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. Tanjungand 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 Indonesian Directorate of Marine Navigation (Indomarinav).
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, Bangka, October 2007
photo copyright Hanry Tanod; used by permission
- General Sources
- From Indomarinav, information on four surviving Dutch lighthouses.
- KITLV Beeldbank
- Historic photos from the collection of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies.
- Bangka West Coast (Bangka Strait) Lighthouses
- Tanjung Ular
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 19.5 s. Approx. 16 m (52 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available; Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the northwestern tip of Bangka. Site status unkown, probably open. ARLHS IDO-333; Admiralty K1000; NGA 22856.
- *** Tanjung Kelian
- 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. Henry Tanod’s photo is above, another photo is available, a May 2006 photo shows the lighthouse much in need of repainting, KITLV has a 1911 photo, and Google has a good satellite view. Several sources give 1826 as the date of the lighthouse, but this is probably 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.
- 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. No photo available, and 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 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 closeup and a 2008 photo 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.
- * 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 is a town near the southeastern tip of Bangka; it 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 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. 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.
- Bangka West Coast Lighthouses
- Pulau Celaka
- 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, and Google has only a very distantsatellite view of the island. This might be a historic Dutch lighthouse, althoigh the original light was listed at a focal plane of 39 m (128 ft). Pulau Celata 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 channel between Pulau Leat and Pular Lepar, which was known historically as the Macclesfield Channel. Located on the western tip of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-178; Admiralty K1024.5; NGA 22977.
- Tanjung Berikat
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 30 m (98 ft) metal tower, painted white. A distant view is available, but Google has only a very distant satellite view of the cape. This lighthouse marks the northern entrance to the Gelasa Strait, which separates Bangka and Belitung islands. Located on a sharp promontory at the northeastern corner of Bangka. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-037; Admiralty K1012; NGA 22932.
- Pulau Bebuar (Pulau Beboear)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 43 m (141 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. Described by NGA only as a “beacon,” this is probably a tall skeletal tower. No photo available, and Google’s satellite view has only a blur at 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 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 Google’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)
- 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. Google has only a distant satellite view of the area. 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.
- Belitung Lighthouses
- Pulau Lengkuas (Langkuas)
- 1883. Active; focal plane 61 m (200 ft); white flash every 7.5 s. 57 m (187 ft) round cast iron tower, painted white with lantern and gallery. Hanif’s photo is at right, several other photos are available (1/3 the way down the page), as well as a 2008 photo, another collection of photos, and an excellent closeup. Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the islet. 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 in England by Chance Brothers. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-010; Admiralty K1030; NGA 22984.
- Tanjung Ajer Lancur (Tanjung Ajer Lantjoer, Mendanau)
- 1882. Active; focal plane 62 m (203 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 27 m (89 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. No current photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the cape. KITLV has a closeupand a distant view, both taken in 1913. This lighthouse guides ships through the Gelasa 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.
- 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) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available. 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.
- Pulau Simedang
- Date unknown (station established 1883). Active; focal plane 61 m (200 ft); two white flashes every 20 s. 57 m (187 ft) 16-sided iron tower, painted white. No photo available. 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 Dapur Light
photo copyright South Bangka Regency
Dept. of Tourism and Culture
Teluk Klabat Light, October 2007
photo copyright Hanry Tanod; used by permission
Pulau Lengkuas Light, October 2008
Creative Commons photo by Hanif
Information available on lost lighthouses: