7 Lighthouses In Singapore That Still Stand Today & Whether You Can Visit Them

Lighthouses in Singapore


Picture a lighthouse, and a large, majestic white tower standing solitary on the rocks comes to mind. It may not seem like it, but lighthouses do exist in Singapore – even till today. Some of them are located on islands near Singapore, one is perched atop an apartment complex in the East, and there’s even one that is technically in Malaysia, although Singapore owns and operates it.

Here’s a list of the remaining lighthouses in Singapore for you to appreciate our nation’s maritime history.


What are lighthouses for?


Back in the 17th century, captains relied on the stars and their sextants to navigate. Lighthouses served as a beacon of light, and for lost ships, hope.

To prevent ships from hitting sharp rocks, lighthouses were built for them to navigate safely into the harbour. With Singapore’s bustling maritime trade industry, these lighthouses are essential to ensure smooth operations.


Are there lighthouses in Singapore?


The headline was quite the spoiler, but yes! There are lighthouses in Singapore. Here’s a breakdown of them:

Lighthouse Location Still in operation? Open to public?
Raffles Lighthouse Pulau Satumu Yes Yes, holds guided tours
Raffles Marina Lighthouse 10 Tuas West Drive, Singapore 638404 Yes Yes
Horsburgh Lighthouse Pedra Branca Yes No
Fort Canning Lighthouse Fort Canning Hill No Yes
Sultan Shoal Lighthouse Sultan Shoal Island Yes No
Bedok Lighthouse 5000 Marine Parade Road, Block L, Lagoon View, Singapore 449293 Yes No
Pulau Pisang Lighthouse Pulau Pisang Yes No

1. Raffles Lighthouse


Raffles Lighthouse, built in memory of Sir Stamford Raffles, was constructed in 1855. Located at Singapore’s southernmost island of Pulau Satumu, which is loosely translated as “One Tree Island”, it is planted right at the southernmost point in Singapore.


Image credit: @caleb44 via Instagram

Instead of using a kerosene-based lantern, the lighthouse now uses an electricity-based light, giving off 3 white flashes every 20 seconds.

There are 2 lighthouse keepers on duty at any given time, with each keeping an alternating 12-hour shift for 10 days. They spend 10 days at the lighthouse, and then 10 days off on the mainland, before the cycle repeats.

Learn more about the lighthouse’s operations and fascinating history through a guided tour. You’ll be ferried to Pulau Satumu, and the 5-hour tour even includes 1 hour at the Singapore Maritime Gallery.

Open to public? Yes, via occasional tours held by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

Raffles Lighthouse
Google Reviews
4.7
(85)
Address
Coney Islet, Singapore
Opening Hours:
Saturday Open 24 Hours Show More Timings

Find out more about Raffles Lighthouse tours.


2. Raffles Marina Lighthouse



Image credit: @rafflesmarina via Instagram

Not to be confused with Raffles Lighthouse, Raffles Marina Lighthouse is situated at the tip of the pier over at Raffles Marina Country Club. Built in 1994, the 12m-tall tower overlooks the Tuas Causeway entering JB. Fun fact: it’s the only lighthouse in Singapore that isn’t owned by the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore.

It’s still operational, flashing once every 10 seconds with a visibility reaching 15m. Besides offering navigational guidance for vessels in the vicinity, Raffles Marina Lighthouse is also an incredibly popular destination for wedding photoshoots. Who doesn’t love a scenic waterfront background? And the iconic lighthouse is the icing on the cake for any nautical-themed nuptials.

Open to public? Yes

Raffles Marina Lighthouse
Google Reviews
4.5
(299)
Address
10 Tuas West Dr, Singapore 638404
Opening Hours:
Saturday 08:00 AM - 10:00 PM Show More Timings

3. Horsburgh Lighthouse



Image credit: Alex Yam via Facebook

Horsburgh Lighthouse is located on Pedra Branca, an island 54km off mainland Singapore, at the eastern entrance to the Singapore Straits. The oldest lighthouse in Singapore, it has been in operation since 15th October 1851.

It is named after James Horsburgh, a Scottish hydrographer from the East India Company who mapped Singapore’s seaways in the late 18th and early 19th century. For centuries before that, the waters around Pedra Branca were treacherous to navigate due to the rocks and reefs, resulting in numerous vessels running aground and falling into the hand of pirates.

Horsburgh Lighthouse was also at the centre of the Pedra Branca dispute between Singapore and Malaysia, with the International Court of Justice eventually ruling that sovereignty over Pedra Branca belonged to Singapore.

Open to public? No

Pedra Branca
Google Reviews
4.1
(138)
Address
Pedra Branca

4. Fort Canning Lighthouse



Image credit: @nrhtdytz via Instagram

You’d probably know Fort Canning Park as “the place I went to for excursions”, and vaguely recall its importance to Singapore during World War II. Fort Canning Hill, due to its strategic location overlooking Singapore’s harbour, was established as a communication centre after the British arrived in 1819.

In 1855, Fort Canning Lighthouse was built on the southern side of Fort Canning Hill to help guide ships safely into Singapore Harbour. The lighthouse was the occulting type, which meant that every 17 seconds, a metal cylinder would be lowered around the burner for 3 seconds to darken it.

Even though the lighthouse survived the war, it was closed and dismantled in 1958, when tall buildings began obstructing its view of the sea. The Fort Canning Lighthouse you’re looking at today is a replica of the original, and a marker of its significance in our maritime history.

