It’s naive to assume that all airports staff in Indonesia would know at least basic English. That’s what my American friends assumed, and off they went to meet me in Semarang, the capital city of Central Java province. We all had wonderful time exploring the city for a few days, and then it was time for them to continue their journey back to the USA. Not long after I dropped them off at the airport, I got a call from an unknown number, which turned out was from one of my friends. She said in panic, “they didn’t let me to check in, they tried to tell me something, but I don’t understand them and when I asked for a staff who can speak English, even that person couldn’t really tell me what was going on. Can you help me?”
It was back in 2014. Pocket wifi wasn’t a thing, especially in Indonesia. My friend didn’t have a local sim card. Wifi connection in the old Semarang airport was terrible I assured you, there was no way she could have used Google translate.
So for the adventurous souls reading this article, if you were to visit the remote parts of Indonesia, it’s good to be prepared. I know now it’s 2020, not 2014 anymore (2014 felt like a lifetime ago…), but you never know that being in a developing country, wifi signal may be weak in certain areas and also from time to time (and that includes some capital cities in Indonesia).
As a start, at least there is nothing wrong to equip yourself with some the basic vocabulary you need to know when you’re at the airport:
Next, learn these Bahasa Indonesia simple phrases that will be useful whether you’re taking the plane / bus / train, any public transport basically – in Indonesia.
That’s it for now, folks. Anything that you think we shall add into the list? Have you ever encountered similar experience like of my friend’s when you were in Indonesia? We’d love to hear from you. Write to us below in the comment section below.