Lighthouses of Indonesia: Riau 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 in the South China Sea off the east coast of West Malaysia; and the Natuna group is also in the South China Sea northwest of Sarawak in East Malaysia. In all there are more than 3000 islands in the province. This page includes lighthouses of the Riau and Lingga groups; the Natuna Sea Islands page includes the lighthouses of the Anambas and Natuna Islands.

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 K 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 and Volume Q
Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.

Takong Kecil Light, Singapore Strait, undated
Small Islands Directorate photo
Singapore Strait Lighthouses (see also Singapore)
Note: Across the Singapore Strait from Singapore, the Riau Islands proper are a loose group lying off the east coast of Sumatra. These islands form the core of the Riau Islands Province, which also includes the Lingga, Anambas, and Natuna Islands. The majority of the population of the province lives in the Riau group. These islands, along with Singapore, were ruled historically by the Sultan of Johor in Malaya; the current international frontier dates from a treaty between Britain and The Netherlands in 1824.
Pulau Iyu Kecil (The Brothers) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1906). Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 13 m (43 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white. Wikimapia has a photo, a view from the sea is available, Lightphotos.net also has a view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. NGA lists a skeletal tower at this location. The Brothers are two small islands (Iyu Kecil and Iyu Besar) at the southern end of the Malacca Strait. Vessels eastbound in the Malacca Strait pass between this important light and Malaysia's Tanjung Piai Light shortly before turning into the Singapore Strait. Located on an island at the western entrance to the Singapore Strait, about 8 km (5 mi) north of the northern tip of Pulau Karimun. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-072; Admiralty F1674; NGA 22584.
Pulau Karimun Kecil (Little Karimun Island)
2007. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) square pyramidal white skeletal tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the northern tip of Little Karimun, about 5 km (3 mi) southeast of The Brothers. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1674.05; NGA 22581.
Pulau Cula
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 16 m (52 ft) round tower with gallery, mounted on a round concrete pier. Lighthouse painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a reef about 13 km (8 mi) west of Singapore's Raffles Lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1693.9; NGA 21495.
Pulau Nipah (Nipa Reef) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1912). Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); white flash every 3 s. 16 m (52 ft) round tower with gallery, mounted on an octagonal concrete pier. Lighthouse painted white. Feybe Lumanauw has a closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. The original light had a focal plane of 11 m (36 ft). In the Straits traffic separation scheme, westbound vessels pass just to the north of this light. Located on a dangerous reef about 10 km (6 mi) west of Singapore's famous Raffles Lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1692; NGA 21492.
Pulau Pelampong
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (56 ft); white flash every 4 s. 15 m (49 ft) "white beacon." The lighthouse is eeen at the start of a Youtube video, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the north end of a reef about 5 km (3 mi) east southeast of Nipa Reef. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1693.95; NGA 21487.
Takong Kecil (Pulau Takong Kecil) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1910). Active; focal plane 48 m (157 ft); two flashes every 10 s, white or red depending on direction. 30 m (98 ft) tapered octagonal aluminum tower. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is at the top of this page, Ririn Ambar has a 2013 view, Wikipedia has a distant view, and Bing has a satellite view. The present lighthouse was apparently built sometime shortly after World War II. It was rebuilt in 1998 and its height may have been increased at that time. Eastbound vessels in the strait pass just to the south of the lighthouse. Located on a small island in the strait about 7 km (4.5 mi) southwest of Singapore's famous Raffles Lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F1694; NGA 21480.
Helen Mar Reef
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); white flash every 6 s. 16 m (52 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower mounted on a square concrete pier. Upper half of the tower painted black, lower half yellow. Bing has a satellite view. Located on a reef about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) northwest of Pemping Besar. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1694.7; NGA 21476.
Karang Banteng (Buffalo Reef)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); quick-flashing white light. 16 m (52 ft) concrete tower with gallery. Upper half of the tower painted black, lower half yellow. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a reef about 12 km (7.5 mi) northeast of Pulau Takong Kecil. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1695.6; NGA 21464.
Pulau Nongsa (Pulau Putri)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); white flash every 8 s. Approx. 37 m (121 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Disnav Tanjungpinang has an aerial photo, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Pulau Nongsa and Pulau Putri are islets on the south side of the Singapore Strait about 30 km (19 mi) southeast of Singapore city. The lighthouse is actually on Pulau Putri. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS IDO-049; Admiralty F1697.99; NGA 21462.
Batu Berhanti
Date unknown (station established 1910). Active; focal plane 16.5 m (54 ft);white flash every 8 s. 16.5 m (54 ft) round concrete tower with four wings, mounted on a square concrete pier. Jürgen Klinksiek's photo is at right, Lightphotos.net has a good photo, and Google has a satellite view. The original light had a focal plane of 12 m (39 ft). Located on a shoal in the center of Singapore Strait, about 10 km (6 mi) south of downtown Singapore. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F1696; NGA 21400.

