Useful Indonesian Phrases All Travelers Should Know

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Indonesia by no means has been an increasingly popular destination for travelers around the world. Indonesia is well-known for the Bali island, but Indonesia has so many other interesting and beautiful places other than just Bali!

From mountain hikes to ocean dives, you can find many hidden gems in the beautiful islands of Indonesia. Here’s the catch. Most of the places might not be very foreign friendly in terms of language. Unlike Bali, the locals do not speak much English.

Worry not. You only need to familiarize yourself with some common basic phrases to get by. We are certain the locals will be happy that you’re trying to speak their language! 

Google Translate is unquestionably convenient and helpful, but you do not really want check your phone every time you want to greet someone, or ask for direction. That person might have been gone by the time you look up from your phone. Besides, these phrases are easy to remember!

As a start, let’s start with these top 20 phrases every traveller should know. Repeat after each phrase you see in the video to practice your pronunciation. Getting your pronunciation right is ever so important to make sure the locals you’ll be having conversation with, understand what you mean. We also recommend you to take note on those phrases you’ll see in this video and what they mean:


If you want to better be prepared for your trip, we have categorized the phrases into different sections according to what scenario/situation you may encounter. Here they are:



English Indonesian Note
Hi Halo/Hai This greeting is used for friends and family, or in a non-formal situation
How are you? Apa kabar? This question is normally asked after greeting. It is used either just for formalities, or also if you actually want to know how the other party is really doing.
Good/Not good Baik/Tidak baik This is the common and simple reply to the question above. You are not really expected to answer in details every time someone asks how you are doing.
Good morning Selamat pagi Time frame: From morning until noon

This greeting, along with good afternoon, evening and night, is used in a formal situation. It is usually used for people of authority (police, teachers, doctors). In a less formal situation, generally people will only say ‘Pagi’, which means ‘Morning’.

Good afternoon Selamat siang Time frame: After noon until 3 pm
Good evening Selamat sore Time frame: After 3 pm until 6 pm
Good night Selamat malam Time frame: After 6 pm

This phrase is also commonly used when someone greets goodbye at night (more formal)

Excuse me Permisi When you want to pass someone in front of you, it is only polite to say excuse me. 

This can also be used as an opening word when you would like to ask for directions or questions to strangers.


Time & Direction

English Indonesian Explanation
What time? Jam berapa? If you’re joining a tour, the tour guide will always inform the meeting time. In case you miss that, you can ask this question.
What time is it? Sekarang jam berapa? Asking the current time when it is more convenient to ask the person next to you than pulling out your phone from the bag.


Where is this? Ini dimana? There is an Indonesian saying of “Malu bertanya sesat di jalan” which means if you’re shy to ask, you’ll get lost on the street. So ask away!
How far? Berapa jauh? Always make sure to plan your trip in a timely manner, taking into account the travel time from one destination to another.
Go straight Lurus
Turn left Belok kiri
Turn right Belok kanan



English Indonesian Note
How many people? Berapa orang? The first thing you will be asked by the greeter when you arrive at a restaurant.
Can I get the menu? Boleh minta menu? Just in case if you have not received the menu yet, but most of the time the waiter will give the menu once you’re seated.
I want to order ____ Saya mau pesan ____ The easiest way it just to point whatever food from the menu, but it will be nice to know some basic words on how to order.
I would like to drink ____ Saya mau minum ____ Water is not free in almost all restaurants, so you will need to order beverages.
What’s the recommended food? Rekomendasi makanannya apa? In the situation when you do not know what to order, or want to find out the highlighted dish of the restaurant.
My food has not come out Makanan saya belum keluar It is perfectly fine to inform the waiters if your food has not been served yet after waiting for a while. 
Where’s the restroom? WC-nya dimana? Some restaurants might not have a clear restroom sign, or even might not have one inside.
Can I get tissue? Boleh minta tisu? Tissues are free in all restaurants, so don’t be shy to ask for more.
Can I get the bill?

The bill please.

Boleh minta bill?

Minta bill ya.

Unless you ask for the bill, it will never be given to you.



English Indonesian Note
Where can I find the taxi? Cari taksi dimana? In the case where you do not see any taxi on the street, the locals might be able tell you a better spot to get a taxi. In some shopping malls, there are taxi stands where you can queue for taxi.
How much? Berapa? Make sure to check the price of any transportation before hopping in.
How long? Berapa lama? The length of time to your destination point.
I would like to go to ____ Saya mau ke ____ Since the taxi driver cannot read your mind, you will need to tell him your destination.
Thank you Terima kasih It will be nice to utter these two words as an expression of gratitude.



English Indonesian Note
How much is this? Ini harganya berapa? Some local shops might not display price tags.
Is there any other color? Ada warna lain? Find out if they have other color options as not all colors are usually showcased.
Can it be cheaper? Bisa lebih murah? The more common phrase people often say is “Bisa kurang?” which directly translated as “Can it get less?”
Can I try this on? Boleh coba? When shopping for apparels or shoes, it is best to try on the merchandise to see how it fits or looks. Don’t be shy to ask.
Where is ____ (name of the convenient store) ____ dimana? Convenient store is highly searched when traveling. In Indonesia, the two largest chains are Indomaret and Alfamart.



English Indonesian Note
Does it include breakfast? Apakah ini termasuk sarapan? Some accommodations include free breakfast, so it is better to ask if they provide it at no charge.
What’s the wifi password? Password wifi-nya apa? The one thing people cannot survive without. Fortunately, the two main vocabularies here are the same as the English.
Is towel provided? Apakah handuk disediakan? It would be great if there is one less thing to pack on your suitcase, especially when towels are usually provided!
What floor is the room at? Kamarnya di lantai berapa? Make sure you get this right. Getting lost while dragging a big luggage is the last thing you want to do.


Still up for more vocabulary words? Learn these gadgets every traveler needs in Bahasa Indonesia. Just in case shall you need to borrow or buy one during your travel in Indonesia:


There you have it! Take a few minutes to freshen up on these phrases and vocabulary words before traveling. We are sure they will be useful, and enjoy your trip to the beautiful Indonesia! 

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