depending on direction, occulting once every 4 s. 44 m (144 ft) square pyramidal tower with gallery, painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located 170 m (558 ft) west of the front light. Site status unknown, but the tower would be easy to see from nearby roads. Admiralty F1323.51; NGA 22352.

Inner West Breakwater Light, Kreung Geukueh, September 2017
Google Plus photo by Ibnu Fatani
* Blang Lancang Entrance Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 36 m (118 ft) square pyramidal tower with gallery, painted with black and white horizontal bands. Zulfitriansyah Putra has a photo of both range lights and Bing has a satellite view. This is the entrance range for Blang Lancang harbor. Located on the south side of the harbor. Site status unknown, but the tower would be easy to see from nearby roads. Admiralty F1322; NGA 22340.
* Blang Lancang Entrance Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); white light, occulting once every 8 s. 45 m (148 ft) square pyramidal tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Zulfitriansyah Putra has a photo of both range lights and Bing has a satellite view. Located 157 m (515 ft) southwest of the front light. Site status unknown, but the tower would be easy to see from nearby roads. Admiralty F1322.1; NGA 22344.
Hagu (Lhokseumawe) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1904). Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) iron framework tower, painted white. No photo available, and the tower has not been found in Google's satellite view. The original lighthouse was similar but the focal plane was only 15 m (49 ft). Located in Lhokseumawe, a city about 160 km (100 mi) east of Banda Aceh. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-157; Admiralty F1324; NGA 22356.
* Lhokseumawe
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white light, 2 s on, 8 s off. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Agus Nasution has a 2017 photo, but the tower is very difficult to distinguish in Google's satellite view of the location. NGA lists the light as Lhokseumawe Pier Head, but there is no pier here. Located on the beach near the foot of Merdeka Street in Lhokseumawe. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1326; NGA 22360.

Aceh Timur (East Aceh) Regency Lighthouses
Tanjung Jamboaye (Tanjung Jambuair, Diamantpunt, Diamond Point) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1905). Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); one long (1.5 s) white flash every 5 s. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower on an octagonal base. Lighthouse painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view of the station. The original lighthouse was a 26 m (85 ft) screwpile tower. This lighthouse is on Sumatra's northern "shoulder," marking the south side of the entrance to the Strait of Malacca. Located on Tanjung (cape) Jamboaye, about 40 km (25 mi) east of Lhokseumawe. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-083; Admiralty F1327; NGA 22364.
* Idi (Edie Rajut)
1903. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) hexagonal iron skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. No current photo available, but Bing has a satellite view that may show the lighthouse. It is possible that the original lighthouse is still in service here. Located at Idi Tunong, a town about 50 km (30 mi) southeast of Tanjung Jambuair. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS IDO-133; Admiralty F1327.5; NGA 22368.
Ujung Peureula (Peureulak)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white and mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available and the light is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located off a low cape near Peureulak. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1327.8; NGA 22369.
* Kuala Langsa (Kuala Beukah)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower painted white. Part of Lukmanul Hakim's street view is at right, and Edy Susanto has a 2018 photo, but it's hard to spot the tower in Google's satellite view. Located on the waterfront of the estuary leading to Langsa, a city of about 150,000 residents. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1330.7; NGA 22392.
Langsa Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 18 m (59 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white and mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. This is an approach range for Langsa. The front range is on a similar tower 9 m (30 ft) tall. Located just offshore near Langsa. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1330.1; NGA 22380.

Kuala Langsa Light, Aceh Timur, June 2015
Google Plus street view by Lukmanul Hakim

Tamiang Regency Lighthouse
Ujung Tamiang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white, rising from an octagonal 2-story white concrete building. Syamsul Bahri has a 2017 closeup photo, Guntur Ardhana has a photo of the station and the base of the lighthouse, and Google has a satellite view. Located just off a swampy cape about 35 km (22 mi) east of Langsa. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-345; Admiralty F1334; NGA 22394.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: West Malaysia West Coast | Southeast: Eastern Sumatra | Southwest: Western Aceh

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Posted April 13, 2006. Checked and revised October 19, 2018. Lighthouses: 30. Site copyright 2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.