Lighthouses of Indonesia: Natuna Sea Islands

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, we have no idea 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. We need more information and photos; if you know about lighthouses in Indonesia, please share that knowledge.

Indonesia's Riau Islands Province includes four groups of small islands located between Sumatra and Kalimantan (Borneo). The Riau group is south of Singapore and off the east coast of Sumatra; the Lingga group is farther south, straddling the Equator in the Karimata Strait; the Anambas group is off the east coast of West Malaysia; and the Natuna group is northwest of Sarawak in East Malaysia. In all there are more than 3000 islands in the province. This page lists lighthouses of the Anambas and Natuna Islands. The southern extension of the South China Sea surrounding these islands and extending south between Malaya and Borneo is now called the Natuna Sea, a name recognized by the International Hydrographic Organization in 1986.

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 volume F of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Garis Depan Nusantara - Kepulauan Riau
This site, no longer online, was the source for several of the photos on this page. The Indonesian name means "frontier archipelago," and the site concentrated on remote islands where Indonesian sovereignty might be in question.
World of Lighthouses - Indonesia
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Directory of Small Islands
Information available from the Indonesian government's Directorate of Small Islands (Direktori Pulau-Pulau Kecil).
Indonesian Lighthouses
Historic postcard views from the collection of Michel Forand.
Online List of Lights - Indonesia - Volume F
Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Tokong Nanas Light
Pulau Tokong Nanas Light, Anambas Islands, June 2013
Panoramio photo copyright Taufik Hidayatullah; used by permission

Anambas Islands Lighthouses

Note: The Anambas Islands are an archipelago in the Natuna Sea about 250-350 km (160-220 mi) northeast of the Malayan coast. The largest islands in the group are Jemaja in the southwest and a group of islands in the north that includes Mubur, Matak, and Siantan. The islands are governed as the Anambas Islands Regency of Riau Islands Province.
Southwestern Islands (Pulau Jemaja Area) Lighthouses
Pulau Malang Biru (Tokong Malangbiru)
Date unknown. Active (?); focal plane 16 m (52 ft); white flash every 4 s. NGA describes the current light only as a "white beacon." The original (?) lighthouse here was a tapered octagonal concrete or masonry tower with gallery. The upper half was painted white and the lower half black. A photo, a more distant view, and another view from the sea are available, but Bing has only a very fuzzy satellite view of the island. In the photos, the lighthouse appears abandoned, and there is no sign of a more recent light. Malang Biru is an isolated rock about 65 km (40 mi) south southwest of the main Anambas group and 175 km (110 mi) northeast of Singapore Strait. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1831; NGA 21097.5.
Pulau Repong
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); four white flashes every 12 s. Described only as a "white beacon." No photo available, and Bing has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island. Located on a small island about 50 km (30 mi) south of the main Anambas group. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1830.8; NGA 21097.6.
Pulau Damar
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 88 m (289 ft); white flash every 3 s. 10 m (33 ft) white fiberglass tower. No photo available; the lighthouse does not appear in a view of the island from the sea. Google has only a very distant satellite view of the island. Located on a small island about 30 km (19 mi) west southwest of Pulau Jemaja. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1828; NGA 21097.
Pulau Mangkai
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 196 m (343 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 40 m (131 ft) iron skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view of the station. Pulau Mangkai is the westernmost island of the Anambas group and is an important landmark for vessels bound to or from Singapore. However, there have been reports of pirate activity in the vicinity. The mountainous island is about 6 km (3.5 mi) in length. Located on the highest point of the island. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1832; NGA 21096.
Pulau Tulai
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 6 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) white tower. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a small island off Letung, the principal town of Pulau Jemaja. Accessible only by boat. Admiralty F1830.5; NGA 21096.7.
Tanjung Lelan
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. No description in NGA, but this is probably a 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower. No photo available, and Google has only a very distant satellite view of the cape. Located at the southern tip of Pulau Jemaja. Accessible only by boat. Admiralty F1830.55; NGA 21096.8.
Pulau Serak
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the west side of a small island about halfway between the major islands of Jemaja and Airabu. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1830.6; NGA 21097.7.

