Lighthouses of Indonesia: Aceh (Northwestern 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 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. 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.
Brueh Light
Breueh Light, Sabang, 2013
Ministry of Culture and Education photo

West Coast (Indian Ocean) Lighthouses

Aceh Singkil Regency Lighthouses
* Singkil (Singkel) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1912). Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 6 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. A photo of the lower portion of the tower is available, and Google has a satellite view. A 1917 coast pilot lists the original light with a focal plane of 21 m (69 ft). Located near the waterfront of Pasar Singkel in the extreme southern end of Aceh. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS IDO-279; Admiralty F1267; NGA 23292.
Pulau Bagu (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); four white flashes every 18 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. A distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. The earlier light here had a focal plane of 32 m (105 ft). Located in the Pulau Banyak Islands, about 50 km (30 mi) west of Singkil. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1271.5; NGA 23295.
Sarang Uln
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); white flash every 5 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's fuzzy satellite view of the island. Located on a small island at the south end of the Banyak Islands, a group of islands between the mainland and the larger island of Simeulue. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1273; NGA 23304.

Simeulue Regency Lighthouses
Note: Simeulue is a large island about 130 km (80 mi) off the coast of West Aceh. The island was near the epicenter of the great earthquake of 26 December 2004 and suffered another major earthquake several months later. The two earthquakes tilted the entire island, raising the west coast by about 2 meters and dropping the east coast a similar amount.
Tinggi
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); white flash every 3 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. The lighthouse guides vessels approaching Simeulue Barat, a port on the northeast coast of Simeulue. Located on a small island about 4 km (2.5 mi) off the coast of Simeulue. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-341; Admiralty F1278; NGA 23310.
Pulau Siumat
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); white flash every 6 s. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Siumat is a small island about 16 km (10 mi) off the central east coast of Simeulue. Located at the east end of the island. Site status unknown. Accessible only by boat. Admiralty F1276; NGA 23311.
Teluk Sinabang (Ujung Babang)
Date unknown (2008?). Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); white flash every 3 s. 25 m (82 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Teluk Sinabang is a magnificent natural harbor on the southeastern coast of Simeulue. Located on heights at the east side of the entrance to the harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1274.5; NGA 23308.
Pulau Babi
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 27 m (89 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. Babi is a small island about 50 km (30 mi) southeast of Pulau Simeulue. Located on the west side of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1273.5; NGA 23305.

Aceh Selatan (South Aceh) Regency Lighthouses
Ujung Kupiah (Tapaktuan) (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 56 m (184 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted white. Rawoh Nanggroe has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a promontory at the entrance to Tapaktuan, the capital of South Aceh Regency. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1284; NGA 23320.
Labuhon Haji Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 14 m (46 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. The light is on the left in the photo at right, and Bing has a satellite view. Located offshore at Labuhan Haji. Accessible only by boat, but easily seen from shore. Site open, tower closed.
Labuhon Haji Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. The light is on the right in the photo at right, and Bing has a satellite view. Located offshore at Labuhan Haji. Accessible only by boat, but easily seen from shore. Site open, tower closed.

West Aceh Lighthouses
Susoh
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); green flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round barbell-shaped tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. A photo is available, Jusuf Sarjanuddin has a second photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located off a sand spit at Susoh in Southwest Aceh Regency. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1290; NGA 23324.

Labuhon Haji Range Lights, South Aceh, March 2010
Aceh Department of Marine and Fisheries photo
Ujung Raya
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a remote, rounded headland in Nagan Raya regency. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1289; NGA 23326.
Ujung Kareueng (Teluk Muelaboh) (2?)
Date unknown (2005?). Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); white light, 2 s on, 6 s off. 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. A 2013 closeup photo is available, an aerial photo of the promontory, the tower is barely visible at the extreme tip of the point (use maximum magnification), and Google has a satellite view. This area was devastated by the 2004 tsunami, and the original lighthouse must have been destroyed; a 2007 photo of the remaining damage was almost certainly taken from the new lighthouse. Located on a promontory at Muelaboh, the capital of West Aceh Regency. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-350; Admiralty F1292; NGA 23328.