Batu Berhanti Light, Singapore Strait, 2002
photo copyright Jürgen Klinksiek; used by permission

Pulau Bintan Area Lighthouses
Note: Pulau Bintan (Bintan Island), the largest of the Riau Islands, lies southeast of Singapore at the eastern entrance to Singapore Strait.
Tanjung Berakit
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 68 m (223 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. A photo is at right (the lighthouse is the shorter tower at lower left), and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse marks the south side of the eastern entrance to Singapore Strait from the South China Sea. Located on the northern tip of Pulau Bintan, near the village of Berakit. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1812; NGA 21176.
Pulau Merapas
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 121 m (397 ft); three white flashes every 5 s. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island. Located on an isolated island in the South China Sea about 25 km (15 mi) east of Pulau Bintan and 55 km (35 mi) southeast of Tanjung Berakit. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-168; Admiralty F1809; NGA 22694.
Pulau Mantang (Tanjung Punggung)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 62 m (203 ft); white flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a fuzzy satellite view. Located at the southwestern tip of Pulau Mantang, a smaller island off the south coast of Pulau Bintan. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-219; Admiralty F1806; NGA 22672.
Pulau Terkulai
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 20 m (66 ft) square pyramidal white skeletal tower. Several station buildings. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a small island off the west coast of Pulau Bintan. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1786; NGA 22652.
Pulau Loban
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); white, red or green light depending on direction, 4 s on, 4 s off. 15 m (49 ft) skeletal tower, described as black by NGA, but Google's satellite view shows a white tower. Located on a small island west of Pulau Bintan, guiding vessels in the passage between Bintan and Batam Islands. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1776; NGA 22640.
Pulau Tondang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); red flash every 2 s. 8 m (26 ft) round white concrete tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a tiny island just off the northwestern tip of Pulau Bintan. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1771.5.

Tanjung Berakit Light, Pulau Bintan, June 2011
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by rock black

Riau Strait and Pulau Batam Lighthouses
Note: Batam is a large island west of Pulau Bintan and directly opposite Singapore city. The Riau Strait separates Batam and Bintan. Batam has a population of more than one million; it is by far the largest city of the Riau Islands Province.
Teluk Jodoh (Joduh)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); white flash every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a shoal off the entrance to Jodoh, an industrial port on the north coast of Pulau Batam. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1697.965; NGA 21460.5.
Karang Galang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); white flash every 6 s. 10 m (33 ft) metal tower painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the northeast corner of a reef in the northern entrance to the Riau Strait. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1772; NGA 22620.
Pulau Tanjungsau
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 34 m (121 ft); white flash every 5 s. 11 m (36 ft) white skeletal tower. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Tanjungsau is a forested island about 8 km (5 mi) long off the east coast of Pulau Batam. Located on the northeast point of the island. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1774; NGA 22632.
* Kabil Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off. Approx. 27 m (89 ft) square cylindrical white skeletal tower. Google has a street view and a satellite view. The range guides vessels to an oil terminal on the east coast of Batam. Located behind the port area at Kabil. Site and tower closed, but the lighthouse can be seen from a nearby road. Admiralty F1772.31; NGA 22620.6.
Kabil South Range Rear (?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white light, 2 s on, 1 s off. 23 m (75 ft) square cylindrical white skeletal tower mounted on a square concrete pier supported by piles. No photo available, and the tower has disappeared from Google's satellite view. The range guides southbound vessels in the Riau Strait. This light may have been removed in connection with the construction of a large shipyard. Located just off the east coast of Batam about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) south of Kabil. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1772.41; NGA 22621.5.
* Punggur Harbor (Tanjung Kasem)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); white flash every 3 s. 10 m (33 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. A photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the ferry terminal on the south side of Batam. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1772.48; NGA 22620.8.
Pulau Tungjuk Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white light, 2 s on, 1 s off. 20 m (66 ft) white skeletal tower. Coast guard station with several buildings. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels in a long channel southbound in the Riau Strait. Located on a small island off the southeastern coast of Pulau Batam. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1780.1; NGA 22648.
Pulau Pangkil
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); red flash every 3 s. 19 m (62 ft) square skeletal tower, painted red and mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located off the southwest point of Pulau Pangkil, an island in the southern Riau Strait. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1798; NGA 22660.
Pulau Karas Kecil
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 43 m (141 ft); white flash every 5 s. 11 m (36 ft) square white skeletal tower. Coast guard station with several buildings. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view of the station. Located at the eastern end of a small island in the southern entrance to the Riau Strait. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1802; NGA 22676.

