Lighthouses of Indonesia: Bangka-Belitung 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, 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.

Bangka and Belitung are islands off the east coast of the much larger island of Sumatra. The narrow Bangka Strait separates Bangka from Sumatra; the Gaspar Strait separates Bangka from Belitung, and the broad Kerimata Strait separates Belitung from Borneo to the northeast. The Java Sea lies to the south of the islands. The province of Bangka-Belitung Islands was separated from South Sumatra Province in 2000. The population of Bangka-Belitung is a little over one million. Pangkal Pinang, on the east coast of Bangka, is the capital and largest city. The islands have many beach resorts and have become popular with tourists.

This page is probably not complete. Listed here are towers at locations known to be historic Dutch light stations, plus 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. Special thanks to Hanry Tanod for the use of his photos on this page.

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, teluk is a bay or harbor, and pantai is a beach.

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

Tanjung Kelian Light
Tanjung Kelian Light, Bangka, October 2007
Panoramio photo copyright Hanry Tanod; used by permission
General Sources
World of Lighthouses - Indonesia
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Indonesian Lighthouses
Historic postcard views from the collection of Michel Forand.

South Bangka Regency Lighthouses
Pulau Celaka (Celata, Jelaka) (3?)
Date unknown (station established 1870). Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); two white flashes every 8 s. 30 m (98 ft) "white beacon," according to NGA. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The original light was listed at a focal plane of 39 m (128 ft), but a 1906 light list has a light with a focal plane of only 16 m (52 ft). Pulau Celaka is an island off the west side of the much larger Pulau Leat, in the center of the Gelasa (Gaspar) Strait, which separates Bangka and Belitung islands. The lighthouse guides vessels in the narrow Macclesfield Channel between Pulau Leat and Pular Lepar, a channel favored by ships sailing between Singapore and Jakarta. Located on the western tip of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-178; Admiralty K1024.5; NGA 22977.
Tanjung Murung (Pulau Lepar)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 90 m (295 ft); white flash every 10 s. Described only as a "white beacon." No photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the cape. Located on a sharp promontory on the southeastern tip of Pulau Lepar, marking the west side of the entrance to the Macclesfield Channel. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1025; NGA 22978.
Tanjung Baginda
Date unknown (2010?). Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. No description available, but this is probably a white skeletal tower. No photo available, and the light is probably too new to appear in Bing's satellite view. This light was added to the NGA list in 2010. Located at the tip of a sharp promontory at the southern tip of Bangka. Site status unknown. Admiralty K0981.9; NGA 22926.
Pulau Dapur (Kitchen Island)
1889. Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); white flash every 10 s. 14 m (46 ft) hexagonal skeletal cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A photo is at right, a very distant view is available (lighthouse on the left island), and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a small island off the southern tip of Bangka, marking the southeastern entrance to the Bangka Strait. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-124; Admiralty K0982; NGA 22924.
* Toboali
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 29 m (95 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. A photo is available (in first group of photos on the page), and Google has a satellite view. Toboali, a town near the southeastern tip of Bangka, is the capital of the South Bangka Regency. Located at the end of the main pier at Toboali. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS IDO-342; Admiralty K0984; NGA 22908.
Pulau Besar (Lampu Besar)
1889. Active; focal plane 61 m (200 ft); two white flashes every 20 s. 57 m (187 ft) octagonal skeletal tower with lantern, gallery, and central cylinder. Entire lighthouse painted white. A 2008 photo and a 2013 view are available, but Google has only a very distant satellite view of the location. This historic lighthouse is located on the east side of the Strait of Bangka marking the beginning of the narrow portion of the strait. Located on a small island just off a promontory about 3 km (2 mi) southeast of Batubetumpang, on the south coast of Bangka. Accessible only by boat, although there's a good view from shore. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-018; Admiralty K0988; NGA 22904.
Tanjung Lelari
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red flash every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower, painted red. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Bing's satellite view of the cape. Located at the tip of a sharp cape jutting into the southern part of the Bangka Strait. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-310; Admiralty K0990; NGA 22896.
Tanjung Bedawu
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. No description available, but this is probably a skeletal tower at least 18 m (59 ft) tall. No photo available, and the lighthouse may be too new to be seen in Bing's satellite view of the cape. Located on a cape on the central east coast of the Bangka Strait. Site status unknown. Admiralty K0991.3; NGA 22878.

