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Must-Know Phrases in Indonesian for Tourists and Language Lovers

Indonesia, with its stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, has become a popular tourist destination for travellers from all around the world. Whether you’re planning a visit to the tropical paradise of Bali or exploring the vibrant cities of Jakarta and Yogyakarta, knowing a few essential phrases in Indonesian can greatly enhance your travel experience. Not only will it help you communicate with locals, but it will also show your appreciation for the local culture and make your interactions more enjoyable.

Are you a beginner learner looking for a few handy Indonesian greetings? We’ve got you covered. Are you a more advanced student who wants to learn a few Indonesian slang phrases or some colourful Indonesian bad words? There’s something for you in this article as well!

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So, what are we waiting for? Let’s dive into 43 phrases in Indonesian that every traveller (or language geek!) should know!

Indonesian Phrases to Greet People

Greeting someone in their native language is a simple yet effective way to break the ice and show respect. I mean, imagine a gorgeous tourist walks up to you and says “Hello” with a slight foreign accent – wouldn’t that be special?

Here are a few phrases in Indonesian to use when meeting someone new:

  1. Selamat pagi (se-lah-maht PAH-gee) – Good morning
  2. Apa kabar? (AH-pah KAH-bar) – How are you?
  3. Selamat siang (se-lah-maht see-yahng) – Good afternoon
  4. Selamat malam (se-lah-maht MAH-lahm) – Good evening
  5. Senang bertemu denganmu (SEH-nahng ber-TEH-moo dehn-gahn-moo) – Nice to meet you
  6. Nama saya [your name] (NAH-mah SAH-yah [your name]) – My name is [your name]

Indonesian Phrases for Tourists

Are you visiting Indonesia as a tourist? In this section, you will find a few Indonesian phrases that can come in handy during your travels:

Eating Out

Indonesian cuisine is a delightful blend of flavours, and trying local dishes is an absolute must. Here are some phrases in Indonesian to help you navigate the local dining scene:

  1. Satu meja untuk dua orang, terima kasih (SAH-too MAY-jah oon-TOOK DOO-ah OH-rahng, te-REE-mah KAH-see) – A table for two people, please.
  2. Apa rekomendasi Anda? (AH-pah reh-koh-mehn-DAH-see AHN-dah) – What do you recommend?
  3. Saya ingin mencoba makanan khas Indonesia (SAH-yah een-geen men-CHO-bah mah-KAH-nahn kahs een-doh-NEH-see-ah) – I would like to try Indonesian cuisine.
  4. Bisakah saya melihat menu? (BEE-sah-kah SAH-yah meh-LEE-haht MEH-noo) – Can I see the menu?
  5. Saya pesan air mineral, terima kasih (SAH-yah PAY-sahn EYE-er mee-NEH-rahl, te-REE-mah KAH-see) – I’ll have mineral water, thank you.
  6. Ada makanan vegetarian? (AH-dah mah-KAH-nahn veh-geh-TAH-ree-ahn) – Do you have vegetarian food?
  7. Saya alergi terhadap [ingredient] (SAH-yah ah-LEHR-gee tehr-hah-DAHP [ingredient]) – I am allergic to [ingredient].
  8. Boleh minta sedikit garam, tolong? (BOH-leh MEEN-tah seh-DEE-keet GAH-rahm, TOH-lohng) – Can I have a little salt, please?
  9. Makanan ini enak sekali! (Mah-KAH-nahn EE-nee EH-nahk seh-KAH-lee) – This food is delicious!
  10. Terima kasih, pelayanannya bagus (Te-REE-mah KAH-see, pe-LAH-yah-nahn-nyah BAH-goos) – Thank you, the service is good.

Asking for Help

When you’re in a new place, asking for assistance can make your journey smoother.

Whether you’ve got food poisoning or need help finding a specific location, here are a few phrases in Indonesian that you’ll want to remember:

