Speak Indonesian

Speaking Indonesian language fluently is challenging, but a simple command of a small vocabulary is easy. Many Indonesian words are similar to words that you use every day. It’s worth your time to learn the basic courtesies in bahasa Indonesia.

Watch our quick video tutorial on YouTube.

Hello. Halo. (HAH‑loh)

How are you? Apa kabar? (AH‑pah KAH‑bahr)

(I’m) fine/good. Baik/bagus. (BYE‑eek, BAH‑goos)

Good morning. Selamat pagi. (SEH‑lah‑MAHT PAH‑gee)

Good day. (use this from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.) Selamat siang. (SEH-lah-MAHT SEE-ahng)

Good afternoon. (use from 3 p.m. until dark) Selamat sore. (SEH-lah-MAHT SOHR-reh) 

Good evening. (after dark) Selamat malam. (SEH-lah-MAHT MAH-lahm)

Good night.(use when going to bed) Selamat tidur. (SEH-lah-MAHT TEE-door)

Good bye/good trip. Selamat jalan. (SEH‑lah‑maht JAH-lahn)

Enjoy your meal. Selamat makan. (SEH-lah-MAHT MAH-kahn)

Enjoy your drink. Selamat minum. (SEH-lah-MAHT MEE-noom)

What is your name? Siapa nama anda? (SEE‑ah‑PAH NAH‑mah AHN‑dah)

My name is ______. Nama saya ______. (NAH‑mah SYE‑ah ______)

Where are you from? Dari mana? (DAHR‑ree MAH‑nah)

(I’m) from ________. Dari ______. (DAHR‑ree _____)

Where (are you) going? Ke mana? (keh MAH‑nah)

(I’m going) to ________. Ke _____. (keh ______)

speak with Indonesian people

Appreciation, Courtesies and Respect

Excuse me, I need help. Tolong tanya. (TOH‑lohng TAHN‑yah)

Excuse me. Permisi. (PEHR-mee-SEE)

I’m sorry ma’af/sori (MAH‑ahf, SOHR-ree)

please (help me) minta (MEEN-tah)

please (help yourself) silahkan (SEE-lah-KHAN)

thank you terima kasih (TEHR‑ree‑MAH KAH‑see)

thank you (in Balinese) matur suksma (MAH-toor SOOK-smah)

you are welcome sama sama (SAH‑mah SAH‑mah)

you are welcome   terimah kasih kembali (TEHR‑ree‑MAH KAH‑see KEHM‑bah‑LEE)

you may boleh (BOH-leh)

welcome selamat datang (SEH-lah-MAHT DAH-tahng)

welcome (in Balinese) om swasti astu (OHM SWAH-stee AH-stoo)

Until we meet again. Sampei jumpa lagi. (SAHM-pye JOOM-pah LAH-gee)

speak with Indonesian childrenPeople

baby bayi (BAH‑yee) 

child anak (AH‑nahk)

family/relatives famili (FAH‑mee‑LEE)

father/Mr. bapak (BAH-pahk)

friend teman/kawan (TEH‑mahn, KAH‑wahn)

him/her dia (DEE-ah)

husband suami (SOO-ah-MEE)

me saya (SYE-ah)

man pria (PREE‑ah)

mother/Mrs. Ibu/bu (EE-boo). This word is often shortened to “bu.”

Ms. nona (NOH-nah)

sir tuan (TOO-ahn)

we kita (KEE-tah)

wife isteri (EES-tehr-REE)

woman wanita (WAH‑nee‑TAH)

you anda/aku (AHN-dah, AH-koo)

Below are some of the key words and phrases that you will need frequently. Start a list of the words and questions that will meet your needs. The language is structured so simply that a single word can be a sentence, question or a response.

Indonesian phrases and words

Asking Questions

Asking questions in the Indonesian language is fun and challenging (refer to the grammar chapter for proper sentence structure). After asking a question, be braced for answers that you may not understand. Below are some of the key words necessary to form questions:

who siapa (SEE‑ah‑PAH)

where mana (MAH‑nah)

when kapan (KAH‑pahn)

why kenapa (KEH‑nah‑PAH)

what apa (AH‑pah)

how bagaimana (BAH‑gee‑MAH‑nah)

Bali monkey dance

Answering Questions

I only speak a little Indonesian. Saya bisa bahasa Indonesia sedikit. 

I don’t know. Tidak tahu. 