Aceh Jaya Lighthouses
Krueng Teunom
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 34 m (111 ft); red flash every 7.5 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the Teunom River entrance northwest of Suak Uleue and about 50 km (30 mi) northwest of Muelaboh. (The river entrance is blocked by a bar, so this must be a coastal light rather than a harbor light.) Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-149; Admiralty F1292.2; NGA 23328.5.
Ujung Baro
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and the tower is too new to appear in Bing's satellite view. Located on a tombolo (island) just off a promontory near Alue Titi. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-347; Admiralty F1292.35; NGA 23329.5.
Pulau Rangas
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 50 m (164 ft); white flash every 5 s. NGA provides no description of this light; Google's satellite view reveals what is probably a round white fiberglass tower at least 15 m (49 ft) tall. No photo available. Located on a small island about 3 km (1.75 mi) southwest of Ujung Baro. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-261; Admiralty F1292.3; NGA 23329.
Pulau Raya
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 72 m (236 ft); two quick white flashes every 5 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round white fiberglass tower with gallery. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the northwest corner of Pulau Raya, a triangular island just off the coast near Sampoiniet. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1292.5; NGA 23330.
Ujung Tangkura
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); three quick white flashes every 5 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round white fiberglass tower with gallery. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a prominent cape north of Jaya. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1292.7; NGA 23331.

North Coast (Andaman Sea) Lighthouses

Sabang Regency 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 at right, 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.
** Breueh (Pulau Brueh, Pulau Bras, Willemstoren)
1875. Active; focal plane 160 m (525 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 44 m (144 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted red with one very broad white horizontal band. 5th order clamshell Fresnel lens (last photo on the page) in use. This is a staffed station. A photo is at the top of this page, a recent photo is available, Irhamuddin Guna has a 2013 closeup, Wikimedia has three historic photos from the collection of the Amsterdam Tropenmuseum, and Bing has a satellite view. This light marks the extreme northwestern corner of Indonesia, the island of Brueh off the northwestern end of Sumatra. Breueh was devastated by the tsunami of 26 December 2004, but this lighthouse was far above the waves. Some of its support buildings were destroyed by the earthquake, however. Located at the northern tip of Brueh, about 40 km (25 mi) northwest of Banda Aceh. There are ecotours to the island, and the light station is accessible by road; it's a walk of 4 km (2.5 mi) from the nearest fishing village. Site open, tours by the lighthouse staff of the station and tower can be arranged. ARLHS IDO-051; Admiralty F1302; NGA 22236.
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.

Pulau Rondo Light, Aceh, July 2008
Creative Commons photo
by Garis Depan Nusantara
(no longer online)
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.
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. A closeup photo is available, the light is seen at left center of a view from the sea, and 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.

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

Aceh Besar (North Aceh) Regency and Banda Aceh City Lighthouses
Note: Banda Aceh is the capital of the Aceh region. Built on low ground, the city was devastated by the 2004 tsunami.
Pulau Bunta (Ujung Mane)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 90 m (295 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. The lantern has been removed. A 2013 photo is at right, Aiyub Muchtar also has a 2013 photo (halfway down the page), and Google has a satellite view of the light station. This light marks the beginning of the approach to Banda Aceh from the Indian Ocean. Pulau Bunta is an island off the extreme northwestern tip of Sumatra. Located at the western tip of the island, about 25 km (15 mi) west of Banda Aceh. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1295; NGA 22238.
Pulau Dedap (Pulau Deudab, Ujung Umpee)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); white flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) barbell-shaped white fiberglass tower. Qu Syairy has a view from the sea, Bachtiar Arrahman has a very distant view from the sea, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a small "island," really a peninsula, at the southeastern tip of Pulau Nasi, an island about 15 km (9 mi) west of Banda Aceh. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1296; NGA 22273.
#Ulee Lheue (Banda Aceh)
Date unknown. Status unknown. Approx.18 m (59 ft) square concrete pylon, unpainted. The beacon originally had a lantern, but no pre-tsunami photos have been found. The tsunami swept entirely over the tower, ripping off the lantern and creating a lasting symbol of its fury. A closeup photo of the result is available. The tower has disappeared from Google's satellite view. Located on a low island sheltering Ulee Lheue, the harbor district of Banda Aceh. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed.

Pulau Bunta Light, Aceh Besar, 2013
Aceh Tourism Agency photo
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)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 3 s. 15 m (49 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted white. The tower is near the right edge of 's photo, light is visible in a distant view of the harbor, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the waterfront of Krueng Raya, an industrial harbor about 25 km (15 mi) east of Banda Aceh. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1317; NGA 22272.
Krueng Raya (Krueng Raja)
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 Bing has a 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. Three blue-roofed keeper's houses. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view of the station. 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 Regency Lighthouses
* 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.
* 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. No photo available, but 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 black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but 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.
Lhokseumawe (2)
Date unknown (station established 1904). Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white flash every 3 s. 13 m (43 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 of similar size 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.

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 Lhokseurnawe. 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.

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. Pak Ivan Setiawan has a closeup photo of 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 | South: Southwestern Sumatra

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Posted April 13, 2006. Checked and revised November 16, 2016. Lighthouses: 40. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.