Open to public? Yes, the lighthouse is situated at the top of the hill.

Fort Canning Lighthouse
Google Reviews
4.5
(65)
Address
30 River Valley Rd, Singapore
Opening Hours:
Saturday Open 24 Hours Show More Timings

5. Sultan Shoal Lighthouse



Image credit: Jnzl via Flickr

Built in 1895, Sultan Shoal Lighthouse was intended to replace the beacon previously established there. It’s situated in the Western Anchorage of Singapore, about 5.46km away from mainland Singapore. The lighthouse tower itself is painted white, while the keeper’s house roof is painted red – a mixture of Oriental and Victorian designs.

The Sultan Shoal island also consists of man-made structures, such as a swimming lagoon with concrete sides and a natural sandy bottom. The site used to be open to public visits, but has since been closed off for the construction of the upcoming Tuas Port. That said, the lighthouse remains operational.

Open to public? No

Sultan Shoal Lighthouse
Google Reviews
4.7
(59)
Address
Singapore

6. Bedok Lighthouse



Image credit: @of_learning via Instagram

As Singapore develops and buildings get taller, obstructed lighthouses have now found a way to beat them – by being on top of a building itself. Bedok Lighthouse, or what appears to be a red water tank on the rooftop, is located on top of a 26-storey block at Lagoon View condominium.

Perched 76m above sea level, it’s Singapore’s first automated and unmanned lighthouse. Its flash, which goes off once every five seconds, is visible for 37km. When it began operating in 1978, it was meant as a replacement for the Fullerton Lighthouse, which was obscured by buildings in the current Marina Bay area.

Open to public? No, the condo is a gated residence, and the lighthouse floor is also not accessible to residents of Lagoon View.

Bedok Lighthouse (Bedok Light)
Google Reviews
4.6
(5)
Address
5000K Marine Parade Rd, Singapore 449292

7. Pulau Pisang Lighthouse



Image credit: Ethoz Group

It might come as a surprise to many that the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore maintains the lighthouse located on Malaysia’s Pulau Pisang island in the Straits of Malacca, 15km from Pontian Kechil, Johor, Malaysia.

The unique territorial agreements date back to 1900, when Sultan Ibrahim of Johor granted the British government of Singapore rights to the plot of land where Pulau Pisang Lighthouse stands, as well as the roadway leading to it. This agreement was on the basis that Singapore would be the one operating the lighthouse.

The lighthouse has been operating since 1914 and is used for navigational purposes into the western entrance of the Singapore Strait.

Open to public? No

Pisang Island
Google Reviews
4
(34)
Address
Pisang Island, Johor, Malaysia

Bonus: Berlayer Point Beacon & Fullerton Lighthouse


Berlayer Point Beacon


If you’re a nature junkie, try visiting the Berlayer Creek Boardwalk at Labrador Nature Reserve within Labrador Park. You’ll see numerous sights along the way – including the striking, brick-red Berlayer Point Beacon.

Built in 1930, this beacon was used as a navigation guide for ships approaching the channel. Till now, it doubles up as a marker for the shortest distance between Sentosa and mainland Singapore.

Open to public? Yes, head to the starting point of Berlayer Creek Boardwalk which is beside Labrador Park MRT station. Walk along the boardwalk till you reach the beacon.

Berlayer Beacon
Google Reviews
4.6
(87)
Address
Labrador Villa Rd, Singapore
Opening Hours:
Saturday Open 24 Hours Show More Timings

Fullerton Lighthouse



Image credit: Light Photos

You may associate Fullerton Hotel as one of the most atas luxury hotels in Singapore, but the name “Fullerton” also lends itself to a lighthouse which once used to sit atop the eponymous hotel.

Fullerton Lighthouse was mounted on the roof of Fullerton Hotel back in 1958. It was a revolving beacon of 540 kilocandelas, which means it shone at an intensity that was equivalent to 540,000 candles. Visible from up to 29km away, its strong beam guided ships into Singapore’s harbour over the decades.

This was until 1978, where an increase in skyscrapers led to its eventual obstruction. It was then decommissioned and replaced by the Bedok Lighthouse for a higher vantage point. The original Fullerton Lighthouse lantern has now been moved as an artefact to Mapletree Business City in Harboufront, and the former location on the rooftop of Fullerton Hotel is now a fine-dining Italian restaurant called The Lighthouse.

Open to public? Yes

1 Harbourfront Place
Address
1 Harbourfront Place, Singapore 098633

Where to find remaining lighthouses in Singapore

Many of the active lighthouses in Singapore are located offshore. Plus, they require a permit from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to visit.

For a rare chance to not only access the site but also find out more about the lighthouse, your best bet would be to sign up for the Raffles Lighthouse guided tour. The MPA is known to hold several sessions a year, so keep your eyes peeled on their social media pages in order to secure a slot.

Otherwise, we’ll just have to settle for viewing these relics from a distance. You can also plan an excursion to the relics of defunct lighthouses, which are accessible to the public at locations such as Fort Canning Park, Labrador Park, and even Mapletree Business City.

Read these if you’re intrigued by stories of Singapore’s past:


Originally published on 20th March 2015. Last updated by Renae Cheng on 26th April 2024.
Cover image adapted from: @rafflesmarina & @caleb44 via Instagram

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