Central Bangka Regency West Coast Lighthouse
Pulau Pelepas (Pulau Pelapasan, West Nangka)
1893. Active; focal plane 66 m (217 ft); three white flashes every 30 s. 35 m (115 ft) 12-sided cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A photo is at right, another page for the lighthouse has a distant view, but the island is only a blur in Google's satellite view. This light marks a right-angle turn in the Bangka Strait. Located on an island, the westernmost of three islands, on the east side of the strait, about 75 km (45 mi) southeast of Tanjung Kelian. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-001; Admiralty K0992; NGA 22876.

Pulau Dapur Light
Pulau Dapur Light, South Bangka
Bangka-Belitung Dept. of Culture and Tourism photo

Pulau Pelepas Light
Pulau Pelepas Light, Central Bangka
Bangka-Belitung Dept. of Culture and Tourism photo


West Bangka Regency Lighthouses
* Muntok (Mentok) (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1865). Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); white flash every 3 s. Approx. 28 m (92 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. A small photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The original light had a focal plane of 12.5 m (41 ft). Muntok, at the north end of Bangka Strait, is the capital of West Bangka Regency. Located at the northeast corner of Muntok harbor. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K0996; NGA 22868.
*** Tanjung Kelian (Kalian)
Date unknown (station established 1862). Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); white flash every 5 s. 50 m (164 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white with a red horizontal band near the top. Hanry Tanod's photo is above, another photo is available, a May 2006 photo shows the lighthouse much in need of repainting, and Google has a satellite view. Several sources give 1826 as the date of the lighthouse, but this is a typo for 1862. This lighthouse guides ships entering the Bangka Strait, which separates Sumatra from the smaller island of Bangka. In March 2006 the lighthouse was vandalized, the thieves taking some of the ironwork. Located on a point of land at the west end of Bangka, about 6 km (4 mi) southwest of Mentok. Accessible by road. Site open, tower open for climbing. ARLHS IDO-041; Admiralty K0998; NGA 22864.
Tanjung Ular
Date unknown (station established 1893). Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 19.5 s. Approx. 16 m (52 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A photo is at right, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. The original lighthouse was similar, but its focal plane was only 16 m (52 ft). Located on the northwestern tip of Bangka. Site status unknown, probably open. ARLHS IDO-333; Admiralty K1000; NGA 22856.
Tanjung Ular Light
Tanjung Ular Light, West Bangka, November 2009
University of Bangka Belitung photo


Bangka Regency and Pangkal Pinang City Lighthouses
Teluk Klabat (Pulau Penyusuk)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); white flash every 7.5 s. 40 m (131 ft) metal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Hanry Tanod's distant view is at right, and Bing has a good satellite view of the station. Located on an islet just off a promontory on the north coast of Bangka. Accessible only by boat, although there's probably a good view from shore. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-025; Admiralty K1002; NGA 22968.
Tanjung Tuing
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 50 m (164 ft); white flash every 6 s. Described only as a "white beacon," this is probably a skeletal tower of unknown height. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the cape. Located on a prominent cape at the northeastern corner of Bangka. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-332; Admiralty K1004; NGA 22956.
Tanjung Raja
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 6 s. Described only as a "white beacon," this is probably a skeletal tower of unknown height. No photo available, and Google's satellite view does not reveal the tower. Located on a prominent cape about 35 km (22 mi) north of Pangkal Pinang. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1005; NGA 22952.
* Tanjung Bunga
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 5 s. 20 m (66 ft) "white beacon," presumably a skeletal tower. No photo available, and Bing's satellite view does not reveal the tower. Located at the tip of a promontory on the north side of Pangkal Pinang, the capital of Bangka-Belitung province. Site probably open, tower closed. ARLHS IDO-298; Admiralty K1009; NGA 22940.