  1. Maaf, di mana toilet? (MAH-af, dee MAH-nah TOY-let) – Excuse me, where is the toilet?
  2. Bisakah Anda membantu saya? (BEE-sah-kah AHN-dah mem-BAN-too SAH-yah) – Can you help me?
  3. Saya tersesat. Bagaimana saya bisa kembali ke hotel? (SAH-yah ter-SEH-saht. BAH-gah-EE-mah-nah SAH-yah
  4. BEE-sah KEM-bah-lee keh HOH-tehl) – I’m lost. How can I get back to the hotel?
  5. Tolong, di mana stasiun kereta api terdekat? (TOH-lohng, dee MAH-nah stah-see-OON KEH-reh-tah AH-pee ter-deh-KAHT) – Excuse me, where is the nearest train station?
  6. Maaf, bisakah Anda memberi tahu saya alamat rumah sakit? (MAH-af, BEE-sah-kah AHN-dah mem-BEH-ree TAH-oo SAH-yah AH-lah-maht ROO-mah SAH-keet) – Sorry, can you tell me the address of the hospital?
  7. Saya kehilangan dompet saya. Apakah Anda tahu di mana kantor polisi terdekat? (SAH-yah keh-hee-LAH-ngahn DOHM-peht SAH-yah. AH-pah-kah AHN-dah TAH-oo dee
  8. MAH-nah KAHN-tor POH-lee-see ter-deh-KAHT) – I’ve lost my wallet. Do you know where the nearest police station is?


When one thinks about Indonesia, it’s often the beach, sunsets, and culture that come to mind. However, Indonesia also has a vibrant shopping scene, from bustling markets to modern malls.

Are you looking for traditional handicrafts, clothes, or a delicatessen?

Use these Indonesian phrases while exploring local shops:

  1. Berapa harganya? (BEH-rah-pah HAR-gah-nya) – How much does it cost?
  2. Bisa kurang sedikit? (BEE-sah KOO-rang seh-DEE-keet) – Can you give me a discount?
  3. Saya suka ini. Bisa saya coba? (SAH-yah SOO-kah EE-nee. BEE-sah SAH-yah CHO-bah) – I like this. Can I try this on?
  4. Toko ini punya ukuran yang lebih besar? (TOH-koh EE-nee POO-nyah OO-koo-rahn yang LEH-bih BEH-sar) – Does this shop have a larger size?
  5. Apakah Anda menerima kartu kredit? (AH-pah-kah AN-dah meh-NER-ee-mah KAR-too KREH-deet) – Do you accept credit cards?
  6. Apakah Anda memiliki warna lain? (AH-pah-kah AN-dah meh-MEE-lih WAR-nah LAH-in) – Do you have any other colors available?
  7. Apa kebijakan pengembalian barang di toko ini? (AH-pah KEB-ee-JAH-kan PENG-em-BAH-lee-an BAR-ang dee TOH-koh EE-nee) – What is the return policy in this shop?

Indonesian Slang Phrases

Slang is a huge part of the local culture in Indonesia and can be heard everywhere from street corners to restaurant conversations.

If you want to blend in with the locals, here are a few Indonesian slang phrases to help you sound like a local:

  1. Astaga! (AH-stah-gah) – Oh my gosh!
  2. Mantap! (mahn-TAP) – Cool! Great!
  3. Coba deh! (cho-bah deh) – Give it a try!
  4. Asik (ah-sik) – Awesome, fun, cool
  5. Gokil (go-keel) – Crazy, outrageous
  6. Seru (seh-roo) – Exciting, enjoyable
  7. Oke banget (oh-kay ban-get) – Okay, excellent
  8. Garing (gah-ring) – Corny, not funny

Indonesian Bad Words

While we don’t encourage using swear words, it’s essential to be aware of potentially offensive terms, especially if you have the feeling you are being the object of them!

Here are some common Indonesian bad words we hope you don’t use (or hear!) any time soon:

  1. Goblok (GOH-blok) – Stupid, idiot
  2. Anjing (AHN-jing) – Dog (used as an insult)
  3. Sialan (see-AH-lahn) – Damn it
  4. Bangsat (BANG-sat) – Bastard
  5. Jancok (JAHN-chok) – F**k off

Learning these expressions in Indonesian, whether it’s Indonesian slang phrases or even a couple of Indonesian bad words, will not only enhance your experience but also foster a deeper connection with the people and places you encounter.

So, embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Indonesia, and enjoy your journey to the fullest!

Would you like to go beyond basic phrases in Indonesian and start to work on your fluency in this beautiful language? Explore our tailor-made Indonesian courses now and get started!

→Sign Up Now: Free Trial Indonesian Lesson With a Native Teacher!←

At Listen & Learn, we work with experienced, qualified Indonesian instructors who also happen to be native speakers of the language! With our one-on-one Indonesian courses, you can learn the language in a fun and interactive way, while getting closer to your academic, professional, or personal goals!

Contact us now and start speaking Indonesian with confidence! You won’t regret it!