Bahasa is one of the easiest languages to learn.

And if you manage to remember some words you will quickly see how this will open hearts and doors when traveling.  The Indonesian language is not that difficult to learn, at least the informal language. Indonesian is based on Malay. Even though it is the country’s official language, for the majority of Indonesians Bahasa Indonesia is their 2nd language. Like Bali has it’s Bahasa Bali (Balinese) which is still spoken among the Balinese. There are so many other languages across the Indonesian archipelago, that Bahasa Indonesia functions as lingua franca.

Most Balinese speak a fair level of English. It makes such a huge difference however, when you know a few words in “Bahasa”.


Most Important words in Bahasa – The very basics



Yes Ya
No (or not) Tidak
Maybe Mungkin
Sorry Ma’af
Hello Helo
I / me Saya (formal) or aku (informal)
There is, have, be, exists ada
Does not exist, have not, is not Tidak ada
You Anda (formal) kamu (informal)
Goodbye (when you leave) Selamat tinggal
Goodbye (when you stay) Selamat jalan
Good morning (until 11am) Selamat pagi
Good afternoon (until 3pm) Selamat siang
Good afternoon (until 6pm) Selamat sore
Good night (at night after 6pm) Selamat malam
Sleep well Selamat tidur
How are you? Apa kabar?
I am fine, and you? Kabar baik, Anda bagaimana?
Please Silakan
Thank you Terima kasih
You’re welcome Sama sama
No worries/never mind Tidak apa apa
Mr Bapak (or Pak)
Ms/Mrs Ibu
Miss Nona
What is your name? Siapa nama Anda? (Formal)
  Siapa nama mu? (Informal)
My name is… Nama saya…
Do you speak English? Bisa bicara bahasa Inggris?
I don’t understand Saya tidak mengerti
I am hungry Saya lapar
I am thirsty Saya haus

Keywords for Questions

Where? Di mana?
When? Kapan?
Who? Siapa?
Why? Kenapa?
What? Apa?
How many? Berapa?

Common signs

Open Buka
Closed Tutup
Exit Keluar
Entrance Masuk
Prohibited Dilarang
No smoking Dilarang rokok
Toilets Kamar kecil
Men Laki or Pria
Women Wanita or Perempuan

In case of emergency

Help Tolong
I am ill Saya sakit
Call a doctor Panggil dokter
Call an ambulance Panggil ambulans
Where is the nearest hospital? Dimana Rumah Sakit yang paling dekat?
I am allergic to… Saya punya allergi..
It hurts here Sakit disini
There has been an accident Ada kecelakaan
May I use your phone? Boleh pinjam telpon?
Call the police Panggil Polisi

Traveling, Eating and Drinking

Room Kamar
Taxi Taksi
Transportation Transpor
Money Uang
How much does it cost Berapa Harga
Jalan Street
Bus Bis
Motor Bike, Scooter Sepeda Motor
rent sea
buy beli
Breakfast sarapan / makan pagi
Lunch makan siang
Dinner makan malam
Enjoy your meal Selamat makan
That was delicious Enak sekali
Can I have the bill? Boleh minta bill?
Fork garpu
Spoon sendok
Knife pisau
Chopstick sumpit
Cup cangkir
Plate piring
Glass gelas
Salt garam
Pepper lada
Sugar gula
Milk susu
Hot panas
Cold dingin
Spicy pedas
Tea teh
Mineral water air putih
air water
Coffee kopi
Ice cubes es batu
Fruit buah
Bread roti
Butter mentega
Cheese keju
Rice nasi
Vegetables sayur
Fish ikan
Shrimp udang
Chicken ayam
Egg telor
Beef sapi
Pork babi


The number system is quite straight forward and easy to learn.

1AUD is roughly IDR 10,000 which maks it easy to calculate prices.

1 USD is at the value of roughly IDR 13,000 which makes it a bit more complicated to deal with prices.

1 satu
2 dua
3 tiga
4 empat
5 lima
6 enam
7 tujuh
8 delapan
9 sembilan
10 Sepuluh (puluh)
11 Sebelas
12 Duabelas
13 Tigabelas
14 Empatbelas
15 limabelas
16 enambelas
17 tujuhbelas
18 delapanbelas
19 sembilanbelas
20 duapuluh
21 duapuluh satu
22 duapulu dua
30 tigapuluh
31 sigapuluh satu
40 empatpuluh
50 limapuluh
99 sembilanpuluh sembilan
100 seratus (..ratus)
200 duaratus
230 duaratus tigapuluh
900 sembilanratus
1000 seribu Ribu (Ribu / rb.)
1,000,000 sejuta (satu juta, juta, jta.)
2,000,000 duajuta
1,000,000,000 Satu Miliar
3,546,234 / Three million, five hundred forty six thousand, two hundred and thirty four Tiga Jutah, Lima Ratus Empat Puluh Enam Ribuh, Dua Ratus Tiga Puluh Empat


Can I have … Boleh minta …
I like… Saya suka…
I do not like… Saya tidak suka…
I want… Saya mau…
I do not want… Saya tidak mau
Without… Tanpa…
I need… Saya perlu…
I am looking for… Saya cari…
May I… Boleh saya…
I want to go to … Saya mau ke…


Left Kiri
Right Kanan
Straight Lurus
Stop here Stop disini
Near Dekat
Far Jauh
Next to, beside (location) Sebelah
U-turn Puter balik
Motorbike Sepeda motor
Petrol station Pompa bensin


Some Background on the Indonesian & Malay Language