Learning Indonesian Language

Knowing a little Indonesian Language or Bahasa will delight the locals, and may get you a better price in the markets! Here are some basic words and phrases to help you get along better in Bali.

It pays to learn the local dialect when visiting a foreign country. This is useful especially when asking for directions, connecting with locals or making a purchase. Staff in your resort or hotel will LOVE it if you can say ‘terima kasih’ after they bring your food or grab you a taxi.

In Bali, the local dialect is called Balinese, however, most people will actually be speaking Bahasa Indonesia, which is the official national language. While most Indonesians can understand and speak English, especially anyone who is talking with tourists every day,  the national dialect is Bahasa Indonesia and this is what everyone knows and understands.  Knowing a few words will help make your vacation more enjoyable. Also, we recommend teaching your kids about the local dialect as well. This way, they can converse with locals especially during emergency situations.

Greetings in Bahasa Indonesia

  •         Hello! = Halo!
  •         Good morning = Selamat pagi
  •         Good day = Selamat siang
  •         Good afternoon = Selamat sore
  •         Good night = Selamat malam
  •         Good bye (to someone leaving) =  Selamat jalan
  •         Good bye (when you are leaving)  = Selamat tinggal
  •         How are you? = Apa kabar? The answer to this is ‘Baik!’ (i’m good!).

Indonesian language phrases to help you get around

You can also use the following phrases to strike a conversation with the locals. Locals love it when tourists are able to speak the native dialect. Polishing up on Bahasa will also come in handy when you’re haggling for cool souvenirs:

  •         My name is… = Nama saya…
  •         I am from… = Saya dari
  •         What is your name? = Siapa nama kamu?
  •         Do you want to go to the beach? = Kamu mau ikut ke pantai?
  •         Let’s eat! = Ayo makan!
  •         I’m hungry = Saya lapar
  •         I’m thirsty = Saya haus
  •         How many? = Berapa?
  •         How much is this? = Berapa ini?
  •         How much is that? = Barapa itu?
  •         How long? (time) = Berapa lama?

These words and phrases are useful in day to day interaction with locals too:

  •         Please (May I have some?) = Boleh minta…?
  •         Please (Can you help me?) = Tolong?
  •         Thank you! = Terima Kasih!
  •         You’re Welcome = Sama Sama
  •         I’m Sorry = Saya minta ma’af
  •         Excuse me = Persmisi
  •         Yes = Ya
  •         No = Tidak
  •         Big = Besar
  •         Small = Kecil
  •         Long = Panjang
  •         Short = Pendek
  •         Help! = Tolong!
  •         Where = Dimana
  •         What = Apa
  •         When = Kapan

Really impress the locals with Balinese language

If you want to endear yourself to the locals of Bali, surprise them with these Balinese words and phrases (pronunciations are enclosed in parentheses):

  •         Sir (to a man older than you) = Bapa (Ba-poh)
  •         Ma’am (to a woman older than you) = Me (May)
  •         Older brother (term of endearment) = Bli (b’lee)
  •         Older sister (term of endearment) = m’Bak (m’bak)
  •         Younger brother = Gus (goos)
  •         Younger sister = Gek (gek)
  •         Thank you = Sukseme (sook-sah-Mo)
  •         You’re welcome = Mewali (mah-wa-lee)
  •         Yes = Nggih (ny’gee)
  •         No worries mate! – Sing Ken Ken (sin ken ken)

If you want to learn more, check out the Cinta Bahasa Indonesian language school! They have short courses perfect for little kids, too!