I don’t want it. Tidak mau. 

later nanti

no tidak

not yet belum 


yes ya 

Indonesia travel tips

Other Helpful Words

address alamat (AH‑lah‑MAHT) 

age umur (OO‑moor)

attention perhatian (PEHR-hah-TEE-ahn)

book buku (BOO‑koo)

careful hati‑hati/awas (HAH‑tee HAH‑tee, AH-wahs)

closed tutup (TOO‑toop)

country negara (NEH‑gahr‑RAH)

map peta (PEH‑tah)

marital status kawin (KAH‑ween)

name nama (NAH-mah)

occupation pekerjaan (PEHK‑ehr‑JAHN)

open buka (BOO‑kah)

place of birth tempat lahir (TEHM‑paht LAH‑eer)

religion agama (AH‑gah‑MAH)

restroom/toilet kamar kecil/toilet/W.C. (KAH‑mahr KEH‑cheel)

signature tanda tangan (TAHN‑dah TAHN‑gahn)

word kata (KAH-tah)

transportation Indonesia

Useful Phrases In Bahasa Indonesia

Food and Drink

I’m thirsty. Saya haus.

I want/need a drink. Saya mau minum.

I’m hungry. Saya lapar.

I want/need some food. Saya mau makan.

May I have one? Boleh saya minta satu? 

That’s all. Ini saja. 

Where is a place to eat? Rumah makan di mana?

What is this? Apa ini?

I don’t want ice. Saya tidak mau es.

Without ice! Tanpa es!

One more. Satu lagi.

Two more. Dua lagi.

I’ve had enough. Thank you. Sudah cukup. Terima kasih.

rupiah Indonesia money

Indonesian Money

Where is a bank? Bank di mana? 

I want to exchange some American dollars. Saya mau tukar uang dolar Amerika.

How much does this cost? Berapa harga ini?

Bali Indonesia vacation

Hotels In Indonesia

I need a hotel. Where is one? Saya mau hotel. Di mana? 

Where is my room? Kamar saya di mana?

May I have my room key? Minta kunci kamar?

Room number. Nomor kamar.

Small Talk

I’m from America. Saya dari Amerika.

I don’t speak Indonesian, yet. Saya belum bisa bahasa Indonesia.

I only speak a little Indonesian. Saya bisa bahasa Indonesia sedikit.

I’m just walking around. Jalan‑jalan.

Are you married? Anda kawin?

Do you have children? Anda punya anak?

Not yet. Belum.

Is there a person here who speaks English? Ada orang di sini yang bicara bahasa Inggris?

Do you speak English? Anda bisa bahasa Inggris?

I do not understand. Saya tidak mengerti.

Thank you. Terima kasih.

No (as in no way).   Tidak.

I can (am able). Saya bisa.

Can’t do (it).   Tidak Bisa.

Do not do _______. Jangan ______.

Do not do that. Jangan begitu.

Time & Travel

What time is it now? Jam berapa sekarang?

When will it/they be ready? Kapan selesai?

How many hours from Ubud to Kuta? Dari Ubud ke Kuta berapa jam?

How many hours to Jakarta? Berapa jam ke Jakarta?

I want to go to the hotel. Saya mau pergi ke hotel.

I want to go to the airport. Saya mau ke airport.

I want to go to the beach. Saya mau ke pantai. 

I want to go to _______. Saya mau ke _______.

Where is the road to the beach? Jalan ke pantai di mana?

Where is the road to the hotel? Jalan ke hotel di mana?

Where is the road to ______? Jalan ke ______ di mana?

Let’s go. Ayo.

arts and crafts Indonesia


Where is a pharmacy? Apotek di mana?

I want ______. Saya mau _____.

I want to buy _______. Saya mau beli _____.

(I) already have (that, one). Sudah punya.

What time do they open? Buka jam berapa?

I don’t want. Tidak mau.

I’m just looking. Lihat‑lihat saja.

Please wait a moment. Tunggu sebentar.

May I see (it)? Bisa lihat?

Can we bargain? Bisa ditawar?

Excuse me. Get in line. (Don’t cut in front of me.) Ma’af, antrean!

How much does this cost? Harga?

How much (is it)? Berapa harganya?

Indonesia Language and Travel Guide

Experience more of Indonesia than the average traveler by speaking the local language. Simple courtesies and greetings will make your trip more productive and rewarding. Our phonetic style makes it impossible to mispronounce important words. Order your hard copy

The locals will sparkle with delight when you speak just a few words in bahasa Indonesia.