Northeastern Islands (Pulau Siantan Area) Lighthouses
Pulau Nunsa
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the south end of a small island at the southeastern end of an archipelago stretching southeastward from the major island of Siantan. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1834; NGA 21097.8.
Pulau Tokong Nanas
2006. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, mounted on a square concrete equipment shelter. Lighthouse painted white. Taufik Hidayatullah's photo is at the top of this page, but the islet is only a blur in Google's satellite view. Located on a rocky reef about 25 km (15 mi) northwest of Tanjung Pedas. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1835.5.
Terempa Light
Terempa Light, Terempa, June 2013
photo copyright Taufik Hidayatullah; used by permission
Tanjung Pedas
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 82 m (269 ft); white flash every 4 s. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the cape. This lighthouse guides vessels to Terempa, the principal town of the islands. Located at the northwestern tip of Siantan, one of the major islands of the Anambas group. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1835; NGA 21117.
* Terempa
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); continuous red light (?). 13 m (43 ft) round white concrete tower, flared at the top and bottom, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. Taufik Hidayatullah's photo is above right, Agregasi Haluan Kepri has a photo, and a view from the sea is available, but Google's satellite view has no detail in the area. In the photo the tower appears to have a white light. There is also a photo of a second light in Terempa. Located on the waterfront of Terempa, the principal town of the islands. Located on the north side of Siantan. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1836.3; NGA 21120.
Pulau Tokong Belayer
2006. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, mounted on a square concrete equipment shelter. Lighthouse painted white. A photo is at right, Taufik Hidayatullah has a photo, a 2009 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a rocky reef at the northern tip of the Anambas archipelago. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1835.8.
Pulau Tokong Belayer Light
Pulau Tokong Belayer Light, Anambas Islands
anonymous Creative Commons photo
posted by Garis Depan Nusantara

Natuna Islands Lighthouses

Note: The Natuna Islands are located in the Natuna Sea about 325 km (200 mi) off the coast of Borneo. Natuna Besar (Great Natuna Island) is by far the largest island of the group. The islands have a population of about 70,000.
Northern Natuna Islands Lighthouses
Sekatung (Sekatoeng, Tanjung Pala)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 98 m (322 ft); white light occulting once every 3 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Several 1-story keeper's houses or other station buildings. A photo is at right, but Google has only a distant satellite view of the location. This light marks the northernmost point of the Natuna group; it is Indonesia's northernmost light in the South China Sea. Located on a small island about 120 km (75 mi) north of Natuna Besar (Great Natuna). Site status unknown. Admiralty F1836.5; NGA 21112.
Pulau Semiun (Semium)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 160 m (525 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. A view from the sea and a second view are available, and Google has a satellite view of the station. Located atop a small high island about 80 km (50 mi) northwest of the northern point of Natuna Besar. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1836.6; NGA 21114.
Pulau Sebetul (Sekapul)
2006. Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, mounted on a square concrete equipment building. Lighthouse painted white. Savitri Kusuma has a 2015 photo, and another photo is available (#3 on the page), but the islet is only a faint blur in Google's satellite view. Located on a rocky reef off the southwestern tip of Pulau Laut, about 50 km (30 mi) north of Natuna Besar. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1836.55.
Pulau Tokong Boro (Tokongboro)
2006. Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, mounted on a square concrete equipment shelter. Lighthouse painted white. A photo is below right, but the island is barely visible in Google's satellite view. Located on a rocky reef about 55 km (35 mi) west of Natuna Besar. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1836.9.
Sekatung Light
Sekatung Light, Natuna Islands, September 2008
Creative Commons photo by Deni Sambas posted by Garis Depan Nusantara

Natuna Besar Area Lighthouses
Pulau Seluan (Saluan)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); four white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the south end of Seluan, an island about 18 km (11 mi) west of Natuna Besar. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1836.8; NGA 21101.
Pulau Senua (Senoa)
2006. Active; focal plane about 46 m (151 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white, rising from a large square station building. A photo and a distant view from the sea are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on an island about 7 km (4 mi) north northeast of Tanjung Senubing, off the east coast of Natuna Besar. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1836.65.
Tanjung Senubing (Senoebing)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 106 m (348 ft); white flash every 10 s. 20 m (66 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, although Bayuseta Jati has a view from the gallery, and the tower has not been found in Google's satellite view of the station. Located on heights at the easternmost point of Natuna Besar. Site open, and apparently the tower can be climbed. Admiralty F1836.7; NGA 21108.
Selat Lampa (Lampa Strait)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); green flash every 9 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted green. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view of the area. Lampa, at the southern end of Natuna Besar (Great Natuna), is the principal port of the Natuna Islands. Located on the west side of the harbor entrance. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1837.75; NGA 21104.7.