Teluk Klabat (Pulau Penyusuk) Light, Bangka, October 2007
Panoramio photo copyright Hanry Tanod; used by permission

Central Bangka Regency East Coast Lighthouses
Pulau Bebuar (Pulau Beboear)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 43 m (141 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. The tower is barely visible in a distant view of the island, and Bing has only a distant satellite view of the island. Located on a small island, the easternmost of a chain of islands, southeast of Pangkal Pinang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1010.7; NGA 22934.
Tanjung Berikat
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. A distant view and a second distant view are available, and Google has a distant satellite view. This lighthouse marks the northern entrance to the Gelasa Strait, which separates Bangka and Belitung islands. Located on a sharp promontory at the southeastern corner of Bangka. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-037; Admiralty K1012; NGA 22932.

Belitung Regency (Gelasa Strait) Lighthouses
Pulau Sumedang (Pulau Simedang, Shoalwater Island)
1883. Active; focal plane 61 m (200 ft); two white flashes every 20 s. 57 m (187 ft) 16-sided cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A 2012 photo is at right, and a view from the sea is available, but Google has only a very distant satellite view of the island. This lighthouse is in the Java Sea about 80 km (50 mi) southeast of Bangka and 50 km (30 mi) southwest of Belitung. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-029; Admiralty K1020; NGA 22972.
Pulau Kasenga
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 5 s. 18 m (59 ft) round tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands and mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. This light guides northbound vessels entering the Gelasa (Gaspar) Strait between Belitung and Bangka. Located off a small island southwest of the southwestern point of Belitung. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-146; Admiralty K1022; NGA 22980.
Tanjung Ajer Lancur (Tanjung Ajer Lantjoer, Pulau Mendanau)
1882. Active; focal plane 62 m (203 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 27 m (89 ft) round (or 16-sided) cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Several photos are available, ARLHS has a photo of the base of the tower, and Google has a good satellite view of the station. This lighthouse guides ships through the Gelasa (Gaspar) Strait, between Bangka and Belitung. The strait is important because it is a shortcut route between Singapore and Jakarta. Located at the western point of the island of Mendanau, off the west coast of Belitung. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-036; Admiralty K1024; NGA 22976.
Pulau Langir
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. No description available, but this is probably a white skeletal tower. No photo available, and the tower is probably too new to appear in Google's satellite view of the island. The light guides ships approaching Tanjung Pandan. Located on a small island off the northwestern point of the island of Mendanau. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1024.05; NGA 22976.5.
* Tanjung Pandan Harbor
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 22 m (72 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the waterfront of Tanjung Pandan, a port on the west side of Belitung and the capital of Belitung Regency. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS IDO-319; Admiralty K1028.8; NGA 22998.
Pulau Sumedang Light
Pulau Sumedang Light, Java Sea, July 2012
Panoramio photo copyright saripudin; permission requested
Pulau Lengkuas (Langkuas)
1883. Active; focal plane 61 m (200 ft); white flash every 7.5 s. 57 m (187 ft) 16-sided cast iron tower, painted white with lantern and gallery. Hanif's photo is at right, a 2008 photo and an excellent closeup are available, Tony Wells also has a closeup, and Google has a satellite view of the station. This lighthouse is just off the northern point of Belitung, facing the Karimata Strait, which joins the South China Sea to the Java Sea between Sumatra and Kalimantan (Borneo). It was prefabricated by Enthoven at The Hague. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-010; Admiralty K1030; NGA 22984.

East Belitung Regency (Karimata Strait) Lighthouses
Pulau Pesemut
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 43 m (141 ft); one long white flash every 5 s. 40 m (131 ft) tapered square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. A photo (slow-loading), a small photo and another small photo are available, but the islands in the area are only blurs in Google's satellite view. This lighthouse marks the end of a long reef extending eastward from Belitung. Located on a low island in the Karimata Strait about 65 km (40 mi) northeast of Belitung. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-240; Admiralty K1033; NGA 25056.
Manggar
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 19 m (62 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the north side of Manggar, the capital of the East Belitung Regency. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1410.5; NGA 22990.

Pulau Lengkuas Light, Belitung, October 2008
Flickr photo copyright Hanif; used by permission

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Riau Islands | East: Kalimantan (Borneo) | South: Java | West: Eastern Sumatra

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Posted April 13, 2006. Checked and revised November 27, 2014. Lighthouses: 26. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.