55 basic but essential Indonesian phrases to navigate traveling or living in Bali

Learning these phrases will make your visit or stay in Bali more rewarding and help you interact with people as you explore the beautiful island.

Visiting or deciding to live where you don’t speak the language can be daunting. Fortunately, English is a relatively widely spoken language in Bali.

But if you want a better experience while visiting or decide to make Bali your home base for a while, learning some basic but useful Indonesian phrases removes a barrier to having a more authentic Bali experience, where you can interact more with the locals and even discover things you wouldn’t discover otherwise (yes, we’re talking about all those interesting finds from a local market being invited to eye-opening ceremonies). So it’s time to master these basic but essential Indonesian phrases – with pronunciation help – to help create a more meaningful traveling or living in Bali experience.

What language is spoken in Bali?

Please note that Balinese and Indonesian/Bahasa are two completely different languages, but most people in Bali are familiar with both. In this article, we will only provide phrases and pronunciations in Indonesian/Bahasa.

The list of useful Indonesian phrases includes:

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Blend in with the locals by speaking Indonesian

Greetings 

Hello – Halo (Ha-loh) 

Goodbye – Selamat tinggal (se-lah-mutt teen-gal) 

Good morning, afternoon, evening – Selamat pagi, siang, sore (se-lah-mutt pa-gee, see-yang, so-reh)

My name is – Nama saya (nah-ma sai-ya) 

I am from – Berasal dari (bur-ah-sahl dar-ee) 

Good manners

Balinese people are very polite, make sure to use these phrases to ensure you are being respectful.

Thank you – Terima Kasih (te-ree-ma ka-seeh)

Excuse me – Permisi (per-mee-see)

Nice to meet you – Salam kenal (saa-laam ke-nal) 

How are you? – Apa kabar? (ah-pah ka-bar) 

Good – Baik (bay-eek)

Bad – Tidak baik (tee-dak bay-eek) 

Please help – Mohon tolong (mo-hon toh-long) 

Yes – Ya (ya)

No – Tidak (tee-dak) 

Sorry – Maaf (mah-af)

*Getting someone’s attention* – Please note that this depends on the age/status of the person you are referring to:

Someone older than you who is still young – ka (kah)

Someone who is younger than you and is very young – Ade (ah-deh) 

Adult woman – Ibu (ee-buh) 

Adult man – Bapak/Pak (bah-pak) 

Directions 

Left – Kiri (kee-ree)

Right – Kanan (kaa-naan) 

Forward – Maju (mah-joo)  

Backward – Belakang (bel-ah-kang) 

Stop – Berhenti (ber-hun-tee) 

Where? – Di mana (dee mana)

Complaints 

Traffic! – Machet! (mah-chet) 

I do not want – Saya tiddak mau (sa-yah tee-dak mah-oo)

Not too spicy – Jangan terlalu pedas (jaa-ngan ter-laa-luw pe-dash) 

Haggling

One thing to note when shopping is that some places in Bali have two prices, one for locals and one for foreigners.

Try to sway them by confidently using Bahasa Indonesian and bag yourself a better price – even if you butcher the pronunciation they will appreciate the effort! 

How much? – Berapa? (ber-ra-pa) 

Expensive! – Mahal! (mah-hahl) 

Too much – Terlalu mahal (ter-lah-loo ma-hal) 

Is there a discount? – Ada diskon? (Ah-daa disk-on)

Basic food items

Water – Air (eye-er)

Chicken – Ayam (eye-yum) 

I am vegetarian/vegan – Saya vegetarian/vegan (sah-yah veh-geh-tah-ree-ahn / veh-gan) 

Other essentials you might need 

Here are some random but essential Indonesian expressions that may come in handy during your stay.

Can you speak English? – Bisa berbicara Bahasa Inggris? (bee-sah bur-bee-chara ba-hasa ing-riss) 

Can I top-up data? – Bisa top-up pulsa? (bee-sah top-up pool-sah) 

Can I get a helmet please – Mohon minta helem (moh-hon meen-ta hell-um)

Can I have the bill – Minta bon (meen-tah bon)  

Where is the bathroom? – Di mana kamar kecil? (dee mana ka-mar keh-chil) 

I have an allergy – Saya memiliki alergi (sah-yah meh-mee-lee-kee al-er-gee) 

I need medical help – Saya butuh bantuan medis (sah-ya boo-tooh bahn-too-ahn meh-dis)

Numbers 

One – Satu (sah-too)

Two – Dua (doo-ah)

Three – Tiga (ti-gah)

Four – Empat (em-putt)

Five – Lima (lee-ma)

Six – Enam (e-num)

Seven – Tujuh (too-joo)

Eight – Delapan (de-lah-pahn)

Nine – Sembilan (sem-bi-lahn)

Ten – Sepuluh (se-poo-loo) 

Hundred – Ratus (rah-toos)

Thousand – Ribu (ree-boo) 

Excluding one hundred and one thousand, when using hundred and thousand, simply pick a number followed by ratus or ribu. For example, two hundred is dua ratus and two thousand is dua ribu.

For one hundred and one thousand it is shortened to, seratus (one hundred) and seribu (one thousand). 

Indonesian phrases for your visit to Bali 

For short phrases such as di mana (where), you can use any English word for what you are describing, and more often than not, your message will be received clearly. 

Many Indonesian words are similar to English or they simply just use English words instead, for example, toilet or restaurant. 

Bahasa Indonesian is a relatively easy language to pick up in terms of the basics and locals will really appreciate your attempts at speaking it. It is a simple way to make good connections with them and start up conversations during your travels. 

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Ayisha Jose

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