Southern Natuna Islands Lighthouses
Pulau Midai
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 158 m (518 ft); white flash every 20 s. 30 m (98 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view of the station. Pulau Midai is an isolated high island in the South Natuna group about 130 km (80 mi) southwest of Natuna Besar. Located on the highest point of the island. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1838; NGA 21100.
Karang Jackson
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. Lighthouse painted red, not white as listed by NGA. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located just off the southeastern tip of Pulau Midai. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1838.35; NGA 21100.1.
Tokong Boro Light
Tokong Boro Light, Natuna Islands, September 2008
anonymous Creative Commons photo
posted by Garis Depan Nusantara
Pulau Subi Kecil (Subi-kechil)
Date unknown (station established 1910). Active; focal plane 83 m (272 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 22 m (72 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and Google has a satellite view of the station. Pulau Subi Kecil is a small island in the South Natuna group, just north of Subi Besar and about 130 km (80 mi) southeast of Natuna Besar. Located on the highest point of the island. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-182; Admiralty F1844; NGA 25108.
Pulau Seraya (Seraja)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 97 m (318 ft); white flash every 6 s. Described only as a "white beacon." No photo available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the summit ridge of Pulau Seraya, an island about 30 km (19 mi) southwest of Pulau Subi Besar. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1845; NGA 25107.
Pulau Kelapa
2006. Active; focal plane 51 m (167 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, mounted on a 2-story concrete keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white. The station is staffed by 3 keepers. The tower is not seen in Google's satellite view of the island. Located on Pulau Kepala (Coconut Island), a small island off the northeastern end of Pulau Serasan, about 160 km (100 mi) southeast of Natuna Besar. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1846.
Batu Pacil
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12.5 m (41 ft); red flash every 3 s. 12.5 m (41 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted red and mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a reef off the southwestern end of Pulau Serasan. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1848; NGA 25106.
Pulau Merendam (Merundung)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view of the station. Located on a small island about 30 km (19 mi) northwest of the Kalimantan coast and about 60 km (38 mi) west of Tanjung Datu, Sarawak. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-012; Admiralty F1850; NGA 25100.
Pulau Murih (Muri Island)
Date unknown (station established 1901). Active; focal plane 102 m (335 ft); white flash every 6 s. 20 m (66 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and the island shows only as a blur in Google's satellite view. Located on the westernmost of two small islands about 70 km (45 mi) northwest of the Kalimantan coast and about 50 km (30 mi) southwest of Pulau Merendam. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-228; Admiralty F1854; NGA 25096.

Tambelan Islands and Badas Islands Lighthouses
Note: The Tambelan Islands and Badas Islands are located about 250 km (150 mi) southwest of the Natuna Islands; this places them off the southwest coast of Kalimantan (Borneo) at the northern entrance to the Karimata Strait.
Tambelan (Pulau Tambelan Besar)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) white skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a reef at the entrance to the sheltered harbor of Pulau Tambelan Besar, the largest settlement in the islands. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1887; NGA 25086.
Pulau Dumdum
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) white "beacon," probably a skeletal tower. No photo, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island. Located on a small, uninhabited island at the northwestern edge of the Tambelan Islands. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1889; NGA 25086.5.
Tokong Kemudi
Date unknown (recent). Active; focal plane 130 m (427 ft); white flash every 5 s. Described by NGA only as a white beacon. No photo available, and the light is not seen in Google's fuzzy satellite view of the island. Located on a remote island at the western edge of the Tambelan Islands. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1888.5; NGA 25086.4.
Pulau Jengkulan (Jangkulan)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 10 m (33 ft) white fiberglass tower. No photo, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island. Located on a small, uninhabited island about 30 km (19 mi) southwest of Pulau Tambelan Besar. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1888; NGA 25086.3.
Pulau Pejantan (Penjantan)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 106 m (348 ft); white flash every 6 s. 40 m (131 ft) tapered square skeletal tower painted white. Arief Setiawan's photo is at right, but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island. Located on an isolated island of the Badas group, about 100 km (60 mi) south of Pulau Tambelan Besar. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1888.4.

Pulau Pejantan Light, Badas Islands, August 2017
Google Plus photo by Arief Setiawan

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: Kalimantan (Borneo) | South: Riau Islands | West: Malaya East Coast

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Posted April 13, 2006. Checked and revised January 18, 2018. Lighthouses: 33. Site copyright 2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.