Punggur Harbor Light, Batam, February 2015
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by agungsty

Durian Strait and Pulau Kundur Lighthouses
Note: The Durian Strait (Selat Durian) is a north-south passage through the Riau Islands beginning at the western end of the Singapore Strait. Pulau Kundur is a large island on the west side of the Durian Strait, separated from the mainland of Sumatra by another strait.
Pulau Jangkat
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); white flash every 5 s. 30 m (98 ft) tapered octagonal aluminum tower with double gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. A portion of Willyarto Muhardani's aerial photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view. A sibling of the Takong Kecil Light (see above). Located on an islet about 25 km (15 mi) east of Tanjung Rambut. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1694.6; NGA 22592.
Tanjung Rambut
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); three white flashes every 22 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern painted red. Hendra Gunawan has an aerial photo, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse is located near the city of Tanjungbalai on Great Karimun (Karimun Besar), an island at the southwestern end of Singapore Strait. The tower is part of a Maritime Security Agency (Badan Keamanan Laut) station monitoring ship traffic in the arra. Located on the southeastern tip of the island; there should be a good view from fast ferries connecting Tanjungbalai with Singapore. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-323; Admiralty F1417.5; NGA 22588.
Tanjung Lubuk
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); white flash every 8 s. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. Photos (near the bottom of the page) are available, although the caption bekas mercusuar means "former lighthouse." and Google has only a distant satellite view of the location. NGA misspells the name as Tanjung Lubuh. Located on the southwestern tip of Pulau Kundur. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1417.2; NGA 22602.
Rukan Utara (North Brother)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 4 s. White skeletal tower, probably at least 20 m (66 ft) tall. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the location. Located on an islet about 10 km (6 mi) north of the better-known South Brother Island lighthouse (next entry). Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1426; NGA 22610.
Rukan Selatan (South Brother Island)
1911. Active; focal plane 70 m (230 ft); white flash every 5 s. 22 m (72 ft) hexagonal skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. No current photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island. Forand has a historic postcard view. This light guides vessels northbound toward Singapore as they approach the Riau Islands. Located on a small island at the southern edge of the Riau group, about 20 km (13 mi) east of Tanjungkilang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-266; Admiralty F1428; NGA 22612.
Pulau Jangkat Light, Durian Strait, November 2017
Google Plus photo by Willyarto Muhardani

Lingga Islands Lighthouses
Note: The Lingga Islands straddle the Equator south of the Riau group and east of Riau and Jambi Provinces of Sumatra.
Pulau Kentar (2)
Date unknown (station established 1919). Active; focal plane 122 m (400 ft); two long (2 s) white flashes every 10 s. 32 m (105 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view of the station. This light stands only 3.5 km (2.2 mi) north of the Equator. Located on a small island on the eastern edge of the Linga group, in the Karimata Strait. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-207; Admiralty F1438; NGA 22696.
Pulau Lingga (Tanjung Jang)
1897. Active; focal plane 56 m (184 ft); white flash every 19 s. 10 m (33 ft) iron skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on Tanjung Djang, the southeastern tip of Pulau Lingga, the largest island of the group. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-215; Admiralty Q0954; NGA 22708.
Daik
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 3 s. 10 m (33 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery, mounted on a concrete platform supported by piles. Lighthouse painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the south side of the entrance to the Daik estuary on the central south coast of Pulau Lingga. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0956; NGA 22709.
Pulau Saya (Saja)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) "white beacon," probably a whiet skeletal tower. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the island. Located on a small island about 40 km (25 mi) southwest of Pulau Singkep. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0953; NGA 22706.
* Dabo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery, mounted on a concrete platform supported by piles. Lighthouse painted white. Dewindry Wisnu's photo is at right, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Dabo is the principal port of Pulau Singkep, the second largest island of the Lingga group. Located adjacent to the jetty at Dabo, on the east coast of Singkep. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0958; NGA 22712.
Pulau Muci (Mutji)
Date unknown (station established 1914). Active; focal plane 67 m (220 m); continuous white light. 21 m (69 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and the island is only a blur in Google's satellite view. Located on a small island about 10 km (6 mi) west of Tanjung Sebayur on the west coast of Singkep. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0980; NGA 22724.
Dabo Light
Dabo Light, Dabo, October 2012
photo copyright Dewindry Wisnu; used by permission

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Singapore | Northeast: Natuna Sea Islands | East: Kalimantan (Borneo) | South: Bangka-Belitung Islands | West: Eastern Sumatra

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Posted April 13, 2006. Checked and revised January 12, 2018. Lighthouses: 36. Site copyright 2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.